The highlight of the 56-day handicrafts and handlooms exhibition at Swaraj Maidan here will be an impressive and huge replica of the Taj Mahal with the organisers hoping to get wider patronage from the public.

In addition to this monument, there will be nearly 23 varieties of fun-filled activities for which facilities are being created at the venue. Also there will be boat rides for which a water channel has been created and specially designed fountains will be impressive for the visitors.

The exhibition will begin formally from Friday when Joint Collector Gaurav Uppal will inaugurate it. Nearly 200 stalls will be featuring in the exhibition with participation from artisans and professionals from all over the country.

Exhibition chief organiser M. Raja Reddy says that their aim is to bring together artists, artisans and professionals so as to create best opportunities for them in such exhibitions. He says that they have been providing chances to unemployed artisans and artists to work at their events and get financial support.

Addressing a press conference here on Thursday, Mr. Raja Reddy said that the artists with experience in creating replicas of any monument in the world were engaged in making the Taj replica at their exhibition. About 400 artists participated in this Taj replica making which cost them nearly Rs. 60 lakh. The replica was made with fibre material and wood. Mr. Reddy said that the exhibition entry would be free for children below 5 years and others would have to pay Rs. 30 per head. He said that last year, there was a lot of patronage from the public in city and surrounding areas in the region and they were expecting much bigger support this year as well.

Mr. Reddy said that hundreds of artisan families were getting good livelihoods because of this.

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