The 25th edition of Surajkund Crafts Mela will once again bring alive the traditional crafts and cultural heritage of different States, Union Territories and foreign countries at the fortnight-long event that opens here this Tuesday.

This year’s annual carnival assumes significance as mela will celebrate its silver jubilee. A special commemorative cover of the mela will be released by Minister of State for Communications and Information Technology Sachin Pilot.

As Andhra Pradesh has been chosen as the theme State for the third time, the crafts mela will radiate with the colour, cuisine and customs of the Southern State. Rich Kalamkari fabrics, Pochampally handlooms and Mangalagiri saris will be displayed. Kondapalli toys, Pembarthi metal crafts and Banjara needle crafts will also be showcased.

The participation by Uzbekistan as the partner country gives the annual extravaganza an international flavour.

Addressing a press conference on Monday, Haryana Tourism Minister O. P. Jain said the annual event provides an opportunity to visitors from across the country and abroad to get a first-hand experience of the extraordinary variety of arts and crafts.

“Twenty-seven States and Union Territories are participating this year. The mela will recreate a rural ambience and we have put our best food forward to ensure that we are able to educate visitors on the skills involved in creating age-old crafts. They can directly interact with weavers, artisans and those dealing in the business of arts and crafts. To allow more visitors, we have increased the mela area by seven acres. We have also added a choupal (open air stage) for cultural performances. The number of huts has been augmented from 394 to 525.

Pointing out that Andhra Pradesh was chosen as the theme State in 1999 and 2007, Mr. Jain said the Haryana Government was pleased that Andhra Pradesh is again participating as a theme State this year also. “Andhra Pradesh is known for its varied arts, crafts and culture. Its historic grandeur, natural splendour and colourful flavour will be an important segment of the mela. In fact, visitors will get a glimpse of the rich cultural heritage of State. As the State is synonymous with its hot spicy cuisine, we will have a wide assortment of Andhra dishes like Hyderabad biryani, kebab and sheer korma.”

Presenting a unique amalgamation of culturally rich countries coming together under common platform to promote arts, crafts and culture, several countries including Russia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Afghanistan and Nepal are participating.

Selected crafts-persons, weavers, folk dancers, theatre troupes, jugglers and magicians from different parts of the country will regal the crowds.

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