Most fairs in Calcutta are held in what is known as the lungs of the city - the Maidan. These sprawling fields next to the Victoria Memorial and Birla Planetarium host a dazzling array of fairs through the year. Don't be surprised if you find a true-blue Calcuttan planning what to buy each month and which fair to buy it at - these shows have become a permanent feature of the Calcutta landscape.
Calcutta book fair
The Mecca of publishers, book lovers and students, the Book Fair held in early February is a place that every family in Calcutta makes a beeline for. The fair showcases the best of not just Indian publishers, but also bookseller, writers and bibliophiles from all corners of the globe. Great discounts are offered on a mind-boggling array of titles as visitors to the fair wend their way in and out of the colorful stalls, stopping every now and then to grab a bite, get their portraits painted or just listen to the music filtering through the fair grounds.
Every alternate year, the Maidan in Kolkata plays host to the Handloom Expo. The fair started way back in 1982. For 21 days, people from the city as well as tourists in Calcutta shop for everything from bed linen to clothes at affordable prices.
Industrial India Trade Fair
Held at the Maidan, the Industrial Trade Fair sees the participation of industrial players not just from West Bengal, but also from Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan. Apart from core sector participants, the fair showcases the products and technology of the participating countries and is a wonderful opportunity for some business deals and networking.
Travel and Tourism Fair
Held in August, the Travel and Tourism Fair moves away from the much-favored Maidan to the Netaji Indoor Stadium. Discounts on booking, trade and travel deals, holiday packages, business deals in the industry - all these are more can be picked up under the same roof at this congregation of the big and small players of the trade and travel industry.
Dedicated to the Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, the Vidyasagar Mela is an attempt to bring alive the ideals of the scholar. In honor of his commitment to social reform, the fair spreads the message of education and social welfare. It also showcases the folk culture of the state. Health camps and seminars are also a patent feature of this fair.
Held in December-January, Lexpo is a fair that showcases the products and technology of the leather industry. It's a fair for not just big players, but also for small scale industry participants to exhibit their ware.
This three-day fair celebrates the founding day of Rabindranath Tagore's Shantiniketan. Held in late December, the fair is marked by prayers, cultural fests, crafts bazaars and folk performances. Poush Mela is a good occasion to explore the cultural facets of Shantiniketan, and attracts a large number of tourists. The last day of the fair is marked by prayers for the deceased who were associated with Shantiniketan.