Thursday, October 01, 2009

President’s treat in Junagadh: Kathiyawadi food, Dhamaal dance, visit to Gir forest

President's treat in Junagadh: Kathiyawadi food, Dhamaal dance, visit to Gir forest

President Pratibha Patil will begin her five-day visit to Gujarat from Wednesday.

Her itinerary includes, among other things, a visit on October 2 to the world-famous Gir Sanctuary and a night-halt at the "Sinh Sadan" (a forest rest house) in Sasan Gir where she will be enthralled with "Dhamal Nrutya" – a traditional dance by members of the Sidi community.

On Wednesday, the President will attend a public felicitation function at the Town Hall in Gandhinagar at 6.30 in the evening, which will be attended by Governor S C Jamir and Chief Minister Narendra Modi. She will have a night halt at the Raj Bhavan.

The next day on Thursday at 9.30 in the morning, she will visit the Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad, and after spending an hour there, will pay a visit to the Sardar Patel National Memorial in Shahibaug, where she will inaugurate a community hall. Then, she will leave for Anand by helicopter and spend about three hours at Amul Dairy. She will return to Gandhinagar in the evening to make a night halt at the Raj Bhavan where a cultural programme will be organised for her.

On October 2, President Patil will attend an all-religious prayer at Porbandar to mark the 140th birth anniversary of Mahama Gandhi. After paying a visit to the Dwarka temple, she will reach Sasan Gir in the afternoon the same day.

District Collector Aswini Kumar, who is looking after the entire schedule of the presidential visit, said, the "Sinh-Sadan forest guest house at Sasan-Gir has been given a face-lift, and the Presidential Suite has also been prepared."

Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (PCCF) Pradeep Khanna, who is camping in the Gir sanctuary, added: "We have identified some spots in the tourism zone in Gir where Asiatic Lions are usually spotted, so as to enable the VVIPs to see the big cats. The rest house in Sasan Gir is also being spruced up for the President for her night-halt there."

A senior forest officer said: "Some two-three forest routes have been selected and prepared for the President's visit. She will take any of the three routes depending on the location of lions on the day and time."

The President will also be treated to traditional Kathiyawadi menu and Dhamaal dance during her two-day stay in Junagadh.

Kumar said: "Traditional Kathiyawadi dishes, which include 'Rotla, Shak, Olo, Sev Tometo, Papad, Khichadi –Kadhi', have been included in the menu. In addition, north Indian dishes have also been included in the fare.

According to official sources, President Patil may also visit Maldhari area (tiny hutments located in the interior of Gir forest).

Besides, the Sidi tribes will perform the Dhamaal Nrutya — which is similar to a dance form practiced by the Zulu tribes of Africa which the Sidis have acquired from their African ancestors – for the President and state Agriculture Minister Dilip Sanghani, who will accompany her on the lion sanctuary visit.

On October 3, the President will pay a visit to Somnath Temple at Veraval and take part in the pooja. Entry for the general public will be restricted for the two days due to security reasons.

The entire state machinery including the district administration, forest, police and the state government has been pressed into service for the high profile visit.

According to the Health Department, four teams of doctors comprising 30 medical officers have been pressed into service at four places where the President is scheduled to visit. Base hospitals have been set up at two places at Sasan and at Veraval.

Junagadh Civil Hospital Civil Surgeon Dr C T Dayalu and a team of senior health officials are busy with the preparation to provide all health facilities to the President if needed.

From Veraval, President Patil will leave for Diu, from where she will fly to Rajkot and back to Delhi the next day.

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