Gujarat's in town
Get acquainted with Gujarat during this mela
"KHEMCHE, HOW are you?" asks one well-dressed Gujarati lady to the other, standing in front of the many stalls vending bhel and native dishes back home from apna Ahmedabad.
Scenes like this unfold in plenty at the Vibrant Gujarat Utsav - 2004, organised by the Coimbatore Gujarati Samaj on its premises. Bright-hued handlooms and handicrafts from the Western State share the limelight along with stalls put up by State Departments like tourism and Gusheel, the sheep and wool development corporation.
Enter the venue and you are greeted by the smell of delectable Gujarati short eats. Good ole' bhel, masala puri and pav bhaji wow you right at the entrance. Step inside, though, for all the action.
Lakhubhai and Pithabhai from Dwarka are vending hand-embroidered stoles, shawls, fabrics and furnishings at the fair. Fabrics seem to be selling most, looking by the rush at stalls.
Try out the block print kurtas made by Self-Help Groups (SHGs). Priced at Rs. 200, they look elegant.
If clothes bore you, step into the stall of Gusheel. They stock carpets and other items made from wool. Or the one selling oxidised metal products. Jewellery boxes, chambers to store diamonds and things more mundane like saunf are available in plenty. To add effect, you have enamel work on the lids.
At the Gusika Hastakala, choose from enticing appliqué-worked bed spread and pillow covers. Also available are embroidered cloth files, glass-embossed handbags and letter stands. The neighbouring stalls stock silk bed spreads with appliqué work.
The stall put up by the Gujarat Maticam Board plays host to quite a few visitors. Manisha Patel exhibits her clay-on-wood work through the board.
The colourful pieces draw inspiration from the various civilisations and deities. These decorative pieces are washable and priced between Rs. 70 and 1,200.
Crystal trees, said to bring good luck, and stalls selling a host of semi-precious beads and strings make up the rest of the exhibition, which is on till May 6.
Gujarati cotton fabrics, which make for great kurtas, are also available.
During the first three days of the exhibition, Coimbatoreans also got to sample an authentic Gujarati thali.
On offer were methi theplas, tindola, tomator sev, turiya patra, hara bhath, chaas and the like.
The sweet-toothed chose from desserts such as the famous shirkhand (sweet curd) and phada labsi (broken wheat halwa).
The cooks were brought in from Gujarat and Chennai and the food was served by catering students of the Sri Jayendra Saraswathy Maha Vidhyalaya College of Arts and Science.
SUBHA J RAO
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