With Jammu & Kashmir (UT) as “Theme State”, Surajkund International Crafts Mela 2022 Showcased Crafts and Arts for Market Linkages
Surajkund International Crafts Mela is one of the most colourful traditional craft festivals of India and the world at large, which is held every year at Surajkund Mela Ground, Haryana. With the outbreak of Covid-19, it couldn’t be organised last year. Traditional craftsmen such as artists, painters, weavers, Food stalls and sculptors from all parts of the country participate in this annual fair (Mela). The Mela celebrates the unique diversity of Indian traditions and culture in an ambience, created to represent the ethos of rural India and its rich diversity. As its specialty, the Surajkund International Crafts Mela showcases some of the most exquisite handlooms, handicrafts and ethnic arts of India.
Occupying a place of pride on the international tourist calendar, more than 1.5 million visitors throng the Mela during the fortnight of celebrations including thousands of foreign tourists. The Surajkund Mela is unique as it showcases the richness and diversity of the handicrafts, handlooms and cultural fabric of India and undeniably it is the largest Crafts Fair in the world. The Mela is organised by the Surajkund Mela Authority (SKMA), Department of Tourism, Government of Haryana, in collaboration with Union Ministries of Tourism, Textiles, Culture and External Affairs. The novelty of the Surajkund International Crafts Mela is that one of the Indian states gets the honour to occupy the position of the “Theme State” each year. The Theme State gets broadly conceptualised with a view to promote and focus on art, crafts and cuisines of the chosen state. The UT of Jammu & Kashmir was chosen as the “Theme State” for the 35th Surajkund International Crafts Mela 2022 (March 19-April 04). PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI) is the “Partner-EMA” of Theme State Jammu & Kashmir for Surajkund International Crafts Mela 2022.
The Mela has impressively provided a rare opportunity to the “Theme State” to showcase its local handicrafts, handlooms, performing and folk arts, cuisines and its tourist potential to vast cross-sections of people in the most impressive manner. As expected, the Mela received an unprecedented participation of artists, artisans, art & craft connoisseurs, fashion & cinema professionals, curators, policymakers from the government and industry, diplomats and media and that make the deliberations put through Surajkund International Crafts Mela 2022, truly diverse and enriching.
The J&K Apna Ghar, Houseboat (Information Centre), Mubarak Mandi Gate; Chashme Shahi Gate and Bachi Darwaja were widely hailed for their authentic representation of J&K’s rich and diverse cultural heritages. The dignitaries, among others, who visited and appreciated the works on ground include Manohar Lal Khattar, Chief Minister, Haryana; Bandaru Dattatreya, Governor, Haryana; Manoj Sinha, Lieutenant Governor, Jammu & Kashmir; Ranjan Prakash Thakur, Principal Secretary (Industries & Commerce), Government of Jammu & Kashmir and Mehmood Ahmad Shah, Director, Department of Handicrafts & Handloom and Industries & Commerce, Government of Jammu & Kashmir.
Through the wide-ranging display of crafts and their celebrations through public interface, Surajkund International Crafts Mela 2022 comes out totally coloured in the rich culture, heritage and crafts of Jammu & Kashmir. Moreover, Surajkund International Crafts Mela 2022 is also making the “Theme State (UT of Jammu & Kashmir)” to host its diverse sets of crafts, artisans and performing artists and get them showcased at a truly remarkable international platform. A large number of renowned folk artists and cultural groups from Theme State, national and international are showcasing their rich works and present performances at the Surajkund Mela premise. Uzbekistan is the “Partner Nation” of Surajkund International Crafts Mela 2022.
The diverse socio-cultural specialties form a significant core part of the unique cultural lineage of Jammu & Kashmir. There are various social and cultural traditions in Jammu & Kashmir which influence and contribute to the richness and diversities that exist there in the social-cultural realm. Also enthralling cultural evening programs are being held at the main Chaupal (stage) during each of the Mela evenings. Surajkund International Crafts Mela is indeed a custodian of the heritage crafts involving use of traditional skills that are fading away due to cheap machine made imitations, and a special section is earmarked for showcasing of these heritage crafts.
The multi-cuisine Food Court is providing the ethnic cuisines from Jammu & Kashmir and other Indian states, which will be a big attraction for the visitors.
There are designated places for amusement, adventure sports and joy rides to make it a must visit event for the young population as well. On 30th March, the theme-based fashion shows on Jammu & Kashmir were organised as well.
Surajkund International Crafts Mela 2022 is modeled as a global program to support the relentless efforts to promote Jammu & Kashmir as “Culture, Crafts & Tourism Hub”, which are being put together to keep the tradition walk with the modernity in the changing times. Overall, Surajkund International Crafts Mela is intended to showcase and celebrate the richness of Jammu & Kashmir’s arts and crafts and diverse works of other streams) besides to sensitise the policy-makers, connoisseurs, civil society and masses to preserve and carry forward them.
While drawing the line around “Art & Craft”, Surajkund International Crafts Mela 2022 shall also earmark focus for creating market linkages for artists and promoting their works to sustain the livelihood options.