With the launch of the Surajkund Crafts Mela in 1981, Haryana Tourism set a precedent in organizing cultural events on a national level. Now internationally famous, the fortnight long fair also celebrates the rhythms of folk theatre - all of which endear one to the simple charm of the Suraj Kund Mela village. The Crafts Mela celebrates the finest handlooms and handicrafts traditions of country. Held in the month of February from 1st-15th, the fair embodies the spirit that runs through the people of India and its rich culture. The Suraj Kund Crafts Mela is held just 8 kms from South Delhi, at Suraj Kund. The Dazzling Spectacle:
Beneath thatched roof platforms, master craftspersons carefully display the finest of handlooms and handicrafts from all over the country. The event is so colorful and rich in experience, that many a tourist has returned to visit it again and again. The prices are relatively low compared to emporia, and some of the stuff can be amazing. Shops at the Mela bustle with the brilliance of mirror encasing embroidery, delicate lace work, folk motifs on terracotta forms, metal and cane-ware, the tinkle of bangles, shimmer of iridescent silks and the jingle of toys and trinkets. The Suraj Kund Crafts Mela is more than a celebration of crafts. At the fan shaped open-air-theatre name 'Natyashala' rich folk dances and musical evenings are held throughout the fortnight. The Irresistible Cuisine:
The fun-filled mela celebrations every year, come as a mini food festival. Some of the popular food traditions arrive from Punjab and South Indian delicacies come in from the South Indian section. Popular Chinese and snack foods also arrive for the event alongwith a special stall where patrons are introduced to the traditional foods and sweet meats of the theme state. The Suraj Kund Crafts Mela also comes as an event that celebrates the vibrant rhythms of folk theatre. All these colourful events flower before the audience in the open-air-theatre named Natyashala. Artistically Dexterous Crafts:
For the mela, some of the most delightful crafts collections arrive from practically all over the country. In wood and cane craft come inlay work from Punjab and rosewood carving, sandalwood from South India. 'Chikri' woodcraft of Kashmir and some very fine cane craft come from West Bengal and North Eastern states. Delicate 'Sholapith' and 'Shital Patti' work come from Assam and West Bengal. In embroidery, the Phulkari of Punjab, the 'Banjara' and 'Bunni' embroidery of Gujarat and Rajasthan, the 'Kantha' traditions from West Bengal and Tripura, lace and crochet from Goa, the 'Suzni' of Kashmir and mirror encasing work alongwith the traditional 'Chikan' work of Lucknow delight. In the section of floor covering the 'Namda' and carpet of Kashmir, the 'Punja Durrie' of Haryana and Punjab, the woolen druggets of Mirzapur and coir and rag carpets of south India fascinate the visitors.
Oxidized jewelery, seashell decorations and agate stone work delight as also the delicate gold work and chunky silver jewellery. Toys in wood and cane, ply and mud make the young thrill with joy.
The fascinating 'Phad' paintings of Rajasthan, the 'Kalamkari' of Andhra and Karnataka, temple paintings of Orissa, 'Madhubani' of Bihar are also on display. In the metal section, tribal 'Dhora' work, classical South Indian metal work, glittering brass ware, bell metal and iron craft delight collectors.