New Delhi, Feb 1 (ANI): Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari inaugurated the internationally acclaimed annual Surajkund Crafts Mela on Monday at Surajkund near New Delhi.
Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda was present on the occasion with Jagannath Pahadia, the Governor of Haryana.
Union Minister for Tourism, Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, Kumari Selja and Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot were also present along with a host of other dignitaries.
The 15-day festival has participant craftsmen with exquisite talents not only from the length and breadth of the country, but even from countries like Tajikistan, Thailand and Egypt besides the neighbouring SAARC nations.
State of Rajasthan is the theme state this time.
The Mela also offers the participating craftsmen a direct opportunity and exposure to market their products to the end users.
Organized primarily under the aegis of the Union Ministry of Tourism, the Mela is a collective and concerted effort of agencies like Development Commissioners of Handicrafts, Handlooms and Union Ministries of Culture and External Affairs, Haryana Tourism and the Tourism Department of the theme State as they jointly conduct and coordinate the arrangements of the Mela.
The Mela happens to be one amongst the most important and popular event in the annual national calendar organised in and around Delhi. The number of visitors that stood at over 7 lakhs last year is expected to increase substantially this time.
This year a high level team of Sri Lanka consisting of 25 persons is visiting Surajkund Crafts Mela to study the aspects of its conduct in totality with a view to replicate it.
More than 400 craftsmen sponsored by Development Commissioners Handicrafts and Handlooms, Ministry of Textiles, Rajasthan Government and other organisations of international repute have started reaching the venue to setup their exhibition cum sale counters within the Mela area.
The area shall be flooded with over 200 day performers of folk dance, drama and other skills, including Octave dance group from North-East, folk dances include Kaal Belia (Rajasthan), Siddi Goma (Gujarat), Brij Ki Holi and Charkula (U.P.), Bhangra (Punjab), Been Spera and Banchari (Haryana), 'Tajik Dances', "Egyptian Tannoura Dance" and "Thai Traditional Dances", performing throughout the day in various corners for 15 days.
In the evening, there would be daily cultural performances from 6 p.m. onwards in the nearby Open Air Theatre named Natyashala.
The food court within the Mela premises shall have the cuisine from across the country. Yielding to the popular suggestion, an extensive amusement park has been set up next to the Shekhawati gate for the benefit of children.
The Mela shall have a number of competitions for school/college students. There would also be an Exporters' Meet organized by office of D.C. Handicrafts on February 11.
The security has been tightened in and around the Mela area.
Extensive arrangements for parking space have been planned and efficient and attractive ferry arrangements have been made to bring visitors from the parking place to the entrance. (ANI)