A large wooden fountain pen that bends to form a quirky nightlight, Himalayan herbs from a village near Nainital, and jewellery made using ancient traditional metal-work techniques — converging from across the country, merchants are sharing eclectic ethnic wares with visitors to the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival, at their vibrant and colourful stalls on Rampart Row.
On offer are fashionable Dhokra neck pieces from Odisha, Madhubani wall-hangings from Bihar and from Leh, handicraft items made by local villagers and sold via the Snow Leopard Conservancy India Trust.
“We’ve seen a great response from the crowd and feel a real sense of accomplishment in having spread awareness for this cause all the way in Mumbai,” said Tsering Angmo, the trust’s programme manager.
Other quirky wares on sale included customised photos engraved into wood, at Engrave.in; and a serving tray from Poppadum Art with an embedded QR code that can load a new seasonal recipe onto your smartphone every week.
“The Kala Ghoda festival is a huge platform for us,” says Saanwari Malkani of Poppadum Art. “To reach an audience this large in one week, all in the same place, is amazing.”
The audience is, likewise, thrilled at the wide array of choices.
“This is my first time at the festival,” said 13-year-old Khushi Dani from Andheri, who was carrying several shopping bags home, as were her mother and sister. “I bought two sling bags and two beautifully embroidered footstools. I've never seen items like these before — ethnic, yet so cool. We will be back again for some more shopping.”