Surajkund -, Feb 3 - Miss Universe Ximena Navarrete of Mexico Thursday checked out hand-crafted saris and bangles and had henna applied to her hands in her first encounter with India's rich culture at the famed Surajkund Crafts Mela.
The South American beauty was visibly floored by the varied culture and crafts on display at the sprawling fair ground as she visited stall after stall on the outskirts of Delhi.
On her maiden trip to India, she got 'mehendi' - applied on her hands and even enjoyed grinding a traditional 'atta chakki', a traditional flour milling machine.
While showing a keen interest in articles of handloom, handicrafts and terracotta as well as Indian dresses, she picked up a shawl and even got a portrait prepared at a stall with craftsmen from Sri Lanka.
The Miss Universe, who won the title in Las Vegas last year, was clad in blue jeans and a black top. She danced with folk artistes, enjoying every bit of the fair that draws tens of thousands of people.
'India and Mexico are multi-cultured countries and I don't feel that I am away from home,' she said.
The 15-day annual event, observing its silver jubilee edition this year, started Tuesday. Making a modest beginning in 1981, the Surajkund fair has become a popular event over the years.
It draws a large number of foreigners eager to see the best of traditional Indian craftsmen display their skills and art.
Surajkund owes its name to an ancient amphitheatre sun pool, dating to the 10th century, located there. It was built by king Suraj Pal, who worshipped the Sun god. The place is located some 20 km from Delhi.
Andhra Pradesh is the theme state of the fair this year while Uzbekistan is the partner country.