Three-day Rajgir Festival from Nov 25, Pankaj Udhas set to perform.

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Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar is expected to inaugurate the three-day Rajgir festival, scheduled to be held at the International Convention Centre at Rajgir from November 25.

The cultural extravaganza on the occasion will feature artistes like Pankaj Udhas, among others.

The event will also feature a Gramshree Mela which has been planned at the vast hockey ground at the heritage town.

The fair will also have activities like palanquin decoration contest, the “tonga”, or the horse-driven cart race, and dangal (wrestling), besides a Mahila Mahotsav where rural women will gather to discuss how to achieve economic independence and become self-sufficient.

Also, various government departments will be showcasing their activities and achievements at their stalls.

Rajgir Festival has been hosted jointly by the state tourism and the district administration, Nalanda. While the cultural event will be held at the International Convention Centre Rajgir, all other activities will be held at the hockey ground.

The Rajgir Festival was started in 1986 on the lines of Khajuraho Festival, the world famous Indian classical dance festival held in Madhya Pradesh every year.

“This time, the event is expected to be a fine blend of local and international. While the state tourism has invited celebrities to perform, the Nalanda district administration is trying to showcase the local talent. We have also planned a variety of local activities at the Gramshree Mela,” Nalanda DM Yogendra Singh said.

Activities like the palanquin decoration and Tonga decorations are expected to be a big draw. “Visitors, especially the foreign tourists, find it very interesting,” he said.

The first Rajgir Festival was held at the Swarna Bhandar, a nationally protected monument of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) at Rajgir. For three years, it was held at this site. But from 1990 to 1993, it could not be held due to some unavoidable reasons and was planned again at the youth hostel ground at Rajgir in 1994. Since then, the event has remained an annual feature. But its venue has kept changing. A few years ago, it was shifted to the Quila Maidan at Rajgir and since 2017, it’s being held at the convention centre.