Thursday, December 7, 2023

Desi Oon Festival - The world of Indigenous Wools

It is usually believed that wool in India is used only in the North and certain parts of Eastern India where it is cold.  The sources of wool – sheep, goat, camel, buffalo, yak and more. The population of the animals is scattered across the country. The pastoral community keeping alive the bio-diversity and cross breeding amongst the breeds. The pastoralists controlling large flocks of animals migrate taking with them the animals. The major wool though is sheep. India has the world’s second largest population of sheep. Indian wool is rough and does not find too many takers. Desi Oon is an initiative to ensure that it is lucrative for the pastoral community to produce wool and make it into value added products. The products are something that one will fall in love with. Though slightly coarse as compared to the merino, the design and muted colour combination are eye catching. Several partner organisations each doing stellar work – Kulvi Whims, Shepherds of Himalayas, Khamir, Urmul, Avani,Miyar Mufflers…


When – 7th to 11th December 2023 (held approximately at the same time every year) –     


Where – Triveni Kala Sangam – Tansen Marg


Timings – 11 am to 7 pm


Highlights – Scarves, stoles, throws, shawls, coats, dhurries, knits. Beautifully designed festivals. The live demonstrations by craftsmen – be it spinning or weaving. A beautiful cottage from Ladakh which demonstrates the use of wool to keep it insulated. A new fabric launch – wool for thermal and impact protection. We will cover this later.


Insider Tips – Insulation using wool has been displayed for the first time. Camel products using camel milk – cheese, chocoates… The colours of the products are beautiful and understated. Several using organic and natural colours. Ladakh felts which are akin to paintings. Enjoy the food at the Triveni Terrace Café…

Monday, December 4, 2023

Christmas market at the Swiss Embassy – Swiss-German Christkindl Market 2023

It’s the time to….trala la la….yess…Ho Ho….red dress, red caps, long white beard, Christmas Tree, gingerbread and more… There is something to December, which brings in its wake a season of joy, laughter, love and everything that is nice. The season in Delhi kicks off with a number of Christmas Markets. When I was a child, it used to be Christmas Mela on Janpath and how beautiful it was decorated. That does not happen now but leading the way are a host of Christmas Markets organized by the various Embassys. With the numbers growing, several overalp with one another. The one at the Swiss Embassy, was wonderful, cosy and yes Happening…but that would be wrong to describe a Christmas market. It was personalized, happy and celebrated the true Christmas spirit with joy. The abundance of food, shopping, activity centre just set the stage for spending a nice Sunday afternoon. With my dear friend Rita in tow, we reached early..before 12 and spent a good 3 hours laughing and enjoying ourselves. The point of attraction was the stall by August Collectives (my gutsy friend Punita’s brand). It was her invite which drove us to Chanakyapuri. It is always a pleasure going to that area, which reminds one of what Delhi once was. The wide roads, perfectly manicured gardens and open spaces. The drive well worth the trouble. Good vibes, good music and a very friendly set of people. The shopping area had some excellent products and easy on the purse too. There were dolls from Silaiwali, mittens, knitted items from another NGO, Kashmiri handicrafts with some beautiful stoles and shawls. Upcycled bags from vintage embroidered pieces, cushion covers woven from old sarees on khadi, wooden artifacts for Christmas, wellness products, cakes by the droves, salad bowls, cake stands, cutlery, bar accessories at Punita’s August Collectives. Seabuckthorn juice, Tarot reading with tea….

Timings – 11 am to 5 pm 

Where - 2nd and 3rd December at the Swiss Embassy (Embassy of Switzerland), Chanakyapuri. (Most fairs are held end November or early December – the first weekend) 

Entry Fees – It was Rs. 400/- this year, with the ticket to be bought at the gate. 

Highlights - The food court with Apple Strudel and Apple Juice from the German Bakery, based in Delhi. Mull wine and pancakes. Stall selling cookies, chocolates and other things imported from Switzerland. Some beautiful embroidered napkins, table mats, covers from craftsmen and NGOs.

Insider Tip – An excellent weekend fun, good food, good music and a nice ambience. It reminds one of what most Delhites used to do during weekends once upon a time…yes have picnics in open parks dotting the city. It was a time before the malls took over. The Malls…well that is another story and blog.. and I do like them too…😊😊, pub-8283208273141084, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0

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