Surajkund Crafts Mela sees significant participation of foreign nations

By Vinamrata Takia Surajkund (Haryana) [India], Feb.10 : This year's annual Surajkund Mela saw the significant presence and participation of a number of foreign countries.

The fair showcase the richness of handicrafts, handlooms and traditions of India as well. "Because of the Surajkund Mela, we got a platform to showcase our culture through handicrafts, arts and food.

All Indian states and several countries participated in the fair. So, it was a great chance for us to showcase our traditional clothes and products and get commercial benefit out of it," said Jiten Bora of the Assam stall.

The fair was upgraded to an international level in 2013. This year more than 20 countries participated in the fair, including various SAARC and European countries.

From Afghanistan, Ishaq Timorzada brought Afghani carpets. He has been a regular at the Surajkund Mela for the past four years and loves doing business in India.

Ishaq said, "We travel all around the world and to different cities of India. We put up different kinds of shops and exhibitions at different places like trade fairs etc. We, as traders, make money and earn good business in all these places, but this Surajkund Mela is very different from others.

The Indian government has invited us, we come here as guests, and the kind of respect we are receiving from people over here is tremendous".

With over 1,000 stalls, the popular fair has witnessed over a million footfalls this year, including thousands of foreigners.

Several countries like Egypt, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and South Africa have put up their stalls and earned good revenue and business opportunities.

Sri Lanka has also been an active participant in the fair. "The Surajkund Mela is the biggest in India and probably the world as well. Sri Lanka comes here often. There are 11 craftsmen from Sri Lanka who are participating this year in the fair. Sri Lanka has over 2,000 kinds of masks, which we put on display to showcase our tradition. These masks are endemic across Sri Lanka. People in Sri Lanka believe these masks bring prosperity," said O.K Jayalath, Assistant Director of the National Crafts Council of Sri Lanka.

Manik Man, a Nepali and Tibetan metal craft artist, said, "I really liked this mela and, because of this fair, people from around the world are able to see the culture and traditions of Nepal.

I am an artist from Nepal and I feel very lucky that I have watched and learned so much about art and craft.".

Source: ANI