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Surajkund crafts fair 2011 is on!

Last updated on: February 2, 2011 11:59 IST

Surajkund crafts fair 2011 is on!

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The many colours of India came alive as the famous Surajkund crafts fair began near Delhi on Tuesday with ethnic wares from all over the country on display and Department of Posts releasing a commemorative cover and stamp to mark the event's 25th anniversary.

The fair, held in Faridabad district on the outskirts of Delhi, was inaugurated by Union Tourism Minister Subodh Kant Sahai in the presence of host state Haryana's Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Nallari Kiran Kumar Reddy whose state is the theme this year at the 15-day event.

Pitching for promotion of ethnic tourism, Sahai said fairs like Surajkund project the rich cultural heritage of the country in a proper perspective.

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There are a total of 525 stalls from all over the country showcasing ethnic wares at the fair.

Besides participation from all states and Union Territories, countries like Uzbekistan, Russia, Sri Lanka, Syria and Thailand are also participating in the fair making it more colourful and diverse this time.


Image: A Nihang or a Sikh warrior performs Gatkha, a traditional form of martial arts, during a media preview of the 25th Surajkund Crafts Fair in Haryana
Photographs: B Mathur/Reuters
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Surajkund Mela, which is becoming popular in the region, had a total of 7.5 lakh visitors last year. This year the footfalls are expected to touch 10 lakh during the two-week fair.

The tourism minister also released a special postage cover and a postal stamp brought out by Department of Post on the occasion.


Image: An artist dressed as Hindu Lord Krishna performs during the media preview
Photographs: B Mathur/Reuters
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Sahai and other dignitaries were traditionally welcomed at Charminar Gate, a replica of the Hyderabadi grandeur.

The four grand arches of the gate were adorned to radiate the magnificence of the rich history of the Andhra Pradesh.


Image: Andhra Pradesh is the theme state of this year's Surajkund Mela

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Sahai first visited the section displaying the crafts from SAARC nations and other foreign countries like Uzbekistan and Thailand.

He was impressed with the exquisite range of crafts that the partner country, Uzbekistan, had to offer.

The minister commended the efforts of Surajkund Crafts Mela Authority for bringing various crafts from different parts of the country and abroad on a common platform.


Image: Labourers sit near a stall of sculptures at the Surajkund Crafts Fair
Photographs: Vijay Mathur/Reuters
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Sahai was also taken to 'Apna Ghar' where a family of Andhra Pradesh showcased its rural habitat. His visit culminated at 'Choupal' where he witnessed various cultural performances like Haryanvi, Kuchipudi and Uzbek dance forms.

Dr Salikh R Inagamov, Ambassador of Uzbekistan, Prasad Kariyawan, High Commissioner of Sri Lanka, Vatti Vasant Kumar, Minister for Tourism and Culture, Andhra Pradesh, Haryana's Tourism Minister O P Jain, were among others present at the inaugural function.


Image: Folk dancers from Rajasthan perform on the eve
Photographs: Kamal Kishore/Reuters
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The 15-day fair serves as a platform for craftsmen with exquisite skills, not only from different parts of India, but also from countries like Uzbekistan, Thailand and the neighbouring SAARC nations, to showcase their talent.

Organised under the aegis of Union Tourism Ministry, it also takes collective and concerted effort of various agencies like the Development Commissioners of Handicrafts and Handlooms, and the Ministries of Culture and External Affairs in organising the mega event.


Image: A camel rests during the media preview

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