Cultural peep into India

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Cultural peep into India

The Indian pavilion at Global Village showcases the history of the country and its vast cultural and ethnic diversity

By Suchitra Steven Samuel

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Published: Sun 27 Jan 2013, 3:02 PM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 4:21 AM

There is a magic about Global Village that attracts visitors to it several times in a year. Exhibitors too come back, some for more than 10 years. This is testimony to the fact that business is brisk and profitable. The Indian pavilion at Global Village has been doing just that, attracting repeat visitors and exhibitors. This year the pavilion is spread across an area of 11,500 square metres, one of the largest at the Global Village. It presents a kaleidoscopic view of India’s rich lifestyle not only to tourists but also to resident Indians.

This year, the focus is on the state of Tamil Nadu. A replica of Chennai’s architectural attraction, the Ripon Building, is the theme for the pavilion façade. To promote Indian tourism in a bigger way to the world, a space of 40 square metres is allotted to a replica of another monument, the Chennai Railway Station.


There is plenty and more to shop here. Antiques, furniture, garments, home furnishings, toys and dolls, cane and bamboo products, ivory, jute, leather, metalware, papier mache, stone craft, bronze casting, you can treat yourself to all this and more. Pashmina shawls, Indian jewellery, lamps and traditional door decorations are very alluring. Handicrafts from the deserts of Rajasthan and a significant quantity of attractive mirror work add to the rich tapestry.


Dubai is called the “City of Gold” as it has matured into an international hub for gold, jewellery and precious metals. There is a wide selection of authentic gold and diamond jewellery at Atlas, Joyalukkas and Sky Jewellery stands located at the Indian pavilion. Joy Alukkas says, “The jewellery souk has been designed to complement the spirit and theme of Global Village. We offer exciting promotions to jewellery shoppers to make their trip even more memorable. Though themed in a souk format, we ensure all customers the global standard in jewellery shopping.”


The Indian pavilion offers a wide range of popular cuisines that are characterised by the extensive use of various Indian spices. The food court at the pavilion offers mouth-watering cuisine at restaurants and snack corners from North and South India, serve a wide variety of delicious, authentic Indian food. From Kerala to Mumbai, Punjab to Gujarat to Hyderabad, the food court is a one-stop destination for foodies.


Performers at the pavilion continue to charm visitors. The India pavilion is the only one that has its own stage with a seating capacity of 800. There are cultural programmes six days a week, held in the evening, for two to three hours in which performers from various states of India showcase traditional, cultural and Bollywood dances. Street performers and puppeteers from Rajasthan add to the attraction. In a fun-filled family atmosphere miniature merry-go-rounds turn making the visit extra special for little ones.


Shabbu Khan from Rampur in UP has been involved in his family business that involves hand embroidery, zari and appliqué work for the last 20 years. Applique is a decoration or trimming made when one material is attached by sewing to another. “Such intricate work can take around 20 days,” says Khan, who is a regular exhibitor for the last 13 years.


Patiala handicraft sells special bangles from Hyderabad made of brass metal in different hues and costs Dh25 for a set of four. Shoukat Mohammed has products from Hyderabad such as fresh water pearls. He demonstrates how to check the quality of pearls. He brings a lighter flame close to the pearls and it does not change its shape. “A pearl necklace costs approximately Dh90. There are necklaces of precious stones in different shades — ruby, emerald, blue sapphire, black onyx and blue topaz. The most expensive is ruby and a necklace of three rows costs Dh750. Bangles are made of brass metal,” Shoukat says. He has been exhibiting at the Global Village for the last 15 years.


Brothers Shoaib and Asif along with father Mohammed Shafi sell delicate hand-embroidered shawls from Kashmir. They have been coming to the Global Village for the last 12 years. “Ninety five per cent of the shawls are hand-made,” says Shoaib. The brothers are continuing the family business started by their great-grandfather.


Ramesh Bachani is from Delhi with roots in UP. At his stand he has handmade walnut wood furniture from Kashmir. He has been participating at the Global Village for the last eight years and sells jewelled carpets that can cost up to Dh5,000. Plus he has pearls and jewellery from Hyderabad, Jaipur, Rajasthan, UP, Bareilly, Agra and Saranpur.


Rajasthani string puppetry is a vibrant aspect of Indian culture that showcases the oral history of the region. There are raja, rani and snake puppets for sale. Guddi Ramesh is one among the seven women from Rajasthan at the Global Village involved in henna designs and playing the dumroo (small drums). It is her third year at the event and she is excited about this year’s edition.


India is known for its wide variety of exquisite and stylish leather goods. Hailing from Calcutta, Aditya Gadia sells leather boxes for watches, cufflinks and pens. “Leather is from sheep, goat, cow and buffalo,” says Sarfaraz Ahmed, who was at the stand doing brisk sales.


Mohammed Salman Ahmed does striking inlay work called Bidri. The metal used is a blackened alloy of zinc and copper inlaid with thin sheets of pure silver. The craft is carried on by succeeding generations. Ahmed belongs to the fifth generation, a family of three brothers. “Today, there are just a few families involved in Hyderabad,” he says.

Designs are etched free-hand with the help of a metal stylus. Ahmed uses small chisels to engrave the design over the free-hand etching. Flattened strips of pure silver are then carefully hammered into these grooves. After a few steps, the finished products appear black with brilliant silver inlay. Artists engrave the design in silver and silver sheets and make different items like vases, plates and boxes for jewellery.


Biradar celebrates his birthday today, January 26. He says he looks forward to the sweets as the whole of India celebrates his birthday that falls on Republic Day. Meanwhile, he enjoys his time at the Indian pavilion as he attends to customers.

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