Surajkund Mela, World’s largest handicrafts fair, was cynosure of all eyes this year with artists from across the country showcasing their prowess in intricate work, be it sari, ivory, brassware, wood carvings or handmade potteries.
The fortnight long Mela, hosted by Haryana Government for 30 years running was vibrant as ever with food court serving cuisines from various parts of the country adding flavour to the show, which attracted several foreign tourists as well.
India’s cultural diversity was in full display right from Jammu & Kashmir to North-East to deep South and West. Star attraction this time was participation from Japan, Thailand, Egypt, Kyrgyzstan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Bhutan known for their traditional crafts and textiles. Japan’s traditional colourful dress “Kimono” was a centre of attraction.
Intricate Kalamkari Sarees and their artistic weaving by nimble fingers of traditional weavers in handlooms in the makeshift thatched huts were on display to the delight of urbanites and foreigners who seldom get to see such fine work being produced by dedicated artisans.
Potters churned out nice terracotta wares in no time on large pot making wheels. The mela provided a true village atmosphere with sprinkling of rich rural culture and heritage. Folk artists were in full flow attracting crowds at every state pavilion which came along with beautiful paintings, sculptures, and many more.
“It was a once in a lifetime experience,” said a foreigner who said she has never seen such an event before.
Banarsi Sarees and Kashmiri scarfs were start attraction at the Mela, which had several lakhs of visitors this year, perhaps largest ever.
Sunita Gupta, from Rajasthan’s Dausa district, exhibits her handmade jewelry, said she makes it a point to participate in the mela every year and her jewelry have become very popular because she tries to replicate the designs of necklaces worn by celebrities including Bollywood filmstar Sonam Kapoor.
For development of SMEs such melas help in promotions and marketing of handicrafts, which are always issues particularly in small towns and villages.