In Old Delhi, where there is an absence of space for women to gather around and party, the North Delhi Municipal Corporation-owned Mahila Haat is slowly turning out to be a much sought-after destination for women.
According to officials, women living nearby have zeroed in on the place as an ideal one for hosting kitty parties. In the past one month, three such parties have been held there.
"We got some women to book kitty parties there since it is very women-friendly and during winters, it becomes very pleasant. The Mahila Haat is slowly picking up. At present we have a hundred women artisans showcasing their work there," said a senior official of the North Corporation that looks after the project.
The official added that a documentary filmmaker has also rented the space for a day at a cost of R9,000.
The Mahila Haat above Asaf Ali car parking at Delhi Gate was conceived in 2009, by the unified MCD. It was inaugurated by the North Corporation on November 1, 2012. It is the only market in Delhi run entirely by women. Initially the response to the market was lukewarm, but more people have started visiting the place now and booking it for various occasions.
After women were found favouring the venue for kitty parties, the corporation has also produced a few jingles to advertise the place through radio stations. According to an official, the focus is on projecting a women-friendly place. "Since the place is run by women, other women will find it very comfortable. The place also has guards to ensure safety of visitors," he said.
The Mahila Haat has 39 open stalls, each stall meant to be shared by four women. However, at present each stall is being shared by two women. The place also has a food court serving the street food of Old Delhi.
The haat was earlier scheduled to be completed before the Commonwealth Games at a total cost of R2 crore. However, as the years rolled by, the budget for the project went up to R5 crore. According to corporation officials, the idea behind the haat was to create a shopping hub for people visiting Old Delhi as it would also provide a platform to women artisans to showcase their talent.