Saudi King Salman opens annual Janadriyah festival

The 18-day festival, organized by the Ministry of National Guard, is part of a plan to generate awareness of Saudi history and heritage. (SPA)
Updated 08 February 2018
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Saudi King Salman opens annual Janadriyah festival

RIYADH: King Salman on Wednesday patronized the opening ceremony of the 32nd National Festival for Heritage and Culture in Janadriyah village on the northern outskirts of the capital.
The 18-day festival, organized by the Ministry of National Guard, is part of a major initiative to generate awareness of Saudi history and heritage.
India is this year’s guest of honor. Previous guests of honor have included Turkey, Russia, France, Japan, South Korea, China, the UAE and Germany.
Upon arrival at the venue, the king was received by the Minister of National Guard Prince Khaled bin Ayyaf, who is also chairman of the festival’s supreme committee; and Abdulmohsin bin Abdul Aziz Al-Twaijri, deputy minister of national guard and deputy chairman of the committee.
King Salman received senior officials from Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain and the UAE. Then the Saudi national anthem was played, and there was a grand camel race while folkloric bands performed popular dances.
At the end of the camel race, King Salman gave prizes to the winners.
The festival “seeks to encourage our people to uphold values and heritage as well as enhance cultural exchange,” said bin Ayyaf.
Started in 1985, the festival features a variety of activities including a camel race, horse race, sports, dance, arts, history, falconry, and traditional arts and crafts.
The first five days, from Feb. 7 to 11, are for men only. Women and families will be allowed to visit from Feb. 12 to 24.
The festival is open daily from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Organizers say they expect millions of visitors from Saudi Arabia and abroad.
Earlier, King Salman received India’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sushma Swaraj during her three-day visit to the Kingdom.
During the visit, the minister witnessed the opening of the Janadriyah festival.
Saudi Ambassador to India, Dr. Saud Mohammed Al-Sati, said: “India’s participation in Janadriyah as a guest country reflects the excellent cordial ties between the two nations. India and Saudi Arabia have historic and friendly relations… and the Kingdom, today, is home for about 3.2 million Indian nationals.”
Speaking to Arab News, Al-Sati said that Saudi Arabia is India’s fourth largest trading partner — bilateral trade exceeded $25 billion in 2016-17.
He described the festival as “a melange of living experiences,” including a camel race, equestrian shows, Saudi folklore, folk costumes, falconry, an art exhibition, as well as traditional arts and crafts such as pottery, weaving, woodwork, metalwork and leatherwork.


Hajj halls at airport will ease pilgrims’ path, says transport minister

Indian pilgrims arrive at the King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah on August 14, 2018, prior to the start of the annual Hajj pilgrimage in the holy city of Mecakkah. (AFP / Amer Hilabi)
Updated 16 August 2018
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Hajj halls at airport will ease pilgrims’ path, says transport minister

  • Saudi transport minister unveils plan to simplify pilgrims’ travel procedures and provide them with optimum services
  • Streamlining of procedures is expected to reduce pilgrims’ waiting time from three hours last year to about 45 minutes this year

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s transport minister, Nabil bin Mohammed Al-Amoudi, visited the Hajj halls at King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah on Wednesday to ensure that work progress, performance efficiency and the pilgrims’ reception process are in line with the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) operational plan.

The plan aims to simplify pilgrims’ travel procedures and provide them with optimum services.

During his visit, the minister also checked preparations for receiving Hajj delegations while ensuring the provision of high-standard services. The application of technology systems and electronic programs will also help simplify procedures.

Al-Amoudi praised the Makkah Road initiative, which has been implemented in phases by the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, in collaboration with other government bodies, to make Hajj procedures easier for pilgrims arriving from Malaysia and Indonesia.

The initiative includes issuing visas, carrying out passport and customs procedures in the two countries, verifying health requirements, sorting luggage and providing bus transport to hotels in Makkah or Madinah.

The initiative also ensures the readiness of GACA by scheduling upcoming flights arriving at the airport, which simplifies entry procedures.

Streamlining of procedures is expected to reduce pilgrims’ waiting time from three hours last year to about 45 minutes this year. Al-Amoudi said that the improvements are the result of the directives and support provided by the Saudi government to all air, sea and land ports.

“The Saudi government is keen to make every effort to simplify procedures for pilgrims and enable them to perform the Hajj and Umrah rites easily and safely through the cooperation and integration of all government and private sectors,” he said.

Pilgrims receive the utmost care from the time they arrive in Saudi Arabia until they return to their home countries, he added.

The minister thanked staff working in Hajj halls for their work and praised the integration of efforts between government bodies, especially employees of the Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Health.

He also commended the readiness of GACA’s team, highlighting their excellence in providing transport services based on the guidance of the Saudi leadership for serving pilgrims.