Surajkund crafts fair to begin Saturday

Chandigarh, Jan 31 (IANS) The 28th edition of the Surajkund International Crafts Mela will begin in Surajkund (Faridabad) Saturday. Goa will be the theme state and Sri Lanka will be the partner country this year, an official said here Friday.

Nearly 20 countries would bring an international flavour to the fair which would conclude Feb 15. The fair would be inaugurated by Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda.
Surajkund Mela Authority chairman Parvez Dewan said elaborate security arrangements have been made at the fair venue as lakhs of people visit the annual event.
The main purpose of the fair is to give a platform to artisans from remote areas to sell their products without the help of middlemen, said Vijai Vardhan, principal secretary-tourism.
“In the first Surajkund Crafts Mela in 1987, only 35 artisans had participated and about 10,000 persons had visited the fair. Today, the fair has gained international status,” Vardhan said.
He added: “About 20 countries are participating and there are 735 work huts for the crafts persons. The fair is spread over 40 acres of land.”
The participating countries include Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Portugal, Iran, Uganda, Brazil, Ivory Coast, Thailand and SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) nations Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Bhutan, Nepal and Pakistan.
Surajkund derives its name from the ancient amphitheatre Sun Pool constructed here in the 10th century AD by Raja Suraj Pal, one of the Tomar chieftains. The place is located in the Aravalli mountain range.
The fair has become a popular event over the years, getting over a million footfalls last year. Hundreds of foreign visitors also visit the fair.