Karnataka's hypnotic spell at Surajkund Fair

Surajkund International Crafts Mela

Be it the smell of Kannada cuisine wafting through the air, an array of multi-ethnic costumes, performances on a temple-themed stage, or even architectural grandeur, celebrations spelt a new name for Karnataka at the Surajkund Fair here.

Returning after a gap of almost 20 years as the 'theme state' at the 27th International Surajkund Fair, Karnataka has this time put up replicas of its famed architectural monuments across the grounds of the Fair, which concludes here on February 14.

"We take this opportunity to announce and inform the world that South India is more than just Tamil Nadu and Kerala as most tourists consider it to be. We have lavishly displayed and are celebrating our culture and heritage and welcome everyone to the state of Karnataka, tourists or otherwise," G Satyavati, Director, Karnataka Tourism said.

The replica of Mysore's famed Palace Gates welcomed visitors and as they moved further down they were greeted with more gates and more heritage. Artists dressed up in costumes from all regions of Karnataka like Coorg, Mysore, Bellary and coastal areas among others caught visitors attention in general and photographers in particular.

A traditional Coorgi family house called 'Ain-Mane' representative of the spirit of their ancestors dressed up in ethnic costumes performed at the Fair. While men wore Coorgi Peta (headgear) on their heads and carried a dagger around the waist, women dressed up in authentic Coorgi wear with a typical hairdo.

"I have already visited the Fair twice and can't get enough of it especially with my camera around. Karnataka and Tejikstan have bowled me over. And, I will probably visit again before the closing. It's an extraordinary celebration of one's heritage and other states must learn from it," said Chaman Marwari, a photographer and visitor at the fair.

"Apart from regular campaigns... we also have a special branding for the Surajkund,' WOW Karnataka. Many Worlds Come Alive at the Surajkund Mela' which can be seen around the fair. The main stage has been designed as a replica of the Pattadakal Temple, a World Heritage site apart from many other gates like the Bijapur Gate, Hoysala Gate, Hampi Gate, and Dasara Gate where the President was welcomed," said Unni K, part of Bangalore-based Stark Communications, company behind the rebranding of Karnataka Tourism.

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