SurajKund is a small place in Haryana, just around 8 Kms from Delhi, which is now dotted by few resorts and many wide open areas where locals come to play cricket. Built during 10th century as a reservoir by Suraj Pal of Tomar dynasty, who was worshipper of sun god, and that’s how the place was named.
Ok lot’s of history. When I shifted my base to Delhi, my travel radar had only detected the famous camel fair of Pushkar. Once my radar was tuned to frequency of Delhi and around, was when I heard about SurajKund Handicraft Fair.
Initially my perception of the fair was that it will be like any other fair in India, where you find actually very few artisans and more of ferry-wheels and lots of food stalls. So with lot of dis-interest in my mind, I headed for the fair. Since I needed to kill time and clear up my mind, I decided to walk to location. (It’s 14 Kms from where I stay). Yes, I hear a lot of WTF, but people who know me, not only through this blog and have seen me, they know as Pamela Anderson considers her silicon gels to be assets, I consider this ‘gyarah number ki gari’ as my asset.(People unaware of Indian humour, we refer this to body part called - Legs)
On my way I gasped at the marvellous and cursed remains of Tughlaqabad fort (Yet to visit the place in details) and some clear road and fresh air (hard to find in city of Delhi, as residents of city will tell you) and reached my destination.
Before I entered the fair, paid visit to actual reservoir, which was for me straight out of history book. Built with stone and water dried up as brain dried up learning history lessons. But still the sheer magnitude and simplicity made me sit there and enjoy the architecture, till the time I was shaken from the heavenly dream to enter the mela grounds (I was still uninterested about the fair).
Tickets cost INR 50, and I was apprehensive of paying the same. But persuaded by my friend (who actually paid my share), and the moment I entered, I knew IT’S DIFFERENT. Only one ferry wheel and as far as your eyes goes, you see handicraft, and all food stalls cornered (Yeah actually all the food stalls are in a corner of huge mela grounds).
You can meet the actual artisans here and not some broker eating up yours as well as artisan’s money. See them how they create their art and learn about the processes as well. So for people who are busy with their jobs and career and don’t have much time and wish to know more of Indian art and handicraft in a single visit, this is the place to be.
The mela area is huge and if you get exhausted, which you will with your sedentary life style, you have desi entertainment (dirty minds I am not talking about porn), I am talking about our own culture and their beautiful performers and keepers of the performing art forms. (I can bet, watching them is better than sitting on your a** and watching reality shows on pseudo modern TV channels).
There are chaupals (open areas) built in between stalls, where these performers show their art. Chaupals should be your destination when you are exhausted and want some means of relaxation.
Last year, the theme state was Karnataka. 2012 is dedicated to Assam and for the first time in history, Thailand as a foreign partner.
So lot of blah-blah, here I leave you with glimpses of last year’s mela and hope that you will visit the place. (Take out some time from your mall visits). Next post will be with this year’s photographs. Till the time, hit REWIND and catch SurajKund Handicraft Fair 2011.