Expo 2020 Dubai: First glimpse inside India's glittering pavilion

The striking structure will be a highlight of the world fair

Powered by automated translation

Follow the latest updates on Expo 2020 Dubai here

India's pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai has been unveiled, as the countdown continues to the grand opening of the global event.

The National was on hand for a tour of the five-storey structure, which is expected to be among the most popular attractions at the world fair.

India is celebrating its participation in the first expo to be held in the Middle East in style.

We want people to get a one shot glimpse of India, not only in terms of our heritage and traditions but also the amazing opportunities
Pavan Kapoor, India’s ambassador to the UAE

Visiting dignitaries admired the spectacular light show held in honour of the first viewing of the impressive pavilion on Wednesday evening.

Pavan Kapoor, India’s ambassador to the UAE, outlined his hope that the Expo would provide business opportunities for Indian firms.

“We want people to get a one shot glimpse of India,” he said after the preview.

“This is not only in terms of our heritage and traditions but also the amazing opportunities and cutting edge technologies. The investment opportunities are absolutely tremendous from space, to hi-tech areas.

“We are looking at business meetings but also for people to come and enjoy themselves and see a bit of Indian culture.”

India UAE trade was valued at close to $59 billion in 2019-20, and dipped to about $43bn last year as a consequence of the coronavirus pandemic. Both nations seek to boost trade to $100bn over five years.

A night of brilliant light

India's pavilion lit up the night sky as anticipation grows for Expo 2020 Dubai. Chris Whiteoak / The National

Colourful images of Indian dancers, musicians and top tourist haunts were beamed on the facade of the pavilion after sunset.

The vibrant production was the first of many visual stories to be shared every day during the event in homage to India's 75 years as an independent nation.

The visuals were projected across the massive facade of the pavilion that is made up of 600 moving blocks.

The 15-minute show was not without glitches as the audio muted a few minutes after the preview began. This was ironed out in screenings that followed.

Architects designed the blocks in muted shades to serve as a backdrop for the dramatic show. Each block is controlled by computers to enable the entire row, column or wall to rotate.

The interior features large displays of planets, stars in a nod to the country’s space programme. A large section on the lower floor is dedicated to yoga with audio-visual displays detailing the benefits of different asanas or postures.

A first look at the India Pavilion for Expo 2020 Dubai

A first look at the India Pavilion for Expo 2020 Dubai

A model of the Hindu temple being constructed in Abu Dhabi is among the displays, and heritage sites and historical locations in states across the country are part of the large video displays within.

The Indian pavilion is a dynamic, continually moving structure that retells stories about the country’s past and plans for the future.

It will mean no two visits to India's Expo 2020 offering will be the same.

The architect who designed the India pavilion at Expo 2020 said his aim was to capture constant change in the country.

“The kinetic facade helps us to keep changing the story so the building talks to people,” Dikshu Kukreja, managing principal at CP Kukreja Architects, told The National recently.

“The multidimensionality and dynamism of the facade allows us to tell a different story of India every time. We wanted to show movement and transformation.

“The moving blocks metaphorically represent an India that is changing constantly."

The pavilion is among a select few structures that will remain after the Expo ends in March next year.

Updated: September 23, 2021, 8:18 AM