Shubho Bijoya at CR Park

Published: Oct 11, 2010, 09:13 IST | Promita Mukherjee

Like every year, this time too Dussehra festivities and shopping is incomplete without a visit to the famous nukkads of CR Park

Like every year, this time too Dussehra festivities and shopping is incomplete without a visit to the famous nukkads of CR Park

It's been happening for 26 years now. And yet its attraction doesn't seem to be on the wane. Every year, the Capital's Bengalis (and also Punjabis, Gujaratis, south Indians among others) flock to CR Park to this fair, which marks the onset of the Durga Puja for many a religious (and shopaholic) soul.

The mela was started by the CR Park Bangiya Samaj, and began on a humble note. "Our aim was to promote local entrepreneurs," says Deepak Guha, executive committee member of CR Park Bangiya Samaj. And now this 21-day long fair boasts of more than 50 stalls in an area a quarter acre large. Another interesting feature of the fair is that most stall owners are women -- possibly to pay a tribute to the goddess. There are stalls from across India now. So one can find stalls from places like Kashmir, Orissa, UP and even south India. A couple of stalls from Bangladesh add an international flavour. State emporiums act as the special attraction.

Everything's there
Take a quick look at the stalls and you will find a wide range of items being sold. There is everything from saris to T-shirts, costume jewellery  even upholstery and bedcovers. Saris of all variety -- silk, jamdani, Dhakai muslin, tussar, cotton are sold here.

According to sources
Women who put up the stalls source their stuff from all over the country. Take Gopa Sen for instance. She sources the saris from Fulia in West Bengal and gets them fabric painted in Shantiniketan. "I design them myself," she says. She sells saris made of tussar, silk, kantha stitch and kota.

Mao Flavours
Young entrepreneur Bishakha Saha designs jewellery. She makes them using brass and semi-precious stones. "I use tribal techniques which is the oldest known technique of metal casting," she says. And she gets them made in the Maoist-affected regions of Orissa and Andhra Pradesh.

Though things move off the rack pretty fast in this fair, it is basically an adda zone for people -- a place to catch up on the years gone by. There are food stalls selling all kinds of streetfood like rolls, paanipuri (the very popular fuchkas), chaat etc. "It is not entirely commercial. Those who take up the stalls give donations. There are no participation charges," says Guha. A  happy gathering seems to be the mantra of this fair in the heart of south Delhi.

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