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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Country Fair in India - Experience of a Lifetime

A Fair or a Mela (as said in India) is a gathering of people to display or trade goods (New York Trade Fair) or to parade or sell animals (Pushkar Fair) or for religious purposes (Kumbh Mela) in a carnival or excitement filled atmosphere. The importance of Mela's or Fairs in India is immense. They are mostly held during festive seasons or annually.
From the Maha (Grand) Kumbh (Pot) Mela (A religious fair which attracts crowds of up to 60 million people and is held every 12 years), the Pushkar (Town in Rajasthan) Mela (Worlds largest annual camel fair) to the small country side mela's which attract large crowds.. There are many fairs, big and small, which take place and people do flock to them in large numbers.

So, what is it about these country side mela's which is so alluring ? Why despite the presence of malls and multiplexes do people still flock to them ? Where does their charm lie ? I will try to look for answers in this post ! Read on..

Mela's are vital to the lives of people in rural India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh e.t.c. and other countries as well (where they might be called as countryside fairs). They are mostly held during festive seasons or annually. In such fairs makeshift stalls like the ones in the pictures to follow sell toys, food e.t.c. and other stuff which attracts the attention of the children and grown ups alike! Folks from the cities or those who live in hardship throng to the fairs which offer them happiness and joy by spending time together with their families. The fairs sell inexpensive stuff but the joy it brings to the people who visit it is priceless. These are snaps which were taken of one such country fair before it started and got mobbed ! Ingredients of a country fair -

A Paper Wheel stall. Very light, it runs on exposure to the wind (It is a children's favorite)

Ganna or Sugarcane shoot stall

To consume it you need first chop the shoots to smaller sizes(the shopkeeper will help you do that) hold it with both your hands(like a flute) peel off the skin with your teeth(it takes some effort) and then munch the soft sweet juicy core. When the core becomes dry you can spit it out, anywhere. Yes ! 

The Bubble Blower Guy
When I see children run around him trying to grab the bubbles he blows out I instantly remember my childhood 

Stall selling sweetmeats. At the center are Jalebi's and on the left are Gujiya's
Observe the flat wok in which these sweets are deep fried

Stall selling snacks. Onion Pakora's (Served hot, crisp with salad) (on the left), Bread Pakora's (middle), Namakpara's (Salty snacks)(on the right)
Observe the cook in the background preparing Jalebi's.

The Jalebi counter

Stall selling dry munchies like Popcorn(on the Right), Peanuts (On the Left) and other sweet and fried munchies. Observe the clay fired wok on extreme right in which he prepares popcorn with rock salt.

Stall selling Kulfi's(dried whole milk based).
Observe the brass bell which the man rings to attract attention of the kids

Chuski or Ice Candy stall. A very good candy preparation to sip during Indian summers.
This preparation is basically crushed ice dipped in flavored syrup. You need to suck the ice cool flavored syrup from the crushed ice. The most popular flavor of chuski is Kaala- Khatta (Sweet n Sour)

Stall selling Swords, Maces, Bows {toy ones of course :-)} e.t.c.

The Chholey Bhaturey stall


..and last but not the least.. The effigy of Ravana around whom the entire fair was organised.
The occasion was Dussehra and the effigy of Ravana is burned at every Dussehra

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3 comments:

"The fairs sell inexpensive stuff but the joy it brings to the people who visit it is priceless." I agree!I remember going to fairs when I was a kid,and buying things that would make me very,very happy!:-)))
Your post brought me old memories and nostalgia.Thank you.:)

Thanks for your feedback ! Country fairs do have a charm of their own.

I am glad to found such useful post. I really increased my knowledge after read your post which will be beneficial for me.
Thanks,



Camel Festival Rajasthan | Camel Festival in Rajasthan