Why is Dilli Haat famous? Is it for shopping or Dilli Haat restaurants or what? Dilli Haat attractions include all this for sure. But more than that, Dilli Haat is an experience. It is like a culture trip to India. India is, with its Gurgaons and Bangalores on one side and Chindi and Sarchi on the other, a thingummy and a lifetime is not enough to understand this geographical landmass. Did you know that red ant chutney is a delicacy in some areas of the country? Or girls from certain clans weave and embroider special shawls to gift the husband during the wedding? Or Patalkot ki Rasoi where they prepare corn-halwa? Or stories from epics Ramayan and Mahabharat are woven in silk on Baluchari by weavers in Bishnupur? Aadi Mahotsav at Dilli Haat, INA Market does just that.
But is Dilli Haat open after lockdown? Yes, it is. In fact, at present, it is hosting Aadi Mahotsav 2021.
Aadi Mahotsav 2021 dates, timing and venue
Aadi Mahotsav is on from 1st to 15th February 2021, 10 am to 8 pm. The venue is Dilli Haat, INA Market. The closest metro station is INA Market.
What is Aadi Mahotsav?
We have been following Aadi Mahotsav for some years now. To us, it is like travelling through various amazements and surprises from remote corners of India that are completely hidden from us. Aadi Mahotsav is organised by TRIFED, Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Government of India. This event is mainly an exhibition to highlight and commercialise the rich handloom and handicrafts of the countless “Adivasi” communities or “original inhabitants” or, simply put, the tribes of India. Along with the business angle, it is an attempt to familiarise city folks about the uniquely rich and diverse culture of the tribal societies across the country. To this end, in addition to the handloom and handicrafts on sale, food stalls are set-up to serve virtually unheard of items. Music, dance and other performances by the tribes are also held at the amphitheatre and these are open to all. The venue for Aadi Mahotsav keeps changing in Delhi but it brings about an awe-inspiring experience in a single space.
Aadi Mahotsav 2021
Aadi Mahotsav is an annual event in the Delhi calendar since the year 2017. The program was cancelled last year, 2020, for the corona pandemic. However, Aadi Mahotsav 2021 is back with a bang at Dilli Haat. The festival was recently inaugurated on 1st February 2021 by Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu, the Vice President of India, amidst much fanfare and hope. It is on for a fortnight where one gets to view and shop masterpieces by crafts folks from various tribal communities. Approximately 1000 craftspeople, performers, and chefs from more than 20 Indian states are participating this year.
What to shop
The popular items are handloom fabrics, saris, clothes, bedspreads, rugs and mats, shawls, jackets and quaint caps, clay, silver and dokra ornaments, simple furniture, home accessories like masks and lamps. We love the contemporary twist that some of the artisans give the products to make it more suitable for urban use. They also sell various organic packed food and nutritional items and herbs and spices for medicinal use. Many of these sound like remedies from grandmother’s kitchen. This is a great opportunity to have a sneak peek into the vast repertoire of Traditional Knowledge in India.
Also read: Top Places to buy Indian Handicraft in Delhi
What to eat
Dilli Haat, what with all the state-wise food stalls, is a foodie’s paradise. If you are at Aadi Mahotsav, we suggest you pass them and come to the temporary food court set up at the far end of the fair. This is where the adventurous foodie might get his adrenaline rush by way of the red ant chutney from the tribes-rich Bastar region of the Indian state Chhattisgarh. Apparently, this dish has enormous nutritional value. Nutrition is foremost in most of the dishes among the tribal community. We tried a warm drink prepared with curd and millet powder that not only cooled our system but also filled us up with a lot of fibre.
What to watch
While you are visiting Aadi Mahotsav, do have some extra time on hand. Various cultural groups from all over India have been invited to perform at the amphitheatre in Dilli Haat. They regale the audience with unique and fun-filled dance and music numbers and easily transport you to regions that you perhaps did not know existed. We remember watching a Siddhi-Goma, a tribal dance from a community in Gujarat. We will not split the beans, but the performance gave us goose-bumps.
Dilli Haat open after corona
This post would remain incomplete without a paragraph on Dilli Haat now. Dilli Haat opened after lockdown in July 2020. We visited Dilli Haat soon thereafter, and our hearts broke seeing not a single taker. Things have improved now thankfully and this place is somewhat back to normal with a steady flow of visitors. However, do note that they have adequate space for physical distancing and sanitisers have been placed in the premise. Also, wearing a mask is compulsory here.
Tickets for Aadi Mahotsav 2021
Aadi Mahotsav is free for everyone. There is a regular ticket to enter Dilli Haat priced at Rs. 30 for adults and Rs. 20 for children.
Dedicated parking is avaialable at front and back gates of Dilli Haat.