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Tribal fair draws huge crowd

Bhubaneswar, Jan. 31: How about picking up some home-grown products straight from tribal haats?

That is exactly what visitors to the Adivasi Mela, which began on January 26, are doing. So much has been the response that the organisers have extended the fair — this year’s theme is “empowerment of tribal women” — by another week.

The annual mega fair, hosted by the state government, is the oldest and most colourful one where representatives of all the 62 tribes, including 13 primitive tribe groups, take part.

“This year, the fair has seen footfalls like never before. While it usually goes on for a week, this time we have decided to make it a two-week affair after an overwhelming response,” said tribal research director A.B. Ota.

“More youngsters are showing interest in the fair,” he added.

“We have also launched a website, www.odishaadivasimela.com, to popularise the fair,” Ota said.

With 135 stalls, the fair ground has been divided into six different segments. While the first segment replicates tribal villages, the second one gives glimpses of tribal haats (weekly market).

Similarly, the third segment has stalls selling products and the fourth one displays food where Adivasi dishes are spread for the visitors. The remaining two segments have been earmarked for art and crafts, dance and music, respectively.

Besides cultural programmes by the tribals every evening, the food plaza has been another major attraction luring visitors to varieties of tribal delicacies like mahula pitha and salapa jal among others.

“The characteristic house pattern of different tribe groups with their material culture in their prototype model adorns the ground, making a great learning experience for most of us who have only heard and read of these places so far,” said Santosh Deuri, a visitor.

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