Janadriyah Festival to have Germany as guest of honor

Updated 14 October 2015

Janadriyah Festival to have Germany as guest of honor

RIYADH: Germany will be the guest of honor at the 30th Janadriyah festival starting Feb. 3, at the Al-Janadriyah heritage village located on the outskirts of Riyadh.
“It is a great honor for Germany to have been chosen as the guest country for the upcoming 30th edition of the festival. It is a major recognition of the excellent state of our bilateral relations to have been chosen as special Guest for the most outstanding cultural heritage festival in Saudi Arabia,” said a senior diplomat.
The German participation will take place under the slogan, Germany — Land of Ideas: Innovation has tradition.
In the German pavilion, situated at the center of the festival site, the Saudi public will be able to learn more about Germany and experience the rich diversity of German culture and traditions.
“Germany is seeking a dialogue with the people of Saudi Arabia and we hope that the German Pavilion can contribute to the mutual understanding of each other’s culture,” said an official.
German artists, folklore dancers and musicians as well as renowned academics from Germany will participate in the 30th national heritage and culture festival at Al-Janadriyah.

Innovation has tradition
At the pavilion, visitors will find Made in Germany ideas and projects, whether in business, science or society, and experience innovative solutions the country is offering to meet future challenges.
German organizers are inviting the Saudi audience to time travel through a typical German city.
The pavilion tour starts at a medieval city gate and proceeds over a moat into the inner pavilion.
Visitors will then experience a historical market place and half-timbered houses, so-called Fachwerkhauser, proceeding into modern German life and houses.
Shops along the street will house various German companies and their innovative products and craftsmanship. The end of the tour is marked by a fascinating look into the future.
By visiting the German Pavilion, people can experience first-hand that innovation does indeed have tradition in Germany.

Strong partners for the German pavilion
The German Foreign Office has initiated the project of the German pavilion together with the place branding initiative, Germany — Land of Ideas, and the cultural institute of Germany, the Goethe-Institut.
Several partners from the German private sector will be organizing the economic program.

Project coordinators:

Federal Republic of Germany — Federal Foreign Office
The Federal Foreign Office is responsible for maintaining relations both with other states and with intergovernmental and supranational organizations.
Apart from its role as formulator of foreign policy, the Foreign Service also sees itself as providing a service for German citizens, the German economy and German cultural life, as well as for parliamentarians and government officials at all levels.
The range of services it offers beyond traditional diplomacy has become a second central field of activity which now accounts for half the ministry’s activities.
The Foreign Ministry is headed by Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
He is assisted by two ministers of state and two state secretaries.
Germany is represented in Saudi Arabia at two locations: In addition to the Germany Embassy in Riyadh, headed by Ambassador Boris Ruge, there is a Consulate General in Jeddah, headed by Consul General Annette Klein.
Cultural relations and education policy forms the so-called third pillar of German foreign policy alongside political and economic relations.
The German pavilion at the Janadriyah Festival 2016 is a large project in the field of foreign cultural relations and education policy undertaken by the federal government.

Germany — Land of Ideas
In 2005, the German federal government and the German business sector, represented by the Federation of German Industries (BDI), joined forces to launch a unique project and resolved to jointly promote Germany as a location for business, science, and culture in a comprehensive and integrated way.
As a provider of impetus and a neutral platform, the initiative relies on dialogue with all spheres of German society, successfully linking players from politics, business, science, and society.
In various projects, it identifies and works with relevant future issues in a targeted way, encourages people to participate, and communicates solution approaches to the public across Germany and internationally.
Due to the high potential for involvement and the internal and external communicative impact, large social events play an outstanding role for the Germany — Land of Ideas initiative in its efforts to convey various themes and issues.
‘The Germany — Land of Ideas’ logo is a neutral platform to present the appeal of Germany as an economic and scientific location.
Germany — Land of Ideas is used as an umbrella brand to convey a recognizable image to the public.

Goethe Institute
The globally active German cultural institute promotes German language learning abroad, cultivates international cultural cooperation, and conveys a comprehensive image of Germany.
In times of new global challenges, the work of the Goethe Institute aims at fostering a deeper understanding between different cultures and at boosting Germany’s reputation in the world.

Sensational Sikkim: Exploring the unspoiled wilderness from Chumbi Mountain Resort

The Chumbi Mountain Resort. (Supplied)
Updated 15 January 2019

Sensational Sikkim: Exploring the unspoiled wilderness from Chumbi Mountain Resort

  • Chumbi Mountain Retreat is located in India, in the northeastern state of Sikkim
  • The retreat is both a luxury resort and a repository of traditional culture and craft

DUBAI: At the ungodly hour of 6 a.m., I was awoken by a phone call from reception. “Madam, we have a really clear view of Kanchenjunga mountain this morning, so Mr. Chopel has asked us to wake you, so you can see it,” said a disembodied voice, apologetically but with a sense of urgency.

I smiled and flung open the curtains, and there it was. The majestic Himalayan mountain — the world’s third-highest — looked like it was right outside my bedroom window, within touching distance. Clustered with its neighboring snow-clad peaks, it sparkled a bright white, against the impossibly blue skies.

General view of Kanchenjunga mountain.(Shutterstock)

That’s the kind of thing that you don’t mind dragging yourself out of bed — and barefoot onto the cold stone terrace — for; to capture that perfect photo before the fleeting view disappears behind a veil of clouds.

And it’s the kind of personal touch that makes the Chumbi Mountain Retreat special. Owner Ugyen Chopel (a filmmaker and prominent local personality) has made it is his mission to showcase this little-known corner of paradise to the world.

The retreat is situated in India, near the Himalayas in the northeastern state of Sikkim — the country’s second smallest and one of its youngest, having remained a Buddhist monarchy until as recently as 1975. Sikkim has a rich and unique heritage, as well as the more recent distinction of being India’s first fully organic (in terms of agriculture) state.

Nestled in the hills of Pelling in western Sikkim, Chumbi Mountain Retreat is both a luxury resort and a repository of traditional culture and crafts. The traditional monastic design and motifs recreated using natural materials such as local stone and wood, in an artisanal approach, and the many hand-picked historic artifacts used in the décor make staying in this serene hideaway an immersive experience.

Nowhere is this truer than at Dyenkhang, an intimate specialty restaurant offering authentic local cuisine in the traditions of the royal palace. It’s the only place in Sikkim offering this kind of meal, I was told.

The food is served in a traditionally reverential manner — the servers are meant to never show their back to the diner — on gleaming copper tableware, the fit-for-a-king feast includes phing zekar (glass noodles with marinated local greens); chu zhema (cottage cheese dumplings); gundtruk sadako (fermented greens tossed with onion and chilli); and phyasha saltum (chicken cooked in traditional herbs).

The fresh, organic produce ensures each dish bursts with flavor. But dinner here is as educational as it is delicious, providing an insight into the many influences that went into shaping Sikkimese culture and cuisine.

Another great way to experience that local culture is with a traditional ‘Dottho’ hot-stone bath in the resort’s zen-like Mhenlha Spa. An Al-fresco soak in a wooden tub with heated mineral stones added to the water together with local herbs makes for a healing, hugely relaxing experience — aided by a fermented rice drink which you are meant to sip throughout.

With its vantage point boasting panoramic views across the valley, and with numerous nooks and communal spaces to relax in, guests may be tempted to simply stay in the resort for the duration of their trip. But that would be a shame, as there is a great deal more to see in this unspoiled region.

From the scenic Khecheopalri Lake (which, local folklore has it, has the power to grant wishes) and the impressive perennial Kanchenjunga waterfall, to the sacred Pemayangtse monastery — a mountaintop Buddhist temple where fluttering prayer flags and meditative chanting create a rarified atmosphere of tranquility — excursion options abound. For the more adventurous, trekking and hiking trails are also available nearby, as are farm tours.

Kanchenjunga waterfall. (Shutterstock)

Truth be told, this isn’t the easiest place to get to or around — the roads aren’t great and Sikkim’s overall infrastructure is still developing. But those making the effort to visit this remote land will be rewarded with stunning alpine landscapes, great hospitality from unaffected, friendly people, and an inescapable sense of spiritual wellbeing. And, who knows, maybe even an elusive sighting of some of the world’s greatest mountain peaks.