A week long International Shivratri festival of Mandi began with the arrival of Shobha Yatra at historic Puddal Maidan which started from Madhav Rai temple today. Smt. Pratibha Singh, Member of Parliament inaugurated the festival.
Earlier, on her arrival at Mandi, Smt. Singh visited Madhav Rai temple and paid her obeisance. Later, Smt. Singh who was Chief Guest also attended the Shobha Yatra which started from Madhav Rai temple. Besides, local deity Madhav Rai, about 150 deities from different parts of Mandi Valley joined the Shobha Yatra which culminated at Puddal Madain.
Speaking on the occasion, Smt. Pratibha Singh said that fairs and festivals were symbol of our rich cultural heritage which needed to be preserved at all costs. She said that with the glimpse of ancient folk culture of different parts of the State, which we witness in such festivals, the importance of fairs and festivals occupied more significance in the land of God and Goddesses in the State. She said that Mandi Shivratri has its own identity and added that the devotees and tourists drawn from various parts of the State, and country witnessed the festival with great enthusiasm.
Smt. Singh said that State Government was spending Rs. 12.50 crore on maintenance and restoration of temples during the current financial year in the State. She said that Mandi district worked well for preservation of ancient manuscripts and added that about 5,000 ancient manuscripts were identified in the district. She said that State Government was according top priority to social service sector and 48 percent of the plan outlay was being spent on this vital sector. She said that the achievement of the State in Education Sector also remained commendable.
She said that Government was also according priority for road construction and added that 640 kms. roads were constructed in Mandi district during last four years by spending Rs. 105 crores.
Earlier, Shri Subhasis Panda, Deputy Commissioner welcomed the Chief Guest and detailed out week-long festival programmes on the occasion.
Smt. Pratibha Singh also visited exhibition stalls put up by different departments and evinced keen interest in it.
A colourful cultural programme was also presented on the occasion.