You can see how a shimmering thread is woven from silkworms, right from the larvae to the spinning of yarn. And this mesmerizing sequence will be recreated by silk farmers from Assam at the Surajkund crafts mela. The 26th edition of the annual crafts fair, which opens on Wednesday, has Assam as the theme state and Thailand as the partner nation.
Assamese weavers, comprising a major chunk of craftsmen from the state, will exhibit the weaving styles of various tribes like Bodo, Mising, Rabha, Karbi. There will also be a demonstration of Eri and Muga sericulture by farmers from various hill regions of Assam.
TK Sharma, farm manager at department of sericulture in Assam, said the focus on silk production is to create awareness about the declining industry. “The production of silk in most parts of Assam has come down drastically in the past five years. We are not sure why. Maybe it is because of climate change. The optimum weather condition for making silk is longer available. It’s a matter of great worry. This is why the cost of silk has gone up. Through the fair, we will highlight this problem,” he said.
Anima Rabha and Sushila Bodo, who work on sericulture farms and weave silk mekhlas (Assamese skirts), are excited to be a part of the mela. It takes them over a week to weave a silk mekhla and two days to make a cotton one.
“It’s a tough job. We think the visitors at the mela will find it interesting,” Rabha said.
Other than handicrafts, the dances of various states will also be a major draw. Nine tribal and classical Assamese dance performances, Chau from West Bengal, bhangra and gidda from Punjab, mayor dance from Uttar Pradesh, siddi-goma from Gujarat, panthi from Chhattisgarh, and Ghoomar from Haryana are slated to be performed. The foreign cultural groups will perform a medley dance show.
In a first, a helicopter joyride to give tourists an aerial view of the colourful mela is also being planned. The fiveminute ride will be finalized once all the requisite clearances are obtained from the director general civil aviation and other agencies.
Don’t miss the stall showcasing fireworks from Barpeta, Assam, which is famous for its indigenous fireworks industry.
SAARC countries, Central Asian countries like Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyztan and Congo from West Africa will also participate in the fair.