An elaborate gate that takes one to Arunachal Pradesh for a moment, the nagada party waiting to give you a grand welcome, a nat in his colourful attire, artistes and artisans setting up shop… the 11th National Crafts Mela at Kalagram, Chandigarh, opened its gates for the public on Friday
On Day 1, it’s the artistes who steal the show. Gajanand Mastana Rajasthani does Kachchi Ghodi, a Rajasthani folk dance. Attired in a bright costume, Gajanand mesmerises one and all with his moves. The naagin theme wafting through, a small crowd gathers around Been Jogi Group that reverently touches its musical instruments. “Har ek saaj jungle se banta hai (each instrument is derived from nature),” says Rambir Nath. Bamboo, wild gourd, wax from beehives; he explains it all in all solemnity.
Chandan Singh Nagada Party, with their eldest member at 60 years and the youngest at 16, take immense pride that they go to videsh (foreign) for performances. A student of class eight, Mohit shares, “This is what my forefathers have done and I love to perform too. Studies aside, our art is our pride.”
In one corner, a rather big covered space attracts one and all — it’s the Chandigarh Lalit Kala Akademi’s stall that showcases Rhythmic Past, an installation display by Vinay Verma. An old gramophone, antique radios to figurines made of papers as old as 100 years, charts this artist’s journey. A corner with snakes, a been next to it and two boys with backpacks looking on, offers an interesting spectacle
Themed around West to East, this time the annual festival has 19 participating states and some 210 stalls! Intricate wood carvings from Kartanaka, rich Benarasi sarees to warm Kashmiri shawls, witness artisans as they display their ware and passionately share the entire, cumbersome, process.
When in India, especially Punjab, nothing is complete without food. So right from saag-makki ki roti to biryani from Hyderabad, count multiple flavours