It was joy, it was fun, it was music, it was dance! Such was the mood at Asian African Carnival 2015 which I attended in Bandung, Indonesia!!
Thousands of people from all walks of life were on the road, celebrating the 60th commemoration day of the Asian African Conference. Colorful costumes, colorful pennants fluttering blissfully, awesome weather and the blaring music … Children on their elders’ shoulders, elders and older children on lamp posts, walls or anything they got hang of. The ambiance was created and the mood was set.
The long awaited carnival and parade was here. From Simpang Lima area, onto the Asia Afrika Boulevard, the corner of Merdeka Building, Bandung Square, Grand Mosque, City Hall, the carnival went till the end at the west side, spanning over around 2.5 kilometers.
Each district in Bandung, there are thirty of them; presented local cultural events. There were also people from 20 other countries such as the Philippines, China, South Korea, France, Nigeria, Jordan, South Africa, and India, among many others. There were performances, Asian African Solidarity Fun Run, Environmentally Friendly Action, Asian African Meet & Greet, Angklung for The World with 20,000 Angklung players for Guinness World Records, Asian African Music & Costume Parade, cultural festivals and much more.
Very recently an Angklung performance broke Guinness World Records, so the people came out twice in number to see the performance.
We came to the venue in blue colored Bajaj Auto rickshaws. Humara Bajaj moment. The bigger vehicles were not allowed on those streets for the day. We were at the Asia Afrika Boulevard which was the most crowded place. I could see people dancing on the tunes of the military band and cheering them all the time. The participant groups were competing in a joyful manner. This was surely the most spectacular event in Bandung in 2015 !
Over 15,000 volunteers were on their toes to ensure the delegates’ safety, control traffic, and to make sure the streets were clean.
As I headed towards the thicker part of the crowd, moving slowly with them, I lost touch with my volunteer Mohammed who was accompanying me. Nothing new. On every trip something has to happen with me.
I looked around, had my sense of direction intact and then I was on my own…. Dancing, singing and clicking pictures. I went up the stage where military people were singing. Some military women clicked pictures with me and some more who asked where I had come from. I was amazed to see how many of them requested me to have pictures with them. 🙂
Not for a single moment I felt intimidated or insecure in that crowd. The crowd was very well behaved and that tells us the situation of law & order of any country. Indonesia, you rock!!
After sometime I was on a FOB when I saw my colleagues on a big screen and shouted, I am supposed to be there with them! One guy immediately helped me & guided me the direction where the bus was. I ran and thus I joined my colleagues who were on a tourist double decker bus.
Earlier, at the press conference, Ridwan Kamil, the Mayor of Bandung stated that this parade and carnival will be a benchmark for other large and mega events in Bandung. He wished that this particular parade would one day be paralleled to prime carnivals such as The Macey’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City or Rio Carnival and the parade in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Kudos to the Tourism department which succeeded in making the culmination of the 60th Commemoration of the Asian African Conference, as the biggest event in Bandung.
It was quite an emotional moment when I saw our first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s posters. He was part of the 1st Asian African Conference. My chest swelled with pride.
Bandung is aiming to be one of the foremost destinations for urban tourism in Indonesia. City beautification, renovation and heritage conservation are on their way to help it become that. To be honest, before my visit, I had never heard of Bandung. Now it has become my favourite!
Here is a short video clip of the event. Enjoy!
Detailed posts on the attractions of Bandung and West Java, Indonesia will follow.
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