If you want to celebrate and soak in the heritage Indian crafts, head to the 31st edition of Surajkund International Crafts Mela that starts from February 1, 2017. The carnival, which will be held over 15 days, will be inaugurated by Chief Minister of Haryana, Manohar Lal Khattar.
This year, thanks to demonestisation, the emphasis is on going cashless. V S Kundu, vice chairman of Surajkund Mela Authority, says, “To ensure 100% cashless mode of transactions, Dena Bank, the official banker has been asked to provide 100 point-of-sale machines, a dedicated bank branch with two ATMs and 6 mobile ATM vans.
E-wallet app Mobikwik has also been roped in as a cashless wallet partner.”
Hosted for the first time in 1987, the fair is jointly organised by Surajkund Mela Authority and Haryana Tourism in collaboration with the Union Ministries of Tourism, Textiles, Culture, External Affairs and Government of Haryana. “Besides attracting over a million visitors each year, the fair has helped in reviving Indian craft,” says Kundu.
Jharkhand is the ‘Theme State’ this year, which means that the unique culture of the state, its rich heritage and cuisines will be a highlight this year. The venue has been decorated by the state’s craftsmen with commemorative structures and state symbols. Also, the partnering nation this year is Egypt. Besides Egypt, more than 20 countries from Europe, Africa and South Asia are participating, and Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Tunisia, Mongolia and South Africa are first timers.
The fair ground is spread over 40.5 acres of land and houses about 1,000 work huts. It will have 36 food stalls and visitors can relish cuisines of Jharkhand, Lebanon, Haryana, Punjab, apart from Mughlai, South Indian and Chinese.
Highlights this year
- Entry tickets for the mela are available at the online portal ‘bookmyshow’, several metro stations and at the venue.
- Wifi facility will be available
- Girl students of government and government-aided schools and colleges of Haryana will be given free entry to the mela on weekdays, as a part of ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ campaign of Haryana government.
- The mela organising authority provides 50% rebate on the entry tickets to differently-abled/Divyang persons, senior citizens and serving soldiers and war widows and their dependents.
- There’s a discount of 50% on entry tickets to college students on weekdays on the production of valid ID cards.
- February 12 will be celebrated as Telangana Day. Telangana will organise various cultural programmes showcasing their traditions, art and culture.
- A special amusement zone with swings and rides has been created for wholesome family entertainment.
- Around 200 CCTV Cameras with night vision capability for e-surveillance have been installed.
- Golf carts and battery operated rickshaws are available on request, for facilitating the movement of senior citizens and differently-abled.
- Public conveniences like permanent toilets, five mobile toilet vans and eco-friendly toilets have also been installed on the premises.
- Visitors and participants are being sensitised to help implement the ban on the plastic/polythene bags within the mela premises.
- A family each from Haryana and Jharkhand are going to live in specially-created ‘Apna Ghar’ to showcase the typical lifestyle of their states.
- To promote women empowerment, the ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ campaign will also be showcased in the Apna Ghar with women in different roles.
- Archaeological Survey of India will keep the entry to the monument ‘Sunpool’ (constructed in the 10th century AD by Raja Suraj Pal, one of the Tomar chieftains) open for visitors during the mela timings.
How to reach Surajkund?
During the mela fortnight, special to and fro bus services are available to Surajkund from ISBT Delhi, Shivaji Stadium, Gurgaon and Faridabad.
Special mela express buses will offer connectivity from the far flung areas of Haryana to Surajkund. A bus service from Ballabgarh to Tughlakabad metro station via Surajkund and Tughlakabad metro station to Ballabgarh via Surajkund, Badarpur metro station to Surajkund and back is made available on a 30 mts interval.
CATCH IT LIVE
WHAT: 31st Surajkund Crafts Mela
WHERE: Surajkund Mela Ground, Faridabad
WHEN: Feb 1 to Feb 15
TIMINGS: 10.30 am to 8.30 pm
NEAREST METRO STATION: Badarpur on Violet line