Bharat Mandapam: Where heritage meets G20 modernity

NEW DELHI | Updated: 10 September, 2023 8:49 pm IST
Bharat Mandapam has been developed as India's largest MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions) destination.

NEW DELHI: Nestled in the heart of New Delhi’s Pragati Maidan, the International Exhibition-cum-Convention Centre (IECC) complex, known as Bharat Mandapam, is currently in the limelight as it plays host to the prestigious G20 Summit. However, this architectural wonder is more than just a venue for global summits, it stands as a testament to India’s commitment to showcasing its diverse cultural heritage.

Bharat Mandapam has been designed to cater to a broad spectrum of events, from grand international exhibitions and trade fairs to conventions, conferences, and gatherings of all scales. The facility offers many resources, including spacious meeting rooms, luxurious lounges, state-of-the-art auditoriums, and a fully-equipped business center, making it a versatile destination for various functions.

The complex is divided into three main halls: the plenary hall, the exhibition hall, and the banquet hall. The plenary hall has an eating capacity that can accommodate up to 7,000 people, surpassing even the renowned Sydney Opera House. The exhibition hall is designed for trade shows and other events, while the banquet hall can host up to 2,000 guests. Additionally, there is a magnificent amphitheater that can seat 3,000 individuals.

The architectural inspiration behind Bharat Mandapam harks back to “Lord Basaveshwara’s concept of Anubhav Mandapam,” originally intended as a platform for public ceremonies. This connection to India’s rich cultural traditions underscores the facility’s mission to honour heritage while embracing the contemporary.

READ MORE: EXCLUSIVE G20 PHOTOS: How ‘Bharat Mandapam’, airport and Delhi look today

One of the standout features of Bharat Mandapam is its unique architectural design, which draws inspiration from the elegant form of the Shankha, or conch shell. Throughout the complex, visitors will encounter various depictions of India’s traditional art and culture, including “Surya Shakti” symbolizing India’s commitment to harnessing solar energy, “Zero to ISRO” celebrating India’s achievements in space exploration, and “Pancha Mahabhuta” representing the fundamental elements of the universe.

Bharat Mandapam was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on July 26, marking the beginning of its journey as a hub for global events. The complex’s interior is adorned with an array of culturally rich references, from intricately designed jalis filled with fabric sourced from different corners of India to representations of yoga poses and peacocks adorning the floors. Visitors will also encounter miniatures, brass details crafted in Moradabad, Bidri inlay furniture, carpets sourced from Kashmir, and paintings from Tanjore.

Adding to the cultural richness of Bharat Mandapam, a 27-foot-tall bronze statue of Nataraja, crafted from Ashtadhatu, was recently installed. This grand sculpture, completed in just seven months by renowned sculptor Radhakrishnan Sthapaty and his team, pays homage to India’s rich history and age-old artistic traditions, where dance and song serve as worship.

Sprawling across an extensive 123-acre area, Bharat Mandapam has been developed as India’s largest MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions) destination. It stands as the largest exhibition center in Delhi and is owned, operated, and managed by the India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO), a trade promotion agency under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

Beyond the G20 summit, Bharat Mandapam will open its doors to conventions, allowing the public to explore this architectural marvel that seamlessly weaves India’s rich cultural tapestry into the fabric of modernity.

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