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Explore MP at Suraj Kund Mela 2009

Madhya Pradesh is this year's theme. There are performances by the Bheels, packed with rhythm and energy. Bahni Bandhopadhyay explores the unique annual mela...

art and culture Updated: Feb 13, 2009 19:52 IST
Bahni Bandhopadhyay
Bahni Bandhopadhyay
Hindustan Times

Colour, vibrancy, activity, liveliness- that's what Surajkund mela is all about. This fifteen-day fair brings together people from various states and countries with tokens of their art and culture. It is a heady mixture of diversity with a certain uniformity which is inexplicable in mere words. It is an experience beyond expression.

The fifty rupee ticket enables you to visit quite a number of Indian states at a go, be it Rajasthan, Haryana, Bengal, or Andhra Pradesh. Since Madhya Pradesh is this year's theme, the focus is more on the various features of the state. There are performances by the Bheel tribe of the state packed with rhythm and energy. The food court dedicates the maximum space to the stall serving authentic food from the state, which is at the heart of India.

Stalls from the different states have their handicrafts on sale, in the form of decorative pieces, ethnic clothes, accessories, etc. There are a huge number of stalls selling clothes- kurtis, sarees, dress material, skirts, dupattas, shawls, you name it. Jute bags from Bengal, Marathi dress materials, jootis, Hyderabadi pearls were all there for the visitors to pick and choose from.

On display were examples of signature artwork from the various states- Batik from Bengal, Phulkari from Punjab, Terracotta from Haryana, etc. Decorative pieces include lampshades with mirror-work, wooden masks, wall hangings, furniture, etc. artificial flowers, paintings. The mela offers a huge array of products on sale, which keep the visitors spoilt for choice.
Not only do our Indian states, but countries like Egypt, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Thailand also find a place in this yearly mela. The stalls mostly contain clothes and accessories from these countries- Egyptian dresses, Afghani kurtis, Bangladeshi sarees, Thai bags and fragrances etc. Wooden masks from Sri Lanka are an added attraction.

The crowd is a mixture of young and old people, with some foreigners too. Despite offering so many varieties, the mela fails to satisfy some people. Neha, a college student, had to say, "This looks like an expanded version of Dilli Haat, there's almost nothing we haven't seen before." Some people have found it difficult to buy things, as most of the stuff for sale is over-priced.

First Published: Feb 13, 2009 19:27 IST