PHOTOS: Ramadan car parade on the Corniche (2014)
All photos by Chantelle D’mello
Car aficionados in Qatar who are craving a dose of excitement need look no further than the Corniche each evening for their daily dose of exotic and expensive cars.
Every year, young Qatari men gather daily in Ramadan for about an hour before sunset to showcase the very best of Qatar’s vehicles – from Lamborghinis to Maseratis, to vintage Patrols and Land Cruisers.
Yesterday, hundreds of cars lined up on the Corniche near the Sheraton Doha hotel at around 5pm, passing hoards of young men who had gathered to witness the spectacle.
What’s on display
Drivers, eager to be photographed, cruised at a glacial pace. As they spotted cameras, many paused mid-drive to flash a thumbs up or peace sign.
Police presence on the Corniche at this time is heavy, and officers have blocked off several turning lanes for traffic coming into West Bay – though lanes remained open for those heading out of the downtown area.
The closures were frustrating for many of the non-participants caught in the jam who had no choice but to go straight down the Corniche into West Bay, but appeared to help maintain a smooth flow of traffic.
Almost entirely male-dominated, the parade lasted around 45 minutes. A few smiling children were also present, poking their heads out of sunroofs and car windows, waving eagerly, like royalty to plebeians.
This year, muscle and sports cars aside, small was all the rage. Custom Fiats, Mini Coopers and jeeps made their rounds with as much pomp and show as their larger counterparts.
A few motorbikes, some macho and metallic, others in shades of pink and yellow, also partook in the parade.
How to catch the show
Those interested in catching the Ramadan car parade should come to the Corniche near Rumaila Park between 4:30pm and 5:50pm. For those who want front-row seats, you may have to park in the emergency lanes lining the Corniche road.
Most cars took two to three laps of the Corniche, before heading out to break their fasts. Some stragglers remain until the call to prayer sounds, at around 6:30pm, before leaving for the day.
Every year, the car display, though criticized as unnecessary and ostentatious, continues to be a unique Qatar tradition.
For those who aren’t ready for the fun to be over after the parade, head over to the Sheikh Muhammad Ibn Abdul Wahhab Mosque (State Mosque) near TV Roundabout to see the firing of the cannon, which signifies the end of the fast.