India Trade fair
Surajkund Crafts Mela
Surajkund mela is not only celebration of Indian art and handicrafts, but also of Indian taste. An integral part of this mela is the food festival, celebrating tastes of different states. Punjabi, south India, Chinese and snacks apart from the traditional food and sweet dishes of selected theme state are available here.
Surajkund is just 8km from south Delhi and thus well connected through road, rail and air. Surajkund is well connected to Delhi, Gurgaon and Faridabad by metalled road, approachable by tour coaches, tourist taxis, own conveyance. The nearest Airport is at Delhi. Delhi is the nearest Railway junction. Surajkund mela takes place from 1st to 15th February every year. Else the best time to visit Haryana is between October and March.
As one moves into this colorful world of Indian handicrafts many beautiful and intricate paintings catch the eye. Kalamkari, is done on cloth with a swab dipped in paint and given a fine point. Mythological tales of religious figures and local deities are themes depicted on the wall hangings. The fascinating 'Phad' paintings of Rajasthan, the 'Kalamkari' of Andhra and Karnataka, temple paintings of Orissa, 'Madhubani' of Bihar are also on display.
Bright coloured textiles grab attention of all, and people drool over its pattern, colours, stitch work and fabric. Ladies dressed in equally colourful clothes sell these pieces of textiles. Bandhni (tie and die) and laharia (stripes) designs on silk and cotton, georgette and cotton scarves, bed sheets, veils, dupattas, sarees mesmerize the visitors. Every piece of cloth seems unique in its own way. Shawls, blouse pieces, dress materials, cushion covers, wall hangings, bags, skirts from Gujrat; fine needle embroidery called Chikankari on superior fabric; Kashmiri scarfs, embroidered dress materials, shawls are sold all over. Embroidered clothes also offer wide varieties like – bead work, crochet and embroidery, mirror encasing embroidery, Kantha embroidery, Hand embroidery, Phulkari, Rabri embroidery, Suzni embroidery. Embroidery is Gujrat’s lifeline.
Brass and metal crafts are also integral parts of this mela. Mammoth temple idols, human statues, carriages, utensils, animals made of brass and other metals with sheer perfection and superb finishing surely entice every eye. Gujrat is known for brassware. The form of a lady with a lamp, known as deepa-lakshmi is a famous item. Other forms are brass lamps having multiple miniature bowls and handles in the shape of peacock, elephant, snakes, temple bells and drum. Sculptures made of marble, ivory, soapstone and wood carvings are also popular. Bronze sculptures are displayed in this mela. World famous Nataraja statue, Shiva in numerous forms and Parvati are famous bronze sculptures. Jewelleries and home décor showpieces made of Dhokra are available here.
A natural grass from Bihar called Sikki grass is beautifully woven and sculptured into stylistic forms of elephant, bird, rider, horse, basket, doll, toys etc. Best known places of grass weave are Assam and Bengal. Sitapati or cool leaf is woven into floor mats, baskets and containers. Bamboo and cane made furniture, baskets of Assam, Manipur, Bengal and Kerala are displayed here. Manipur manufactures delightful bamboo baskets. Willows, grass, reeds and palms lend themselves to new forms in the hands of master craftsmen.
Azamgarh in Uttar Pradesh is renowned for its black pottery where terracotta marathons or jars, surahis or long-necked and spouted vessels, lamps and containers of betel leaves are imparted with lustrous black colours. These fascinating pieces of art are a must see.Clay craft or terracotta is famous all over the world today. Clay lends itself beautifully to various shapes, sheen designs and paints. And one such tradition that grew with patronage of art is terracotta. This tradition in clay craft has its roots in Bihar and West Bengal. These craftsmen carve animal forms, tiles and bricks. At the fan shaped open-air-theatre name 'Natyashala' rich folk dances and musical evenings are held. Men and women attired in colourful ethnic clothes perform folk dances and sing folk songs. This melodious ambience filled with music cast a spell all over. This mela also exhibits different forms of rural entertainments like magic shows, puppet shows and snake charmers.
Wooden work in Surajkund Crafts Mela
If you ever get a chance of visiting Surajkund Crafts Mela, you will be stunned with the splendor of the handicrafts displayed in the numerous stalls. When I went to that fair last year, I was amazed at the plethora of the intricately carved, beautiful wooden crafts. Craftsmen from all over the country gathered in Surajkund Crafts Mela to sell their work, each presenting a unique characteristic feature in their work. Selecting some memorable items was really a difficult task, but somehow I managed to settle for a few.
While we wandered in the fair one of my friends helped me in understanding the variety of woods and the distinct features of the woodwork. He told me that furniture, utensils or showpieces made of walnut wood are likely to be brought from Kashmir, as walnut tree is there in abundance. The wooden objects often have floral designes carved on them and wax polishing is done to add the shine. In Southern India, sandalwood, rose wood and shivani teak are widely used and artists create a distinct style on them. Craftsmen from various states of South India display different methods of work. For example, in Kondapalli of Andhra Pradesh, brightly colored wooden toys are widely available whereas wooden crafts of Etikopakka are famous for their lacquer work .
I bought one mask made of kikar wood from Madhya Pradesh handicrafts stall and two lacquered flower vases made in Gujarat. My friend bought a wooden miniature of Meenaxi temple; the delicate carving and intricate designs are just mesmerizing! Peep into the miscellaneous types of splendid wooden handicrafts from all over India