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An infinite variety

A mind-boggling range of Indian handicrafts are on show


INDIAN HANDICRAFTS, like hobbits, to paraphrase the wizard Gandalf, continue to surprise even after years of study. In spite of all that is written and said and seen of the beauty, intricacy and uniqueness of Indian crafts, the sheer variety and vibrancy of this art form, consistently astonishes.

A visit to Glamour Function Hall (opposite the hockey ground and NTR statue) where the All Crafts Fair is being held is proof that one can never know Indian handicrafts. Organised by Sirpi, the Tamil Nadu Handicrafts industrial Co-operative Marketing Federation Ltd, the exhibition features works from nine States (Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Kashmir, West Bengal, Orissa and Andhra Pradesh) and the Union Territory of Pondicherry.

Clothes horse

While the clothes shopper would be only too pleased with the range of saris (Tangail from Bengal, cottons, Madurai Sungadi and Sambalpur silk among others), dress material (phulkari from Punjab, Mangalagiri, Chikankari from Lucknow and mirror work from Kutch) and a blinding array of tops, skirts, chaniya cholis, sheets, curtains and cushion covers, it is the little things that just beg to be bought.


For starters at the doorway are terracotta masks from Bengal and Mangalore, which is a must for all mask maniacs.

The ubiquitous khurja pottery presents cups and saucers in every size and shape.

Wood stock

Step in and before you are overwhelmed with the meenakari and lac jewellery from Rajasthan, cast a glance at the intricate Jaipuri paintings. Walnut wood from Kashmir takes on a delightful aspect while sheeshan woodwork from Saharanpur can grace your table or a corner.

The swivelling bar is a nifty number as are the brass bound trunks (reminds you of Nancy Drew mysteries don't they?)

An absolute favourite are the antiques from Orissa - from the delightful lamps to the rice measures and the jewel and coin cases, the pieces are a sight for sore eyes. And the indigenous weighing scale in brass is a one of a kind piece and a perfect conversation starter.


Then you could invest in the absolute darling brass auto-rickshaw at the Tamil Nadu stall or the little iron boxes and the wooden drishti mask with an antique finish would add a touch of class to any wall.

From Kondapalli apart from the nodding dolls, the intricately detailed natural figures depicting different trades in village life for Rs. 115 each are wonderful buys. And while we have heard of lots and lots of handicrafts from Kerala, the knife stall here is surely unique. Featuring knives of every size and shape including the vettukathi (a cleaver used to break coconuts) the stall is a homemakers' dream come true.

Shopping for children is a delight at the Pondicherry stall and the little wooden crocodile that opens and shuts its jaws obligingly is just waiting to be taken home.

Amidst the gem trees and the Tanjore paintings, you can hear the plaintive notes of a flute and if you follow the sound, you come upon Chinna Veeran from Madurai, who creates these pipes of peace from scratch. Surendra, who chooses quality over quantity, has a delightful array of cartoon characters to brighten up the children's rooms. One could go on and on about the many enchanting things available at this Alibaba's cave. All one has to say is `Open Sesame'!

What: All Crafts Fair

Where: Glamour Function Hall, S.P Road, Begumpet

Till: March 3 (10 a.m. to 9 p.m.)

MINI ANTHIKAD-CHHIBBER

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