The Surajkund International Crafts Mela unfolds in February, offering a mosaic of colors, rhythms and traditions that captivate visitors from around the world. Drawing over a million visitors each year, including a significant number of tourists from abroad, the Surajkund Mela in Faridabad is the world's largest crafts fair, highlighting the diverse tapestry of India's cultural heritage.

Over the years, the fair has evolved into a global platform, with more than 20 countries participating alongside Indian states. This year the theme of the mela, which is on till February 18, is the state of Gujarat.

The mela also connects to the good old times. While the new generation is fully immersed in digital media, children here engage with a bioscope, watching movies in the old style.

Among the artists and craftspersons here, award-winning artist Urmila Devi proudly showcases her recent work below. Hailing from Bihar, she has been honored with a Certificate of Merit from the Ministry of Textiles for her exceptional craftsmanship and contribution to the development of Mithila Godana and Harijan Painting. Additionally, she has received the Bihar State Gold Award in Folk Art.

Reflecting on her artistic journey, Urmila Devi says, “Art is priceless; it’s the living cost that makes it available for sale.”

Taufiq, from Banaras, has been setting up his stall featuring Banarsi sarees every year since the Mela’s inception. He demonstrates the intricate art of saree weaving through a live demonstration on his loom.

Artists from several countries are participating in the mela this year, presenting exquisitely crafted products tailored for the Indian audience. Sylvia from Uganda, for instance, shares, “This is my first time in India, and the love and admiration I have received for my artwork are absolutely unbelievable.”

A flax doll maker from Belarus with her dolls made of wood and flax.

A Turkish artisan selling his mosaic lamps. Turkey is renowned as one of the world’s most advanced manufacturers of mosaic chandeliers, sconces, pendants, and lamps.

Artists from the African continent perform at the mela, which hosts performances by renowned national and international folk artists at different venues inside.

An Indian man playing sarangi at the mela.

Visitors enjoy the dance and music, matching step-to-step with the tunes.

Beyond the vibrant stalls and performances, the Surajkund Mela is a space where strangers connect, stories are shared, and a universal language of joy unites people from many different corners of the world.

Shivansh Srivastava is a photojournalist based in Ghaziabad, U.P.