Sound of music in hills

Rajgir mahotsav begins today

By Piyush Kumar Tripathi
  • Published 28.11.15
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Preparations on at Quila Maidan on Friday, a day before the inauguration of Rajgir Mahotsav. Picture by Ravi Ranjan

Rajgir, located south of the Ganga is all geared up to host its annual gala event, Rajgir Mahotsav, which begins on Saturday.

As Asia's largest cattle fair in Sonepur continues to amaze visitors with its rustic touch, north of the mighty river, the mystic Rajgir hills will come alive as a galaxy of star artistes will regale the audience in the daily cultural shows.

The Telegraph presents a guide for those planning to visit the fair, which will be inaugurated by chief minister Nitish Kumar.

History

Rajgir Mahotsav was first held in 1986. The then chief minister Bindeshwari Dubey, Union tourism minister HKL Bhagat and state tourism minister Uma Pandey had presided over the inaugural event. It was initially called Rajgir Dance Festival and was changed to Rajgir Mahotsav in 1989.

On offer

Vendors from different states in the country will sell their wares, including clothes, handicrafts, interior decoration accessories and agricultural equipment. A book fair will also be held. Around 50 temporary stalls have been put up by the tourism department and have been distributed among different government departments, such as art, culture and youth affairs, agriculture, rural development and health.

Safety

Senior police officers in Nalanda have promised adequate deployment of forces with metal detectors at the checkpoints. Closed-circuit television cameras will be used for surveillance. A control room will also be set up at the fair venue.

Around town

Rajgir and Nalanda have always been favoured destinations for picnics in Bihar. Visit Nalanda University - the ancient and oldest seat of learning.

Take a ride on the ropeway to reach Vishwa Shanti Stupa. Hop onto a tonga and go to Ghorakatora. Spend a day or two in the hills of Rajgir.

Route

Rajgir is around 100km southeast of Patna and the fair venue is Quila Maidan. One can reach Rajgir via road through the newly constructed Patna-Bakhtiyarpur four-lane National Highway or the Fatuha-Daniawan-Biharshariff route.

There are three direct trains from Patna to Rajgir - Budhpurnima Express (15110), Shramjeevi Express (12392) and Rajgriha Express (13234).

Accommodation

There is a dearth of hotels with tourism department, as Bihar State Tourism Development Corporation owned TathagatVihar has been given to Nalanda University to accommodate its students and Gautam Vihar has been leased out to Hotel Gargee Grand.

It is advisable to look for prior booking in private hotels in Rajgir, such as Indo Hokke Hotel, The Rajgir Regency and Gargee Gautam Vihar Resort among others.

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

November 28, 5.30pm: Inaugural ceremony
November 28, 7pm: Performance by Bollywood singer Adnan Sami 
November 29, 6pm: Lavni, Maharashtra folk dance performance
December 2, 6pm: Performance by dance group from Sri Lanka
December 5, 7pm: Performance by Bollywood singer Vinod Rathod 
December 6, 7pm: Performance by Bollywood singer Sona Mahapatra 
December 8, 6pm: Performance by Calcutta-based Kathak dancer Sanchita Chakraborty 
December 11, 6pm: Performance by Punjabi singer Gurdas Mann
Day events: Tonga race, palkhi sajja (decoration of bullock cart), tonga sajja (decoration of horse cart) and dangal (wrestling)
December 12, 5.30pm: Closing ceremony