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Handicraft heritage on display at 13-day fair in Bhubaneshwar

Handicraft heritage on display at 13-day fair in BhubaneshwarBhubaneshwar, Dec 25 : A 13-day handicrafts fair, ''Toshali'', drew hordes of visitors in Bhubaneshwar, where artisans from different parts of the country and abroad are exhibiting their works.

The fair has attracted over 700 artists from across India, who showcased their work for art and craft lovers that include palm-leaf paintings, woodcrafts, ethnic hand-woven clothes and sculptures.

Most of the stalls were made in thatched huts style fitting well into the theme of the fair, "Rural crafts making".

Interacting with reporters on Monday, General Manager of the Odisha Tourism Development Corporation, Manoranjan Patnaik informed that the fair generated revenue of 65 million rupees in 2011, which is bound to increase this year.

"For the first time three nations Nepal, Bhutan and Sri Lanka are participating. Last year the sale was around Rs 6.5 crore and there were about 500 artisans coming from different states of India. This year also we have a participation of more than 700 artisans," he said.

Patnaik added that the motive of the fair is to provide an interface between the artisans and institutional buyers, both domestic and foreign.

Artisans from countries like Sri Lanka, Bhutan and Nepal have participated in the exhibition along with the local artisans particularly from rural areas who received a much-needed exposure evolving into a major tourist attraction.

Artists from Bhutan also highlighted the unique selling point of their organic products, drawing attention of customers.

"We have just started our business. The people out here are interested in our things, but the problem is the price because all out things are pure handicrafts things, pure handmade, herbal things. So, the price naturally goes up, if the things are chemical mixed, the price is less but our things are our organic ones, no chemical mixed. Secondly, the handicraft things are all handmade, so these are expensive. People are interested but there is a lack of purchasing power," said Mubjwa, an artist from Bhutan. An exclusive display of the authentic handicrafts and handlooms is attracting a large number of foreign visitors, who expressed excitement over witnessing the display of unique traditional handicrafts.

"This fair has very nice things made by the hands of craftsmen. This is very exciting and very nicely done. I am looking for sarees that is still in progress," said Skiper Rosky, a tourist from Poland.

The fair also holds a gala food festival in which people from different states in the country showcase their delicacies and cuisines.

It also stages cultural nights along with folk-based performance. (ANI)