| A view of the Rajgir Mahotsav on Friday. Telegraph picture |
Extreme cold and foggy weather dampened the inaugural event of Rajgir Mahotsav on Friday.
Chief minister Nitish Kumar could not inaugurate the event and Sufi singer Zila Khan, scheduled to regale the audience during the cultural evening, could also not arrive in Rajgir because of poor visibility conditions at Patna.
Deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi inaugurated the festival late in the evening. Speaking on the occasion, Modi said: “The Rajgir convention centre is of international standard and it would be used for organising numerous events in the future. The tourism department is also developing Pandu Pokhar at a cost of Rs 19.81 crore. A promenade, equipped with lighting arrangements and other amenities, to attract tourists to spend quality time in the evenings at Rajgir would come up. We would also develop a cabin-type ropeway beside the existing chair-type ropeway at Rajgir. A large Buddha statue would also be put at Ghorakatora lake. Steps are also being taken to develop all archaeological sites over the next three years at a cost of Rs 50 crore.”
The cold weather affected the footfall during the inaugural event. “The gathering of people for the inaugural event was very low as compared to previous years. Moreover, very few tourists could be seen. The stage at Quila Maidan is also smaller than that last year,” said K.N. Jha, general manager of a hotel in Rajgir.
Other dignitaries present at the inaugural event included art, culture and youth affairs minister Sukhada Pandey, mines and geology minister Satyadeo Narain Arya, principal secretary, tourism, Deepak Kumar and principal secretary, art, culture and youth affairs, Chanchal Kumar, among others.
District administration sources said Zila Khan would perform with Ganna Smirnova and Sukhwinder Singh during the cultural evening on Saturday. The musical evening on the concluding day on December 30 would see Kathak dancer Anu Sinha and singer Ritika Raj performing at Quila Maidan in Rajgir.