While Delhi is going to see all sporting action during the Commonwealth Games, Gurgaon will be the hub of entertainment and tourism activities, thanks to a host of mega-events being planned to coincide with the Games.
The Millennium City will witness biggest-ever shopping carnival, Bollywood musical extravaganza at Kingdom of Dreams, and many other adventure activities such as hot air ballooning at a specially created camping site at Dundhera, near Ambience Mall. Besides, farmhouses around Gurgaon are tying up with nearby villages to give Games guests a taste of rural life.
The shopping carnival will begin on World Tourism Day, on September 27. The entire city will be beautified and all the malls decked up with lights, flags and prop-ups for the event.
"The Games, which will have thousands of foreign tourists is a perfect opportunity to showcase Gurgaon as a world class shopping and leisure destination. Like Dubai, Gurgaon also has world class malls and restaurants," says Subhash Goel, chairman, Haryana Tourism Mart.
"As Delhi schools will be closed for Games, Gurgaon will be the destination for Delhiites too. We plan to deck up the entire city; there will be welcome gates at all entry points of the city; we will run low-floor hop-on and hop-off buses for visitors during the festival," says Rajender Kataria, deputy commissioner, Gurgaon, and nodal officer, Commonwealth Games, NCR, Haryana.
During the festival, a 20-acre 'festive zone' will be created at Leisure Valley, which will also have a 10,000-sqft centrally air-conditioned facility where indoor events such as auto show will be organised. Besides, there will be laser shows, fashion shows, food festivals during the event.
"Gurgaon has an amazing skyline, a very cosmopolitan population; it has offices of at least 50 of the top Fortune 100 companies. We want to highlight all these. We expect about 60 lakh visitors," says Sandeep Kapoor, managing director, Relio Quick, an integrated marketing solutions company which is managing the event.
Kingdom of Dreams too will stage Zangoora, a Bollywood musical, which will begin a few days before the Games. It will mark the launch of Nautanki Mahal at Kingdom of Dreams.
The two-hour theatrical musical will feature Hussain Kuwajerwala and Gauhar Khan among others. "The event will be like a live movie on stage. As Bollwood is popular all over the world, we expect a substantial number of Games visitors at Kingdom of Dreams," says Viraf Sarkari, director, Wizcraft International Entertainment.
Farmhouses are also gearing up to give Games visitors a taste of rural life. They have tied up with villages such as Abhaypur, Damdama for giving the guests a rural experience. "We have held meetings with sarpanchs of these villages and briefed them about the Games. We plan to take the visitors to these villages. We have tied up with 32 travel agencies worldwide who will bring Games guests to the farmhouses," says Major S. K. Yadav, owner of Waterbanks, a farmhouse near Damdama Lake .
Besides, Haryana Tourism is also setting up a camping site at Dundahera, near Ambience Mall, to create an oasis of rural life bang in the middle of the city. It is setting up tents with facilities such as split ACs and LCD TVs. Tourism authorities feel this first of its kind camping site in the city will attract tourists.