Delhi Darshan: Dilli Haat – A Must Visit Market


For all the seven years that I lived in NCR, I was a regular visitor to Dilli Haat, like a lot of other Dilliwallahs. There are various reasons that keep you bringing back to the place. It is a kind of cultural hub with a rustic setting in the middle of the maddening crowd of the country’s capital. Being a ticketed place, it is not very crowded most days. Little crowded maybe on weekend afternoons in winter and evenings in summer.

You get to meet artisans from various corners of the country. Most of whom are national or at least state award winners for their art and craft.

Dilli Haat Puppets
Traditional toys Puppets image source – Shutterstock

They are given temporary space to showcase and sell their work to the audience in Delhi. And to a lot of visitors from across the world who may be crossing Delhi. They are typically allocated the space for a period of 2 weeks, which means that every 2 weeks the place changes. You have new artisans with their new offerings. There are paintings, pottery, garments, footwear, furniture, home furnishing, curios, jewelry, and lots of other items.

That would be a sheer delight to see even if you do not buy them. Though there are some things that are pretty regular like Madhubani paintings, Kashmir shawls, and clothing materials. But still, you would find a lot of new variations of the same things.

Delhi Darshan – Dilli Haat

To add another dimension to the culture are the food stalls from across the country. Right from northeast food to Rajasthani to south Indian, you would find it all. On given weekends you may find people performing street theater or some folk art form, most of the time in extremely colorful outfits. It usually makes an interesting event to watch. Apart from that you can get henna applied to your palms, and get your ear pierced. Do a lot of those small things that you would typically associate with India and you’re being an Indian.

For visitors to India, this place offers a perfect slice of India, a bit of everything. I always found it a great place to pick up souvenirs and gifts, especially for my non-Indian friends. Till a few years back the prices used to be pretty reasonable as there was no middleman involved. Artists were selling their products directly to you. But on the recent visit last week, I found that the prices are almost approaching what they would be outside on the market. Not sure if this is a good development or not, but it is a change for sure.

Dilli Haat Toys
Toys at the market Toys Image  source – Shutterstock


Now what made me write this piece is that during my visit to Dilli Haat last week, I found an electronic touchscreen kiosk right in the middle of the market. They had tried to create a hut kind of structure to house this touchscreen. But I felt that the glaring screen was an aberration to the whole environment of this market. The whole rustiness that it exuberates, that earthy feel it generates is suddenly interrupted by an electronic gadget. Whose purpose I fail to understand, as there is hardly any information that the kiosk provides.

From the format, it appears that it should be providing information about the current cultural and entertainment events happening in the city. Along with the history and other tourist info about the city. But there was hardly any information available.

Time to Update Info Promptly

If someone from Delhi Tourism or those from the management of this place is reading this, I would sincerely request them to remove the kiosk. And maybe provide the same information in a more traditional way, by way of books about the history of Delhi and India. Maybe some guides to help visitors plan the itinerary. And maybe some pamphlets about happening events which people can pick up and go. There is a lot of scope for showcasing our creativity that is not high-tech and is eco-friendly along with being traditional and aesthetic.

Recommend a visit

All said and done this market remains one of my favorite places and I would keep visiting it. I wonder why other states have not started replicating this model till now. For those of you who have not visited Dilli Haat, please put it in the must-visit places while in India.

Recommend you to read the following travel blog on Places to visit in Delhi.


  1. , the blogosphere, how can you be so stuck in the old? Information Kiosks by their definition provide Info you can use. Pithy, succint and to the point. It’s not the rambling idiscipline of self-praising idolatory. As for Books and pamphlets; have you considered the ecological waste. Not to mention a weekly updating; which is what the kiosk does. Finally if the kiosk helps people find information make bookings; while connecting artisans to markets and buyers i’m not complaining. I’m praising the Delhi Tourism’s vision.
    We have taken six decades to have pride in our ethnic roots; let’s display enough self-confidence to mirror India in all her avatars, including the technological.

  2. Great piece – wish the bloggers desirs come true as by then the whole universe will resemble a magnified Dilli Haat.

    Isn’t there some form of self-censorship in the blogosphere?

    Its shocking to say the least…… spare us our sanity.

    as they say – silence is golden sometimes…,..

  3. The first electronic gadget one finds at Dilli Hat is at the entrance – you walk through it but is doesn’t work and it is supposed to perform a security check. Then there are those ugly gadgets associated to commerce – credit card approval systems. Then those terrible gadgets on the food stalls called refrigerators or perhaps coffee machines. Should these commercial electronic instruments be allowed? They spoil the rusticity and handicraft aspect. Utter nonsense. I sincerely hope that you do not carry a mobile phone to Dilli Haat but, if you do then you certainly don’t answer when it rings and immediately realise your oversight and turn it off. This things are nothing but an imposition on everyone around. I too go to Dilli Haat and I send many foreign visitors there and also suggest they look at the screen to see what else is on in Delhi. This is information for the public. What’s wrong with that? No worse, and probably better than the other gadgets discussed.

  4. Dear Anuradha, I wish you had spent more time looking at the information booth. I am also a regular visitor at the dilli haat like you. I do not know if you have noticed,the booth has a Lcd screen as well which runs ad film’s and amongst the film’s I saw a film on human trafficking and breast cancer. Kudos to Delhi Tourism for taking such an initiative to provide valuable information and social messages to the general public.

  5. I also love delhi haat, but there is too much of bargaining, they just come to half the price they quoted and that is one part I dont like, because i am very bad at bargaining plus it never gives me satisafction of good shopping


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