Celebrated during: 2nd Feb to 18th February – every year
Main attractions: Rich showcase of regional and international crafts and traditions
Suraj Kund Mela — About eight kilometres from New Delhi in the state of Haryana lies the village of Surajkund. As spring glides in, full of warmth and vibrancy leaving the cold and grey winter behind, Surajkund dons itself in colourful traditional crafts of India. Craftsmen from all over the country assemble here during the first fortnight of February for an annual fair known as Surajkund Crafts Mela.
Conceived in 1987, the Mela (fair) was a brainchild of Tourism department of the state of Haryana. It provides a platform for the artists to share their art with the common man. While craftsmen from all over India participate, one particular state is focused upon each year. The mela also attracts lakhs of visitors, both for the amazing range of interesting crafts it showcases as well as the relaxing rural ambience of the mela grounds. The fair also provides a meeting ground for the talented painters, weavers, sculptors and craftsmen form all over India who exhibit their creations and the arts and crafts lovers who flock here to admire and purchase these creations.
Surajkund owes its name and perhaps its very existence to an ancient amphitheatre sun pool dating back to the 10th century, the remains of which can still be seen here. Historians tell us that this area once fell under the domain of the Tomar clan. Raja Suraj Pal, one of the chieftains of this clan of sun worshippers had a sun pool built in this area. It is believed that a temple also stood on its periphery. It is after this sun pool that this complex has been named Surajkund.
This picturesque site, surrounded by the Aravalli range, is enlivened with the arrival of master craftsmen from different parts of the country in the month of February. As one enters the mela, one is greeted by a ‘living’ Indian village. The uneven, unpaved paths lead to innumerable thatched platforms that provide glimpses of the exquisite and skilful paintings, textiles, wood stock, ivory work, pottery, terracotta, stonework, papier-mâché, lac work and cane and grass work. There is an amazing variety and diversity in each craft.
As one moves into this colourful world of Indian handicrafts many beautiful and intricate paintings catch the eye. At one stall you will find Kalamkari, which is done on cloth with a swab dipped in paint and given a fine point. The hairline fineness of lines in each painting tells the story of the deep devotion of the painter to this art form. Mythological tales of religious figures and local deities are themes depicted on these wall hangings.
How to reach Surajkund Mela
Surajkund lies in the Faridabad district on the Delhi – Agra national highway. Surajkund is 8 kms from South Delhi. Special transport link the Mela ground to major bus stops in Delhi, Gurgaon and Faridabad.
Mela begins from 9.30 a.m. and closes at 7.00 p.m. each evening from 1st to 15th February every year.