Faridabad might be the largest city of Haryana in North India but what it is most famous world over for, is the Surajkund International Crafts Mela (Mela means fair).
Now where is this Surajkund? This is a place in Faridabad, situated around 8 km from South Delhi. Surajkund literally means ‘the Lake of the Sun’ (Suraj= sun and Kund= lake). Surajkund has its own historic importance. It belongs to the 10th century. It is a water reservoir believed to have been built by the Tomar king Surajpal, and thus the name Surajkund.
Who organizes Surajkund Crafts Fair and when?
“Surajkund International Crafts Mela” is an annual fair which is hosted by Haryana Tourism Corporation and Surajkund Mela Authority as their joint effort. Every year, these two organizations collaborate with the Union ministries of tourism, textiles, culture and external affairs to make this popular crafts fair possible.
The Surajkund Crafts fair is usually held from 1-15 February each year. The dates may vary a little but you can always expect to visit one of the finest cultural extravaganza during the first two weeks of February.
Surajkund Crafts Mela 2016
This year too, the Surajkund International Crafts Mela is being held from 1st February till 15th February. This is the 30th edition of Surajkund Crafts Fair.
Every year, one of the states is highlighted as the theme state of the fair. In the year 2016, the theme state of Surajkund Crafts Fair is the youngest state of India- Telangana!
This year, in the 30th Surajkund Crafts Mela, a total of 23 countries are participating, not only with their finest crafts but also with the unique dance performances, cultural events, poetry, and other arts.
What’s special in 30th Surajkund Crafts Mela in 2016?
Along with the theme state of Telangana, the host state Haryana too has been highlighted in this year’s fair. Both these states have artists living in specially-created amphitheatres called ‘Apna Ghar’ in the premises of the Surajkund Crafts Mela venue. When you visit the fair, you can have a glimpse of the ethos and lifestyle of the people of these two states- Haryana and Telangana.
Not only Indian states, even other nations are given their due credit and respect during the Surajkund fair. This year, Japan and China are the focus countries of the mela. Apart from these, Congo, Egypt, Thailand and many other countries are also participating in the Surajkund crafts fair and their artists are here to give stunning performances. Turkmenistan is participating in the fair for the first time.
Highlights of the 30th Surajkund International Crafts Mela
Helicopter Ride at Surajkund Fair
Visitors coming to the Surajkund Crafts Fair can take helicopter rides and enjoy the aerial view of the fair as well as its surrounding areas.
Helicopter ride has been an integral feature of this renowned crafts fair at Faridabad since last 4-5 years.
Earlier, this ride was provided by the State-run helicopter operator Pawan Hans Helicopters Limited but this time, a private helicopter operator, Heritage Aviations Private Limited is providing the service at the mela venue.
The tickets for helicopter rides are available at the mela counters as well as the official Haryana Tourism Website and it costs Rs. 2000 per person. Children below the age of 2 years get a free ride. The ride lasts for 6-8 minutes during peak hours and 8-10 minutes during free hours.
Surajkund Mela Tickets available Online as well as at Metro Stations
Not only can visitors now book online tickets at the official website of Haryana Tourism but also at five other online ticketing portals- bookmyshow, buzzintown, eventshigh, townscript and explara.
Faridabad got the priced gift of metro train in the year 2015 and the organizers of the Surajkund Crafts Fair did not wasted the opportunity to give some comfort to the visitors of the fair by making the tickets for Surajkund crafts fair available at major metro stations, exactly at 30 metro stations all around Delhi NCR. These include Dilshad Garden, Inderlok, Rithala, Samaypur Badli, Jahangirpuri, GTB Nagar, Kashmiri Gate, Rajiv Chowk, Central Secretariat, Saket, Sikanderpur, HUDA City Centre, NOIDA City Centre, Botanical Garden, Karol Bagh, Kirti Nagar, Uttam Nagar East, Dwarka Sector 21, Vaishali, Lakshmi Nagar, Mundka, ITO, Mandi House, Lajpat Nagar, Govindpuri, Sarita Vihar, Tughlaqabad, Badarpur, Neelam Chowk Ajronda and Escorts Mujesar.
Visitors can get down at the nearest metro stations Tughlakabad and NHPC Faridabad to reach the Mela venue. Even free shuttle service has been made available from Tughlakabad metro station and Sarai metro station every 30 minutes on weekdays and every 10 minutes on weekends.
Thus, going to the Surajkund Crafts Mela this year is a matter of comfort! No queues, nothing!
Cultural Features of the Surajkund International Crafts Mela 2016
Open air theatres called ‘Chaupal’ at Surajkund Mela ground keep buzzing all day long. National and International artists perform at these chaupals for all the 15 days of the fair. In the evening, after 6 PM, the Chaupals get more enlivened by the renowned artists who perform here daily.
Here is the list of cultural programmes to be held at 30th International Surajkund Crafts Mela 2016
Various competitions for school and college students are also held during the Mela. These include Rangoli, face painting, folk dance, mehndi, drawing, kite flying, and photography competitions. Here is the date wise activity calendar for the 30th Surajkund International Crafts Mela for competition amongst school/college students
Crafts at Surajkund Mela
From handloom to handicrafts, you get everything here. Master craftsmen showcase their paintings, hand crafted furniture and decorative items, jewellery, shoes, bed covers, bags, and what not.
From Bihar’s Madhubani paintings to Gujarat’s Kacchi embroidery; from Kashmir’s fine embroidered shawls and shoes to Wood crafts of Southern states, you can see everything and buy everything here, in the Surajkund International Crafts Mela. And what more! You can even see the artists how they make their art!
Mouth watering Food at Surajkund Crafts mela
As if the incredible crafts and art pieces were not enough, there is a full section in the Mela devoted to satisfy your taste buds!
Yes, you cannot escape the food court of Surajkund Crafts Mela! Even if you carry your healthy foods and even if you vow to stay away from all that sinful temptations, you cannot! The Mela is stretched over such a vast ground that you are bound to feel hungry after every couple of hours (of course, it is a whole day affair at this Crafts fair!) And when you cross the food stalls, you cannot keep your senses away from the smell coming out of the delicious foods from all over India!
You have Rajasthani Dal-Bati-Churma as well as Punjabi makke-di-roti and sarson-da-saag. You have sumptuous Kashmiri Biryani and their aromatic Kahwa tea along with Telangana’s authentic vegetarian and non-vegetarian foods. You have Mysore’s dosas and idlis as well as Delhi’s chhole bhature! You name it and you have it. And if popular burgers and pizzas are what you long for, they too are there to fill you up! What about those who just eat healthy? You too have your share of salads and steamed sweet corns! And what’s for dessert! The Jalebis and Halwas and Firnis and what not!
All in all, Surajkund International Crafts Mela is the true cultural extravaganza that not only bring to you the authentic crafts from all over the world but also introduces you to the culture and traditions of all the states of India and of other participating countries too!