From ‘ghoomar' dances, which have the dancers swirling at dizzying speeds to the loud beat of percussion instruments, to stalls displaying multi-hued bandhini and bandhej fabrics, a two-day Rajasthan Festival that got under way here on Tuesday offers a peek into the varied cultural facets of Rajasthan.

The event, being organised by the Department of Tourism, Rajasthan government, is an attempt to promote the state's tourism in south India. A total of 25 stalls, each displaying a range of Rajasthan's exquisite handicrafts such as jewellery, designer bags and ‘copa' dolls, are part of the festival.

There are also stalls stocked with hand block-printed textiles, Maheswari silk and soft cotton saris, stone artefacts, heavily worked footwear and silverwares. Alongside the folk performances of artists, there is a photo exhibition of palaces showcasing Rajput and Mughal architecture, some of the oldest forts, lush Aravalli ranges and desert sands. A food court offering delectable Rajasthani delicacies is a major draw for the visitors.

Addressing mediapersons at the inauguration of the festival, Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation General Manager J. P. Pathak said the State has been one of the most sought-after tourist destinations. “The rich heritage of Rajasthan, colourful fairs and festivals that happen almost every week, and shopping are the key attractions,” he said.

Daleep Singh Rathore, Assistant Director , Department of Tourism, said two luxurious packages on trains — ‘Palace on Wheels' and ‘Royal Rajasthan on Wheels' — run with 100 per cent occupancy rate. “We are focussed on developing tourism circuits to network all tourist spots and identifying new places. Eco and rural tourism have been given an impetus in the State.”

He said each district would select one village, which would be developed as a model rural tourist centre. He also listed out the customised packages that are available to suit varied tourist interests. The festival is being held at Vijay Shri Mahal, Anna Nagar, and is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesday.

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