One life to celebrate!
Residents of Delhi, and tourists also, should be eternally grateful to Jaya Jaitley. Who’s she and why so?? Right? Well, she is the graceful lady in handloom sarees and silver jewellery, who gave us Dilli Haat – a handicrafts bazaar which is also the best crash course available in the city on the rich handicraft and handloom wealth in India.
Dilli (it’s never Delhi, always Dilli) Haat has been around for quite some time, it was established in 1994. There were rumours once that it’s been built over a burial ground, but this was never confirmed, and frankly, I don’t think anyone cares. Popular since inception, now it’s evolved into a unique hang-out zone for people of all age groups. You’ll find college students stopping by for momos and fruit beer, ladies out to pick up something ethnic and different, families in hordes with kids running around, you get the idea.
Dilli Haat is like a permanent handicrafts bazaar and you’ll know more about India’s arts and crafts here than anywhere else. Beautiful kantha sarees from Bengal, Bidri work from Karnataka, luxurious Benarsi drapes, bright bandhej from Rajasthan, Hyderabadi pearls, kani shawls and papier mache boxes from Kashmir, furniture from Saharanpur, the widest range of silver jewellery, blue pottery…the list goes on. You’ll find it all here, in an aesthetic setting of a marketplace with several brick and stone shops, splashed in a range of bright colours. It gives the impression of a rural setting, in homage to the dastkar or craftsman it aims at supporting.
Every state in the country is represented in some way or the other, especially food. Foodies can expect to indulge in a range of food items from every state, and it’s here that you get an idea of the wide range of goodies that our country offers. My favourite earlier, used to be the momos at the Manipur stall, piping hot with a sharp chilli chutney, gulped down with a tall glass of fruit beer. But I also like the Rajasthani stall, with its kulhad chai and hot pyaaz ki kachori. But if you looking for the less prominent litti-chokha from Bihar, or some divine Kashmiri qawah, you can also find them here at the respective stalls.
The place is open all year around, usually buzzing with some activity or the other, from specific exhibitions to dance and cultural performances to even street plays. Any time is a good time to visit, though the end of the month is when they change the stalls, and you won’t find too many stalls then, but yes, you can visit simply to grab a bite.
There is a small entry fee – Rs 20 for adults and Rs 10 for children, and its open seven days a week from 10:30 am to 10:00 pm.
I went there a few days ago, and sharing some pictures from my visit. I was kinda exhausted with the shopping and could not click pictures of the food, but I did gorge on a kachori and some ginger tea. Quite nice!
Location: Sri Aurobindo Marg, opposite INA market.
Nearest Metro: INA on the Yellow Line