Surajkund Mela opens, Karnataka is theme state

The 27th Surajkund International Crafts Mela will celebrate Karnataka's cultural and archaeological heritage, choosing it as the theme state.

Addressing mediapersons at the Surajkund Mela Ground in Faridabad, Parvez Dewan, Secretary of Tourism, said the mela will be inaugurated on Saturday by President Pranab Mukherjee, Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Karnataka Tourism Minister Anand Singh.

The Surajkund International Crafts Mela will open for public on Friday and will run till February 15.

Arvind Jadhav, Additional Chief Secretary of Tourism, Karnataka, said 15 days were not enough to showcase the state's heritage. "Karnataka is known as one state, but many worlds. We are extremely thankful for the opportunity, but we did have a lot of trouble narrowing down what to represent," he said.

The Surajkund Mela Authority will also celebrate Karnataka Day on February 9, with a fashion show by designer Prasad Bidappa, showcasing a variety of Karnataka silk and handlooms. Replica of the gates of Mysore Palace, the Geeta Dwar of Kurukshetra, the monument of Jain Basadis and Bijapur have been erected at the mela grounds. The 15-day mela will also have a multi-cuisine food court, where food from different parts of rural and coastal Karnataka will be available.

The mela ground is spread over 40 acres, including nearly 735 work huts with a variety of craftspersons, weavers, artisans, musicians and dancers. While last year saw the cultural participation of 12 countries , this year the participation of nine countries has been confirmed, including those from the African continent — Tunisia, Zambia and Congo — the SAARC nations, Thailand and Peru.

Dewan said special care has been taken to ensure the mela is environment-friendly. "Strict measures have been taken to ensure and implement a ban on plastic bags in the area," he said.

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