Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath inaugurated the Surajkund Mela on Friday, 2 February, in the presence of Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar.
The 17-day-long event, which is in its 32nd edition, showcases India’s rich cultural diversity, crafts and handiworks.
The Mela this year has the culture of Uttar Pradesh as its theme – a first for the state – and focuses upon child rights violations across India. All of India’s states and 20 countries are participating in the festival.
Adityanath lit the ceremonial lamp to mark the opening of the Mela for the public.
Addressing the gathering at the event, Adityanath called for a greater need for states to partner on cultural space to thwart divisive forces.
“PM Modi says that we should have cultural partnerships between states so that the designs of those who want to divide us, those who do not want to see India’s growth can be thwarted,” he said.
Referring to the Mahabharata, Adityanath said that Lord Krishna turned the battleground in Haryana into a “land of Dharma”.
Around 150 stalls will showcase the culture and handicrafts of Uttar Pradesh alone.
Previously, a transport agreement between Haryana and Uttar Pradesh was also signed in the presence of Khattar and Adityanath.
Child-friendly spaces, booths and counters have been created at the Mela. Various ways to protect children will be highlighted at the Mela, underlining the need for zero tolerance policy towards child rights violations.
Over 1,500 police personnel have been deployed to provide security for the event.
The Crafts Mela is organised by the Surajkund Mela Authority in collaboration with the Union Ministries of Tourism, Textile, Culture and External Affairs, Haryana Tourism Department and Haryana Tourism Corporation.
Last year, more than 1.2 million footfalls were recorded at the Mela, including foreigners. Surajkund is located in Faridabad in Haryana.