Lulu’s week-long “Flavors of India” festival was opened by Indian Ambassador Hamid Ali Rao to much fanfare yesterday. Those attending the opening ceremonies flooded into the supermarket in search of a wide variey of Indian products on the shelves.
The festival’s opening was followed by an announcement made by Shehim Mohammed, regional director for Lulu Saudi Hypermarkets, regarding an ambitious plan to open 15 Lulu Hypermarkets in Saudi Arabia within the next two years. The opening ceremony was attended by Ashok Warrier, first secretary at the Indian embassy; Shafeeq Rahman, Lulu general manager; and Abdullah Al Enaizi, administration manager.
Speaking after formally opening the festival, Ambassador Rao commended the efforts made by Lulu to showcase India and its products. He said that “India and Saudi Arabia enjoy friendly relations reflecting the centuries old economic and socio-cultural ties.” He said that the bilateral engagement between Saudi Arabia and India had been very intimate and cordial with identical views on all major regional and international issues.
The ‘Strategic Partnership’ and the ‘Riyadh Declaration’ signed by the leadership of the two countries captured the spirit of enhanced cooperation in the realms of political, economy, security and defense besides economy and culture. Ambassador Rao also braved the crowd of shoppers and toured a few sections of the festival.
He said that the Riyadh and New Delhi had forged closer ties, and this India festival is a reflection of those strong ties that the two countries can boast of. On the sidelines of the festival, a photo exhibition by K. N. Wasif, a celebrity photographer of India, featuring the landmarks of India has been organized. Wasif, who started his career as a lensman for the famous ‘Indian Express’ newspaper, is a genius photographer credited with working for several prestigious publications in India and Saudi Arabia.
Giving highlights of the “Flavors of India” fest, Shehim said that the event features a huge variety of fruits, vegetables, food and regional specialities of India that are difficult to be brought to the Kingdom. Also on display at the festival are Indian spices, cardamom, coconuts, vegetables, pepper, milder spices used for desserts; custard apple; fragrant red guavas besides several other kinds of groceries, he added.
Shehim said that the prime focus of “Flavors of India is to portray the diversity of India and its rich culture. Given the cosmopolitan clientele and culture of LuLu, ‘Flavours of India” exhibits the fresh import meat ranges like Indian mutton, beef, veal, buffalo, meat, variety of Indian fishes including Karimean, white pomfret, Rohu fish, fresh Tiger prawns and many more.
Special offers and prices on Indian products will be available during the festival, he added. He pointed out that Indian dresses will be sold on promotional prices until Feb 3, 2013. A special pavilion called Indian bazaar showcasing Indian brands and products has been organized for customers during this period. Every care has been taken to offer “the best products on the best prices” , added Shehim.