To mark the Independence Day 2016 celebrations, Manohar Parikkar, Defence Minister inaugurated the week long ‘Bharat Parv’ organised by the Government of India at the Rajpath Lawns, India Gate, New Delhi.M Venkaiah Naidu, Minister for Information & Broadcasting, Urban Development, Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation presided over the inaugural function in the presence of Dr Mahesh Sharma, Minister of State (Independent charge) for Tourism & Culture and Vinod Zutshi, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism.In his inaugural address, Parikkar said that the Ministry of Tourism has done a commendable job by organising such a unique programme showcasing the ‘Unity in Diversity’ of our country. Naidu in his address said that we have to preserve the rich cultural heritage of our ancestors because the Indian culture is one of the oldest cultures in the world.Addressing the occasion, Dr Sharma said that the Bharat Parv is a seven day cultural extravaganza at the Rajpath Lawns showcasing the diverse culture, cuisine and handicrafts of the nation.Static Bands of Army, Navy and Air Force performed on the Rajpath. The artists of North Zone Cultural Centre (NZCC) displayed cultural performances on pan India basis.This event has been organised from August 12–18, 2016 and the prime objective of organising the event is to generate a patriotic mood, promote the rich cultural diversity of the country and to ensure wider participation of the general public. The event is open to the public and entry is free. However, identity proof is to be carried for entry.The Ministry of Tourism is designated as the nodal Ministry for the event, the highlights of which include performances by the Armed Forces Bands, a multi-cuisine Food Court, Crafts Mela, cultural performances from different regions of the country and a Photo Exhibition by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting.The Food Court has 50 stalls set up by the States/UTs, National Association of Street Vendors of India (NASVI) showcasing street food from different regions as well as by the Institutes of Hotel Management and ITDC.The Crafts Mela with 50 stalls showcases the diverse handicrafts of the country, arranged by the State Governments and Ministry of Textiles through the Office of the Development Commissioner of Handicrafts. There are 17 Theme State Pavilions where each State is showcasing their achievements and initiatives, tourism products and destinations, etc.The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting has set up ‘Azadi 70 Saal- Yaad Karo Kurbani’, a Photo Exhibition on the occasion of 70th Independence Day celebrations.The participating States and Union Territories in the event are Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Daman & Diu and Dadra – Nagar Haveli, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Tripura, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh.