The Shilparamam Crafts Mela promotes tourism and also sustains our rich and varied heritage
FOR THE past decade or so, Hyderabadis have thronged the Crafts Mela at Shilparamam. The crisp aroma of spices from the food stalls, the myriad hues in the warp and weft of handlooms and the many soul-capturing handicrafts weave their magic.
The fair, which is organised on a 42-acre campus, is a-once-in-a-year experience and targeted at promoting Indian arts and crafts among the city's populace and the visiting NRIs. This year almost 450 artisans from over 20 States are participating in the mela. Apart from the plethora of stalls, the management has also introduced the `mobile experience' this year. According to G. Kishan Rao, Director, Tourism, and Special Officer, Shilparamam, "we have introduced means of transportation such as the horse-cart and bullock-cart to enable people to experience the simple pleasures of travel. A ropeway with single chair as well as cabins has also been introduced for the first time. NRI artistes will perform from December 25, in the evenings at the amphitheatre."
Weekends tend to be crowded and on entering the fair grounds, visitors are stunned by the array of products on display. Hand embroidered bed-sheets and tablecloths from Palmaner jostle for space with Narayanpet and Gadwal sarees, and tie- and-dye fabrics from Gujarat, Banarasi saris are found along with those ethnically chic Maheshwari and Chanderi saris from Madhya Pradesh.
Leather footwear, especially the never out of fashion joothis, jute bags and holders and handcrafted jewellery made of glass and semi-precious stones in a kaleidoscope of colours are found at every turn.
If you are redecorating your home or moving into a new one, Shilparamam has plenty of options. You can go passionate over terracotta - there are pieces for the garden, for your interiors and even some for feng shui enthusiasts. Wrought iron stands with beautiful lampshades, dokra castings for your peg tables, intricate cane and bamboo holders and dry flowers with aesthetic colours from the Northeast, framed madhubani and kalamkari pictures, crockery, tiles with the famous yellow-blue Jaipur combinations, wooden frames for doors, carved statues and pictures with inlay work, utility items made of sea-shells and coconuts from Tamil Nadu and low baithaks beautifully worked with coir, will enrich your home. Tired of walking around? Take a breather and sit down on any of the wooden or metal swings dotting the area. The artisans don't mind and someone will even offer to pattern a mehendi design on your hand while you recoup. If you are ravenous, a multifarious cuisine awaits you. Take your pick from the samosas, kachoris and other chaat items to the ubiquitous masala dosa.
Now that you have rested, make your way to the amphitheatre and be enthralled by the folk dances. You are even invited to shake a leg. This is accompanied by much giggling as the novice gets his footwork all wrong the first time. But the beat of the dholak will get you in step. And to round it of, ride away to the exit in a horse cart with a jangling harness.
Even if you don't buy a thing, or wish you had bought everything, the crafts mela is an experience one should not miss. In these times it may be the closest we get to the heart of India.
Send this article to Friends by