Surajkund: The warm pastoral embrace of India


Surajkund Crafts Mela, (All photographs are by Sunil Arora)

If you happen to be in Delhi in early February, mark your calendar for the annual Surajkund Crafts Mela. India’s resplendent crafts come alive together during this festival. 

Throughout my decade in Delhi Surajkund was a mandatory stop because it warped my frenzied world of daily journalism. This year the festival has been brought alive for me my dear friend Sunil Arora through his photographs on Facebook. There is natural bonhomie and conviviality in the air at Surjkund, helped in no small measure by the gentle remnants of a retreating Delhi winter.

It is common for visitors to break into an impromptu jig or two the way this pretty woman in the picture below does. More than anything else Surajkund offers a warm pastoral embrace. It can lull you into thinking that your life is one brilliantly colored cavalcade. Of course, stepping out of the festival complex is rude enough to destroy any glow that you might still be wearing.


Artisans from across India show up at Surajkund with many of them handcrafting their wares right there in front of you. I used to be lighter by a few thousand rupees after my Surajkund visits. There is something in the ambience at Surajkund at this time of year which makes you susceptible to handcrafted pleasures. It is amazing how quickly you realize on emerging from the complex that a lot of what you bought was not really needed but temporarily wanted. Take for instance this clay image of a sleeping Buddha. I am pretty sure I would have bought it. Or even the clay figurines below that.



Of course, Surajkund is not just about strikingly colorful inanimate clay objects. Check out this picture by Sunil. It is one of those faces that would prompt you to say, “Life is alright.”


Or even these women, for that matter. I suppose embellishing is oneself is one way to clear life of drudgeries.


If nothing else, you can become what this man has in the picture below and mock whatever you may be up against.


So, so like that. Thank you, Sunil Arora.


About chutiumsulfate

South Asians can infer from my name what I am. View all posts by chutiumsulfate

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