Even though the wintery fog of Delhi’s February engulfed the stalls, the bright colours pierced through the haze to establish the vibrant labyrinth that sprawled in front of us. This was back in the year 2000. I remember walking in to the gates of Surajkund Mela with three other friends and staying wide eyed the entire day. It’s been fifteen years since I stepped into the mela grounds, but I can well imagine the energy and excitement that swept me away. I am quite determined that the convergence of crafts from all the states has only tuned in to becoming a more amped up two weeks on the capital’s calendar. This year, the 29th Surajkund International Crafts Mela in Faridabad from 1 February to 15 February, holds an even more intriguing allure. After all, it’s ‘full of surprises’ – a tagline aptly given to the leading state of the mela, Chhattisgarh.
What lies in store is not only the handicrafts of Chhattisgarh but exhibitions of the state’s historical architecture, unique ecology and wildlife. Names like Bastar, Amarkantak, Sirpur and Surguja come closer to crafts enthusiasts at the Surajkund Mela. Apart from the different stalls of cowrie work, wrought iron crafts, dhokra (bell metal work), pottery, sculptures and handlooms, glimpses of Chhattisgarh will be shown as art installations and exhibitions. Fancy a bite of Bastar’s red ant chutney? Head to the food stalls that will serve this and other local delicacies. Local artisans will take to the stage in the evenings and a fashion show by NIFT students using Chhattisgarh’s handlooms will also be part of the two-week schedule. With Chhattisgarh leading the way, all other Indian states, SAARC countries and twenty other countries are also likely to participate. Even though the mela will be a mélange of cultures, Chhattisgarh is sure to create the comfort and warm hospitality of ‘Apna Ghar’ (own home) for the thousands that will walk the grounds of Surajkund Mela.
Surajkund lies 25km from Delhi’s centrally located Connaught Place and just 8km from the south. Buses are available at ISBT, Faridabad, Shivaji Stadium and Gurgaon Bus Depot. Alternatively, guests can avail the tour facilities that are made available by the Haryana Tourist Bureau from 36, Janpath, New Delhi. Badarpur station is the closest metro node from Surajkund.
10.30am – 8.30pm; all days; 1 February – 15 February, 2015
Tickets are available on bookmyshow.com @Rs.100/Rs.75 (weekends and weekdays, respectively). There’s a discount of 50 per cent on the Mela entry tickets for senior citizens, differently-abled persons, students (for weekdays) and serving soldiers.
In case you’d like to know more about the beautiful state of Chhattisgarh, you can view our newly-released Chhattisgarh pocket guides series here.