[In Pics] Sisir Saras Adds Colour To FIH Men’s Hockey World Cup In Odisha Capital
Bhubaneswar: Sisir Saras 2023, the national level rural fair, could not have been organised at a more opportune time, as it is coinciding with the FIH Men’s Hockey World Cup taking place in the Odisha capital. There is already an air of festivity in Bhubaneswar and Sisir Saras, which began on January 13, is an additional treat.
Rural producers from 24 states apart from self-help groups and producer groups from 30 districts of Odisha are participating in the fortnight-long fair at the Biju Patnaik playground at Baramunda organised by Odisha Rural Development and Marketing Society (ORMAS). There are a total of 350 stalls, out of which 100 are from Odisha.
The fair represents a miniature version of the country with wooden crafts, decorative flowers, winter garments from the North East, handloom, silk, rot iron works and Banarasi sarees from Uttar Pradesh, Tussar from Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, handstitched bedsheets and pillows from Gujarat and Rajasthan, handloom and home furnishing products from Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, Phulkari work from Punjab, woollen and dress materials from Jammu and Kashmir
All 30 districts from Odisha are taking part in the fare with their authentic and exclusive products like tribal ornaments from Balikuda, Sambalpuri sarees from Western Odisha, handicrafts and terracotta items from Keojhar, Balasore, Balangir and Subarnapur. Food and spices items are from Kandhamal, Nuapada, and Rayagada, while forest products are from Koraput, Mayurbhanj, Malkangiri, Kalahandi, Kendrapada and Baripada.
A special attraction of this year’s mela is a hockey pavilion for children, four LED TVs screening the hockey World Cup, and two photo opp stations. Additionally, ORMAS has made arrangements for the elderly with battery-powered vehicles and disabled individuals with wheelchairs. Volunteers have been deployed to help all the visitors.
Such is the response, that many of the artisans exhausted their stock within days and are now waiting for fresh wares to arrive. Minu Rani Nayak secretary of the Laxminarayan SHG in Baripada, Mayurbhanj, has one of the 30 stalls designated to SHGs of Mission Shakti. They sell handstitched and painted canvas bags made of Junko material. Apart from being financially rewarding, Sisira Saras has also given her a huge platform to advertise her wares.
“I began with nothing and now I’m able to send my kids to college on the money I made from our business. Sisira Saras allowed me to expand my business at the global level,” said Minu Rani Nayak.
Khusid Akhtar, an expert in Banarasi sarees told Odisha Bytes about how popular Banarasi sarees are in Bhubaneswar. The use of Banarasi fabric is becoming increasingly popular on an annual basis at Sisir Saras, and this trend is mirrored not just in India but also across the rest of the world, he said.
Handcrafted leather puppets from Andhra Pradesh are a crowd-puller at the fair. Hand-painted leather is also used to make table lamps, which are frequently utilised in puppet performances. The intricate wall murals have bold and unique patterns and a subtle blend of colours, said Srinath from Andhra Pradesh.
Ahmad Mallik, a member of the Gul Aftab SHG, has travelled all the way from Jammu and Kashmir to Sisir Saras in order to showcase Srinagar’s special Pashmina shawls. “Because of the off-season, the sale is slow this time but I expect Odisha’s people will surely make it happen. We’ll take a lot of memories with us as well,” he told Odisha Bytes.
The live demonstrations of Sabai Grass craft, straw art, and Gond paintings from Koraput are the most sought-after at the fair. Items made from Sabai Grass contribute to the ongoing ecological revolution and outperform their synthetic counterparts because they are coloured with natural dyes. Sabai grass crafts and carpets are in high demand in Western countries.
TEXT & PICTURES: Barsha Bohidar, Suryasnata Dora