The state of Haryana is steeped in rich cultural history that contributed to shaping present-day India. The name ‘Haryana’ derives from the Sanskrit words ‘Hari’, the 650th moniker for the Hindu God Vishnu, and ‘ayana’, which translates as ‘home’ – ‘Haryana’ can be understood to mean ‘the Abode of God’. Today, Haryana is one of the most economically developed areas in South Asia. This is greatly owed to innovations in the state’s agricultural, manufacturing, information technology and automobile industry.
The location is home to major sites of the ancient Indus Valley Civilisation, Vedic Civilisation and legendary battles. The most well known battle is the Kurukshetra War of Hindu mythology, transcribed in the Sanskrit epic poem, the Mahabharata. Throughout the rule of the British in India, Haryana was part of East Punjab, which was annexed in 1849 by the East India Company. The present-day state of Haryana was officially inaugurated in 1966 on the basis of language – it was the Hindi-speaking region of historic Punjab.
Just as in other Indian states, traditional handlooms and handicrafts are widespread across Haryana. The internationally acclaimed Surajkund Crafts Fair, organised by Haryana Tourism in collaboration with the Department of Tourism, Ministry of Tourism and Culture-Government of India, takes place every February in Faridabad city. The fortnight-long fair celebrates Haryana’s age-old arts and crafts, its traditional techniques and modern-day artisans. Visitors from across the world can witness exquisite exhibitions that not only include textile crafts such as mirror work embroidery, but also pottery, painting and grass work.
The surviving ancient city of Panipat is nicknamed ‘City of Weavers’ and is Haryana’s hub for traditional Indian textiles. Colourful, extravagantly woven and Phulkari embroidered shawls are not only popular items amongst tourists, but are also a staple of winter wear for local women. Panipat is also the centre for mesmerising geometrically designed durrie rugs. The Technological Institute for Textiles and Sciences in Bhiwani perpetuates traditional Indian textile arts and crafts by offering various courses in Indian textile history and production.
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