When: 15th March 2014
Where: Meerut, Uttar Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh is hard to beat for the things it produces- Lucknow's chikankari; Ferozabad's glassware; Kanpur's leather; Varanasi's silk saris… the list is endless. And if you want a one-stop shop to buy them, come to the Nauchandi Mela in Meerut (Uttar Pradesh). A historic fair, more than a century old, Nauchandi is a month-long extravaganza of great shopping, good food, and UP at its noisy best. The Nauchandi Mela begins on the second Sunday after Holi. This is when Meerut becomes much more than just a small satellite town of Delhi, and takes on a glitter and vivacity which is highly infectious.
The history behind the Nauchandi Mela is debatable; some say that it began as a cattle fair way back in 1672; others suggest a British revenue-collection fair as the precursor of the mela. Many Hindu devotees believe that it began as a religious festival to commemorate the building of a temple in Meerut by Mandodari, the wife of the demon king, Ravana.
Whatever may be the antecedents of the Nauchandi Mela, the fact of the matter is that this is one of the biggest, most colourful and interesting fairs anywhere in the country. Held for all of a month after Holi, the Nauchandi Mela is held on a 4 sq km area, crowded and colourful as can be. The area's crisscrossed by pathways; and all through are put up hundreds of stalls selling handicrafts and machine-made products from all across India. Textiles, perfumes, jewellery, furniture, ceramics, glassware, leather- the list is endless. Giant wheels, games, nautankis and cultural performances add to the ambience. Performances of music and dance have, in fact, become an important part of the Nauchandi Mela, with maestros such as Pandit Ravi Shankar being among those who have performed here.
Any way you look at it- whether from the point of view of a compulsive shopper, a trader wanting to do a bit of good business, or a culture-vulture looking for a great experience- the Nauchandi Mela is worth a visit.
Explore more Fairs in India: Pushkar Camel Fair | Bikaner Festival