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Exotic natural products find their way to Surajkund Mela
The weather is perfect to enjoy cultural performances, gorge on traditional food and pick up some intricate handicrafts for your home. So just head for Surajkund International Crafts Mela, a fair everyone looks forward to. It's one of the very few places where ethnic crafts come together with great food to celebrate our country's overwhelming diversity.

The fair is always bustling with folk artistes, painters, metal workers, sculptors, weavers, textile printers, wood carvers and embroiders from across the globe. It's a spirited celebration of the art and folk traditions, as the day-long performances at the Chaupals keep the spirit alive.

What makes the Mela exclusive is the line of products showcased from Partner Nation Lebanon's exotic spices to neighbouring island Sri Lanka's gem paintings and hand embroidered wall hangings from Uzbekistan and lots more. These interesting things are being lapped up by people at the Mela and the foreign craftspersons can't stop smiling!

Spiced up!

In the Lebanon pavilion at the Mela, Green Hand, a non-government organisation, has brought an interesting range of salts and gourmet products to the Mela. Salim Tahbet, the member of the Green Hand, tells, "We are a family of more than 218 volunteers from all over Lebanon making efforts to safe our habitat from bad harvesting practises. We believe that the real change has to come in an ascendant way, Green Hand bases its work on the concepts of environmental and human sustainable development through the mobilization and participation of the local communities in every step of our way."

An attractive range of nine flavours of unrefined salt with no additives made under Casa Verde product line packed in sleek transparent glass bottles are on display. "It is premium Sea Salt Flower mixed with different sustainable harvested native wild herbs. These salts are used for making different dishes like the salt name 'Chimi Churri' is a sustainably harvested origanum, laurus, black & red pepper mixed with flakes of sea salt flower that can be used in preparation of main course dishes, salads and raitas. Then, there are sea salts concoctions with organic grapes, rose and an array of herbs. Priced at Rs 300 per bottle. Take your pick!

Gems are forever

Crest Mineral creations from Sri Lanka has brought natural gems studded handmade pictures to the Mela, which are selling like hot cakes. Rathnadeepa, the artist behind these creations that are of peacock, elephant, horses, map of India, sacred idols, shares, "First I draw the outline of the picture and then conceptualise on how to fill it up with different coloured stones. I use the residual part of the pure stones be it amethyst, ruby, sapphire, emerald and so on, and crush them in fine form and glue it one the picture in an aesthetic manner."

From a distance, these gem stone creations look like a painting and when you see it closely one can make out the use of coloured stones! Well, this is where Rathnadeepa's expertise lies, and visitors frequent his stall behind the main Chaupal in large numbers. His creations start from Rs 3000 onwards. While what catches the eye is his masterpiece - a big size photo of Ganesha that took him two months to complete and has been very minutely designed using over 20 coloured stones and is priced at Rs 25,000.

"Hunarmand" Brings Colorful Handicrafts

Republic of Uzbekistan's Association of Craftsmen, craftspersons are showcasing handmade jewellery, rugs and stoles. These colourful pieces have been intricately hand embroidered using chain stitch akin to the Indian 'aari' work. The big-size wall hanging fully embellished with eye-catching patterns in different colours is a masterpiece to adorn any corner of the house. A must buy!

Crafted to perfection

A young folk music ensemble from Republic of Armenia is not only entertaining visitors at the Mela by strumming tunes from their traditional instruments but also these instruments namely Duluk, Shvi, Zurna, Santoor, Qamancha, Tavix and Qanon that bear a close resemblance with our Indian flute and santoor are on display and sale. Tells Anushik Stepanyan, the vocalist of the group, "Our santoor is a close cousin of the Indian instrument with the same name. These instruments are made from apricot wood. Also we have brought traditional chiffon dresses painted with floral motifs and scarves in pastel shades and artefacts made from silver and other alloys."

Spanking clean & high standards of hygiene

Swatcch Bharat Swatcch Haryana Abhiyaan is being followed in principle at the ongoing Surajkund International Crafts Mela, Faridabad for keeping the Mela environs spanking clean. About 113 safai karamcharis, 18 supervisors and 12 Haryana Tourism employees are deputed on the job and have been working hard to ensure that the Mela environs are spotless.

"At Food Court of the Mela too, very high standards of sanitation are being maintained. The visitors have been giving a very positive feedback and are all praise for the cleanliness in the Food Court," informed the in-charge of cleanliness and sanitation in the Mela.

The public conveniences at the Mela are spot on. There are 13 toilets including three e-toilets. In every zone of the Mela and every toilet, safai karamcharis are stationed all the time to maintain high standards of hygiene. Lady sweepers are on the job for upkeep of ladies toilets and adequate staff is engaged in maintaining cleanliness in the all toilets. Regular checks are being conducted by supervisors to ensure that the Mela is sparkling clean.

Face painting competition held at Surajkund Mela

Face painting competition was organised at the Natyashala of the 29th Surajkund International Crafts Mela on Wednesday. More than 160 students from different schools participated in the Mela. The first prize was bagged by Pawan & Rohit of DAV Public School, NH-3, Faridabad. Shivam & Naaz of Apeejay Sr. Sec. School, Sector 15, Faridabad stood second while the third spot was shared by two, Vikas & Saurav of Govt. Boys Sr. Sec. School, NH-3, Faridabad and Gauri Khurana and Vaibhav Aggarwal of Dynasty International School, Sector 28, Faridabad.

Consolation prizes were also given to Ayush & Kiran Preet of DAV Public School, NH-3, Faridabad and Shweta & Vani of Holy Child Public School, Sector 29, Faridabad.

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