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Languishing crafts find a patron in Surajkund Mela
What makes Surajkund International Crafts Mela stand apart from the other art and culture fairs that happen across Delhi and around? It offers an enlightening interface between the visitors and the practitioners of languishing crafts. As the patron of these fading arts and crafts, the Mela goes many steps ahead to bring visitors from all generations close to these craftspersons.

The name Ganjappa Cards sounds intriguing. Banomali Mohapatra, an artist from Orissa, who practises this craft, explains, “These are playing cards made of cotton cloth and beautifully painted with stone-base natural colours. These cards are played according to colour sequences and can involve four people at a time.”

Brajbandhu Moharana, another artist from Orissa to practise a languishing craft, has brought an interesting range of wooden painted toys to the Mela that are figurines of animals and birds. “These are handmade and painted with precision. We make wall hangings and find good response at this Mela” he says.

The plastic toys might have replaced the cow dung toys, a craft that has been struggling to survive. Bansidhar Mohrana narrates the process of making these toys and masks, “Their base is made from cow dung and then using tamarind seeds, paper and stone powder, it is made firm and later painted with natural colours. People get inquisitive about this art and end up buying few pieces.”

Warli Painting of Maharashtra, in its original avatar, has come to Mela with artist Naresh Shankar Bhoyen demonstrating this art. “This art was earlier practised to beautify home walls. Then it got translated on cloth, we first give it a thin cow dung base and made intricate tribal designs with rice paste but now we use white colour, as it lasts longer. It takes days together and lots of patience to make one piece.”

Aranmula Mirror art, from Kerala, is an eye-catcher. P Gopa Kumar, master craftsman, at the Mela tells, “We cast looking mirrors of different shapes and sizes in a mould made from bronze.”

Hemolata Devi, an artisan from Manipur keeps busy demonstrating elegant embroidery known as Saphee Lanphee all over on shawls and kurtis at the Mela.
Vibrant folk dances at Surajkund International Crafts Mela

The Zonal Cultural Centres of Government of India have deputed 10 cultural groups from various states to participate in the 28th Surajkund International Crafts Mela-2014. 

The Theme state Goa has also sent about 15 dance groups to present popular art forms namely lamp dance, Fugdi, Corridiuho, Zagor, Chowrang, Goph, Mando, Kunbi Dhalo, Dasaravadon, and Carnival. The six foreign cultural troupes of different countries like Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Kyrgyzstan and Ivory Coast also entertain visitors with their special performances. 

All these cultural groups present enthralling performances at the Choupal in rotation throughout the day.

Till 7th February, one should watch out for Indian dance forms like Kalbelia of Rajasthan, Gujarat’s Sidhi-Dhamal, Mewasi & Ras Garbha, Punjab’s robust moves in Bhangra-Giddha, Uttar Pradesh’s Mayur, Uttarakhand’s Chhapeli, Jabro from J&K. During the second half of the Mela, till 15th Feb, dance forms like Bihu of Assam, Jhijhia of Bihar, Odisha’s Goti Pua, West Bengal’s Purulia Chhau, Andhra Pradesh’s Lambadi, Tamil Nadu’s Kavadi Kadgam, Arunachal Pradesh’s Bro-zai, Meghalaya’s Ka- Shad Mastie, Singhi Chham from Sikkim and Tripura’s Sangrai Mog will entertain visitors.
Nature in its full colour at Surajkund International Crafts Mela

Ambience of Surajkund Mela revolves around Spring, highlighting Panchami and the flavours of a Carnival. A profusion of big-size cut-outs of flowers, bees, colours, birds, masks and rainbows accentuate the Mela environs. Eco-friendly materials like bamboo, cane, baskets, colourful fabric, paper and lights have been used to create these features and highlight the existing structures. These have been designed and placed in an aesthetic manner.

Every corner of the Mela ground is infused with life and a splash of colours. The national bird and the symbol of Haryana Tourism welcomes all the guests with its arresting visual appeal. Also flower decorations and multi-coloured flag posts adorn the Mela gates.

The Surajkund Mela Authority has commissioned two agencies, Decorative Arts and Z Axis Exhibition Design for creating the ambience of the Mela venue. The visitors can be seen clicking pictures of all features and elements added to heighten the ambience of the Mela.

Since the Mela began, Surajkund Mela Authority and Haryana Tourism officials are ensuring that these elements – integral to look of the Mela – remain intact.


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