Tuesday, February 2, 2010
-- Surajkund Crafts Mela, the brainchild of the tourism department of Haryana, started on a vibrant color on Monday, February 2 in Faridabad . The fair was inaugurated by Vice President of India, Mohammad Hamid Ansari at Surajkund village in Faridabad.
Union Tourism Minister Kumari Selja, Haryana Governor Jagannath Pahadia, state Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot were among a few who accompanied the vice-president to the fair. The ambassadors of Tajikistan, Egypt and Armenia and the minister counsellor (Commercial) in the Thai embassy were also present on the occasion.
Mr. Ansari and other dignitaries were given a traditional welcome.
The traditional Mela
More than 400 craftspersons from India, 31 artisans from other countries and hundreds of folk artists from rural areas of India participate in this mega event.
Countries other than members of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) - Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Egypt put up their stalls in the fair.
A traditional ‘Rajasthani – Shekawati Gate’ has been set at the entrance of the Mela, to showcase the Theme State of the year – Rajasthan. The gate is adorned with a white marble look and the whole passage is made to display 'Ghat ki Ghuni', a popular passage on the Agra-Jaipur highway.
The colourful show had dances by various dance troupes.
History of Surajkund
Launched in 1981, Surajkund is an annual fair that showcases rich art and crafts and folk tradition from all regions of India.
The mela is held during the first fifteen days of February every year at the village of Surajkund.
Surajkund Mela derives its name from Tenth Century amphitheater, Sun Pool.
The mela brings together crafts persons like potters, embroiderers, weavers, wood carvers, metal workers, stone smiths, painters etc.
Several thatched roof platforms are specially created in order to display and sell the beautiful handicrafts by the talented artisans and craftsmen.
Stating that the entire venue would radiate with the flavour of Rajasthan, be it colour, cuisine and customs during the fortnight-long event, Rajasthan Principal Secretary Usha Sharma said, “We have been chosen as the theme State after a long time. The Shekhawati gate is going to be the main centre of attraction.
Then we have Chowkidhani, crafts, porcelain, mirror work, painting. We will showcase block printing and textiles from our State. For food connoisseurs there would be our traditional dal bati choorma.”
As a part of this fifteen day colourful fair, there will be cultural programmes and competitions every evening. Folk dances of every State, magic shows, acrobats, kite flying, painting, rangoli, rides and shows for kids and music recitals etc. will be performed in an open air theatre named Natyashala.
Several food stalls will also be available which will serve traditional Indian cuisines in banana leaves and clay pots.
The fortnight-long Surajkund Crafts Mela that offers a glimpse of rural Indian handicrafts as well as traditional items from South Asian countries was inaugurated by Vice-President Hamid Ansari at Surajkund in Faridabad district of Haryana on Monday.
Mr. Ansari was given a traditional Rajasthani welcome at the Shekhawati Gate that has been renovated and given a white marble look. Rajasthan is the theme State this year and 417 craftspersons from 23 States and 31 artisans from Tajikistan, Egypt, Nepal, Afghanistan, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Bangladesh are participating in the fair this year.
The Vice-President first visited the section displaying crafts from SAARC countries and interacted with Tajikistan Deputy Minister of Culture Azizi Faogat Abdukahhorazoda.
Applauding the efforts made by the Surakjund Mela authorities in showcasing arts from various countries on a common platform, Mr. Ansari pointed out that the participation by foreign countries at the mela will give a fillip to Indian tourism and enhance the status of craftspersons. It will also help in promoting art, crafts and culture of India in different destinations across the globe, he added.
Mr. Ansari said it was heartening to see women from rural and illiterate backgrounds earning for themselves and the international platform instilled confidence in them. He met a family which came from Kota district of Rajasthan which is known for its famous Kota Doria fabric.
Tajikistan Embassy counsellor (Political) Munizifakhon Babadjanova said: “Our participation in the Surajkund Crafts Mela is a culmination of many factors. In 2008 we had Tajikistan cultural programme in India. Last year, President Pratibha Patil visited our country. In the mela we want to give a touch of our country.”
Tajikistan has come up with exquisite bedcovers and table cloths, daggers, hats and silver and coral jewellery items. On the entertainment front, the partner country has brought in eight dancers who will perform a different dance each day. “Every day they will appear in new dresses and perform a new Tajik dance. This is their first visit to India and they find the atmosphere here very congenial. They can speak a smattering of Hindi and find Indians a friendly lot,” said a representative from the Tajikistan Embassy.
Satyanarayan from Punjab has come with 2,000 hand-made and intricately designed juttis from Patiala. “The juttis have been prepared by me and my karigars. My forefathers were also in this trade and I have come here to popularise Punjabi juttis. This is my second participation and I hope to attract both Indian and foreign buyers.”
National Award winner Indramani Moharana from Orissa is displaying handcrafted statues of goddesses and dancing figures. He is annoyed over the fact that he has been allotted a stall located on the periphery of the mela venue.
“I am unable to carry the six-foot-tall statues as my stall is far away from the gate,” he added.