Friday, January 16, 2009

Bhawanipatna Fair

After my rather short visit to the textile fair in Koraput, I had been really looking forward to the Bhawanipatna one and it was ... well ... fantastic. It was held in the Stadium which is a stone's throw from where I live – in fact so close I can hear the entertainment (rather monotonous speeches interspersed with Indian classical music) loud and clear as I type this. The official entrance was some distance away but, along with everyone else from our part of town, I squeezed through the gap in a loosely chained gate under the watchful eye of the priests in the temple opposite. Once inside, it was remarkably similar to an English agricultural show - maybe not quite the Great Yorkshire Show but certainly a large district one. You could buy anything from a tractor to a trinket and a lot else in between; they also had displays of the latest agricultural techniques and produce although there didn't appear to be any show jumping or livestock judging. It all had an Indian flavour of course. For starters it takes place at night. I think some things go on during the day but the fun doesn't start much before 6pm. On the stalls side, instead of laces and linens you could buy tribal textiles and saris; there was no WI stand but the local branch of the Lions were out in force; and instead of the hotdogs and burgers you could feast on samosas, dhosas, curry and rice all served on a leaf plate. There was even a Members Area which for some reason was called the Officers and Ladies Club. And of course, like any such event, you find things that you've never heard of or seen before but wonder how you ever managed to exist without. After two visits on successive evenings, I've come home with a jar of forest honey, a bottle of amla juice, two saris and a battery operated lamp. The pièce de résistance, however, is the portable giza boiler. The box – needless to say there are no instructions – says it will produce 3 litres of boiling water a minute and you've no idea how much I'm looking forward to being able to wash with hot rather than cold water. Unfortunately on my return home we had another power cut so, whilst the battery operated lamp came into its own immediately, I haven't been able to test out the boiler but as soon as the lights flicker back on I'll be producing hot water like it's going out of fashion – or in India coming into fashion far too slowly for my liking. Click here for more pictures.

2 comments:

Defrauded said...
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Hoolio said...

Very well written story, if I may say so, as are all your others. Anyway, good to hear you're well. M+D coming down this week on way to Majorca. Children looking forward to having Milly to stay. I'm off to Jamaica next month for a couple of days; we had jerk chicken, rice & peas for dinner tonight!