Surajkund: The 28th Surajkund International Crafts Mela, which has Goa as its theme state this year, was inaugurated by Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, amid performances by artistes from Haryana, Sri Lanka, Goa and Uzbekistan.
The Chief Minister inaugurated the cultural extravaganza at a `chaupal` in the Mela ground by opening the symbolic window of Goa in the presence of the state`s Deputy Chief Minister Francis D`Souza.
With Sri Lanka being the `partner country` this year, its High Commissioner to India Prasad Karlyawasam and Chairman of National Crafts Council of Sri Lanka Budhikeerti Sinna were also present there.
The Mela showcases the richness and diversity of the handicrafts, handloom works and cultural heritage of India every year, Hooda said.
It had gained international status, with about 20 countries participating in it. There are 735 work huts for the craftsmen participating in the Mela, spread in 40 acres, he said.
Hooda also released a calendar of Goa.
Highlighting the importance of the Mela, the High Commissioner of Sri Lanka Prasad Karlyawasam said Haryana was a very special state in India and the theme state Goa, Haryana and Sri Lanka have very high per capita income.
Surajkund Mela has become an international mela and is a great manifestation of how you provide opportunity to those who need support to develop and advance, he added.
This year, craftspersons, weavers, cultural troupes and artistes from Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Portugal, Iran, Uganda, Brazil, Ivory Coast, Thailand and SAARC nations Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Bhutan, Nepal and Pakistan are participating.
It is for the second time after 12 years that Goa has become the theme state. The folk dances, colourful floats and live processions from the state will add to the charm of the Mela.
Others present at the inauguration ceremony included Goa Minister of Tourism Dilip Parulekar, Chairman of Haryana Tourism Corporation Chakravarty Sharma, Haryana Minister of State for Information, Public Relations and Cultural Affairs Shiv Charan Lal Sharma and Faridabad MP Avtar Singh Badana.