A riot of colours really...and by virtue of staying just opposite to it for a few years.. we were almost a regular visitor to Dilli Haat...often a gathering place for friends some food and some ethnic buys.
Stoles, bags, ceramic cups...lucknow chikan suits and kurtis of different colours over the years ... sarees specially kantha stich from Bengal...handloom sarees from Orissa..bargaining was heavy and i often ended up disappointed not able to buy exorbitantly priced hand work stuff specially exotic stoles and dupattas .
There is this shop selling ethnic stuff... brass idols basically and the mysterious bearded man sitting in the shop looked as ethnic as his stuff !! And most of the time his shop would be huddled in some corner and the eerie stuff with him adding to the aura.
Churans, papads, pickles.. and so called roasted snacks... all piled up at home some point of time...unless we stopped buying, though churans are still a hot favourite with mother in law and my daughter and they never fail to add some to their huge collection.
The most important part and the most exciting the taste of different regional cuisines!! We almost tried food of every stalls... even during my expecting days i had my fill of Rajasthani Thalis and dal batti churmas as i had this urge for ' vegeterain food' as my husband stared blankly and gloomily as i gorged on missi rotis and kachoris...giving a miss to our Bijoli Grill ( West Bengal stall) cutlets, luchi alur dom etc etc. Bijoli Grill was the nearest place to satisfy our Bengali palates... radha ballabi alur dom..( at Rs 40 earlier), luchi cholar dal, cheetal maacher muitha occasionally, cutlets and chops... and i remember my bengali colleague whom we met there often ordering ' Special Bengali Thali' served in a bell metal plate with macher paturi and payesh with his non bengali colleagues and friends.. the look of home in his face!! Gradually we moved to the adjacent Nagaland stall... Raja Mirchi ka chutney hugely hot, Naga thali tasted a bit different... what we loved most was fried momos to be gulped down with a glass of fruit beer. Then more explorations... next discovery was Maharashtra stall delicacies vada pav, puran poli, matar poha and what became a must have was sabudana vada... crispy crunchy and absolutely delightful!!
Junior checking out fried momos!!!
Lucknow Chikan.. all kinds of ethnic earrings and jhumkas, an odd neck piece, paper light shades of various designs.. paintings, mango festival at the onset of summer months, skirts and wrappers smelling of raw colours, shawls claiming to be pashmina,trendy jholas, kantha stitch bed sheets... all clamouring for attention...beckoning me as i would tell husband as he made a beeline for the food stalls..and i followed unwillingly vowing to visit again with girlfriends and explore all the delights minutely... next time... sure...!!