Surajkund: The 29th edition of 15-day long Surajkund International Crafts Mela, which will see the participation of 18 countries, began today in Faridabad, adjoining the national capital.
This time Lebanon is the “partner nation” of the fair while Chhattisgarh is the “theme state”, showcasing its unique cultural and historical heritage in an impressive manner.
Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar inaugurated the fair in the presence of Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Dr Raman Singh here.
Keeping in view the convenience of the visitors thronging the International crafts fair, the authorities have this time circulated along with tickets the map of the fair.
While giving this information, an official spokesperson said that in the map, the fair area had been divided into five zones named after five seasons of India in Hindi.
Zone one has been named Shishir (Winter), zone two Sharad (Autumn), zone three Grishm (Summer), zone four Basant (Spring) and zone five Varsha (Monsoon).
Mainly 13 locations have been highlighted on the map.
These include Kotayambalam Gate at number one, Muktvashvar gate at number two, Mela Secretariat at number three Danishvari gate at number four, Charminar gate at number five and Media Centre at number six.
While Rajasthani Haveli at number seven, Badi Chaupal at number eight, Sikkim gate at number nine and Maharashtra gate at number 10, Gujarat gate at number 11, Chattisgarh gate at number 12 and Choti Chaupal at number 13.
The map also bears the logos of ticket counters, food court, toilets, information and announcement, police, ATM and snack shops.
The 18 countries participating in this year’s event include Lebanon, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Afghanistan and Bangladesh; Armenia, Azerbaijan, Russia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Georgia, Tajikistan, Kuwait, Qatar, Thailand, Uganda and Syria.
Mr Khattar, after inaugurating the fair, said the Surajkund International crafts mela has played a seminal role in preserving the vanishing arts and bringing the youth closer to history and culture.
He said the state government is working to improve the value system in society by introducing Bhagwad Gita in the textbooks and propagating Yoga.
The Chief Minister also launched mobile application of the ‘Surajkund Mela’ and appreciated the Information and Technology initiatives undertaken by the Surajkund Mela Authority and Haryana Tourism.
The Mela had helped inculcate the feeling of brotherhood, love and bonding among different cultures and continents and appreciated the contribution made by theme state Chhattisgarh in presenting the folk traditions in a very impressive way, he said.
He narrated his experiences of Bastar in Chhattisgarh and interaction with Naxalites. Lots of farmers and politicians who are doing well in Chhattisgarh hail from Haryana, he said.
Haryana which has a rich culture and ancient heritage is promoting tourism in a big way, said the chief minister.
Plans have been drawn to develop ancient cultural sites like Adibadri at Kapalmochan, Yamunanagar, which is origin of the sacred Saraswati river, he said.
Khattar said that Karna Lake at Karnal would be developed under circuit tourism and Narnaul-Mahendargarh- Madogarh mega
tourism circuit would be developed at a cost of Rs. 50 crore.
The air strips in Hisar and Karnal would also be expanded,
Speaking on the occasion, Chattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh said he was elated to see that after a gap of 10 years, Chhattisgarh had got the opportunity to be the Theme State at the Mela.
Dr Singh said that he shared good association with his Haryana counterpart who had lent him support during elections in Bastar.
Referring to the popularity of Chhattisgarh, Dr Raman Singh said the state is the birth place of so many folk artistes and craftspersons like Tejan Bai and Jaidev Bhagel.
Since it became an independent state, it is no more backward but a progressive one contributing a lot to the production of steel, aluminium and cement, he said.
It is the second leading state in sex ratio, Dr Singh said. Chhattisgarh Tourism Minister Ajay Chandrakar, said that Surajkund Mela had provided a great opportunity to present the art, culture and tradition of Chhattisgarh.
The state has the largest tribal population and unique art forms which make it stand apart from the rest.
The Director General, Ministry of Economy and Trade, Lebanon, Alia Abbas, said her country was always keen on participating in the Mela, which is a great manifestation of how you provide opportunities to craftspersons in a friendly environment.
It would further improve bilateral relations between the two nations, she said.
The 15-day long mela will remain open to public daily from 10.30 am to 8.30 pm, the official release said.
The inaugural ceremony was marked by enthralling performances by Haryanvi dancers who danced to the theme of saving the girl child, and artistes from Chhattisgarh and Lebanon.