Thursday, September 09, 2010

Crafts Fair

It was a Sunday in July and there were many people shopping at this Crafts Fair in Bangalore. It was being called the ‘Crafts Bazaar’. This exhibition was organised by Poompuhar – the State Crafts Emporium for Tamil Nadu and was a ten-day event in the city. It had artisans from all over South India and also from the northern States such as Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and others displaying their crafts.

The Craft Fairs in India are usually exhibitions organised by the Government Crafts Emporia of the different States or the Handicrafts Development Corporations that take up the development, marketing and training for the artisans. If you are a supporter of Fair trade, these exhibitions are where you may want to shop for Indian crafts.

It being the Ashadamasam, a month where no wedding ceremonies can happen because it is not considered auspicious, the marriage halls or kalyana mandapams become easily available for other uses and it is the time when exhibitions – Crafts Bazaars and Book Bazaars happen all over the city. The Ashadamasam is said to be a month not considered appropriate for any social functions primarily because this was a crucial month in the Harvest cyle in the rice fields and men were expected to focus on their agricultural duties and nothing else.

I learnt that this Craft Fair is held in Bangalore twice a year. Poompuhar had rented the space and the arrangement with the artisans was that 20% of their sales proceedings would be given to Poompuhar. The craftsmen do not pay any rent for the days that the mela takes place here. This ensures that the risk factor for the craftsmen is minimal. He pays nothing if he has no sales. However, for any sale that happens, he gives the Development Corporation a percentage of his earnings.

It is also possible to buy these crafts at any time of the year at each of the individual showrooms which are now in almost every city in India. However, the showrooms are located in different parts of the city and a ‘Crafts Bazaar’ simply makes it possible to choose from a great variety from different states of India all in one place. It somehow reminds me of the concept of a ‘Food Court’ that seems to now occupy the top floor of every mall in Bangalore - a one-stop eatery where you find different stalls that sell Chinese Manchurian, a Subway sandwich, a Rajasthani thali or the Idli-Dosa – all under one roof.

Each state government showroom also has its own website and the crafts bazaars can now be reached from any part of the world. For the southern states of India, there is the Kerala Handicrafts Corporation with their showrooms called ‘Kairali’ over over the country (more info at: the ‘Poompuhar’ which is the Tamil Nadu Crafts Emporium (more info. at, the Andhra Pradesh Handicrafts Emporia are called ‘Lepakshi’ (more and the Karnataka Handicrafts are available at ‘Cauvery’ at (more

Related posts:  
Crafts in Bazaars
Tibetans at the Cliff


radha said...

I love the crafts bazaars. I went to the Dili Haat but I like the Shilparamam one at Hyderabad better. But I wish we did not have to bargain!
The stalls in the Shilparamam are given free ( if I am not mistaken) to encourage the craftsman.

Indian Bazaars said...

Radha: I do like the Shilparamam at Hyderabad, both for the opportunities it offers craftsman and also its vernacular architecture. It seems it was developed over many years with much care and effort of Mr.Kishan Rao who was then Director, Tourism for AP. The architect was Mr.Shankar Narayan. They had done such good work! We lived in Hyderabad for two years and were so surprised to see how hugely popular this place was!