(Last Updated on : 03/03/2014)
Surajkund Craft Fair, the pet project of the tourism department of Haryana was launched in 1981 to celebrate the vibrant culture of India. Surajkund owes its name and perhaps its very existence to an ancient amphitheatre sun pool dating back to the 10th century. According to the history, the area where Surajkund Craft Fair is held once fell under the domain of the 'Tomar' clan. Raja Suraj Pal, one of the chieftains of this clan of sun worshippers had a sun pool built in this area. It is believed that a temple also stood on its periphery. It is after this sun pool that this complex has been named Surajkund. The Haryana Tourism launched this fair to promote the craft of the artists to share their art with the common man and where cultural events could take place on a national level. But now it has gained international recognition and people pour into Surajkund to witness this gala event from all across the world.
The fair is set against the background of Surajkund Mela village, about eight kilometers from South Delhi in the state of Haryana, which displays its own simple charm, tantalizing the tourists and visitors alike. The Surajkund Craft Fair celebrates the finest handlooms and handicrafts traditions of country. Held in the month of February, the fortnight long fair embodies the spirit that runs through the people of India and its rich culture. Surajkund Craft Fair assimilates craftsmen from all over the country. The fair focuses in one particular state each year. The mela also attracts lakhs of visitors, both for the amazing range of interesting crafts it showcases as well as the relaxing rural ambience of the mela grounds.
The fair also provides a meeting ground for the talented painters, weavers, sculptors and craftsmen form all over India who exhibit their creations and the arts and crafts lovers who flock here to admire and purchase these creations. The dexterous craftsmen exhibit the finest of handlooms and handicrafts from all over the country.
The workmanship of the Surajkund Craft Fair display an array of mirror encasing embroidery, delicate lace work, folk motifs on terracotta forms, metal and cane-ware, the tinkle of bangles, shimmer of iridescent silks and the jingle of toys and trinkets. Specialised wood and cane craft come with inlay work from Punjab and rosewood carving, sandalwood from South India. The craftsmen of different states come with their dexterity on particular section. For instance, 'Chikri' woodcraft of Kashmir and some very fine cane craft from West Bengal and North Eastern states, delicate 'Sholapith' and 'Shital Patti' work from Assam, traditional 'Kantha' embroidery from West Bengal and North eastern States, Phulkari embroidery of Punjab, the 'Banjara' and 'Bunni' embroidery of Gujarat, lace and crochet from Goa, 'Chikan' work of Lucknow are widely displayed in Surajkund Craft Fair. The tie and dye and 'laharia' (striped) designs on silk, georgette and cotton scarves, veils and saris flutter in the gentle breeze attracting the attention of all. A huge variety of floor covering like 'Namda' and carpet of Kashmir, the 'Punja Durrie' of Haryana and Punjab, the woollen druggets of Mirzapur and coir and rag carpets of south India fascinate the visitors.
Besides these artistic crafts, Surajkund Craft Fair flaunts a wide range of oxidized jewellery, seashell decorations and agate stone work delight as also the delicate gold work and chunky silver jewellery. Toys in wood and cane, ply and mud make the young thrill with joy. The fascinating 'Phad' paintings of Rajasthan, the 'Kalamkari' of Andhra and Karnataka, temple paintings of Orissa, 'Madhubani' of Bihar are also on display. In the metal section, tribal 'Dhora' work, classical South Indian metal work, glittering brassware, bell metal and iron craft delight collectors.
Life-size temple idols, human forms, horses, carriages and animals of metal and brass made with perfection and embellished artistically. Besides, sculptures in marble and soapstone as well as marble and ivory inlay work are also of great demand. The creations of 'Sikki grass' are a special craft that is displayed in this fair.
In addition to this huge variety of crafts, the Surajkund Craft Fair organises rich folk dances and musical evenings at the fan shaped open-air-theatre known as 'Natyashala' throughout the fortnight. The people from different part of the country perform folk dances and folk songs with gaily-patterned attires.
Moreover, the Surajkund Craft Fair encourages a mini food festival, celebrated with traditional savour of Punjab and South India. Popular Chinese delicacies and snack foods also arrive for the event along with a special stall where patrons are introduced to the traditional foods and sweet meats of the theme state.