Lok Mela: Colourful festivities continue to attract visitors

Bangle-making stall remains the main attraction of the festival

Girls apply henna(top left). A couple chooses from a stall of embroidered items (top). A woman selects bangles at a stall at Lok Eid Mela (left). PHOTOS: HUMA CHOUDHARY/EXPRESS

ISLAMABAD: The 10-day Eid Lok Mela continues to attract visitors from the twin cities on its sixth day on Tuesday. It is for the first time that the National Institute of Folk and Traditional Heritage (Lok Virsa) has organised the festival during Ramazan.

An atmosphere of festivity and a celebration of local cultures surround the festival. Stalls, displaying a number of items ranging from jewellery, baskets, wooden gift boxes, traditional clothes, henna application and bangle making, line the venue.

The Hyderabad bangle-making stall gave a glimpse into the lengthy process involved in the making of the traditional bracelets. Bangle making, an art in itself, usually involves an exchange of 72 hands from start to finish.

To cater to the visitors, fast food stalls serving shami burgers, chana chaat, gol gappay and pizzas have been set up. Girls were seen merrily getting various kinds of henna art patterns at the mehndi and henna application stall.

Though the event has a lot to offer to its visitors, the attendance has been relatively thin. This is probably because of Ramazan timings and lack of proper food stalls or cultural attractions.

Nonetheless, the mela has plenty of reasonably-priced clothes and handicrafts to offer.

“I found some really nice and reasonably-priced clothes here for Eid and it has a nice, relaxing ambiance where you can enjoy with your family,” said Rabia Khan, a visitor.

“I didn’t get any special response in terms of sales as visitor footfall is quite slow,” said Sher Azam, a seller of embroidered dresses, gemstones and honey.

Bangle-making stall set up by women artisans from Hyderabad continues to be the main attraction at the festival.

Artists Rubina, Irfana and Quratulain accompanied by their facilitator Jibran demonstrated the art of making beautifully embellished glass bangles. These artisans have been invited by the Lok Virsa institute in collaboration with the Pak-Social Welfare Society.

“The artisans use their skill to earn a living as well as train other women as to financially empower them,” said Jibran.

A number of foreigners displaying an interest in cultural artifacts and traditional clothes were also seen at the festival.

The mela will continue till the night before Eid.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 15th, 2015.

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