Fairs and festivals are the custodians of our great cultural heritage. They connect the past glory with the progress of the present and are a good source of inter-reaction amongst the people. They mirror different parts of the country and make us love and respect the talent of our craftsmen, artisans and artists.
They provide all of us with a good opportunity for change from the hustle and bustle of life by bringing to us different sources of entertainment, consisting of cultural performances, dances, songs and the tasty food from different states. A visitor feels relaxed, happy and exalted in a fair.
Of all the fairs that I have had a chance to visit so far, the surajkund craft mela has fascinated me the most. It is an annual feature, organized by the government of Haryana, at a scenic place, adjacent to the National Capital.
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With its eye-catching greenery in a vast area of ground, grassy lawns, a beautiful lake and calm environs, Suraj Kund is really an ideal place for this great yearly event.
The fair is held from February 1 to 15 each year, when the winter cold seems to have given itself up to the advent of bracing spring. It is, undoubtedly, greatly soothing and pleasant to move about in the golden sunshine with lots of sights to behold.
The fair’s theme was the Uttaranchal, the newly carved state from Uttar Pradesh and as such the main emphasis was on its scenic places, costume, crafts, folk music and dances and architecture.
I went to visit the fair on a Wednesday, and as I was eager to spend maximum time in the fair, I reached the parking lot exactly at 10.00 a.m. Soon I was at the main entry gate, which gave the impression of the famous Kedarnath temple. Going through it was like making a pilgrimage of the holy place.
From the main gate to the fair, the passage presented an enchanting, colourful view of the valley of flowers surrounding the famous Sikh pilgrimage centre of Hemkunt Sahib. Wild, pretty flowers of different hues seemed to be dancing in the air.
I had the feeling that I had escaped the dull jungle of bricks and concrete. On entry, one could hardly miss the Chaupal, a mini common community centre of a village. This had enough number of cane chairs, wooden cots, and shady area and presented a perfect, ideal, rural surrounding.
This attracted all those who came to see the fair-the young, as well the elderly; Indians, as well as the foreigners too, as all the cultural items were being presented at this place. I also spent a lot of time here and saw some dances, aerobatic shows and fancy dress presentations.
Since the day was being observed as the Uttaranchal day, Chief Minister N.D. Tewari’s presence had brought new life to the event. He enthralled the gathering with his experiences of the freedom struggle days and by reciting a poetic composition on the advent of spring.
The remaining time was spent on visiting various stalls, where craftsmen were busy preparing various items. Stalls, displaying woodwork, pottery, cane-furniture, sculpture, sarees, wall-hangings, artificial flowers and furniture attracted the maximum visitors. I too purchased a big-sized laughing Buddha and a square wall-hanging; had my lunch at the outlet of Naivedyam and returned home in the evening. Though I was dead tired owing to the physical exertion, I felt myself greatly rewarded with the change; I had had at this great fair.