The Dastkar Nature Bazaar at Dilli Haat brings eco-friendly products from all over India, reports RANA SIDDIQUI

Delhi just saw Dastakar's Festival of Lights craft bazaar at Chinmaya Mission a little ahead of Diwali. Not that it was totally different from other Diwali bazaars selling handicrafts, but it was colourful nonetheless. Now Dastakar brings Delhiites its new theme, 'Tiger' at Dilli Haat. Named the Nature Bazaar 2006, it includes a huge range of handicraft and handloom products. In this annual craft and environmental fair, the organisation is also conducting various free workshops for those interested. What might interest the viewers this time is black tiger pottery from Ranthambore and blue tiger pottery from Jaipur. Both are named so because of the tiger prints on them. Moreover, the pots can be put in the oven too. The traditional Godna painting, which originated in Bihar, also finds a place here. Done in black ink, these paintings depict tales of the social life of women in Bihar - how they balance their life at home and as working women. They portray jungle truths and nature. The visitor can also get their own tales 'Godna painted' by Godna artists for a price.

200 stalls

Spread across some 200 stalls, the exhibition also has Dhokra utility items made of brass, copper and other materials from Orissa, besides Bastar ironware, Kinnauri shawls from Himachal Pradesh, a hand-knitted range from Ladkah, block prints, pattu weaves, indigo cotton, khadi, tussar, kota, chanderi, jamdani, vegetable-dyed fabrics, furnishings and furniture. It also includes organic food, especially cereals, pulses, vegetables, pickles and jams, apart from herbal beauty products. The visitors can also learn a bit of block printing or try their hand at pottery in the free-of-cost workshops throughout the fair. Dastakar has also organised a Craft Walk for children aged between 8 and 12 for the first time. Divided into two groups, it comes for a cost. Those who register with the first group would have to shell out Rs.200 to 250 for viewing live workshops/demonstrations in a 'walking group'. Those registering with the second group would have to pay Rs.500-550. They are grouped together for a-five-day workshop to learn a craft straight from theartisans. This craft walk is organised by teacher and eco-activist Ranmal Jhala. The Haat is also resonant with educative street plays, puppet shows, face painting, films on the tiger, besides folk performances, etc. Apart from this, a UNESCO stall informing the artisans about their Seal of Excellence can also be seen.According to a Dastakar representative, this time the items to look for are jamdani and cutwork on fabrics, utility items from coconut shell and bamboo products, including furniture, which are new additions. If items like a simple key chain may cost you between Rs.20 and 25 here, textiles are the most expensive of all the products.The fair concludes on December 4.

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On show

The tiger is the theme of the festival.

Black tiger pottery from Ranthambore and blue tiger pottery from Jaipur are among its highlights

20 new groups this year from Assam, Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and others

Bamboo furniture, Jamdhani and cutwork on fabric are some of the things to look out for

Free of cost workshops on pottery, block printing, kite-making, toy-making, poster-making

Street Plays and theatre workshops for adults

Folk storytelling sessions through songs and performances

Craft walk for children (8-12) for Rs.200 onwards

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