| Residents check out jewellery at a stall at the Saras Mela in Patna on Sunday. Picture by Jai Prakash |
Art lovers are flocking to Saras Mela to take their pick from an array of eye-catching handicraft from across the country.
The curtains went up on the 14-day Bihar Gram Utsav Mela, popularly known as Saras Mela 2013, at Gandhi Maidan on November 29.
It is jointly organised by the Union ministry of rural development and rural development department.
The fair has 350 stalls, including 25 food stalls from 14 states, including Bengal, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
Shieuli, an artist from Bengal, has been taking part in the fair since its inception in 2005. She has set a stall of traditional kantha stitch products from Bengal. “These kinds of fairs provide us a platform to showcase our products and also help us to judge our work through the sales graph. We get to know about our shortcomings and the competition in the market,” she said.
Satish, an artist from Bhagalpur, has set up a stall where eight varieties of silk are available. “I have eight varieties of silk, including raw silk and chanderi silk. The silk dupattas and saris and shawls are in great demand.”
Manju Thakur (32), an artist from Saharsa, said: “I have running a stall of handmade jute bags and jewellery. The sale of bags has been good as they quite popular among working women. The bags start from Rs 50.”
Puja Agarwal, a resident of Boring Road, waits for the fair every year. “I make it a point to buy the handmade pickles every year. Apart from eateries, I also like the stalls of Gujarati jewellery.”
For some, the mela is an appropriate destination for home decoration. Kaveri Prasad, a professor of Patna University, said: “The boxes made of bamboo and jute from Odisha are really amazing. The decorative mirrors, wooden hangings and furniture are perfect items for home décor,” she said.
The mela has a wide variety of handloom and handicraft items from various states. The wooden items from Saharanpur, cotton products from Tamil Nadu, shoes and dress materials from Punjab, kantha items from Bengal, saris from Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh, silk products from Chhattisgarh and leather of Madhya Pradesh have recorded brisk sales.
The fair is open from 11am to 8pm. The administration has taken appropriate steps to ensure security arrangements at the fair. Seema Tripathi, the Patna district development commissioner, said: “We have installed 32 CCTV cameras at the fair. More than 100 guards during the day and 40 guards at night have been deployed. Two doorframe metal detectors have also been installed. Police in civil dress are keeping tabs on the crowds.”