A Tourism Mela organised by the Tourism Development Corporation of Punjab (TDCP), in collaboration with Parks and Horticulture Authority (PHA), opened at the Race Course Park on October 16 and will continue till October 25.
The idea was to revive traditional melas along the lines of carnivals held in rural Punjab.
As many as 50 handicrafts, traditional clothing, astrologey, food and face-and-hand painting stalls were set up. The food served included chicken sajji, qatlamma, andarassa, pathuray, gol gappay, paan, chicken and mutton karahi, chappal kebab and sarson ka saag and makkai ki roti. Camel rides, buggy and horseback rides were also arranged.
TDCP Tourism Manager Tahir Mehmood Rana said, “We organised the mela to bring rural carnivals to the city in line with the chief minister’s directions to improve tourism.”
He said it would help portray a soft image of Pakistan. “The event sponsors viewed this as an opportunity to provide healthy entertainment. The government can only do so much.” Shaukat, who had set up a qatlamma stall, said “More than 150,000 people visited the Tourism Mela during Eid holidays up till Sunday. Since then, attendance is a bit low but the crowd thickens after 6pm.”
Bilal Ali, a student of class 6 at LGS, said, “I rode atop a camel for the first time in my life. It was an excellent ride.”
The astrologer’s stall was a favourite with visitors from other areas.
Allah Rakha, from Sheikhupura, said, “I visited the fortune tellers’ stall and also tried qatlamma and sarson ka saag with makkai ki roti... they were mouth watering.”
Nazish Akbar, a house wife, said, “My family enjoyed everything about the mela. Everything was beautifully arranged and the prices are affordable. Kudos to the management for providing great entertainment.”
A concert is scheduled for the closing ceremony on October 25. Saein Zahoor is among the musicians expected to perform.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 23rd, 2013.
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