Crafts Mela a meeting ground for art, culture, music, dance

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The haath bansuri or the hand flute is a labour of love. Made with bamboo, and intricately carved with hot iron instrument, the flute echoes a sound which resembles that of a sweet whistle, the wind or a gentle breeze. All you have to do is just hold it in your hand and lend an ear. As Butelee Ram from Chhattisgarh explains the mechanics of the flute, you see the patterns have an imprint of nature's wonders. "It's an art that has carried on for generations,'' said Ram, leading you to the lamps which have been painstakingly made out of the oval, dried gourd (lauki), painted and again decked out with varied motifs.

The Fourth Chandigarh National Crafts Mela, the theme of which is 'Tribes of India', was inaugurated by UT Administrator Shivraj V Patil at Kalagram on Friday evening. The fair is a meeting ground of various art forms, and showcases the best of handlooms, paintings, apparel, jewellery, furniture, home accessories, pottery and handicrafts from across the country.

The evening began on a colourful and musical note as more than 100 dancers and performers from different regions of India, dressed in their traditional costumes and with their indigenous instruments, filled the air with sounds and notes. "This is such a grand platform for us to display our art and also meet musicians and dancers from other states,'' said Pritha Mukherjee from Bengal, as she got dressed in her white and red costume. The ambience created for the mela was an artistic mix of creativity and art, with each of the 120 stalls depicting the tribal motifs, painting styles, colour combinations special to each tribal area of India. A must-look is the 20-foot entrance gate styled on the tribal theme.

The mela is also a place where you cannot just buy, but also get up, close and personal with craftsmen who are carrying on the tradition against all odds. For instance, national award winner Wahed Ahmed's wood carvings depict not only his dexterity and creativity, but also his imagination, as he draws inspiration from the environment, people, animals and gods.

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