1st day of February is our wedding anniversary. Although each year, it is the children who come up with their surprise plans on how to make the day memorable for us, this time my husband lept forward and grabbed this opportunity. I was so surprised when I found him excited to visit the Surajkund crafts fair. Craft fair? I wondered. It’s a crafts fair. Handicrafts, it’s not your thing. I wanted to say. …But he seemed to know his mind well.
And well enough.
The kids not very keen, on the handicrafts mela, opted to go to school, to save at least a few hours bother!
“…We’ll pick you up after half time boys.” they were duly informed.
We peeped into the newspaper advertisement.
The chief minister of Maharashtra was flying in to inaugurate the fair at Faridabad. The formal inauguration was to take place at 11:30 am.
“Why the chief minister of Maharashtra?” I asked.
“because the theme state this year is Maharashtra.”
“So, they have a different theme each year?”
“Yes. The Mela is organized by the Surajkund Mela Authority & Haryana Tourism in collaboration with Union Ministries of Tourism, Textiles, Culture, and External Affairs during 1st Feb to 17th February every year. For this 33rd Surajkund International Crafts Mela-2019, the state of Maharashtra has been chosen to be the Theme State. At least 20 countries & all the states of India will be participating.” He read all the detailed information, as I gulped down piping hot tea.
We booked our tickets online. at https://in.bookmyshow.com/festival/surajkand-international-crafts-mela
As we stay near the city, we decided to go in our own car. If you are coming from afar:
This is how you can reach Surajkund.
Surajkund is well-connected to Delhi, Gurgaon and Faridabad by metalled road approachable by one’s own or hired conveyance.
The nearest airport is at Delhi. Surajkund is a 35-minute drive from the Indira Gandhi International airport and 25 kms. From Palam airport.
Delhi is the nearest railway junction. Faridabad and Gurgaon are both linked to Delhi
This is the most economical means to reach Surajkund from Delhi, Faridabad, Noida, and Gurgaon. Golf Carts and e-rickshaws are readily available from metro stations and can take you to and fro the fair premises in a matter of minutes.
Nearest metro station to Surajkund Mela is Badarpur
Because we had booked our tickets, there was no need to join those long queues for ticket booking. Scanning the QR code, we got the direct entry. We entered through the Jharkhand gate, GATE 2.
A splash of colors meets your eyes displaced through colorful kites, pots, and handicrafts ornating the walls, festooned to trees, and imaginatively placed here and there. A rhythm of drum beats welcomes all visitors.
As we had kids picked directly from school, they were ravenously hungry. We first headed to the place, which smelt delicious right, after entering barely 150 meters. This multi-cuisine Food Court 'Haveli’ was bubbling with ethnic cuisines from all over the world, The Rajasthan pavilion rubbed shoulders with Gujarat. Maharashtrian aromas wafted in from the opposite one. The sandstone benches under the colorful umbrella are a comfortable place to eat. The food system is managed with coupons.
We had lunch, enjoying the ‘been’ played by the legendary Rohtasnath Been Party at the nearby ‘Chaupal.’
They proudly display their citations; Rohtasnath Been party have their names enlisted in the Guinness book of world records for playing non- stop ‘Been’ for 10 hours! Where would you get a chance to watch them up so close, live and even have a share of their light under the camera lens!
Enthusiastic tourists get enthusiastic and break into a dance with them.
Food kiosks and permanent food vending points selling packed and ready-to-eat items have been set up in an artistic manner.
A bird’s eye view of the Mela Ground
The Mela ground is spread over 40 acres and houses about 1010 work huts that host craftsperson and weavers. They have brought with them a wonderful range of textiles, paintings, wood stock, ivory work, pottery, terracotta, stonework, lacquerware, cane and grass products.
Each thing unique and the best. And why not? Afterall there is an award that awaits the best among them. …Because it was the first day the prices were quite reasonable. However, I have heard you should be prepared enough to bargain if you are confident about the correct price.
A detailed map displayed at several places in the mela premises provides the full information of the various locations; the various gates to all the Indian states, the foreign pavilions, the Chaupals, Natyashalas, vehicle parking, the mela office, and facilities.