Delhi, Sunday, July 21, 2024 A.D

A cultural spectacle celebrating India’s diverse arts and crafts



published: 15 February, 2024, 02:12 PM


February is erstwhile the National Capital cheerfully celebrates the diverseness of Indian arts and crafts. From the Surajkund Mela (Feb 2 -18) and Aadi Mahotsav (Feb 10-18) to the Vividhta Ka Amrit Mahotsav celebrating the diverseness of the northeastern states astatine Amrit Udyan and the yearly Saras Mela, Delhi revels successful Indian arts and crafts arsenic the waning wintertime and the onset of Basant Panchami acceptable the stage.

Outside the venue of the yearly Surajkund International Handicrafts Mela, a serpentine queue of cars is seen amidst the precocious rises invokes the modern Indian fervor of aspiration and mobility arsenic the 37th variation of the festival is underway successful Faridabad. The mela organised by the Surajkund Mela Authority and Haryana Tourism successful collaboration with the Union ministries of tourism, textiles, culture, and outer affairs is an fantabulous illustration of assemblage partnership. It promotes collaborative objectives arsenic portion of the antithetic sustainable improvement goals (SDGs).

Residents of Delhi NCR and tourists from each crossed the state and beyond get to partake successful the taste extravaganza portion artisans get vulnerability to boost their livelihoods.

The Aravalli Hills, dotted with elephantine Kikar trees, connection an idyllic mounting for the artworks astatine the mela. Giant lanterns, insubstantial chimes, flowers, and puppets bent from the trees, lighting up the skies. Rural partition paintings, connection messages, colorful murals, candy floss sellers, artifact vendors, and panipuri sellers greet visitors. The just is an indispensable root of revenue, promoting taste tourism successful the state, and provides a important glimpse into the satellite of agrarian Indian and planetary crafts.

This year’s taxable authorities is Gujarat with vibrant “Khushboo Gujarat Ki” hoardings and pamphlets welcoming everyone. The Northeastern Handicrafts and Handlooms Development Corporation (NEHHDC) is the authoritative taste spouse of the event.

Phulkari crafts from Punjab, ethnic juttis studded with oxidised pieces of jewellery from Delhi and Rajasthan, Kutchi shawls from Gujarat, insubstantial flowers, accepted dresses, bamboo/cane crafts, bead jewellery from the northeastern states, Banarasi silks from Uttar Pradesh, Kanjeevaram silks from Tamil Nadu, terracotta and pottery works from Khurja, Uttar Pradesh, and a assortment of handlooms, fabrics, bedsheets, décor, masks, toys, and different artifacts are featured astatine the mela, connection a colourful kaleidoscope to relish. In addition, respective taste performances, people songs, and dances are performed simultaneously astatine assorted “chaupals” that imitate amphitheaters.

For nutrient enthusiasts, determination are indigenous cuisines and delicacies from crossed the country, with items similar dal bafla, litti choka, pyaaz ki kachori, chole bhature, paan chuski, ragi parathas, and idlis (as portion of the government’s “millet” push), momos, noodles, kulhad and tandoori chai being among the fashionable ones.

Rural entrepreneurship

Surajkund melaJewellery astatine the planetary pavilion. (Source: Swasti Pachauri)

Artisans present showcase their entrepreneurial acumen and aesthetic talents. Take Mohd. Siddique, 19, who proudly displays his exquisite postulation of kalamkari dupattas, sarees, and suits, and says adjacent Bollywood celebrities endorse the creation from Pedana Machilipatnam, Andhra Pradesh which has a Geographical Indication (GI) tag. Siddique has been traveling to the Surajkund Mela since helium was 9 and is arrogant of the enactment his full household engages in. “We grounds regular income of INR 30,000-40,000. Women and youngsters emotion kalamkari,” helium says. Kalamkari’s diversification implicit clip is disposable successful the galore lampshades, partition hangings, bags, and paintings connected display.

Veteran Madhubani creator and creator Ambika Devi, 72, from Lakshmi Swa Sahayata Samooh, a self-help radical (SHG) based successful Ahmada colony successful Bihar’s Madhubani district, has been to the Surajkund Mela for 20 years now. At her humble stall, she displays archetypal Madhubani paintings, which her nephew organises neatly. Madhubani papier-mâché toys, crafts, piggy banks, and trays are among the astir sold items astatine her stall. Her household members are coating a Madhubani food connected a vessel beside her. “The tortoise piggy slope and food trays person been fashionable this year. We experimentation each twelvemonth with products, but determination is not overmuch scope to experimentation with accepted Madhubani designs.”

Pankaj Kumar Sahoo, 53, from Naya Sadak successful Odisha’s Cuttack, sits softly adjacent a array with the modern metallic filigree oregon ‘tarakasi’ jewellery. Earrings, studs, necklaces, and the celebrated Konark wheel, each handcrafted successful silver, are connected display. Sahoo won a nationalist grant for his enactment successful 1994 and has visited the just for years, too showcasing his creation astatine the Delhi Haat grounds successful London. Speaking astir the challenges involved, helium suggests a abstracted jewellery pavilion with each jewellery sellers nether 1 extortion for amended visibility and sales.

Next to Sahoo’s exquisite metallic works are elephantine woody paintings, much popularly known arsenic Mysore Rosewood Inlay works formed connected wood that drawback attention. Kumar, 54, from Mysuru, specialises successful this woody inlay creation and uses earthy colours. The accepted creation signifier involves cutting wood, engraving, carving, and treating it with anti-termite paint, too elaborate manus painting. Different scenes from the beingness of Krishna are depicted, and Kumar has managed to merchantability 5 to six paintings astatine prices ranging from Rs 32,000 to Rs 1 lakh. He is assured of selling each the 12 paintings connected display.

“Is the immense size a occupation for customers?” He responds with a resounding “No” and adds, “Enthusiasts question to Mysuru to bargain these. Here, I americium bringing it to them.”

From Sarta colony successful West Midnapore, West Bengal, is Alok Kumar Jana, 52, weaving the GI-tagged Madhurkathi writer mats. His SHG Mithu Rani Jana is named aft his wife, and each his household members weave beauteous eating mats, chatais, curtains, asanas, and yoga mats. He has been practicing the creation since the property of 12. Over time, Jana has experimented with Warli creation and different forms of artifact printing on mats. Speaking of the challenges, helium says Madhurkathi writer is simply a earthy fibre and has the imaginable to code sustainability concerns, but for that, determination needs to beryllium sustained selling efforts that tin popularise these writer mats.

Cultural diplomacy and planetary crafts 

Surajkund melaBeaded jewellery. (Source: Swasti Pachauri)

Showcasing its indigenous talents, Tanzania is the authoritative spouse federation of the Surajkund Mela this year. Wooden handicrafts, jute handicrafts, bead jewellery, partition hangings, accepted dresses, floral creation and accessories, philharmonic instruments, and handmade bags are immoderate of the attractions astatine the planetary pavilion, wherever much than 20 countries person showcased their taste specialties. This includes Armenia, Algeria, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Ghana, Thailand, Malawi, Uzbekistan, Cameroon, Eswatini, Nepal, Tunisia, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, Kazakhstan, Tanzania, Congo, Botswana, Sri Lanka, Cabo Verde, Uganda, Madagascar, Togo, Seychelles and Zambia, among others.

Some of the exquisite works connected show see bead jewellery from Malawi, floral hairsbreadth accessories from Thailand, vertebrate handicrafts from Ghana, coconut crafts from Sri Lanka, accepted dresses from Jordan, Onyx chromatic crafts from Afghanistan, pottery and ceramics from Uganda, lanterns and lights from Syria, embroidered handicrafts and souvenirs from Armenia and partition hangings and artisanal crafts from Tanzania.

An creator astatine the Armenian stall, visiting the just for the 3rd time, is simply a maestro craftsperson successful Armenian embroidery and makes puppets, location décor, woven ceramics, and cloth trays. “Our enactment is each handmade. People find these crafts costly but worth them, particularly our cloth and bead jewellery,” she says. Asked astir the Surajkund experience, she adds, “It is simply a beauteous festival. People get an acquisition of antithetic crafts and arts and marque friends.”

As an advocacy and acquisition tool  

Surajkund melaMadhubani tortoise piggy slope and trays. (Source: Swasti Pachauri)

Over the years, the Surajkund Mela has go thoroughly inclusive and holistic. Communications for Development messaging with educative hoardings and boards centered astir welfare-oriented schemes, informative messages connected services from the Haryana State Legal Services Authority, and products showcased by the Haryana Prison Development are each examples of this inclusive approach.

Competitions connected effort writing, poetry, poster making, tattoo making, and coating for schoolhouse students, and acquisition visits for assemblage students supply young minds with opportunities to turn and larn lessons successful entrepreneurship. Cultural shows, people songs, and creation performances from antithetic parts of the state effort to beforehand the larger objectives of “Ek Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat” and “Vividhta Mein Ekta” portion empowering agrarian livelihoods.


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