KOLKATA, 8 January, 2009 : The sixth Tourism and Food Festival organized by West Bengal tourism department in association with The Times of India was inaugurated on Wednesday at Nalban Ecopark. The five-day festival will present some of the best folk performers from different states for the audience.
On the first day, the performance by Manipuri danseuse Priti Patel and her troupe proved to be a perfect beginning as the audience was left mesmerized with the graceful moves. Amidst prayers and chants, the Sun God was invoked. Performers trained in martial arts then demonstrated a fierce sword fight that left the audience awe-struck. When they demonstrated the intricate art of sword fighting blindfolded, the admiration of the audience knew no bounds. The men also performed acrobatics like jumping through a ring of fire and balancing on spearheads with ease. Delegates from many states, including the tourism minister of Andhra Pradesh, were present for the programme.
State tourism minister Manab Mukherjee lit the hawan kund. "I think the festival will be an immense success. We have inaugurated the festival with a Manipuri dance since the state and its culture finds mention in Tagore's work time and again," he said. Ankita Lahiri, a college student from Sodepur, was in the audience. "This is one of the best performances I have seen," she gushed. In the coming days, one of the primary attractions will be a colourful ballet by a Chinese troupe from Kunming. Among the other performances is a group dance by Tanushree Shankar on Thursday.
The Times of India will present a gala musical evening with latest singing sensation, Anik Dhar, on Saturday. There will also be performances by the Vyas Brothers on Sunday, army and BSF bands, a fashion show and tribal dances from Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan.