Being one of the oldest civilizations in the world, India is known for its rich heritage and traditional significance. What makes it unique is the people here who don’t just speak, dress, and eat differently but practice different beliefs as well.
However, the beauty of it all is that we are still one as a nation. And it is this diversity of our culture that Surajkund Fair portrays perfectly every year and it was to witness the same, that me and my friends decided to visit Surajkund International Crafts Mela.
For our entire group, 4th February 2020 wasn’t just another chilly day, as we were all quite excited and the reason for this welling-up curiosity was our visit to the carnival.
Although I used to hear all good things about this carnival in the past, I never had a chance to get first-hand experience until now but after my visit, I can easily say that nowhere else in the world would you find such a vivid melange of cultural bliss.
If you are someone who is looking for authentic, rustic and traditional Indian feels, then trust me, Surajkund International Crafts Mela in Faridabad is the place to be at!
Check out the key takeaways of the mela you should make a note of, beforehand.
Weekday Ticket Prices
However, on the weekends, the prices are comparatively high. This is perhaps due to the humongous footfall the Fair witnesses during Saturdays and Sundays.
Weekend Ticket Prices
Students with valid identity cards will have to shell out Rs.60 on weekdays. On weekends, they will have to pay Rs.180 like others.
School students in groups who have a written recommendation from the principal would get tickets for Rs.60 and for Rs.180 on weekends.
On the other hand, for freedom fighters and war widows with valid identity proof, the entry to Surajkund International Crafts Mela is completely free.
After the ticket prices, come the places within the fair that you ought to visit. Here are the hot-spots of the mela.
While entering the fair, you can almost feel that what you are about to explore is going to be entirely different from other fairs and events.
We entered from Gate no. 1 and as you step inside, you come across the replicas of traditional Indian architectural designs that are inclusive of temples, forts from all over India.
As Himachal Pradesh is the theme state of 2020, you will be coming across innumerable banners and hoardings stating Unforgettable Himachal Pradesh.
The aisle of different stalls belonging to different states began right at the entry point. The high ceiling decorative drapes and the hanging umbrellas added up to the beautiful ambiance of the carnival on which travelers from abroad were crushing over. In fact, we could see people using them as a colourful background for clicking their pictures as well.
Nevertheless, as we moved ahead, we came across the traditional paintings on the walls which looked very interesting to me.
Soon, we got to meet a group of 3 artists who were practising for their upcoming performance on a kettle drum. These guys had come from the village Bhiwani, Haryana. While 2 of them were quite senior and had been attending the fair since 1987, the third artist, to our surprise, was an adorable 12-year-old boy.
We were told that it was his first time at the fair. Out of curiosity one of my friends asked them the reason why they attend Surajkund Crafts Mela every year, without fail.
‘‘It is the government who wants us here and we are happy to oblige’’, said the old man with a glint of pride in his eyes. We walked away sharing a part of the same pride in our hearts. I felt that coming here, performing and seeing the audience smile was perhaps all that made a difference to them.
Apart from these three artists we also saw a group of folk artists from Haryana. They were sitting on the ground at a considerable distance from us and were practicing with their drums, and snake charming flutes. Although we couldn’t talk to them, we didn’t miss out on clicking a picture.
One of the primary objectives of this fair has always been to preserve the traditions of our Indian culture. This time, the Indian President Mr. Ram Nath Kovind during the inauguration speech, said that not just this fair has successfully created a confluence of art and culture but also has been able to strengthen the economic condition of the craftsmen and weavers of our country who come here from all over the country to showcase their talent.
Even the Chief Minister of Haryana, Mr. Manohar Lal Khattar also added that Surajkund Mela has helped a lot in boosting tourism activities in the state of Haryana.
As you enter the fair, there are all sorts of items lined up for your eyes ranging from jewellery, food, hand-made pots, chairs, flower pots, expensive carpets, pickles and everything else that you could possibly imagine.
Those who like to decorate their home, office and other personal space will find it quite an opportunity for shopping around.
Seeing the plethora of choices, I bet anyone can be easily confused on what to buy and what not to buy. There were many wonderful items like lamps, small figurines of elephants, tortoise, toys, the handiwork of different cultures and so much more.
The quality of all the items that you will find here is purchase worthy. We enquired about a few items and their prices. Based on our enquiry the pricing of a few items are as follows.
If you get tired wandering around, then you can always quench your hunger with a variety of food items available. Talking about food, here you can find food stalls from all over India.
For foodies, there is everything ranging from scrumptious Masala Dosa of the South, Chole Bhature of Punjab, Litti-Chokha of Bihar, Dokhla of Gujarat and so much more. However, we chose to satisfy our hunger pangs with Punjab’s Chole Bhature. It cost us Rs.80 per plate.
This time, Himachal Pradesh has been chosen as the theme state for the 34th Surajkund International Crafts Mela. We got to see the unique and enriching heritage of Himachal Pradesh through its various art forms as well as handicrafts. There were many artists who had come there to showcase their art in the form of cultural dance performances and folk arts. If not anything else, then the stunning replica of the famous ‘Bhima Kali Temple’ will surely amaze you.
Following our adventure of discovering Mini-India, we came to a halt at the Choupal where the audience was enjoying an ongoing performance of the Armenian band.
The Choupal was divided into two sections. The first or the primary section was reserved for VIPs as well as invitees. And the second section was reserved for regular people.
The next performance that followed was from the artists of Namibia. Their dance performance was full of energy and depicted the essence of their culture.
Post this, Haryana’s group presented a fun cultural program that was full of energy. They performed on a folksong, Bam Lahiri and it got the most applause from the audience.
We even recorded a video for the same. Let's have a look
This year, Uzbekistan is the partner nation of Surajkund Crafts Mela. And there was a perpetual sense of curiosity rising in us when we entered the Uzbekistan section.
It felt as if a new dimension of culture was revealed to us. While we checked out various things like decorative items, handmade jewellery, and paintings, what really intrigued my attention was one chess piece set. I really liked the design of the pieces and the chessboard.
By the time we were done with Uzbekistan, we felt really tired. However, with the zeal to explore more, we continued our little adventure of discovering the largest cultural fair of India.
Thus, we advanced with our casual strolls. It helped us discover many more interesting nuances of the Surajkund Crafts Mela. One of the points worth mentioning here would be a man dressed as a dacoit, named Daku Lakhan Singh.
He was a big dark and muscular guy with an old-school rifle in his hand. People lined up to click pictures with him, however, nor me or neither my friends clicked a picture with him, but we did happily watch others.
After our meeting with the bandit, we went ahead and bought a few things for ourselves. By the time we were done shopping, it was time for us to leave.
Truly, we made some really amazing memories to cherish for life. And, as we left with a heavy heart, we knew that we will be back the next time, and all the times after that.