Surajkund (Haryana), Feb 3 (IANS) Miss Universe Ximena Navarrete had her first encounter with India’s rich cultural heritage when she visited the Surajkund Crafts Mela (fair) in Haryana’s Faridabad district Thursday.
The Mexican beauty was floored by the rich culture and crafts on display at the fair and checked out hand-crafted sarees and bangles.
On her maiden visit to India, the Miss Universe got ‘mehendi’ (henna tattoo) applied on her hands and even enjoyed grinding a traditional ‘atta chakki’ (traditional flour milling machine).
While showing keen interest in the articles of handloom, handicrafts, terracotta and Indian dresses, she picked up a shawl and even got a portrait prepared at a stall with craftsmen from Sri Lanka.
The Miss Universe, clad in blue jeans and a black top, even danced with folk artistes.
“India and Mexico are multi-cultured countries and I don’t feel that I am away from home here,” she said.
The 15-day annual event, which is observing its silver-jubilee edition this year, started Feb 1.
Making a modest beginning in 1981, the Surajkund fair has become a popular event over the years. International acknowledgement has come to the event with scores of foreigners coming to see the best of traditional Indian craftsmen display their skills and art.
Surajkund (The pond of Sun god) owes its name to an ancient amphitheatre sun pool, dating to the 10th century, located there. It was built by king Suraj Pal, a follower of the Sun god. The place is located in the Aravalli mountain range, some 20 km from Delhi.
Andhra Pradesh is the theme state of the fair this year, while Uzbekistan is the partner country.