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People flock to colorful heritage pavilions of Saudi Arabia’s Janadriyah festival

Ardha, a warrior dance, is a major attraction of the Janadriyah festival. (SPA)
RIYADH: There has been a remarkable daily turnout of visitors to the 32nd edition of Janadriyah, the national heritage and culture festival named after the village on the northern outskirts of Riyadh.
The event is organized there annually to celebrate Saudi Arabia’s lifestyle and the symbols of its identity, unity and integrity.
The 18-day-long festival, which opened under the patronage of King Salman last Wednesday with India as the guest of honor, is seeing a huge rush of visitors, both citizens and expatriates.
The many attractions include a traditional camel race, cultural programs, workshops, poetry sessions, and exhibitions with pavilions representing provinces in the Kingdom and national and international organizations.
The Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage has also staged a special pavilion as a tourism and heritage oasis with sections for children, visual shows, interactive and social media screens and major tourism and heritage projects, which has been hugely popular.
Other important pavilions include that of the Gulf Cooperation Council, which gives details on its functioning, and unity and stability in the region, and that of the Human Rights Commission, which has details on its mandate, role and work.
The pavilion of the General Presidency of the Two Holy Mosques has details on the expansion project at the mosques, and how Kiswa, which adorns the Holy Kaaba, is crafted and prepared.
Another major attraction is Najdi Ardha, a warrior dance that expresses victory and pride in Saudi history.
Bandar Al-Harbi, a visitor at the festival, told Arab News: “Being one of the key events, Ardha has continued to draw a large number of visitors.” As the festival progresses, many of the families bring their children to learn the technicalities of this important dance, he said.
Though the exact statistics on visitors are not yet available, coordinators said it can be estimated at more than 1,000 people per hour, a figure that will increase further as the first five days were reserved for male visitors only. Women and families started to visit on Monday.
Visitors were full of praise for the display of rich heritage and culture. Mohammed Arshad Khan, a schoolteacher in Riyadh, said: “I am glad to see my home country as the guest of honor. Coming for the first time, I'm equally thrilled to see all the arrangements, the pavilion staged in such a beautiful way.”
The guest country has staged a special “Made in India” pavilion and highlighted Saudi-India relations with a photo exhibition on high-level visits from both sides.
The festival is open daily till Feb. 24 from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and seeks to encourage people to uphold cultural values and heritage close to their heart.

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