And it is the golden boy of sports, Neeraj Chopra, who hopes to highlight the alpine country as the ideal adventure tourism destination
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On 4th November, National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) vibrantly celebrated Ganga Utsav as an ode to the river’s significance to the people of India. The event witnessed the coming together of art and culture and people from different walks of life to honour the river’s sanctity.
This year, the event was more special as it was dedicated to Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav which celebrates 75 years of independent India. As a part of this initiative, the Ganga Basin states will observe up to 75 special events to promote the local culture, raise awareness about the conservation and protection of the river, and generate employment opportunities. This was also the central theme of the day-long event hosted in the capital.
The Utsav was graced by celebrated personalities and tribal and folk artists. The festivities began with Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, the Union Minister of Jal Shakti, imparting insightful thoughts as he said, “Ganga is not just our national river but is also our cultural heritage. Despite being a country imbibing different languages, religions, cultures and music, there are some elements that bind each one of us together and unite us. Ganga is one of them.” Shri Gajendra Singh Sekhawat’s speech also annotated the various conservation and rejuvenation initiatives taken by Namami Gange and illustrated the importance of the relationship Indians share with the Ganga.
Shri G Kishan Reddy, the Hon. Union Minister for Culture, Tourism and DONER graced the event
Chief Guest Shri G Kishan Reddy, the Hon. Union Minister for Culture, Tourism and DONER also addressed the audience and said, “conservation of rivers is the biggest responsibility which we have to fulfil together, especially River Ganga, which selflessly provides livelihood to more than 40 per cent of the population and constitutes more than 20 per cent of the country’s landmass.”
He also spoke at great length about the various initiatives introduced by the Ministry of Tourism in partnership with NMCG to promote tourism and generate employment. Other important guests like Shri Bishweswar Tudu, the Minister of State, Jal Shakti, also elaborated on the importance of fostering a relationship between the citizens and the river, as well as the many initiatives introduced towards common objectives surrounding employment, promotion of local culture, and conservation of the river.
After the keynote speeches, artists took to the stage. The cultural events began with the performance of Ganga Kalash, where the different sources of water and the importance of conservation were highlighted. Next, the Trichur Brothers sang a soulful rendition of the Namami Gange anthem. Pandit Siddhartha Banerjee also performed Siddha Veena, which had the audience in awe. After that, Megha Nair and her team conducted an enchanting dance routine mixing Mohiniyattam and Bharatnatyam. A folk dance group from Uttarakhand also enthralled the audience with their unique performance.
Women and their contribution to the river’s conservation was a central theme that many influential personalities from different walks of life talked about in a panel discussion. The morning session was thought-provoking and was concluded by more exciting and poignant functions like the screening of Ek Ank’s trailer, a folk music performance by musicians from Uttarakhand, and a storytelling session on Gangetic Dolphins delivered by Ms Seema Wahi Mukherjee.
Many NGOs and contributors to the Clean Ganga Funds were felicitated for their incredible work
The evening session began with a performance of the Ganga Arti and Namami Gange Anthem, after which partner NGOs were felicitated for their impactful initiatives by dignitaries from the Ministry of Jal Shakti and NMCG. Dr Chitra Roy from Art of Living performed a heartfelt Satsang; Mr Bimal Jain also highlighted the strength of the water through a musical performance; Rajasthani dancers swayed to the rhythms with elegance. To conclude the event, Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat felicitated the 17 significant contributors to the Clean Ganga Funds.
Workshops held for children at the Ganga Utsav 2022
There were also many food stalls, book stalls, and informational kiosks set up by organisations that kept visitors engaged. The event was a momentous occasion marking the confluence of many cultures and art that tie the people of India to the river.
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