The famous Surajkund Crafts mela will have an international touch beginning this year. On the lines of having a theme state every year, the crafts bonanza will have a Focus Country as well.
For an inaugural, Thailand is the focus country in the Mela beginning on Thursday at Surajkund. Apart from the Thai crafts, a special attraction is going to be the Thai cuisine.
This is just the beginning of Haryana going global at least to popularise its crafts. The state’s Tourism Ministry is all set to take the event to foreign shores as part of its plans to hold such programmes in other countries.
The aim is two folds: To exploit the State’s tourism potential and explore avenues for export of handicrafts.
The first such fair on foreign land will be soon held in Doha. Hassan Ali Hussain, the special emissary of the Amir of Qatar is already here to witness the Mela which will be inaugurated by the UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi.
Possibility of holding crafts fair in other countries is also being explored. To begin with the focus will be on SAARC nations. "We are trying to coordinate with the culture departments of other countries in this connection," a senior official of the Ministry said.
An exporter-craftsmen meet will also be held in this year’s Mela with a view to provide the craftsmen access to the export market.
Around 320 renowned craftspersons from across the country and SAARC nations will showcase a large variety of unique and intricate handicrafts -- sculptures in wood and stone, metal ware, sand stone, shell, bamboo and terracotta crafts -- during the fair that will be on till February 15 in Surajkund, Haryana, on the outskirts of the capital.
Other highlights of the fair will be a designers' workshop, folk music and an open air theatre along with performances by traditional dancers every day.
The visitors can also enjoy cuisine from Thailand and traditional foods, especially from Hyderabad.