Sunday, December 13, 2009

IITF - India International Trade Fair, Pragati Maidan, New Delhi

The IITF - India International Trade Fair,is a shopper’s & foodie paradise. A regular event every year, held in November. The India International Trade Fair or IITF for short, is eagerly awaited by the public at large who arrive in droves for the shopping offers, dances, food and just to be there. The IITF is though a traffic nightmare for those uninterested. It is to the credit of the organisers who over the years have perfected the art of pulling the India International Trade fair off without a hitch. This one is a manna from heaven for shoppers and Delhites take to it with vengeance. Many shop as if a drought was round the corner!!! Jokes apart, it does offer a panoramic view of the entire country. The focus point small artisans, small businesses, Government organizations, women’s co-operatives, SHGs and more…the products a veritable range and the prices quite moderate. Even established business –the medium to large descend offering value for money offers each which makes the inveterate shopper drool. The foreign participants also bring along their wares which is truly remarkable. Pakistan is a permanent fixture with their range in Onyx (it is truly to die for), the embroidered fabrics and of course the tribal embroideries and antique textiles. Afghanistan revels in its turquoise, jade and beautiful embroideries – Khamak, Uzbek dowry items. I have been the most partial to this pavilion, saving up much in advance for the splurge and of course coming back unsatisfied with glazed eyes of what I had to leave behind being short of cash! Good they don’t accept credit cards there!!! Afghanistan also offers saffron, dry fruits and pomegranate. Indonesia, Burma are loaded with jewellery.

The Indian pavilions of various States are filled with their particular offering. It is an ideal place to source handicrafts, handloom item (Kantha, Sujni, Kutchi embroidery, woolens from HP, bamboo from North Eastern states….). Most importantly it is a good place to buy organic products and naturally grown agro products – Litchi from Bihar, Maharashtra, exotic fruit juices from North East, Uttaranchal, Honey from Jharkhand, Chattisgarh, Turmeric, spices from Kerala, North East…. The list is endless. In the agro packaging segment one does come across good products for franchisee deals. The women’s co-operative products ranging from Amla candies to indigenous chips & pappads are good no less. The buy one get two free routines, incense sticks replete with good overnight bags, bangles, bamboo boards, arecnut tree plates….

Food is another hot hot item. It is ideal to taste the authentic flavours of regional cuisine – be it the ubiquitous channa bhatura, dal makhni, dosa vada sambhar to the uncommon sattu, ragi rotis, pasarathu, Awadhi cuisine, Kahwa… street food – tikki, gol guppa, papadi, Chinese food to paneer tikkas…. The variety of fruit juices, coconut water (Kerala!), banana, banana chips…..

Location – At Pragati Maidan – November 14th – November 27th of every year. The tickets are available at Metro stations, Mother Diary booths and at the gate.

Timings – Open all days, morning 10:00 am onwards. Check with advertisements for entry fees & timings. There is a difference in the price of tickets as well.

Highlight – A true shopper’s paradise. It showcases the best from each state. The participating agencies especially the Government run outfits bring some of their best products. Usually these can be bought only during the Trade Fair or at select exhibitions. It is also the best place to catch the cultural extravaganza of traditional dances and costumes of every State.

Insider Tip – It is possible to bargain, there is a discount for wholesale meaning if you are buying bulk products there is a discount. It is very very crowded especially on Saturdays and Sundays which are infinitely avoidable. It is ideal to reach early both during Business Hours and General Public hours when it is less crowded. It starts to get crowded after 2:00 pm or so. Foreign pavilions attract more visitors and are more crowded. Be careful with your belongings. Ideal to pick up Organic Spices, Exotic juices, clothes and good bargain buys.