Delhi, the capital of India, is home to myriad attractions. One such popular attraction is the Dilli Haat. It is a shopper’s paradise and a major haunt for foreign tourists visiting the country. It is the place where they come hunting for souvenirs to take back home. It’s a must-visit place whenever you are visiting Delhi.
The Dilli Haat was opened in 1994. The Dilli Haat came into existence with the joint initiatives of various arms of Govt. of India, including Ministry of Tourism and Ministry of Textiles, as well as D.C. (Handlooms) & D.C. (Handicrafts), NDMC and Delhi Tourism. The aim is to showcase the rich culture and traditions of India, preserve and sustain the heritage, and provide help to skilled artisans from different places of India.
As you enter the Dilli Haat, a sense of nostalgia is bound to grip you. It seems as though you are in a village of North India. This open air food and craft bazaar is quite typical. The architectural features in this expansive over 6 acres complex have stone roofs and brickwork jali (lattice) similar to those found in a North Indian village. You will also find kiosks and small thatched roof cottages without concrete structures providing a village-like atmosphere. The shops have been established on platforms giving a look of a bazaar. There are courtyards between the shops which are interspaced with grass and stone paved. The whole area has been beautifully landscaped with trees and colorful flowering shrubs. The entire complex is in harmony with nature and in perfect sync with the village environment.
The entrance of Dilli Haat greets the visitors with a plaque bearing images of two village belles churning milk and extracting butter. The atmosphere looks as though you are in a village fair or haat with thatched roofs, brick floor and occasional sarangi players playing their musical instruments under the open sky.
Stroll down the main passageway, side courtyards, corridors and avenues. These present a mesmerizing sight with stalls lined up selling colorful handicrafts from various states of India. The artisans selling their wares donning ethnic attire look resplendent and colorful as ever. The selling spaces are allocated to them for a nominal amount. They are allowed to sell their creations for only 15 days, after which another set of artisans from a different region replaces them. Many types of handicrafts can be seen being sold at the many stalls here. The prominent among them are Madhubani paintings, wicker chairs, giant statues, family-size swings, glass bangles, metal pendants, bead necklaces, kolhapuri chappals, Lucknawi chikankari kurtas, Punjabi jootis, Rajasthani cholis and Cashmere shawls. Items being sold here range from Rs. 50 up to Rs. 30,000. You can also enjoy theme-based festivals at Dilli Haat, organized on a monthly basis.
Food stalls are among other major highlights here. You will see food stalls selling exclusive cuisines of various states of India. Treat yourself to wazwan meal being sold at the Kashmir stall. The Maharashtra stall can be seen selling their local fare zunka bhakar. For those who love chillies, the Nagaland stall is worth visiting to try out the curries. The foods are quite authentic and moderately priced.