The Chamber Trade Fair is a crowd puller

The Krishnan Koil ground at Iyer Bungalow in the northern part of the city has become a recent happening place. Young and old are thronging here to steal a glimpse of the life-size Pyramid and Sphinx of Egypt erected as part of the 16th edition of the trade fair, organized by the Tamil Nadu Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The annual fair has an Egyptian theme, this time around and miniature Egypt, a model built on 80 cents area, earmarked for this purpose. With sand dunes, date palms and camels, one can leisurely enjoy the desert-like ambience or simply gaze at the 30-feet-tall Pyramid with the famed Sphinx in the foreground.

Kids can go for a camel ride while families pose for photos. The expo includes a gallery within the Pyramid that showcases Egyptian art and culture.

“Madurai is an entertainment-starved town and we wanted to do something different and innovative. The idea came from our visit to South China, where miniature models of the seven world wonders have been installed to promote tourism,” says N. Jegatheesan, President of ‘Chamber Trade Fair 2013’.

“This is just a trial. In future, we plan to construct permanent models of all the world wonders in the city. We have already located the land and the process of constructing a trade centre will start soon. Next year, we will be holding the expo in our own venue,” he adds. The centre will feature the essential cultural elements that define Madurai and serve as a tourist and trade attraction.

The Pyramid structure relies on diverse construction materials, including Plaster of Paris, gunny bags, steel rods and wooden planks.

“It took nearly 20 days to complete the structure. We wanted to give an added attraction apart from regular shopping. This year, the expo has only 130 stalls, which make it comparatively smaller than the previous years. But, the response is better because of the Pyramid,” notes Rethinavelu, Chairman of Tamil Nadu Chamber Foundation. “This is the first time the expo has moved away from Tamukkam ground inside the city. We wanted to explore the fringes of Madurai. This will initiate expansion of the town.”

The trade fair offers a wide range of merchandise from home necessities, health products and artefacts to everyday items as well as electronic goods and furniture.

3D show

Apart from a children’s play area, the giant wheel ride and food stalls, an exclusive highlight is the 3D documentary show on the Egyptian Pyramids.

“The makeshift theatre can accommodate 50 people at a time and is air-conditioned. The documentary is a 20-minute show that explains how ‘mummies’ are made. The film highlights the beliefs, practices and reasons behind the construction of the Pyramids as well as the Egyptian civilization,” says Rajesh, a member of Young Entrepreneur School, a forum of the Chamber of Commerce. “We wanted to give an ‘edutainment’ experience, so that there is something to learn and take home apart from the fun. Many city schools are sending students to watch the documentary.”

The show is ticketed at Rs.30 and students can avail a 50 percent concession on the rate.

The trade fair is on till January 3, 2013 and is open from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays and from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekends. There is an entry fee of Rs.20 except for children below five years.