4th craft mela begins today

With the theme of the fourth Chandigarh National Crafts Mela being 'Tribes of India', the venue of the festival — Kala Gram — is being decked out with an amalgamation of nature and art. The mela will be inaugurated by Administrator Shivraj Patil on Friday, which will see the addition of Hasya Kavi Sammelan, Tricity children's singing competition and a ballet performance.

Organiser Bansal Kaul said: "Though tribe to us is a word synonym with connotations of backwardness, Indian tribes don't necessarily live in forests, but in different geographical environments with their own architecture, art forms and agrarian economy. Through the exhibits, we plan to highlight that tribals are skilled and have developed their own indigenous science, structural engineering and architecture techniques. They are close to nature and remind us of the environmental degradation through our activities," said Kaul.

Around 300 folk artists, dancers and instrumentalists, representing all cultures across India will be performing at the mela.

For the past two weeks, artistes have been working hard to design ten huts - each with their own style and tribal paintings. "With the assistance of six zonal cultural centres, we will try to reflect the crafts, culture and art from all states. The virtue of performing arts is that it is non-repetitive and everytime in a new context," said Jaswinder Kaur, director of Cultural Affairs at UT Administration.

She said that of the 125 stalls, 35 stalls are exclusive for tribal regions and 10 for Chandigarh and that the country's top honoured crafts persons, national awardees and shilp gurus will be exhibiting their art.

Around 15 stalls have been dedicated for food and the authentic flavors from different regions. The dishes range from sea food to street food and desserts from various states.

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