15 Jan, Dr.Avnish Jolly : Mrs. Kiran Choudhry, Tourism Minister, Haryana while speaking to Press said that this year, Her Excellency, Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil, President of India will be the Chief Guest on the inaugural ceremony of the 23rd Surajkund Crafts Mela on 01.02.2009.
His Excellency, the Governor of Haryana, Dr. A.R. Kidwai, Hon’ble Chief Minister, Haryana, Shri Bhupinder Singh Hooda and the Union Minister for Tourism & Culture, Smt. Ambika Soni will grace the Inauguration Ceremony. Shri Tukoji Rao Puar, Tourism, Sports & Youth Welfare Minister, Madhya Pradesh will also grace the occasion. His Excellency, Hon’ble Governor of Haryana will be the Chief Guest on the closing ceremony of the 23rd Surajkund Crafts Mela on 15.02.2009. A fashion show will be organized by the Theme State on 14.02.2009 in front of Hotel Raj Hans, Surajkund.
THE ORGANISING AGENCY
The annual Surajkund Crafts Mela is organized under the aegis of the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India. The Mela Authority headed by the Secretary Tourism, Government of India, comprises of the Development Commissioner Handicrafts, Development Commissioner Handlooms and Haryana Tourism as member agencies.
The idea of hosting the Mela is to recreate a pristine rural ambience for foreign and domestic tourists, educate the patrons of arts and crafts on the skills involved in art creation, to introduce crafts and craftspersons directly to the buyers and to identify, nurture and preserve the languishing crafts of the country.
About 350 craftspersons sponsored by Development Commissioners Handicrafts and Handlooms, Ministry of Textiles, Govt. of India reach the Mela, which has something to suit every pocket and please visitors of all age groups. A total number of 350 craft persons/weavers are to participate in the 23rd Surajkund Crafts Mela sponsored by Ministry of Textiles, Govt. of India. In addition, craftspersons from SAARC countries and craftspersons from Thailand, Brazil and Egypt have also been invited to participate in the Mela. Egypt would also be deputing a folk troupe of Ismalia comprising of 12 Egyptian artists for performance at the time of inauguration as well as in the evening of Ist February at Natyashala, Egypt would also be deputing its day performers for entire duration of the mela, put-up a stall for sale of its cuisines in the food court, put-up a stall for display and distribution of publicity material and also doing the ambience creation in part of the mela ground, where their craftspersons would be stationed. About 40 craftspersons from the Theme State, Madhya Pradesh will also be participating. The major crafts which will be on display are folk paintings, bamboo, cane or jute, woodcraft, stone-craft, iron-craft, metal-craft, terracotta, papier-mache, zari work (gold thread embroidery), ornaments, and dolls.
Surajkund is where the rural Indian ambience comes forth to capture your heart with its simplicity, elegance and natural warmth. Away from the hustle and bustle of the city of Delhi is Surajkund which is indeed an oasis in a desert. The Mela brings together potters, embroiders, weavers, wood carvers, metal workers, stonesmiths, painters and other craftsmen who have achieved distinction in traditional skills, across the length and breadth of the country. On display is quite an assortment – from the Phulkari of Punjab to the Kanjivarams and Dharmavarams of South India, the cottons of West Bengal and Ikkat of Orissa to the delicate lacework from Goa and Kerala, Banjara and Banni embroidery of Gujarat and Rajasthan to the Kalamkari and Madhubani paintings of Andhra, Karnataka and Bihar, sea shell decorations, glittering brassware, tempting pearls et al. We will also be organizing sculpture workshop from 23rd February to be attended by national and State level Sculptors.
The purpose of bringing the foreign participation is to give a forum to our craftspersons for interaction with the foreign craftspersons and improve the quality of their product and marketing.
Cultural evenings are organized at the open air theatre ‘Natyashala’ daily in the evening from 6.00 P.M. onwards in which renowned artistes from different fields of culture from various parts of the country are invited to perform.
In addition, more than 200 artists are invited to perform through-out the day in the Mela area and at Chaupal in the Mela for attraction of the tourists. Day performers from various States like Kaal Belia (Rajasthan), Siddi Goma (Gujarat), Brij Ki Holi & Charkula (U.P.), Bhangra (Punjab), Folk Dances, Been Spera (Haryana) and Panthi (Chattisgarh have been invited this year. About 120 day performers are also likely to participate from the Theme State, Madhya Pradesh. The list of cultural programmes at Natyashala during the fortnight is at Annexure ‘A’.
RICH VARIETIES OF CUISINE
The fortnight long celebrations of the mela also bring to life food festival with authentic fragrances and flavours of rich Indian cuisine. The mela provides a platform to all the States of India to showcase unique traditional cuisine to the visitors/tourists. During this Mela apart from the cuisines from Theme State like Bhutte Ki Kheer, Chakki ki Shaak, Cashew Barfi, Moong dal halwa, Sabudana Chichdi, Kusli, Poha, Jalebi and Shikanji, stalls of Punjab Tourism, Rajasthan Tourism, Himachal, Haryana Tourism etc. are being put up. In addition, choicest cuisines like South Indian food, Rajasthani food, Punjabi food, Tikki, Papri, Chat-gol-gappa, Dhai Bhalla, Pao Bhaji, Bhel Puri, Herbal Tea, Amritsari Kulcha, Naan, Channa, Kathi Roll, Chinese food and many more will be made available to the visitors.
THE THEME STATE
Since 1989, one State is projected as Theme State in the Mela who also constructs or repairs the commemorative structure of any of its historical monuments in the Mela area. A list of the States so far participated as Theme States is attached as Annexure ‘B’. Madhya Pradesh had constructed the ‘Bastar Gate’ in the year 1992. But as Chattisgarh is now a new State, so this year Madhya Pradesh has made a replica of ‘Bhimbetka Caves’ which is its landmark. Efforts are made to invite a large number of craftspersons from the Theme State (say 20% of the total number) so that handicrafts and handlooms traditions of the Madhya Pradesh State are appropriately represented.
FUNDING OF THE MELA
The funds of the Mela come as contribution from Ministries of Tourism, Textiles & entry tickets and sponsorship etc.
WHAT IS UNIQUE IN SURAJKUND MELA, 2009:
The highlights of the Surajkund Crafts Mela, 2009 are:-
· Vibrant celebrations and the exhibition begin at 9.30 a.m. morning and conclude at 8.00 p.m. each evening.
· Showcasing the crafts of more than 350 National and State awardees which is visually captivating riot of colours intrinsic to Indian crafts.
· Unique crafts from SAARC nations, Brazil, Thailand and Egypt.
· The aroma of traditional foods especially from Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan, Haryana alongwith Chinese and Continental dishes also be enjoyed.
· Kite Making and Kite Flying Competition.
· Face painting competition for children.
· Photography competition on Surajkund Theme.
· Workshop on ‘Hands on Crafts’ through office of D.C. Handicrafts.
· Corner on Languishing Crafts.
· Exporters Meet through Export Promotion Council of D.C. Handicrafts.
· Preparation of Rangoli by Professionals .
· Wide range of Cultural programmes by N.Z.C.C., Madhya Pradesh, Egypt and Haryana Cultural Department.
· Painting competitions for school children.
· Throb of centuries old elemental folk music and performance by traditional dancers which made you sway.
· Vivacious folk dances and vivid theater activities at the open air theatre.
· Shop for embroidered / painted suits, sarees, scarves, shawls, jewellery, durries, carpets, furniture, cane and jute crafts and a range of terracotta, brass and marble souvenirs.
· Choicest cuisines at Shaheen Restaurant (Hotel Raj Hans) and taste mouth watering India / rural cuisine at the food court especially Egyptian cuisines.
· Enjoy the performance of the day performers and drummers and folk dances at the Chaupal or the cultural extravaganza at the Natyashala from 6.00 p.m. onwards.
· Camel Safari and amusement park for children.
· Sculpture Workshop – sculptures on White Stone, Black Stone and Yellow Stone would be prepared.
Surajkund is a place which presents fascinating pageant and showcases the affluence of India’s arts and crafts tradition. It echoes the rhythmic modulations of the singers. The beginning / history of the Surajkund Crafts Mela is at Annexure ‘C’.
It is hoped that visit to the Mela with visually captivating riot of colours intrinsic to Indian crafts and vivacious folk dances will be a memorable event that will mesmerize your hearts.