An estimated one million visitors thronged the two-week Surajkund International Crafts Mela at Surajkund in Haryana. Talented artists come from India and across the world to showcase the traditional handicrafts of their region.
In 2013, it was upgraded as an international fair and in 2015, 20 countries participated in the Mela. Lebanon was the partner nation and Chhattisgarh, the theme State. About 300 artistes from Jharkhand performed famous folk arts like Chhau, Khaira, Karsa and Paika at the mela.
Every year an Indian State gets to be the ‘Theme State’ to showcase its arts and crafts. And there is an international partner; this year it was Egypt. Sri Lanka, Nepal, Tunisia, Thailand, Kyrgyzstan and Lebanon have now become regular participants.
Cultural programmes included rib-tickling Hasya Kavi Sammelan by renowned poets, sarod recital by Aayan Khan and Amaan Khan, vibrant dances of Jharkhand, Sufiana Kalam by the Nooran Sisters and Ranjana Gauhar’s beautiful dance.
A large variety of handicrafts, textiles, olive wood products, leather bags, carpets from Afghanistan, shawls from Nepal, tribal artefacts etc were the main attractions in the 969 huts built over six zones reserved for foreign arts and crafts.
Among crafts the exquisite handlooms and handicrafts of India are an attraction every year. Hand-made fabrics in ethnic colours dazzled the visitors. The mela also has multi-cuisine food courts.
Spread over 40.5 acres, with over 1,000 huts for the craftsmen, Surajkund derives its name from the ancient amphitheatre ‘Sun Pool’ constructed in the 10th century by Raja Suraj Pal, a Tomar chieftain.
V S Kundu, Additional Secretary and Chairperson of Surajkund Mela Authority, says this year, many new initiatives were introduced, and tickets were offered online at BookMyShow and at Metro stations.