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Mela at the mall

"Parikrama", the shopping festival on at Shopper's Stop, Harrington Road, beckons Chennai-ites with a variety of wares. On till August 24.

THE NORMALLY staid and square-looking Shoppers' Stop building has been cheered up with bright flowery borders, colourful buntings and glitzy umbrellas, giving it a festive air for its annual Parikrama festival. This year's theme for the fête that is meant to celebrate Indian tradition is "Mela".

The 17-day carnival has stalls with artistes from the North selling their wares. On the first floor, a bangle seller from Jaipur displays rows of brightly coloured lacquer bangles — from basic single-coloured ones to those embellished with glass, gold and stones and shiny but elegant bangles with simple mirror work. Prices range from Rs. 30 to Rs. 80. His stall also has intricately lacquered snuffboxes, jewellery, mirrored jewel boxes and key chains, priced from Rs. 30 upwards, which would make pretty gifts. Next to him, a middle-aged couple flaunt their appliqué worked salwars, kurtas, kurtis and unstitched material. An artist sits in the next stall busily mixing vegetable dyes to paint miniatures of Radha, Krishna and their entourage, Rajput princes hunting and Mughal kings and princesses relaxing. Most of the paintings are done on silk, though some are on paper and others on marble with stonework. The price of miniatures depends on how finely-detailed the work is, and the larger wall hangings on silk are priced at Rs. 450.

The rest of the stalls are on the third floor where a khurja pottery seller and a carpet weaver have displayed their work and, of course, a stall full of vibrant bandhini outfits. The Saharanpur woodwork stall has furniture from Uttar Pradesh, including a range of lovely armchairs, easy chairs, footstools, bookracks, lamps and cots.

To add to the festivities are games such as hoopla and shooting. And the tired shopper can refresh himself with snacks and chaat being sold at a counter on the third floor, while being serenaded by Rajasthani music. There are live dance and music performances by troupes from U.P., Rajasthan and Gujarat over the weekends. Shoppers' Stop's in-house brands, Stop and Kashish, have also launched new collections reflecting the mela theme.

The festival was inaugurated by former cricketer Krishnamachari Srikkanth and is on till August 24. Shoppers' Stop is on Harrington Road, ph: 28206350.


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