The kaleidoscope of Indian handicrafts, handlooms and folk traditions, Surajkund is an annual fair that showcases the finest handlooms, handicrafts, authentic fragrances & flavours of rich Indian cuisines.
As winter turns briefly into spring, a caravan of more than 400 National and State awardee craftpersons from every corner of India wind their way to Surajkund.
The craftpersons from SAARC Nations also participate in the Surajkund Crafts Mela. At Surajkund Mela, the artisans' delicate hands create the most beautiful pieces which have fascinated many through ages! The Mela offers a lot of fun, frolic, entertainment and exclusive shopping opportunities.
This delightful handloom and handicrafts fair is organised every year to promote the traditional Indian Handicrafts in rural ambience at Surajkund in the vicinity of New Delhi.
The year 2011 witnessed 25th Surajkund Crafts Mela.
The Surajkund Crafts is an annual event that highlights some of the finest handloom and handicraft traditions of the country.
From 1st to 15th February rural India basks in the warmth of admiration at Surajkund mela village that lies some 8 km from South Delhi. The Mela also celebrates the rhythms of folk theatre- and a theme State that makes each visitor marvel.
The fortnight long celebrations also come as a food festival. Some of the popular food traditions from Punjab come at the Punjabi 'Rasoi'. South Indian delicacies come in from South Indian Section. Popular Chinese and snack foods also arrive for the event along with special stalls where patrons are introduced to the traditional foods and sweet meats of the selected Theme State.
The Surajkund Crafts Mela has grown equally famous for the rhythms of folk theatre: It resonates with the formal notes of the classical genre: The heady rhythms of percussion instruments: The ballads of singing minstrels: The celebration of the simple joys of rural life and reverence of epic traditions all mingle well. All these colourful events are also presented before the audience in the open-air-theatre named Natyashala.
In the metal section tribal dhora work, classical south Indian metal work, glittering brass ware, bell metal and iron craft delight collectors.
In the field of woven textiles some of the finest silk work of Orissa, Patola, Bandhini of Gujarat and Rajasthan, Ikat, Kanjeevaram, Dharmavaram and temple silks of South India vie for attention with the most simple cottons of West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and tribal textiles of North East India as also do the handloom of Haryana.
At the fair, oxidized jewellery, sea shell decorations and agate stone work delight as also do delicate gold work and chunky silver jewellery. And toys in wood and cane, ply and mud make the young thrill with joy.
The year was 1987. The Mela Gali was simple. It is from here that the mela movements began. The architect who set the pattern of the mela grounds was Shri Surendra Patel of Sharad Gandharva in Gujarat. The mela grounds were to be intrinsically rural and so, the gate was designed as a simple mud structure. A hidden stairway leads to the shehnai platform. The thatched roof top and the presence of the shading trees set the real for a delightfully rural experience every year.
The Vishnupur gate is an image from the mela 1990. It reflects ancient structural traditions of West Bengal. Built in delicate terracotta patterns, the gate reflects architectural traditions that are over 1000 years old. Vishnupur was once the administrative seat of the Malla Dynasty of Bengal. Though the Mallas were a warrior clean, they were also patrons of art and culture.
Under the rule of Raja Vir Habit and Raghunath Singh, unique Temple architecture came into existence using the red earth found in the area. Delicate relief patterns were used to embellish temples of which the existing Vishnupur temple is one. The famous bankura house belongs to the genre. The Vishnupur mela gate has a convex roof and elaborate terracotta decorations typical of the traditional Vishnupur temple structure. The delicacy of which can be seen even today.
Kerala formed the master motif of the mela 1991. It was symbolised by the Kottayambalam Gate. Designed by Laurie Baker, the gate is 31 feet in height. The structure is built of bricks and topped with tiles. The pyramidal roof is decorated with brass pinnacles. The structure reflects folk architecture that followed the pattern of royal apartments; an image even reflected in temple structure that can be seen in Kerala.
The year 1992 celebrated Bastar of Madhya Pradesh as the Mela Theme.
It was the first time that a tribal motif formed the centre of attention the deeply revered form of the mother goddess Danteshwari Devi decorated the mela gate built in Dhokra Metal craft tradition, the devi is flanked with her retinue of local gods and goddesses. The Gate is 33 feet in height.
The gate of the mela 1993 celebrates Orissa.
It comes from a tradition that has lost its history. But it continues to fascinate the Muktesvara gate is the crest of the mela.
The Toranor decorative motif of the original temple is reflected in gate. Built by the Craftspersons of Orissa, the gate is displays fine stone carving traditions. The original Muktesvara temple along with its additional motifs of the ‘Raja Rani’ and the ‘Lingaraj’ temples l marks the beginning of the ‘Peedha’ temple traditions in the region. The gate is 16 feet in height.
The Hoysala mela gate is a replica depicting the emblem of Hoysala dynasty at the top flanked by ‘Shardula’ the mythic animal. Two ‘Dwarpal Akas’ in typical Hoysala style guard the Hoysala Gate with mantpas intervening in between the lower portion of the pillar. The top of the gate is shaped in the Vijaynagar style.
The Hoysala’s of Karnataka were one of the illustrious rulers who held ways in the southern part of the Karnataka. Vishnuvardhana, Ballala and Narasimha were prominent rulers on this dynasty. Hoysala architecture was a mile stone in the history of the temple building in Karnataka. It is during this period that simplicity in temple art gave place to ornamentation in both architecture and sculpture.
The Hoysala temples at Belur, Halebid and Somanathpur constructed during the 12th century are eminent pieces of art with minute ornamentation of walls and pillars.
The architecturally unique structure is the entrance gate of Ram Bag Summer Palace Amritsar build by the Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1819 A.D.
Serene Himachal finds a reflection in the Maheshwar Devta temple Gate.
Pol of Gujrat-1997
Pol is the term derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Pratol’ which means gate or entry. Pol is a micro neighborhood consisting of a street with group of houses on both sides found in old and traditional towns & cities of Gujarat. Street width basically meant for pedestrians is usually narrow, constantly varying strategically, widening at certain nodes forming a variety of urban open spices. It has within its fold a hierarchy of open spaces of varying shapes sizes and scale suitably adorned and equipped with elements like shrine, chabootro, Otta, raised platform around a shade-tree, community well etc. Social and religious functions along with community gatherings take place in these open spaces.
Poles always have a well defined entrance complete with gates and designed to have a residence of the gate keeper (Polia) incorporated at first floor level. The building height rises above single storey and subsequent floors cantilever out thus keeping the street shaded through most of the day. Houses have narrow frontage with common walls on both the sides. Houses occupy the entire plot and have courtyard (chowk) inside, which brings light & ventilation.
Every house has small ‘Otla’ or platform in front which acts as a buffer zone between public and private space and is a platform where important social interaction takes places. It has a row of columns supporting a façade which project out as one moves upward to the upper floors. The striking quality of a typical pol is the exquisite workman ship & detailing in wood & stone carvings which go into making the facades of houses flanking the street. Most of the decoration in Hindu & Jain houses focuses on symbolic forms with floral and geometric patterns whereas in muslim house non-figural patterns are preferred.
NORTH EASTERN STATES-1998
Rang Ghar or the sports pavilion of Assam is believed to be only extant amphitheatre of Asia standing solitary on Rupahi Pathar or a vast field, called Rupahi now near Siosagar town Rang Ghar was first conceived by Swargadeo Rudra Singha, the most powerful and illustrious king of the Ahom Dynasty.
The present two storied oval shaped brick building popularly known as ‘Rang Ghar’ was built by Swargadeo Pramatta Singha, the able son of Swargadeo Rudra Singh in 1746 A.D. from the Rang Ghar. The King and royal families used to watch animal fights and fights between man and animal and other sporting events. The Bihu festival was also organised in the field of Rang Ghar by the king and he invited his subjects as well as the neighboring kings to this event.
NORTH EASTERN STATES-1998
COMMEMORATIVE STRUCTURE OF MEGHALAYA
Kaing Sad, located at Samit about 15 km from Shillong is the headquarters of Hima Khyrim or the Khasi state of Khyrim built in the traditional shape and style of a Khasi Dwelling house. It is the official residence of the high priestess of the Hime and known as Kaing Sad. It has an elegant courtyard where the well known ‘Nongkrem’ dance is performed annually.
Monolights is located in lawmulong within nartiang village of Jainta Hills. There is a cluster of menhirs known as Kimoo Shynrang and dolmens constructed around 1500 A.D. These commemorate the glorious events of the Jaintia Kingdom.
Porang; tree-top watch-town is used by the garo farmers to keep vigil against intrusion of wild animals in their fields.
The hilly tirtha Unkoti which means one less than a crore is a Saiva pilgrimage of 8th century A.D. situated at a distance of 8 km from Kailashahar district to be the largest bas-relief sculptures carved on the face of a hill in India.
Among the rock-carved figures the central Shiva head and the Gigantio Ganesa figure deserve special mention with the head of Shiva having beard and moustache centrally located a replica of Unkoti is portrayed here.
Kangla Santhong- Manipur
Kangla the erstwhile fortified palace of Manipur is the Symbol of Manipur. Sovereignty constructed in typical Manipur style with marked influence of Eastern Asian architecture in design and style. It synthesised aesthetic sculpture with strategic skill. It has a main archway or entrance with elaborately decorative tall final, in the shape of Lord Jaganatha’s vehicle known as Kang in typical Manipuri style topped by Nilachakkrative identical structures on each side of the archway were the foundation of the gate formed by solid round pillars ornamenting angular roops were the wooden symbols known as Kai. The spires were topped by Khalasa the roof of the structure was topped by Knongngou or galvanized iron sheet. The Gate was destroyed completely in 1891 when Manipur was over run by the British.
Mela Gate -1999
The famous Char Minar from Hyderabad Celebrates Andhra Pradesh.
Jammu and Kashmir
Replica of the original in Srinagar Jammu nad Kashmir the Khanqahs (Hospices) have been an integral part of the Sufi order. They have served as the nerve center for the spread of the message of truth compassion and piety Kashmir is the land of Sufis. The Khanqah-I-Moulla was the first of this unique centre. Its foundation was laid by the great Sufi Saint and Scholar Hazrat Mir Syed Ali Hamdani Popularly known as Shah-I-Hamdan. Shah-I-Hamdan visited Kashmir Thrice each time spreading religious preachers. He also brought hundreds of craftsmen from central Asia who thought crafts to the local people. This replica of the Khanquah-I-Moulla celebrate the craftsman.
Goa - this little pearl of the orient blessed with unmatched natural beauty has along its coast, simple and eye-catching structures. ‘The pergola’ depicted in the ‘Goa Gate’. Pergolas were built at vantage points along the coastline wherever the view was breath taking. The pergola is a statement by itself as to the unfolding beauty perceived through the play of its light and shade. A ‘Picture Frame’ highlighting the magnificence of the ocean. It is also speaks of the open-ness of the people of Goa, their simplicity and ability each day a new to appreciate the infinite truths hidden in natures time-less beauty.
Mela Gate -2002
A multi-colored carved gate is traditionally erected to welcome a high dignitary. It depicts Buddhist symbols such as dragon, a mythical animal considered protector of Dharma Ridha Choekhor meaning deer and wheel of dharma representing lord Buddha’s first sermon at Sarnath, snow lion Padma Choegyed showing eight fold path from teachings of Lord Buddha and Chi-Minda, pardoned by the Lord subsequent to repentance of his misdeeds. As per tradition a miniature Chorten (Stupa) is also constructed. Some has been erected in close vicinity of Apna Ghar.
Arjuna Penance Mamallapuram-Tamil Nadu
This 7th century A.d. monument is located at Mamallapuram, which is a world heritage site, near Chennai in Tamilnadu.
It is one of the world’s largest and finest bas-relief measuring 27 m x 9m. As we look at this huge whole black shaped rock a story unfolds. It depicts Arjuna’s petitioning Lord Shiva for the powerful weapon ‘Pasupa-Thasthra’ on one side one of the majestic elephants, a fissure splits the sculpture down the middle and the other side is a mater piece of Pallava’s sculpture and Architecture. Arjuna’s penance constitutes a rich and engrossing tale of Hindu mythology.