Fair: About 75 craftsmen from 82 self-help groups from rural communities around the country displayed their crafts, cultures, histories and traditions, during the Tarayana fair at the Centenary Park in Changlimithang, yesterday.

The groups have been formed in rural communities to generate income by carrying out activities such as farming and various crafts. Groups from Mongar, Pemagatshel, Trongsa, Samtse, Dagana, Wangdue and Zhemgang were present at the fair.

Unlike in the past, the fair this year had stalls in a village setting and live demonstrations of green technologies that included a gravity goods ropeway, handicraft products such as textiles, pottery, traditional paper products, wooden, cane and bamboo products, among others. Cultural performances and a delectable range of traditional cuisines that included brewing of local alcohol, ara, were also on offer.

Programme director with Tarayana, Sonam Pem, said that the Tarayana fair’s main beneficiaries are the rural artisans and communities.

“For them, it’s an opportunity to showcase their skills and promote or market their products,” she said. “It also gives them an opportunity to test their product because they come up with different and new products every year,”

Changlu, 53, from Dagana said that rural people like him benefitted from the fair because whatever income he earned from his product, he can take back to his community. Last year, his group earned about Nu 30,000 by selling dried vegetables.

“The fair gives people like us a market for our products,” he said. “We can produce about a tonne of dried vegetables in a week in our community but we lack market so it is not much help to the community even if we can produce more.”

Kinzang Jurmey, 39, from Mongar has been participating in the fair for the past four years. He earned about Nu 70,000 last year by selling wood crafts like masks, photo frames and choeshums (alter). He added that sales were better at the fair.

The three-day fair ended yesterday.

By Dechen Tshomo