Surajkund Crafts Mela : 1987 & 88
The year was 1987. The Mela ambience was simple. The architect who set the pattern of the Mela grounds was Shri Surendra Patel of Sharad Gandharva from Gujarat. The Mela grounds were intrinsically rural in appeal and so, the gate was designed as a plain mud structure. A hidden stairway led to the shehnai platform. The thatched roof tops and the presence of the shady trees set the stage for a delightful rural experience. During these two years, the Surajkund Mela played up no particular theme.
Surajkund Crafts Mela : 1989
Theme State : Rajasthan
Commemorative Structure : Shekhawati Gate : The tradition of encapsulating the theme state into the foreground began from this year onwards. Since then, a commemorative structure came to be designed every year. Colourful Shekhawati gate of Rajasthan was chosen as the master motif of the Mela. A haveli and gate were built. Each structure was decorated with arched niches and brilliantly coloured wall murals, typical of the colourful town of Shekhawat. Even today, the haveli and the gate are a fascinating signature of Rajasthan. The gate is 25-feet high and has been decorated by folk painters.
Surajkund Crafts Mela : 1990
Theme State : West Bengal
Commemorative Structure : Vishnupur Gate : The Vishnupur gate reflects ancient structural traditions of West Bengal. Built with 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.
Delicate relief patterns were used to embellish temples of which the existing Vishnupur temple is one. The famous Bankura house belongs to this 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.
Surajkund Crafts Mela : 1991
Theme State : Kerala
Commemorative Structure : Kottayambalam Gate
Kerala formed the master motif of the Mela in 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; an image even reflected in temple structure that can be seen in Kerala.
Surajkund Crafts Mela : 1992
Theme State : Chhattisgarh
Commemorative Structure : Danteshwari Devi Gate
The year 1992 celebrated Bastar of Madhya Pradesh as the Mela Theme.
It was for 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.
Surajkund Crafts Mela : 1993
Theme State : Orissa
Commemorative Structure : Mukteswara Gate
The gate of the Mela celebrates Orissa. The 'Gem of Orissan architecture' is the phrase associated with the Mukteswara temple.
It comes from a tradition that has lost its history.
The Torana decorative motif of the original temple is reflected in gate. Built by the craftspersons of Orissa, the gate displays fine stone carving traditions. The original Mukteswara temple along with its additional motifs of the ‘Raja Rani’ and the ‘Lingaraj’ temples marks the beginning of the ‘Peedha’ temple traditions in the region. The gate is 16-feet in height.
Surajkund Crafts Mela : 1994
Theme State : Karnataka
Commemorative Structure : Hoysala Gate
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 commanded power in the southern part of the Karnataka. 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 on walls and pillars.
Surajkund Crafts Mela : 1995
Theme State : Punjab
Commemorative Structure : Ram Bagh Palace
The architecturally unique structure is the entrance gate of Ram Bagh Summer Palace, Amritsar, built by Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1819 A.D.
Surajkund Crafts Mela : 1996
Theme State : Himachal Pradesh
Commemorative Structure : Maheshwar Temple Gate
Serene Himachal finds a reflection in the Maheshwar temple Gate. The state made its distinct mark in the Mela with this exquisitely done up gate.
Surajkund Crafts Mela : 1997
Theme State : Gujarat
Commemorative Structure : Gujarat Gali
Pol of Gujarat-1997
Pol is the term derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Pratol’ which means gate or entry. Pol is a micro neighbourhood 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 open spaces. It has within its fold a hierarchy of open spaces of varying shapes, sizes and scale suitably adorned and equipped with elements like shrine, chabootra, otta, raised platform around a shade-tree, community well etc. Social and religious functions along with community gatherings take place in these open spaces.
A Poles always has 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 place. It has a row of columns supporting a façade which projects out as one moves upward to the upper floors. The striking quality of a typical pol is the exquisite workmanship, detailing in wood and stone carvings, which go into making the facades of houses. 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
Theme State : Northern Eastern States (Seven Sisters)
Commemorative Structure : Assam - RANG GHAR
Rang Ghar or the sports pavilion of Assam is believed to be only existing amphitheatre of Asia standing solitary on Rupahi Pathar called Rupahi now (a vast field) near Sivasagar 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 Singha 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. Bihu festival was also celebrated in the field of Rang Ghar by the King and he invited his subjects and the neighbouring kings to this event.
COMMEMORATIVE STRUCTURE OF MEGHALAYA
Kaing Sad, located at Samit about 15 kms. from Shillong is the headquarters of Hima Khyrim or the Khasi state of Khyrim built in a 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.
The ancient hilly place, Unakoti Tirtha, 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. It is famous for its bas-relief sculptures carved on the face of a hill in India.
Among the rock-carved figures, the Shiva head and the Gigantio Ganesa figure deserve special mention with the head of Shiva having beard and moustache. A replica of Unakoti is portrayed here.
Kangla Santhong- Manipur
Kangla the erstwhile fortified palace of Manipur, is an important landmark of Manipur. Sovereignty constructed in typical Manipur style with marked influence of eastern Asian architecture in design and style. It has a main archway or entrance in the shape of Lord Jaganatha’s vehicle known as Kang topped by identical structures on each side of the archway in typical Manipuri style. The gate was formed by solid round pillars and the roof of the structure was crowned by galvanized iron sheet. The gate was destroyed completely in 1891 when Manipur was over run by the Britishrs.
Surajkund Crafts Mela : 1999
Theme State : Andhra Pradesh
Commemorative Structure : Char minar
The replica of the famous Char minar from Hyderabad captures the essence of Andhra Pradesh. The structure erected adds to the charm of Surajkund and is a neatly executed replica.
Surajkund Crafts Mela : 2000
Theme State : Jammu and Kashmir
Commemorative Structure : Jammu Kashmir Gate- Khanqah-I-Moulla
The Khanqahs (Hospices) are an integral part of the Sufi order. They have served as the nerve center for spreading of the message of truth, compassion and piety. Kashmir is the land of Sufis. The Khanqah-I-Moulla was the first of its kind of a 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 preachings. He also brought hundreds of craftsmen from central Asia who taught crafts to the local people. This replica of the Khanquah-I-Moulla pays a tribute to the craftsperson.
Surajkund Crafts Mela : 2001
Theme State : Goa
Commemorative Structure : Goa Gate
Goa - blessed with unmatched natural beauty and eye-catching structures. ‘The Pergola’ is depicted in the ‘Goa Gate’. Pergolas, a sitting area or passageway, were built at vantage points along the coastline wherever the view was breath taking. The pergola is a statement by itself that unfolds the beauty perceived through the play of its light and shade. A ‘Picture Frame’ highlightsg the magnificence of the ocean. It also speaks of the open-ness of the people of Goa, their simplicity and ability to appreciate the infinite truths hidden in nature's lap.
Surajkund Crafts Mela : 2002
Theme State : Sikkim
Commemorative Structure : Sikkim Gate
A multi-colored carved gate depicts Buddhist symbols like a dragon that is a mythical animal considered the protector of Dharma. Ridha Choekhor meaning deer and wheel of dharma represents Lord Buddha’s first sermon at Sarnath, a snow lion Padma Choegyed showing eight-fold path from teachings of Lord Buddha and Chi-Minda, who is pardoned by the Lord subsequent to repentance of his misdeeds. As per tradition, a miniature Chorten (stupa) is also constructed. It has been erected in close vicinity of Apna Ghar.
Surajkund Crafts Mela : 2003
Theme State : Uttaranchal
Commemorative Structure : Uttaranchal Gate
A replica of the Badrinath Temple gate decorated with models of the Valley of Flowers and temple architecture from the Jageshwar temple complex, all this formed the part of the commemorative structure.
With nearly 16 different colours being used in the 20-feet high gate and a Lord Shiva statue being a part of the decorations, great attempt was made to recreate the aura of Uttaranchal.
Surajkund Crafts Mela : 2004
Theme State : Tamil Nadu
Commemorative Structure : Arjuna Penance Mamallapuram-Tamil Nadu
This 7th century A.D. monument is located at Mamallapuram, which is a world heritage site, near Chennai in Tamil Nadu.
It is one of the world’s largest and finest bas-relief measuring 27 m x 9m. As we look at this huge black-shaped rock, a story unfolds. It depicts Arjuna’s petitioning Lord Shiva for the powerful weapon ‘Pasupa-Thasthra’. On one side, a majestic elephant and a fissure splits the sculpture down the middle and on the other side is a masterpiece of Pallava’s sculpture and architecture. Arjuna’s penance constitutes a rich and engrossing tale of Hindu mythology.
Surajkund Crafts Mela : 2005
Theme State : Chhattisgarh
Commemorative Structure : Chhattisgarh Gate
Surajkund Crafts Mela : 2006
Theme State : Maharashtra
Commemorative Structure : Trimurti from Elephanta Caves
This year's state theme was Maharashtra and visitors had a chance to admire the commemorative gate with a carved replica of Trimurti from Elephanta Caves, a world heritage site.
Surajkund Crafts Mela : 2007
Theme State : Andhra Pradesh
Commemorative Structure : Charminar Gate
Surajkund Crafts Mela : 2008
Theme State : West Bengal
Commemorative Structure : Vishnupur Gate
Surajkund Crafts Mela : 2009
Theme State : Madhya Pradesh
Commemorative Structure : Bhimbetka Gate
Surajkund Crafts Mela : 2010
Theme State : Rajasthan
Commemorative Structure : Refurbished Shekhawati Gate
Surajkund Crafts Mela : 2011
Theme State : Andhra Pradesh
Commemorative Structure : Renovated Charminar Gate
Surajkund Crafts Mela : 2012
Theme State : Assam
Commemorative Structure : Renovated Rang Ghar