We are well aware of India being a popular international tourist destination. People from different parts of the world live frugally and save up for long, peruse relevant articles and texts and come prepared to visit the beauty that is our country. Despite it getting negative media attention in recent times (with respect to harassment of women, supposed intolerance and so on), it has managed securing a spot in the hearts of many a foreigner looking for an exotic, colourful vacation.
It is a pity we forget what our own country has to offer, when outsiders can appreciate it so much. Luckily for us, we have the Surajkund Mela to remind us.
A brief about the Fair
The Surajkund Mela began at the eve of the 1990s, with the first one being held in 1987. It’s purpose is to resurrect and celebrate India’s lost art and culture which has been buried under the blanket of modernisation and westernisation. It takes into account all aspects of any culture, from clothing to food to leisure activities and games to even sundry keepsakes. Everything is offered at the Surajkund Mela in its original ethnic form.
In recent years, as there has been increased participation by various countries, the fair has done a great job of blending the old with the new. It depicts a fusion of cultures, rather than indulging in a sort of patriotic narcissism. We get a glimpse of our own heritage and traditions as well as a little of others’.
Here are reasons you must pay the 33rd Surajkund Mela a visit
1. Arts and Culture
This is the prime objective of the entire Mela. It acts as a hub that hosts the variety of customs and traditions our country has to offer. While this has already been done in many fairs, the Surajkund Mela is much larger in scale and has something for all age groups. You can sit back and enjoy the cultural performances by celebrated artists as well as local performers, or even take part in fun competitions or play games to indulge your inner child. This year there are performances by classical artists (Malini Aswathy, Anu Sinha) as well as Indian bands (WOW Womania Folklores Band).
Being a foodie, I search for chances to talk about food and the Surajkund Mela has so much to offer in this respect. While every year the theme is dedicated to one state, other states are also represented (even if they aren’t in the foreground). Thus, the food section offers everything from Vada Pav to Idli-Dosa to Seekh Kababs. All this is prepared by well-trained cooks familiar with the cuisine they’re preparing.
The Surajkund Mela is no ordinary exhibition thrown together at the last minute. It has nationwide participation, with various government departments coming together to give us our culture in its authentic form whilst staying affordable.
3. Encouraging lost skills
We’re all aware how handicrafts and other craftsman skills became redundant with mechanisation. Nevertheless, there’s only so well a machine can imitate art. It is meant to be imperfect, asymmetrical, inconsistent and beautiful. There are several craftsmen even today well-versed in their craft. They have a lot to offer and are more than able to compete in the global market with their unique products. They just need some publicity, and the Mela gives them just that.
At the Surajkund Mela you get everything from clothes and accessories to toys to decorative items to even sundry objects of daily use (like keychains, mugs, stationery etc). Many designers even showcase their collection in the Mela. It’s like a very ethnic affordable Mall with a lot more variety than a regular Mall.
5. Low budget holiday
Many of us make many plans and aspire to go on exotic vacations. Rarely do we manage to do the same. Moreover, when you live in as vibrant and diverse a country as ours, there isn’t really a need to venture far to be amazed and entertained.
As mentioned earlier, the Mela has a Theme State and this year the state is Maharashtra. They’ve even set up a replica of the Raigarh Fort to celebrate the Maratha pride. Other aspects unique to the state like its beaches and large-scale festive celebrations have also been incorporated.
Not just Maharashtra, but the main partner nation this year is Thailand. Thailand shares many cultural similarities with our own country and is also a very attractive tourist destination. The cultural events include performances by Thai artists and the food section even offers Thai cuisine.
While over half the Mela has already passed, the better part is yet to come. Do yourself a favour and catch the 33rd Surajkund Mela to enjoy a pocket-friendly fun-filled getaway. Take this chance to celebrate your own culture and heritage.
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