The ongoing 28th Surajkund international crafts mela in Haryana's Faridabad district has given a new life to the fading crafts, besides drawing a large number of visitors who throng the fair to bag the best of handicrafts and handlooms, and watch vibrant cultural performances on the Chaupal.
The footfall in the 15-day fair, which began on February 1, has so far touched nearly 4 lakh, including about 40,000 foreign visitors.
What makes the fair stand out is that it offers an enlightening interface between the visitors and the practitioners of fading crafts.
For instance, the name Ganjappa Cards may sound intriguing, but it's a fading game from Odisha played among four persons.
Giving details, Banomali Mohapatra, an artiste from Odisha, who practises this craft, says "These are playing cards made of cotton cloth and painted with stone-base natural colours. These are played according to colour sequences."
Brajbandhu Moharana, another artiste from Odisha, practices a languishing craft of making wooden painted toys, that are figurines of animals and birds. "These are handmade and painted with precision. We make wall hangings that find good response at this Mela," he says.
Another artist Bansidhar Mohrana narrates the process of making cow dung toys and masks, which are rare these days.
"Their base is made of cow dung and then using tamarind seeds, paper and stone powder, it is made firm and then painted with natural colours. People get inquisitive to know about this craft and end up buying a few pieces," he says.
Warli painting of Maharasthra in its original avatar has come to mela with artist Naresh Shankar Bhoyen demonstrating the art. "This art was earlier practiced to beautify home walls. Then it got translated on cloth, we first give it a thin cow dung base and make intricate tribal designs with rice paste, but now we use white colour, as it lasts longer. It takes days together and lots of patience to make one piece," he says.