Sankranti is synonymous with kites. However, this year, make some time to connect with Indian culture. Make some time for traditional arts and crafts apart from Indian folk music and dance performances that seem to be losing their charm with time. Shilparamam will help you do that this Sankranti.
Shilparamam, the ethnic crafts village at Madhapur is always a hub of activity, particularly this Sankranti which as per custom is the harvest festival and is of particular importance among Telugus. When we visited, the place was packed with people buying traditional handicrafts and enjoying the experience thoroughly. What greets you as you enter, apart from the starving faces of street urchins selling balloons, are two humongous terracotta horses which serve as gates. You enter to a fairyland of lights and laughter, shopping and the strains of classical music in the distance. Folk dancers and singers wander around as if it were their natural habitat.
There are nearly 300 stalls at the venue from across the country, selling a variety of handicrafts, laying testimony to India’s vast cultural heritage. These include clothes and handlooms from across the length and breadth of the country. So you have jamevars, pochampallys, bandhinis and tussars all at one place. There are also hand crafted furniture styles exclusive to states, like enameled wood, burnt wood, wood carvings, etc. There is also no dearth of ceramic work and terracotta pottery, just like the imitation jewelry stalls which were several in number. There are also stalls selling authentic Hyderabadi pearls, Kondapally dolls and bidri and filigree work. To eat, you have several options from mirchi bajji and pav bhaji to cup corn and dosa.
The Sankranti Mela brings to Shilparamam several village artistes and artisans who perform throughout the day and the evening too. The morning schedule for instance, has ‘burrakatha’ performances and ‘kalamkari’ demonstrations. The evening performances include Carnatic devotional music and Kuchipudi dance ballets.
For those who want to savor a slice of this “real” India, remember that you should not expect professional management here. Nevertheless, the Sankranti Mela celebrates the spirit of a ‘Never Say Die’ India and it is for that Incredible Indian spirit that we ought to visit Shilparamam. In addition to that, bargains (even for things we don’t really need) never hurt.