After two long years, Rath-er Mela is back and residents are making a beeline to the Central Park fairgrounds for a taste.
Organised by Bidhannagar Sree Chaitanya Bhagabat Samaj, the fair has brought under a roof not just stalls from across the country but also some sari and dry fruit stalls from Bangladesh and Afghanistan respectively. There are many stalls selling plastic home utility items for Rs 20 and clothes for Rs 200, besides utensils, crockery and junk jewellery. There are food stalls and kids’ play areas too.
The fair will continue till July 12 and timings are 3pm to 9pm. Here’s a glimpse of what’s in store -
These fans look like fruits and work when the user gently presses the side handle.Brinda Sarkar
These attractive fans look like fruits — watermelon, mango, pineapple — and work when the user gently presses the side handle. “One would think these were for kids but many adults are buying them too. The grape fan, that I had 50 pieces of, sold out in three days flat,” said stall-keeper Soumyalok Dutta. “And the good news is that these are not even Chinese-made. They are local, just like many other fancy pens and toys in the market this season.”
Where: Stall near Karunamoyee-side entrance
Price: Rs 60
Makers have gone all out to offer modern shapes and flavours of papad.Brinda Sarkar
While it’s tradition to relish papad on the day of Rath, makers have gone all out to offer modern shapes and flavours of the same. “Children are liking our (penne) pasta-shaped papad besides colourful ones shaped like alphabets and wheels,” says Sanjay Gupta. “Most of them are still made of sabu but we’ve added flavours like beetroot, onion and mango to give them a dash of red, purple and green hues.”
Price: Rs 30-40 for 100g
Afghanistani dry fruits
People think dry fruits are no more than almonds and walnuts but we have so much more variety, says Bilal Hameri.Brinda Sarkar
Green apricots, black berries and the reddest cherries you would have seen. “People think dry fruits are no more than almonds and walnuts but we have so much more variety. These are all top quality products but the black berry is the king of our fruits,” says Bilal Hameri. Customers are frequently asking him about the Taliban takeover back home too and Hameri assures them the situation is gradually stabilising.
Price: Rs 2,400 a kilo for black berries, Rs 2,000 a kilo for green apricots, Rs 1,600 for mixed fruits etc.
Customers visit a stall near Karunamoyee-side entrance.Brinda Sarkar
“We’re back in the city after two years and have brought new designs of Jamdani, muslin and Rajshahi silk saris that women of the city are sure to love,” says Shazid Islam of Suruvi Jamdani Weaving Factory of Dhaka. The artisans, by the way, have been able to bring more items and easily so as this time they crossed the new Padma Bridge that cut their total travel time to Calcutta by seven hours.
Where: Stall near Karunamoyee-side entrance
Price: Rs 1,600 to Rs 30,000
Acupressure sandals.Brinda Sarkar
The solution to sore feet could well be these hand-crafted wooden sandals. “Wear them for 15 minutes twice a day to stimulate the nervous system and improve blood circulation in the legs,” says of Md Salim, the artisan from Rameez Wooden Handicraft in Uttar Pradesh. The sandals are one-size-fits all but come with bands to hold the feet firmly in place.
Where: Stall P-11
Price: Rs 450
Patiala store selling dream catchers.Brinda Sarkar
The Patiala store selling dream catchers makes visitors stop and stare. The beautiful rings are done up in colourful crochet work and painted chicken feathers have been hung from them.
“They are selling like hot cakes, especially those in the quintessential blue-and-white Turkish evil eye colours. They can be hung at the entrance of homes or any windy door or window,” says Dinesh Galot.
Where: Stall opposite sitting space at Karunamoyee-side entrance
Price: Rs 100 to 750 for sizes between three and 18 inches
Faux fur purse
The zippered bags come with gold-plated shoulder slings too, says stall keeper.Brinda Sarkar
These soft purses will hold not much more than a phone and wallet but they are “trending,” in the words of stall keeper Soumyalok Dutta. “The foam bags come in black as well as mild shades of grey, purple and cream and some have bead work on them. The zippered bags come with gold-plated shoulder slings too,” he says.
Where: Stall near the Karunamoyee-side entrance
Price: Rs 100