The renowned annual Surajkund Mela was held this year from 1-15 February. This festival is organised annually by the Surajkund Mela Authority under the aegis of the Haryana state Tourism Ministry and the Indian Union Ministries of Tourism, Textiles and Culture.
The fair showcases the finest handicrafts and handlooms of India and draws award winning artisans from all over the country who showcase and sell their products. The fair features different cuisines and acts as a platform for performing arts including folk theatre from different parts of the country.
From this year , the Surajkund Mela was elevated as an International Crafts Mela and Sri Lanka was bestowed the honor of being selected as the first country to be granted the important status of ‘Partner Nation’ at the Mela. While Sri Lanka participated at this mega fair as its Partner Nation, 18 other countries from across the world joined the Mela in different capacities to feature their diverse culture, arts, handicrafts, songs and dance.
The Indian state of Goa participated in the Mela as the theme state, prominently displaying its culture, art, architecture and food.
As Partner Nation, Sri Lanka had a separate pavilion at the fair featuring traditional art, handicrafts including non-toxic and environmentally friendly products such as jute, palmyrah and coconut shell based crafts, handloom products, batik, tea and cuisine. A special attraction of Sri Lanka’s participation at the fair is the traditional dances on display each day at the venue featuring the National Youth Council Dance Troupe.
The Sri Lanka Navy Cultural Troupe that is visiting New Delhi also performed at the Fair which draws nearly 100,000 visitors on a daily basis and receives wide media attention especially in north India. The Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau and the Sri Lanka Tea Board joined Sri Lanka’s representation at the Fair featuring attractive stalls.
High Commissioner Prasad Kariyawasam joined the Chief Minister of Haryana and the Deputy Chief Minister of Goa at the inauguration of the Mela on 1 st February. Speaking at the inauguration, the High Commissioner thanked the Chief Minister of Haryana for providing the opportunity for Sri Lanka to be the first Partner Nation at the Mela, manifesting the close relations and cultural links that exist between the two countries.
On 4th February, Senior Minister for Urban Affairs A.H.M. Fowzie, Member of Parliament Malini Fonseka, High Commissioner Prasad Kariyawasam, Chairman of the National Crafts Council Buddhi Keerthisena and Chairman of Haryana Tourism Chakravarty Sharma graced a ceremony organised at the Sri Lanka Pavilion in the Mela to mark Sri Lanka’s 66th Independence and National Day.
The media briefing of the Surajkund International Crafts Mela was held on 31 st January. Addressing the media, High Commissioner Kariyawasam emphasized the importance of the Mela as a means of promoting traditional arts and crafts and culture in the region and providing opportunities for craft persons to promote their products.