A culturally rich two-day Cholistan festival featuring performing arts, crafts traditional dresses and jewellery opened at Burney Garden, Alhamra Art Centre, The Mall on Friday.
The festival has been organised by Cholistan Development Council (CDC) of Pakistan and the Lahore Arts Council. The Burney Garden, a vast space at Alhamra used for weddings for five years, turned into a cultural venue on Friday. Earlier, it was given to a private firm on a five-year contract that ended a week ago; now the Alhamra administration planned to utilise the garden for new ideas.
The Cholistan festival is the first cultural event taking place at the Burney Garden that was illuminated with colourful lights and a sound system playing music. The festival was inaugurated by Lahore Arts Council Board of Governors Chairman Kamran Lashari along with Executive Director Atta Muhammad Khan.
Numerous stalls have been set up offering a mix of food, fashion and crafts from the rich land of south Punjab. Hand embroidered dresses, bed sheets, jewellery, handicrafts and traditional food were some of the items for sale. A large number of visitors attended the first day of the festival.
Music was an integral part of the festival that opened with traditional folk dance of Cholistan, called dandia. Dancers clad in glittering red and yellow dresses presented the dance form that was highly appreciated by the visitors. The second performance was by a trained Cholistani camel. Another melodious performance comprised musical instruments shehnai and naqara; a fusion of the two earned a thunderous applause.
Speaking on the occasion, CDC Executive Director Farooq Ahmed held LAC in high regard for providing the venue and extending support to holding the festival. He said the festival had been renewed after five years and hoped the council would continue to support it so it could be held here every year.
Lashari said the council would support the festival and provide maximum facilitation to this cultural activity.
Originally published in Dawn, May 7th, 2016