By Ramesh K. Dhiman, Chandigarh:The sixth edition of Chandigarh National Craft Mela concluded at Kalagram (Chandigarh) here on Sunday, which registered a record more one lakh footfalls, unlike the previous years. The 10-day-long event was organized under the aegis of the Chandigarh Administration in tandem with and North Zone Cultural Centre, which offered a peep into the rich cultural heritage of the country. This year’s theme of the mega event was: ‘The Colours and Sounds of North India’, in which as many as 215 craftsmen and artisans, including national and state awardees, besides 400 folk artistes, along with their musical troupes, from 22 States and Union Territories, including Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Kerala, Tamil Naidu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Lakshadweep, Puducherry, offered a slice of unity in diversity.
The event turned out to be a Mecca for craftsmen and artists drawn from the far-flung areas of the country, who displayed a range of their artistic creations. They showcased a winsome blend of typical Indian handicrafts, handlooms and ethnic ensembles of various parts of the country, including textile, cane and bamboo handicraft, paintings, metal craft, jewelery, curio items, woolens, pottery, indeed a stamp of perfection and their nimble fingers. This also offered an opportunity for the visiting connoisseurs and common art-enthusiasts to see and interact with these ambassadors of the country’s composite cultural heritage, who have fiercely guarded their age-old folk traditions against the vagaries of time.
The event offered a typical rural metaphor in a sense. The venue turned out to be a colourful medley of music, folk songs and dances of various states, including Rajasthan, Gujarat, Haryana, Punjab, Orissa, which added more exuberance to the cultural extravaganza. The cynosure of all roving eyes were the Himachali ‘naati’, Punjab’s ‘Bhangra and Gidda’, Haryana’s ‘Ghoomar’, Kashmir’s ‘Rouf’ that evoked full-throated encomiums from the appreciative audience. Sufiana ‘kalaam’ and ‘qawwali’ sessions by acclaimed artistes, a singing tradition, which is fast-slipping into obscurity, enthralled the music-lovers. More than 400 folk artistes and dancers from the states made the cultural extravaganza a memorable event.
A special feature for the mela was the food court, which turned out to be a favorite hotspot for foodies who tasted the lip-smacking cuisines and culinary expertise from various states. Food stalls offering a tantalizing fare of flavours to choose from were set up at the venue. Foreign visitors too were in attendance, who were bowled over by the typical delectable Indian delicacies and relished them to their hearts’ fill. The closing ceremony saw the who’s who of the Chandigarh Administration and other dignitaries in attendance. The administration had put in place elaborate security arrangements to pre-empt chances of any untoward incident. However, a small aberration in managing the flow of unruly traffic in and around the venue was conspicuous.