Rustic Crafts Adorn Toshali Fair
The eighth edition of the National Toshali Crafts Fair has set new records this year.
The fair, billed as the most successful so far, came to a close on Friday after registering about `5-crore sales and drew more than seven lakh visitors, including foreign tourists. Last year, it had witnessed around 3.56 lakh footfall and recorded `6.63 crore business.
While the Tourism Department of the State Government organised the last seven editions of the mela, it is for the first time that Handloom, Textiles and Handicrafts Department hosted the fair. Besides handicraft and handloom products, the fair showcased various classical, tribal and folk art forms.
The 13-day festival that began last week provided a platform to artisans, weavers, painters and sculptors from all over the country to sell their products. While this year, the number of stalls increased to 300, as many as 556 master craftsmen participated fair that had on display 150 kinds of craft.
For the first time, six Government educational institutions related to handloom, textiles and handicrafts sector - NIFT, Bhubaneswar, Indian Institute of Handloom Technology, Bargarh, Indian Institute of Textiles, Choudwar, ATDC, Bhubaneswar, CET, Bhubaneswar and the State Institute for Development of Arts & Crafts (SIDAC) - opened stalls.
A food court having 30 food stalls set up by exclusive hotels and restaurants of the Twin City offered delicious multi-cuisine foods to the visitors. These kiosks recorded ` 47 lakh business this year, while last year it was ` 28 lakh.
The Toshali fair exuded the charm of a craft village with tribal art and pottery. To add to the ambience, a theme pavilion ‘Symphony in Tassar’ depicting the tassar tradition of the State was erected centrally, which traced the evolution of tassar from its plantation to finished products.
From the huge gateway to kiosk decorations, the sprawling eight-acre site of Janata Maidan spoke volumes about the rich traditions of Odisha. Besides, cultural programmes were staged every evening and performers like Bappi Lahri, Anup Jalota, Kuna Tripathy, Pappu Pom Pom were roped in.
Among others who participated were puppeteer Maguni Kuanr, Odia performers Debasish, Sumant, Sonali and Sohini Mishra, who have participated in national level reality TV shows.
The Odisha handloom and Pattachitra kiosks also registered heavy footfall. Resplendent Kashmiri designs on Pashmina shawls, intricate needlework on Kashmiri carpets, Hyderabadi pearls and artificial flowers from Manipur, Rajasthani sandals, wrought iron and brass metal articles had a good sale this year.
“I had come from Rajasthan to sell precious and semi-precious stones. This is my first time in Toshali fair and hence I was a little apprehensive about the sales. But the overall response has been good and I plan to come back again next year,” said Abdul Rahman of the Rajasthan kiosk.
The most remarkable achievement of the organisers was the high degree of sanitation. The entire area was spic and span. Following the success, the Handloom, Textiles and Handicrafts Department has decided to scale up the annual fair to a more entertaining one from next year.
For cash-strapped visitors to the fair, the Handloom, Textiles and Handicrafts Department had made efforts to instal an UCO Bank ATM at Janata Maidan for smooth money transaction.