The 15 days fair at Gandhi Maidan, a boon to Bihar Handicrafts

We come across a lot many fairs in the year, where Sonpur is very eminent for its traditional and rooted values, Saras Mela is another endeavour to provide a platform for women from rural areas. This amazing fest started on 1st December 2019 will wrap up on 15th of this month. This fair is an attempt by Jeevika, a programme of the state government to enhance and support the homemaking women of villages. It is organised by Jeevika from last 6 years, where every year focusses on bringing fresh, creative and modish setup. This fair sets up two times in a year one at Gyan Bhawan and another in Gandhi Maidan.

Once you enter the small section of Gandhi Maidan which looks covered with tent, that tent indicates- Bihar Saras Mela with entry and exit gate. You enter the fair, the thing that attracted each visitors was ‘I love Saras’ caricature influenced by Metro City design. The design was set up just in the middle of the mela, where you could get the wide-angle view of the Saras Mela. Nothing is overpowering just enhancing the beauty. There is also a new segment added by Jeevika, which is the eye-catching zone, it’s a park namely Saras park which is an attraction centre for visitors especially making a corner for photographs and selfies. Adding to the beauty, Saras Park was also curated with small plants and swings.

Apart from the fact that this year the mela has 450 stalls, artists from 22 states showcased a large variety of stuff. A small scale handloom from Patiala put a cloth shop and handicrafts works, a woman from Bhagalpur set up a stall with some traditional wearings, Assam’s bamboo crafts have beautified the fair from the bamboo baskets and ecstatic home decors. Agricultural stalls, leather bags, handmade shoes and slippers, handloom, jewellery, accessories, carpets, typical traditional paintings, Madhubani art, a large variety of artificial flowers and beautiful vases have been exhibited by them. There were 149 stalls by women self-help groups(SHGs) from across the state. Jeevika didis from rural Bihar also gets the opportunity to sell their products. Those products which are usually discarded are used for decor and display.

When you visit a mela, food plays a vital role. Saras Mela kept that in mind and gave a good space to food counters at the east end of the fair. An arrangement of large food and beverages including a spacious area with chairs and tables for ease to eat and drink. The fair has 27 food stalls offering a variety of food items like Rajasthani kachauri, batata puri, pakoras of mushroom, cauliflower and different vegies, the famous Punjabi dish Sarson ki saag and makke ki roti at various counters. The general food items like chowmein, pasta, golgappes, or sweets from distinct places like malpua, emarti, khaja, ice cream are available at various stalls.

‘Didi ki Rasoi’ set up a stall which is an initiative of Health Society and Jeevika to stimulate women to supply healthy and hygienic food. It offers food plates on a very reasonable price.Hygiene and cleanliness were kept in mind at food counters, we could say you will find everything appropriate, clean and subtle.

A salesman from Patiala said, ” The income is also handsome and people are loving this fair. The provision of online registration was also seen here, which is a very good and influential step. “

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The lady tasting Batata Puri at a stall said, “Food corners have been set up so clean, and food items are of variety which is attracting us to stop at each stall.” Talking about handicraft stalls, she added,” I loved the handmade decor items, have bought few flowerpots, handmade slippers and Patiala Kurtis.”

Bihar Saras Mela had a different section of Bihar art forms like Madhubani, Tikli art, Sujni Art and other art forms too. In total only few days are left for this fair. The 15 days fair at Gandhi Maidan is a must-visit fair for every Patnaites.

Written by Riya Ritu Jha

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Born in Bihar, brought up in India!