New Delhi: The Bharat Parv national festival -- a six-day event to celebrate Republic Day -- started here at the Red Fort on Thursday.
Union Minister Mahesh Sharma on Thursday inaugurated the event showcasing the country's diverse culture, cuisines and handicrafts.
Designated as the nodal ministry for the event, the Tourism Ministry said the aim of the event is to generate a patriotic mood, promote the rich cultural diversity of the country, ensure wider participation of the general public and to popularise the idea of "Ek Bharat Shreshta Bharat" (United India Best India).
Organised by the central government at the 16th century monument from January 26 to 31 as part of the Republic Day 2017 celebrations, the event is open to the public and entry is free.
The visitors will have to carry only identity proof for the entry, a ministry statement said.
The highlights of the event include display of the Republic Day Parade tableaux, performances by the armed forces bands (static and marching), a multi-cuisine food court, crafts mela, cultural performances from different regions of the country and a photo exhibition by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
The cultural performances include choreographed folk or tribal dances and music from across the country.
The food court has 50 stalls set up by the states and union territories, National Association of Street Vendors of India (NASVI) showcasing street food from different regions as well as by the many Institutes of Hotel Management (IHMs) and India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC).
The crafts mela with 50 stalls showcases the diverse handicrafts of the country, arranged by the state governments and Textile Ministry through the Office of Development Commissioner (Handicrafts).
There are 11 state pavilions where each state would showcase their achievements and initiatives, tourism products and destinations.
The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has set up a photo exhibition on the theme "Mera Desh Badal Raha Hai, Aage Badh Raha Hai" (my country is changing, moving forward).
The big attraction of the event is the Republic Day Parade tableaux, which are stationed at the venue for the duration of the event.
The participating states and union territories in the event are Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Chandigarh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh.