Monday, February 9, 2009

Dilli Haat - for beautiful handicrafts and handloom textiles

Dilli Haat is - a wonderful marketplace for handproduced items. It lives up truly to its name - yes Haat pronounced (haaa t – as in tap) means market place in Hindi and stands to translate as market place in Delhi or Dilli Haat. Haat is usually used to describe weekly markets held in rural area. This was the concept in the design of Dilli Haat, to create a place within Delhi where people could buy products straight from the maker – craftspeople without any middle man. Dilli Haat has been innovatively designed and actually covers a very old sewer drain. It is an ideal place to see the panorama of handwork – textiles, jewellery, tribal paintings, sculptures, wood work, metal craft, silver craft …..from the country. I am a huge fan and am there literally once every 10 days (the earlier 15 days for each craftsman has been revised to 10 days keeping in mind the popularity). It is also an ideal place to buy organic products, natural herbal cosmetics, honey, farm fresh products… There is a change of craftspersons every 10 days. Some of the well known exhibitions to look out for are: Master Craftsman creation – where only National Awardees participate – this is held in the first half of December, Dastkar – Nature Bazaar – 2nd half of November, Dastkari Haat Samiti – End December (towards Christmas & New Year), Uttaranchal Organic Festival and that by Tribes (first half of February). One can find some good craftsmen through out the year.

Location –
Opposite INA market, just across the All India Medical Institute. A good 10 kms from Connaught Place

Timing – It is open 10:30 am to 10 pm on all days. There is an entry fee of Rs. 15 for adults and Rs. 5 for children (Ages 5 to 12). Children below 5 are allowed free inside. Parking is at an hourly rate of Rs. 10 and there are two lots behind the Haat. Though very cumbersome on a holiday. It is wheel chair friendly.

Highlight – The range of products is very interesting. Almost all handcrafted products from India are available from time to time. Some of the craftsmen supply to leading branded stores in the country. One can get good quality kantha, tribal textiles, tribal paintings, Lucknowi Chikan, Pashmina, metal work, silver… The restaurants offer good quality food from all over the country at very affordable price.

Insider Tip – Most craftsmen open the stalls by 11 am only. Best timings are 12 am onwards in winters, in summers evenings are better especially when accompanied by cultural programmes. It is a good sourcing ground for those who want to buy craft pieces in bulk for business. Bargaining is the norm. Craftsmen who are National Awardees do not fall into the bazaar like haggling for their products – rightly so as they are acclaimed artists in their particular sphere. For others though, bargaining is vociferous and prices can be bargained to nearly 40 – 50% of the quoted price. Enquire persistently for upcoming shows, there is little information available and one can miss out on good events if not alert!!!

(Do read other posts on Craft Museum, Dolls Museum & Akshardham for more shopping options)

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