Divine Karnataka woos visitors
The divine culture and tradition of Karnataka has come alive at the 27th International Crafts Mela at Surajkund. For the second time, Karnataka has been made the theme state at the mela, which has been organised since 1987.
Handloom, handicrafts, dying arts, cuisines, culture, dances, the way of living of Kodava family and many other myriad hues of the state are wooing visitors. There are replicas of the state’s important and historic monuments and places of the state such as Mysore Palace, temples of Belur, Hampi and world famous Jain basadis of Bijapur and the Golden Chariot train that give the visitor a feel of being in Karnataka.
Best of the artisans and craftspersons from the state are displaying well-known and lesser-known art forms, apparels, products and decorative items which have contributed to the Karnataka’s well-versed repertoire.
Girish, who has come from Bhatkal district, is selling products like chappals, wall hangings, hats, body scrubbers, torans, jewellery boxes; all made from the roots of khus or lavancha plants. Its oil is extracted to make perfumes also. The handicrafts are known for their herbal properties and are made in and around the Bhatkal, in Uttar Kannada district.
“These products are made of the roots of the khus plant after the oil has been extracted from it. Not only they are good for skin but also have a beautiful fragrance. We have a factory where we make it. These cost between Rs 150 to 850,” he says.
Terracotta artist Halesh from Ram Nagar has participated in the mela for the first time. He alongwith his wife are making idols of Lord Ganesha in unique postures. Tiny idols of Ganeshji sitting in a boat, on a tree, on the moon!, playing a veena or a dhol attracts many.
“These roop (forms) and postures of Ganesha are very different from what we have seen usually. It gives much more scope for experimentation. We have also played with colours,” shares Halesh.
Coffee culture is prevalent in each Kannada household and the state is known for the Arabica variety of coffee beans. With demand being virtually saturated in the state itself, there is lot of scope of popularising coffee in the rest of the country still. Some of the stalls at the mela have brought varieties of coffee to woo visitors.
K K Mukhopadhyay of Coffee Board, says, “Historically, coffee is the most popular drink in Southern india but its growth has reached a static point but in the northern region, its demand is growing at the rate of 15-30 per cent. We have Arabica Parchment, Arabica Cherry, Robusta Parchment, Robusta Cherry and special coffees like Mysore Extra Bold. and Robusta Cuppi. We are making coffee available for drinking right here, so that the visitors can have a real taste of Karnataka coffee.”
The finest variety of Karnataka’s honey has also found a place at the mela to sweeten the experience further. One of the India’s best qualities of honey comes from Coorg and is known for it colour, taste, flavour and medicinal values. Shankar from Mysore is selling about eight varieties if honey.
“Mixed flower honey is popular in India, while other ones are liked internationally. These are ajwain honey, honey of arhar dal’s flower and clover honey too,” he says.
Besides, there are not one but several stalls selling colourful wooden toys that are popular across the country. If you want to know about the state in a few minutes, ‘Karnataka, a snapshot’ is for you. On display are photographs of important people, places, traditions and culture of the state.
Brief profiles alongwith sketches and pictures of the luminaries from the state like Kiran Majumdar-Shaw, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Pt Bhimsen Joshi, the late Gangubai Hangal and many more adorn the walls of a section dedicated to them.
The food stall attracting maximum visitors is that of Karnataka, the chefs of which have brought dishes from North, South and the coastal region of the state. One can relish dishes like butter dosa, paddu balls, ragi balls, coastal fish curry, jwar ki roti and begun ki sabzi. You have to visit it to believe it!