Haat Bazaar, or simply haat, is an old traditional open-air market that serves as a trading space for the locals of the rural areas of Southeastern Asian countries such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh etc. Haat was an essential place in the rural areas, not merely for trading purposes, but also to bring people from nearby villages together. Around 1994, Delhi got its most unique handicraft and artefacts market, the Delhi Haat (or as the locals call it Dilli Haat) selling and showcasing stuff created by local craftsmen from around the country. The Delhi state authority created this distinctive open-air marketplace inspired by the weekly rural haats, that are now quite common throughout urban India as well. Unlike the usual haats, Delhi Haat occupies around six acres of a permanent marketplace where craftsmen and artisans, from all around, present all of India in one place.
What makes Delhi Haat stand out from any other marketplace, is its characteristic stalls. Delhi Haat has 62 stalls which are allotted only to artisans on a rotational basis. An artisan or a craftsman gets a maximum of two weeks to exhibit and sell his artefacts. These artefacts range from traditional miniature paintings, Madhubani paintings, traditional handlooms and weaves, silk and wool fabrics, rosewood and sandalwood carvings to brassware statues and sculptures. All these artefacts are an authentic delineation of the region or state they represent. Quite often, you can also witness the artisans fabricating these artefacts in the marketplace, making the whole experience more exuberant. The ability to watch the making process makes Delhi Haat a necessity for anyone who is visiting Delhi. Nowhere else can you get so close to discerning the diversity and authenticity of the Indian cultural artefacts and handicrafts with such a magnitude, as you can in this vivid open-air market.
The jumble of the marketplace does not end with just ornate handicrafts and artefacts from all over India. The market is a haven for foodies. Delhi Haat also has an array of stalls that serve authentic dishes, exemplary of the different states and regions of India. The food stalls that are parts of the open-air marketplace offer an assortment of savoury dishes in a tranquil ambience of the tree shades. From light snacks to full course meals and refreshing drinks, the food stalls have it all covered. The food stalls are also a lovely little retreat from the bustling marketplace. Other than this, the Delhi Haat is also a cultural hub of the city in a way. The market is often hosting cultural, music and dance events. There are vibrant and informative theatre plays that are rapidly becoming new attractions of Delhi Haat. The place even hosted the first comic con of India. So, this place is an open-air marketplace, food court, and a cultural hub! Is there more that we can ask from one place?
Another ancillary advantage of Delhi Haat is its easy accessibility. It is located right in the heart of the city and is easily accessible from the city’s metro system. The marketplace is open all seven days of a week and can be accessed by a nominal entrance fee. Whether you are looking for authentic Indian artefacts and handicrafts, want to admire craftsmen at work, enjoy cultural events, or simply sit among greenery enjoying an authentic assortment of Indian cuisine, Delhi Haat is an ideal stop offering all of India at one radiant marketplace.
Cover picture © credit iStock/ Azhar Khan
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