Festival of Lights – Dastkar Nature Bazaar

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By Mibu Minami

Chattapur…or the area many refer to as “farmhouse zone” is an old stomping ground of mine. It was the neighborhood my husband and I lived in when we first moved to Delhi. We lived in a spacious bungalow house with big windows and a lovely garden where we planted a small banana tree. We watched it grow to over two meters tall with a massive bunch of green bananas. Peacocks would often make their way into the garden and during the hotter months, we’d watch the monkeys feast away at the mangos on our neighbor’s tree. A very different setting from my original one in Tokyo, it was truly fascinating. 

We’ve moved on since then (much to my husband’s disappointment who loved that house) to the much more convenient area of Vasant Vihar…or what some refer to as “the expat zone” that I do enjoy.  Looking back, I think if I knew then how to manage house staff better and was more patient with Delhi traffic, it would have been a blissful place to live, but such as life…in Delhi.

There are a few gems in this part of Delhi that I miss and before lockdown would visit every so often. From Serendipity, the beautiful concept furniture store set in a restored traditional Haveli off Mandi Road to the luxurious shops and eateries inside Dhan Mill Compound. They give us a glimpse of the unique contemporary styles of Delhi. Oh! and let’s not forget all the furniture stores along nearby MG Roadthat can keep you store-hopping all day.

My favorite in this part of Delhi is the crafts and arts Mela Nature Bazaar which always (and I used to go often!) offers something interesting to arts and craft lovers like myself. A joint initiative by Indian craft NGO Dastkar and Delhi Tourism working to support Indian craftspeople, especially women, the venue features all types of arts and crafts from different parts of India with nearly 100 stalls that change vendors with each season or theme.

After months of lockdown, they have re-opened in accordance with Delhi restrictions and have come back with its most talked about theme, “Festival of Lights” (1 ~11th November) to celebrate the Diwali season.

Handmade and handcrafted products from silk and embroidered sarees to ceramic pottery, contemporary baskets, up-cycled bags, wood-block print quilts, carpets, home decor and so much more can be found here. I was delighted to see the stalls are filled again with familiar and new vendors as well as the food court area with tables and chairs in well distance of each other.

The venue is much smaller compared to the more popular Dilli Haat craft bazaar across from INA Market. Perhaps this is why it carries a more charming, intimate atmosphere which makes it hard to leave. There are some beautiful, high quality items to be found here and the more you look, the more you will find.

They have recently started their online shop as well with beautiful textiles, festive sarees, accessories and more so if you miss the seasonal festivals, you can find some of their craft items on the new site.

It’s the perfect place to shop for your Diwali gifts and remember that everything you buy will contribute to supporting the craftspeople and their livelihood.

“Festival of Lights” 1st to 11th November 2020 11:00-19:00

Nature Bazaar venue:

Kisan Haat Andheria More, Anuvrat Marg 110074

Entrance Fee: Adults 30RPS

*Masks are mandatory

Dastkar: https://www.dastkar.org/

Hands on Dastkar Online Shop: https://www.handsondastkar.com/

https://serendipitydelhi.com/

https://www.thedhanmill.com/

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