EVENT The ongoing Dastkar Mela is a shopper’s delight

With festive season round the corner, it is time to go on a shopping spree. Move over mall and branded shops, the Dastkar Mela is in town for the first time. The earthy shopping experience takes you along 40-plus different kinds of handlooms and handicrafts from across the nation. It is a one-stop shop featuring art, clothes, toys, home needs and lifestyle products.

If you are an art lover, walk into the stall selling miniature paintings from Rajasthan or Pattachitra palm-leaf paintings ranging from Rs.50 to Rs.37,000 from Odisha. Suryanarayana, a pattachitra artist has bought 300 wall-hangings, bookmarks, framed paintings and coasters. Each product has the pattachitra series of intricate paintings engraved on them. “The base is palm leaf upon which a sharp needle is used to carve images with a natural ink got from burnt neem leaves,” he says. Saura tribal paintings made of vegetable dyes and clay from Malkangiri district of Odisha, miniature marble artefacts from Agra and wooden art pieces from Saharanpur are the other options.

Women may get high on Bengal cotton saris, Chanderi silk from Madhya Pradesh, tie-and-dye odhnis and ghaghras from Gujarat, Jaipuri mojiris, kashmiri pashmina shawls and embroidered kameez varieties, block printed cholis with mirror work from Rajasthan, silk-blend kurtis from Delhi and Bhagalpur silk saris. One-gram gold jewellery from Coimbatore, banjara bags from Hyderabad, Channapatna toys and a range of silver accessories and fashion junk jewellery from Delhi form the impulsive pickings.

Apart from home furnishing, curtains and patch-work cushions, artistically done kitchen and garden wares are available. A separate section of Khurja pottery features over 200 types of containers from small bowls for storing masalas and tea cups to large kadaais that can be used for oven-cooking. With intricate floral paintings and a shiny glaze, they would look classy on your kitchen counter. Rajesh, a potter from Khurja village in Uttar Pradesh, says, “This is an ancient art from the time of the Mughals. It involves various processes in which the ceramic is finally heated in a kiln at 1200 degrees and the paints remain intact for a long time.” The other pottery items are dinner sets, coffee mugs, spoon stands, pen holders, flower pots and fruit bowls.

The expo is on at MADITSSIA Hall till September 30 and is open from 10 a.m. to 9p.m.