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Mela mania takes over

We hangout at the Surajkund mela and find out why it’s the one stop fix for shopping and culture addicts, alike.

india Updated: Feb 10, 2011 17:16 IST
Aaron Rohan George

The Surajkund mela is undoubtedly a dream come true for any indophile. From handicrafts to jewels to exquisite trinkets to fried goodies, there’s something on offer from almost every corner of the country. So, in the crowd of bargain hunting aunties and enamoured tourists, here’s what you can look forward to this year...

Getting to the Surajkund mela grounds is a bit of a task. You could take the metro to the Badarpur station and then try and haggle with an autowallah. But it’s best to take a car or hire a cab for the day (You’ll need someplace to stack all the shopping, and parking, this year, is very professionally organised). The fair grounds are massive. So the first thing to do is take a stroll. There are wonderful murals, sculptures and even cultural performances (which start at 11:00am everyday) to take in. Just sit and take the sights in.

It’s now time for some shopping! Start with the international section. This year, the partner country of the fair is Uzbekistan and there are some interesting wares from the country on display. But the real deals are at the Afghanistan and Nepal stalls. Silver jewellery with lapis and similar stones are a good buy. There are intricate rings priced at R600. And if you feel like splurging, try the special Afghan carpets. But remember to haggle. Nepal has great pashmina and jungle silk scarves (R700) and shawls (R2000 and up). From here head to any other area. There’s Kalamkari work duppatta, suits, saris and even rugs on offer at the Andhra Pradesh stalls
(R1200 and above for the duppattas and saris. And R350 and above for the rugs, depending on the size). Or just splurge on Hyderabadi pearls (earrings start at as low as R150 at the numerous stalls).


Time for a quick refreshments break. Walk on up to the food court. You could bite into succulent onion kachoris (R50 for two) at the Rajasthan stall, but be prepared for a guilt trip afterwards. Feeling healthy? Then try the South Indian dosas and appams (R50
and up). But do stop by the Gohana jalebi shop. The sheer size of these sinfully sweet creations will boggle your mind and tummy, alike.

Go and settle down at any of the numerous Chaupals for a mesmerising folk art performance. Post that, climb into your car and
take a quick nap. It’s a long ride home!

Fact file
This is the 25th edition of the Surajkund Mela. It will be on till Feb 15.
Uzbekistan is the partner country, but Andhra Pradesh is the theme of this year. Spicy chicken curry anyone?
There’s a separate amusement zone with carnival rides. Just don’t go on them post lunch!
Works of about 400 artisans are on sale and display.
The entry ticket is priced at Rs50 per adult, this year.