Chandigarh is all set to let its hair down and party, as it prepares to host its annual two- day carnival starting on Nov 22 The spoiler: the route for this year's parade has been cut short to avoid traffic congestion.
Hundreds of people participate every year in the Chandigarh Carnival. Life-size floats of various designs and tableaux carried on cycle-rickshaws and tractor-trolleys move at a languid pace throughout the city as the crowd dances to the beat of drums.
This year, however, the administration has decided to shorten the parade, citing reasons of increasing traffic snarls on the city roads.
"The number of vehicles on the city roads has increased manifold. Earlier we had to divert the traffic or stop it for some time to make way for the parade. This led to chaos and traffic pile-ups on the city roads," Vinod Kalia, assistant director, Chandigarh Tourism, told IANS.
"To avoid all this and keeping various parameters in mind we have made some changes in the parade's route. We have already finalised the route and the parade will pass through only those areas where we normally have little traffic and will not touch any residential quarters," Kalia said.
The two-day carnival will start Nov 22 and the parade will move from Matka roundabout to the roundabout at the Sector 16 cricket stadium, then end at the Rose Garden facing the Chandigarh Carnival site.
"This is a platform to showcase our rich heritage, art and culture to the world. Every year it attracts a large number of foreign tourists to the city," Archana Shastri, principal, Government College of Art (GCA), Chandigarh, told IANS.
Every year many students of GCA participate in the carnival, clearly outnumbering students from any other college.
Apart from other activities, this year students of GCA are preparing the entrance gate based on the theme of the carnival 'Fun and Games'.
Shastri added: "This carnival also gives an opportunity to the students of our college to showcase their talent. This year over 120 students of our college are involved in preparing floats, slides for joy rides and figures of cartoon characters Noddy and Mowgli and of Hindu god Ganesha."
There will be two Bollywood musical nites, a laughter show, an amusement park for children, food courts and various cultural events going on simultaneously during the carnival.
Artistes from the Chandigarh Lalit Kala Akademi, the Sahitya Akademi and the Chandigarh Sangeet Natak Akademi will participate in the carnival.
"We are also expecting the participation of foreign artistes from Poland, Germany, France, Japan and Hungary. We have also written to the (Indian) Air Force Station, Chandigarh, to provide us their helicopter to shower flower petals at the inauguration event," Kalia said.
He added: "There will be 40 huts made of bamboo at the carnival village that will be the stalls. For corporate and business houses, there will be a separate section."
In the carnival village, a mini Rock Garden will be created by Nek Chand, creator of the Rock Garden, one of the major tourist destinations in the city.
A hanging bridge, children's traffic park, and a chaupal (community area) of Haryana Tourism where visitors can taste the cuisines from Haryana, pyramid of flowers and colourful fountains will be the attractions for visitors coming to the carnival.