Bhubaneswar (Odisha) [India], January 22 (ANI): Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik inaugurated the 15th edition of Toshali National Crafts Mela in Bhubaneswar on Thursday evening.
Artisans showcased various handicrafts including lanterns, carpets among other decorative items.
Several women were seen shopping several necklaces, hair-bands, rings and other artificial jewellery items. Many sculptors had made portraits, models of several Gods and Goddess with a most popular one being Lord Jagannath statues.
Handmade bags, purses and baskets were among the most preferred items being bought by people.
Speaking to ANI, Ashok Panda, Minister of Tourism and Culture in Odisha said, "This is one of the largest handicrafts mela being conducted in India in 2021 amid the COVID-19 pandemic. We have put 250 stalls in the area wherein weavers, artisans and sculptors from all over the country are participating. This year, 180 artisans are showcasing their products, out of which 17 are from outside the state."
Talking about the impact of pandemic on the mela, he said, "To be honest, many people felt bored sitting at their homes in the pandemic. Now gradually, the situation is easing out. Hence, many people are expected to attend this mela. However, we are exercising all COVID-19 precautions and adhering to the guidelines."
Janet, a customer said, "It is a nice platform to exhibit the products of artisans. They are also happy to sell their products. Also, people can buy artistic products at a very reasonable cost."
Another customer said, "Mela is decorated well. We feel good to come here. Handloom industry will surely benefit from these melas."
A shopkeeper who came from Himachal Pradesh told ANI, "I hope that my warm jackets get sold out here. The Government of Odisha is helping us. They paid for my travelling expenses and helped me in setting up a stall." (ANI)