The 8th Arts and Crafts Mela at Shilparamam may not have a cyber peacock looking
pleadingly at you, and neither does it have the three tons of red paint needed
to splash town, but it does have that cloyingly sweet feel of earth, color and
music that is so much a part of us Hyderabadis. Probably the best thing to happen
this month, the Mela opened to a start that was hugely received by the town folks,
with people thronging the venue looking for some time off.
The normally insipid venue seemed resplendent, as if bedecked in bridal attire,
and the whole atmosphere was one of a shaadi. You enter the gates to the sound
of the shehnai and the traditional Telugu 'melam', and to the smell of the delectable
fragrance of wet earth. The ground seems alive with folk dances and the sounds
of ladies and children as they watch in disbelief the quick recovery after The
The stalls flow over with wares from across the country, and as you take a look around, you find all that you ever needed to have and much more. If you are looking for clothes, especially salwar kameez, then this is a good bet. Loads of cottons, casual wear, ethnic embroidery and mirrorwork and, of course, the quintessential Lucknowi chican work. The prices are reasonable, but don't forget to wave your fingers accusingly and haggle.
There also are several stalls that sell furnishings for your home - from lampshades, table and sofa covers to a host of other pretty items that are bound to add that extra ounce of shimmer. Keep your eye open to some good bargains on the terracotta items.
If shopping isn't your forte and your middle name is Jaws, then there is hope for you, too. There's loads of grub to gobble, and you can pick and choose from pav bhajis and jalebis, or go totally local on some drool worthy dosas. The dosas here are mind-blowing, and totally deserve to be inducted in the Dosa Hall of Fame. There are about 15 different types that you can chomp on, like Paneer Dosa, Neer Dosa and the overwhelmingly patriotic Tiranga dosa. It's hugely fascinating to watch that guy there make 12 dosas at a time, and I spent a major part of my time gaping in awe and respect before tearing myself away reluctantly for the amphitheater.
The amphitheater has a couple of entertainment programs ranging from ghazals to classical dance and fusion music lined up each day, all spread out over the coming days.
The exhibition is a fun place to hang out with your family over the weekend. It opens at about 12 noon, and closes at about 9:30pm. Most people of the 1,000 strong crowd made a silent vow to return and shop till they dropped. As for me, I'm going right back for 'em dosas!