Thiruvananthapuram: An array of ethnic items and artists from the SAARC nations will be showcased at an International Handicrafts Exhibition in Kozhikode this in the run up to the ninth edition of the Grand Kerala Shopping Festival (GKSF).
Artisans from all the eight nations of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) will participate in the 18-day mela to be held at Iringal in Kozhikode district from December 20 as part of the Mega Season 9 of the GKSF which is being hosted by the Kerala Tourism Department.
The External Affairs Ministry will bring in the artists from Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan to the Sargaalaya Iringal International Crafts Festival which will have the participation of the United Nations as well, Kerala Tourism Secretary G Kamala Vardhana Rao IAS said.
The proposal was cemented at a meeting Rao and GKSF Director K M Anil Muhammed had with Gopal Bagle IFS, Joint Secretary to the External Affairs Ministry, in New Delhi the other day.
“We have discussed the matter also with Vinod Zutshi, Secretary to the Union Tourism Ministry,” Rao said.
Further, efforts are on under the leadership of Kerala Tourism Minister A P Anil Kumar and Shashi Tharoor MP to bring in more foreign countries to the December 20-January 5 crafts festival.
The 2011-founded Sargaalaya is a pioneering Kerala Tourism enterprise being managed by an eight-decade-old construction society on a 20-acre campus near Vadakara, employing 90 artists housed in the 27 huts where they churn up 60-plus varieties of pan-Indian crafts.
GKSF is an annual shopping event which Kerala Tourism conducts in co-ordination with the State’s departments of Industries & Commerce, Finance and Local Self Government with the aim of transforming God’s Own Country into a hub of international shopping experience and help upgrade its traditional marketing infrastructure.