Taj Mahotsav to focus on Ghalib, Mir

Last Updated: Jan 05, 2011, 19:38 PM IST

Agra: The ten-day heritage festival Taj Mahotsav, beginning Feb 18, will focus on doyens of Urdu poetry Mirza Ghalib and Mir Taqi Mir, an official here said.

The festival, which began in 1993 as a tourism promotion initiative, has over the years shrunk into just a local fair, with foreign tourists largely keeping away from the programmes at the Shilpgram complex, 500 metres from the Taj Mahal.

But this year the district authorities and tourism organisations have decided to restore the festival`s original glory.

A separate food zone and a section on Indian handicrafts would be added to raise the festival`s attraction.

"We are allotting 350 stalls to craftsmen and handicrafts retailers," an official said.

Efforts are on to finalise speakers for a seminar on lesser known monuments of Agra.

"This year many of the programmes will be held at different places, close to the monuments, so that people get involved. Fatehpur Sikri will also be lit up and some programmes will be held there as well," the official added.

Divisional commissioner Sudhir M. Bobde, who has been having a series of meetings for the last one month to finalise the festival details, told district authorities and members of the organising committee that an all-India mushaira will be held at the Soor Sadan Auditorium focusing on works of Mirza Ghalib and Mir Taqi Mir.

The city last week celebrated the 213th birth anniversary of Mirza Ghalib, who was born here.

The commissioner has also instructed the tourism department to immediately update its websites and start publicising the Taj Mahotsav through travel agents and hotel chains.

The organising committee has also decided to run special city bus service to ferry locals to the Shilpgram complex.

IANS