Pearl of Persian Gulf: Qatar ready to entice fans during FIFA World Cup
''The greatest asset is a strong mind. If I know someone is training harder than I am, I have no excuse.'' This quote by star Indian shuttler and two-time Olympic medallist P V Sindhu is the first thing that catches the eyes on entering the 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum in Doha, one of only 32 Olympic museums in the world.
Inside, there's a 'Hall of Athletes' that showcases close to 100 athletes and their donated memorabilia.
Walk a couple of steps and, much to the delight of Indian fans, one will find a cricket bat belonging to none other than 'The Master Blaster' Sachin Tendulkar, and right beside it is hockey wizard Major Dhyan Chand's hockey stick.
''In every sphere of life, especially in sport, we must behave in a manner that will make the whole world respect us,'' reads a quote by the hockey legend, who won three consecutive Olympic golds with the Indian team from 1928-1936.
One will also find jerseys signed by tennis legend Roger Federer, football greats Pele, Zinedine Zidane, and Lionel Messi, and a Ferrari driven by former Formula One driver Michael Schumacher among several other sports memorabilia.
The most decorated Indian boxer, six-time world champion Mary Kom's boxing gloves are also on display beside a pair worn by the iconic Muhammed Ali.
The museum currently also has an exhibit that has torches from every Summer and Winter Olympic Games starting from 1936, Olympic mascots, pins, medals, etc.
The innovative museum, located in the same complex as the Khalifa International Stadium, one of the eight stadiums that will host matches at the FIFA World Cup, also has many interactive exhibits and inspiring artifacts, and is one of the many attractions that Qatar has to offer to the fans visiting the country for the world's greatest sporting spectacle.
Qatar hosting the first football World Cup in the Arab world is a moment of great pride not only for the locals but the entire community.
In over a decade since the hosting rights were awarded in 2010, the country which began as a fishing and pearl-diving settlement has left no stone unturned to ensure that the football extravaganza is a success.
Qatar's landscape is characterised by glittering skyscrapers and sand dunes against the electric blue of the Persian gulf. It is a blend of Bedouin traditions, modern art and futuristic architecture, which provides a rich cultural experience.
''We have developed so much since we were given the hosting rights. We have got the metro. So many shops have opened,'' Saad Al-Nabit, a Qatari told PTI.
''Qatar is opening itself to the world. We want to welcome everyone to come and enjoy our hospitality. It will be a moment of pride for every Qatari and the Arab world,'' he added.
The compact nature of the World Cup in Qatar means fans will always be close to the action, if not at the stadiums then at fan zones across the country.
All eight stadiums hosting the games are within close reach of each other with short travel times, the longest distance between stadiums being 75km. This means fans have the unique opportunity of attending more than one match in a day.
Apart from the football matches, fans will have an array of activities to indulge in whether it's enjoying the local cuisine, camping in the desert, taking a camel ride, or taking a Dhow cruise at sunset, where you are likely to hear Indian songs blaring thanks to the huge expat community.
With temperatures ranging from 18-24 degree Celsius in November and December, fans can enjoy the outdoors.
Wandering through the Souq Waqif, a century-old market, one might be reminded of the narrow lanes of 'Chandani Chowk' with an engulfing aroma of spices. A left turn and you are in the fragrant perfume Souq, a right one and you enter the area with live birds chirping and squawking; a flurry of feathers and fur. It also has several restaurants and Shisha lounges.
While the Souq exudes old-world charm, the Katara Towers in Lusail, inspired by the two curved swords in the emblem of Qatar, look something straight out of a Marvel movie.
The National Museum of Qatar is inspired by the 'desert rose', which is an intricate rose-like formation of crystal clusters of gypsum baryte found in the region's salt basin and should be on the list of places to visit.
The government has made sure there is something for everyone, including stunning beaches, amusement parks, malls, museums, luxury resorts etc.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)