The capital city of Delhi abounds in many interesting and useful places. Delhi being a microscosm of India, is represented by the many facets that make up our wide and diverse nation. And Dilli Haat , situated in the heart of South Delhi, is one of those places that perfectly showcases this diversity.
Dilli Haat, located opposite the INA Market in South Delhi, near AIIMS ( All India Institute of Medical Sciences), is an open-air market that specializes in exhibits and handicrafts from across the nation. Besides, there is a sumptuous spread of delicacies from across the nation. From the Momos of the North Eastern states, to Idli- Dosa of the South, Paranthas of North India and Misti Doi ( Sweet Curd) of Eastern India, you are sure to find it all over here. I remember that the first time I went to this place , way back in 2001, with a friend from Delhi, I made him taste the Misti Doi from the West Bengal food stall ( inveterate Bong that I am) and left him licking his fingers asking for more! You would find many more such culinary experiences there, and during the four years of our stay in Delhi, this was the site of many a culinary and shopping adventure. Indeed, the food for my daughter’s annaprashan ( rice-eating ceremony ) in Delhi came from Bijoligrill, the iconic Bengali caterers who have an outlet at Dilli Haat.
Dilli Haat is modeled on the idea of a traditional open-air haat ( or market) and showcases several handicrafts, from embroidery, to durreeware, metalware, woodwork, gems, beads, rosewood and sandalwood carvings, embellished camel hide footwear, sophisticated fabric and drapery, and more, in all shapes, colours and configurations. The thatched roof huts and kiosks give this place a village atmosphere. Even if you don’t buy anything, just wandering and looking around the place is a feast for the eyes, especially so during the several festivals and exhibitions that come up at this venue, when the entire arena wears a festive look, and the overflowing crowds attest to the popularity of this place.
At Dilli Haat, there are 62 stalls spread out over 6 acres, besides open air performing arenas ( I recall having seen a Bengali play here once, as part of a theatre festival) . One can wander about the venue, taking in the varied sights and sounds. The craftsmen who are registered with D.C.Handicrafts are the ones who are eligible to find a place at the Dilli Haat. The stalls selling handicrafts are allotted on a rotational basis to craftsmen who come from all corners of India at a nominal payment of Rs.100/- per day , for a period of 15 Days. This ensures that visitors get to buy authentic wares at prices that have not been inflated by high maintenance costs (source- Wikipedia). It also ensures that the range of ware on display is kaleidoscopic and ever- changing.
The second version of Dilli Haat was opened at Pitam Pura, West Delhi, near the Netaji Subhash Place Metro Station, though it would no doubt take time to match the popularity of the original venue.
Whether you are an avid shopper, an inveterate foodie, an enthusiastic photographer or someone who just loves to roam about, Dilli Haat has something for everyone. Whether you stay in Delhi or are there on a short trip, this place is a must- do for seeing, enjoying and experiencing and losing yourself in the mini microcosm that is India, metaphorically located at the Dil ( heart, or centre) of Delhi and India.
- Location: Opposite INA Market , South Delhi, on Ring Road Near AIIMS
- Getting there: accessed through INA underground station of Delhi Metro From NDLS Rly station you can reach by Delhi Metro. From Delhi Airport You can Reach by bus crossing AIIMS.
- Entrance: Open from 130 am to 10.00 pm., seven days a week, at a nominal entrance fee, Rs. 10 (Adult), and free for children
- Website: http://www.delhitourism.com/dttdc/dilli-haat.html