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Ethnic touch to crafts mela

Bhubaneswar, Dec. 16: With beautifully lit Pipili lampshades and a colossal gateway, the Toshali National Crafts Mela welcomes its visitors to a world of artistry, pottery and numerous other crafts. The fair that opened its doors to visitors on Thursday evening at Janata Maidan saw swarms of people gathering at the kiosks that offer decorative items and furnishings.

The crafts mela is the brainchild of the Odisha Tourism Development Corporation in association with the ministry of tourism, the development commissioner handloom and the department of textiles, handloom and handicrafts of Odisha.

The sixth season of the fair exudes the charm of a crafts village adorned with works of tribal art and pottery. From the huge gateway to kiosk decorations, the sprawling eight acres speaks volume about the rich traditions of Odisha.

Artisans and cooperatives from 22 states have congregated to exhibit some of their authentic creations. Weavers from Bhagalpur have put up their kiosk for the first time, displaying the famous Bhagalpuri silk saris and dupattas. The Hyderabad kiosk showcases iridescent pearl ornaments and trinkets. Kiosks from northeastern India displayed their bamboo and cane artefacts. The colourful artificial flowers of Manipur also attracted good crowd.

A number of kiosks from Odisha showcased the state’s flourishing handloom and handicraft products. National Award winner for natural tie and dye products Sarat Kumar Patra of Nuapatna also has a kiosk displaying some of his finest creations.

“This year I have a brought along a wide range of saris from cotton, silk saris of Sambalpuri design, paper design, bomkai to wall hangings and dress materials. I have also brought along saris worth Rs 1 lakh,” said Patra.

Jute crafts, metal works, appliqué work, terracotta and products designed from various other ingenious materials are exhibited at the fair. Wrought iron products from Aurangabad display an amazing collection of showpiece items inspired from tribal life.

The organisers have given a special emphasis on Odia cuisine this year. An array of Odia food that includes varieties of pitha items is available. Another special attraction is the hot balloon ride.

“We have increased the number of kiosks by 100 this year. Last year, our total revenue was around Rs 3.5 crore and with the increase in kiosks and popularity of the fair, we are expecting to cross last years mark,” said managing director of the tourism development corporation Manoranjan Patnaik.

Stand up comedian Ehsaan Qureshi entertained the crowd with his witty takes on politicians and corruption on Friday. The fair is on till December 27.