Surajkund Fair 2013
Surajkund Fair ground is about five kilometers from Faridabad in the state of Haryana, in India. It is Dilli Haat revisited in a hilly rural surrounding. The auto rickshaws and the rickshaws will fleece you on the way in and on the way out. Still it is a great way to pass the time with friends. This year the theme in decorations and presentations is Karnataka. It has been beautifully done under the auspices of Haryana Tourism. The nearest metro station is at Tughlakabad about three kilometers from the Fairground but you have to go through a foot deep overflowing river of dirty water from a gutter under the metro line.
If you love massive crowds then this is the place for you. The visitors are reasonably behaved but the sellers seem to be a harried and unpleasant lot. Perhaps they have never seen footfalls like this. Nearly 150,000 per day is an overwhelming experience for anyone. If you have been to Dilli Haat you will not find anything new or cheaper to buy here. The prices are steep and you have to show some bargaining skills to arrive at a reasonable price. The shawls are graceful and the saris from the South are exquisite. The artisans who made the things are not visible. The place has been taken over by resellers.
The food stalls from various countries are a big attraction especially the one from Karachi, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. A mini open air theater is highlighting the dances of various states. At least three folk groups were available with huge heart thumping drums and fiddles. They were singing folk songs and inviting people to dance to the strong beats of the drums. The crowds did not disappoint and joined briskly to the fast rhythms. Stoneware, wooden creations, blue pottery and handloom textiles are the major attractions. You will be dazzled by the enormous statues of Durga, Mahishasura and Ugar Narsimha. There is a tower of statuettes in attractively coloured paints.
The environment is idyllic and hilly. Pathways go up and down the fairgrounds making you feel as if you are in a huge gipsy camp or a very vibrant and colourful village on a hillside. Everyone has a good time. There are bus loads of school children enjoying the sights. The Bandobast, the Intezam or the arrangements for the Fair are on a huge military scale with policemen and security guards positioned everywhere to fend off any mischief makers. A big bus stand/parking has been created for the comfort of commuters with at least a dozen Haryana Roadways employees available under a tent to help visitors get the right bus. There are big car parking lots on all sides of the Fair.
The fair gets its name from a large thousand years old manmade lake created by a king named Suraj meaning Sun. He was a worshipper of the Sun God and the Kund (water reservoir or lake) was created to honour the Sun along with an impressive temple. The Surajkund Mela or Fair is held every year in February from the 1st to the 15th.
Friday the fifteenth brings to a close the 27thFair. Things will soon settle down to its original placid rural ambience and the stunned residents will carry on again with their normal lives.