I’m amazed that on my previous visit to Delhi no-one mentioned that I might like to explore the craft village of Dilli Haat in southern Delhi. Perhaps I was previously simply too busy working! However, one day last week over breakfast in the Faculty Guest House at IIT Delhi, a colleague suggested that it was not far away, and if I had time I should try to visit. So, I made time this Saturday afternoon, with the temperature well over 95o F (35oC), to set off and explore.
The Haat (market), which opened in 1994, is run by the Delhi Tourism and Transportation Development Corporation, and includes craft stalls from many different parts of India, as well as food sellers, and a stage. Having paid a small entrance fee (100 INR for a foreigner), one is free just to wander and explore. In some parts of the market, brightly coloured cloth covers the alleyways, and in others the stalls are set along a sort of arcade. There is a huge range of craft produce from many different regions of the country for sale, including clothes (mainly for women), jewellery, woodwork, pottery, spices, brass goods, leather work, musical instruments, and mother of pearl bowls. One of the nicest things is that it was not very crowded, and few traders were overly-persistent in trying to make a sale. Those near the back of the market clearly received less business, and so some good deals can be struck there, but other traders stated clearly that there were fixed prices. Certainly, there is a premium to be paid over the price of goods that can be found elsewhere in the city, but the quality is good, and having so much to choose from in one place makes shopping for gifts most enjoyable!
The diversity of products, the richness of colour, as well as the taste and smells of the market all made for a wonderful couple of hours exploration, and I hope that the pictures below capture something of the essence of the place.
Thanks so much once again to Anushruti Vagrani for taking me there, and helping me negotiate!