Staff Reporter

MALAPPURAM: The curtain rose on this year’s edition of the Malappuram Craft Mela at Kottakunnu here on Wednesday.

Dozens of artisans from different parts of the country and abroad are taking part in the fair, considered a miniature form of the famous Surajkund crafts fair.

Artisans began arranging their handicrafts in stalls set up under thatched huts from Wednesday morning. Minister for Home Kodiyeri Balakrishnan will formally declare the fair open on Thursday. Over 200 artisans are expected to take part in the two-week fair, entry to which is free for the public.

District Collector M.C. Mohandas said more than seven lakh people were expected to visit the fair. Last year, the fair witnessed a turnout of seven lakh people, mostly from Malappuram and the neighbouring districts.

Apart from a contingent from Syria, artisans from Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Arunachal Pradesh, Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir, Manipur, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Chattisgarh are attending the mela.

Food fete

A food festival, showcasing the ethnic dishes of Malabar, is also being held as part of the fair. Apart from the traditional delicacies of Malappuram, the fair has stalls of Kerala food and that of other States and Arabian food. Stalls serving ethnic dishes such as puttu, kappa and dosa and Arabian food such as shawarma and shawai have also been put up. Chinese and continental dishes are also available.