Diwali is all about food, fireworks and family fun. And to make the event unforgettable, to pick just the right gift for loved ones, and to beautify homes in anticipation of the goddess Lakshmi’s annual visit, Dilliwalas throng the city’s many wonderful festival melas. Some such as the 40-year-old event at the Blind School on Lodhi Road offer the posh pleasures of a French patisserie, exotic dips and drinks in addition to the usual shops selling earthen lamps and Ganesha idols. At neighbourhood melas such as Sunder Nagar, shoppers can eavesdrop on neighbours compare notes on Diwali decoration and come away inspired! Unsurprisingly, everyone wants to stock up on firecrackers, traditional sweets and pretty knick-knacks for the home at this time of year. Those with ethnic hearts will delight in the mirror work bandarwars or torans from Gujarat and the colourful glass mosaic lamps from Rajasthan that are part of the wide selection of attractive handicrafts available at the Dilli Haat, INA. Lucky shoppers at the Lodhi Road mela even have the option of working off their consumerist weariness with a full body Swedish massage. Ah, it’s that wonderful, much-awaited week when you can give guilt-free rein to your inner manic shopper. Season’s greetings!
SUNDER NAGAR, MATHURA ROAD
What makes the Sunder Nagar Diwali mela different from other Diwali fairs in the city is its sheer variety. Held in the Sunder Nagar park for more than half a century on the weekend preceding Diwali, it is considered one of the most authentic Diwali melas in the city and attracts many South Delhi residents. Conducted by the area’s resident welfare association (RWA), it has more than 100 stalls offering food, jewellery, games, handicrafts, earthen pots and other decorative items. “This is the 53rd year of the fair. We ensure that there is something for everyone here,” says Atul Khanna, who is the secretary of the Sunder Nagar RWA.
HT pick: Decorative earthern pots and candle-holders
At: Mathura Road, November 7, 8, 4pm-10pm, entry fee: Rs 100
DILLI HAAT, INA
This one is for those who like their Diwali sparkle with an ethnic twist. Dilli Haat INA is all geared up for the festive season with stalls manned by craftsmen from across the country. While the ongoing Aadishilp 2015 organised by the Tribal Co-Operative Marketing Development Federation of India Limited is not really Diwali-themed, its 91 stalls have a lot of pretty things that would make for great festive buys. And since Diwali is also all about looking your best, here’s where you can pick attractive handlooms and textiles to jazz up your Diwali dressing. Dilli Haat’s own Diwali fair, Deep Utsav, also offers candles, diyas and rangoli colours. If you are not exactly a great artist, fret not. Choose from the many stencils on offer and wow festival visitors with your inspired rangoli designs.
HT pick: Tiered diya stands.
At: Dilli Haat, INA, till November 11, 11am to 9pm
BLIND SCHOOL, LODHI ROAD
One of Delhi’s oldest Diwali melas, the wildly successful Blind School event offers incredible variety. Here’s where you pick up fancy bedspreads, Farukhabad ethnic wear, embroidered woollen kaftans, silver jewellery, bamboo wall hangings and Rajasthan-inspired photo frames shaped like elephants. Foodies will appreciate the chilli garlic dips, besan papad, energy drinks and bhalla papdi et al that’s on offer at the stalls here. And once you’re done with all the shopping, get rid of your buyer’s remorse with a relaxing massage.
HT picks: Faux jade studded candle-holders, polyol bowls in which to float diyas, Exotica’s ginger ale
At: Blind School, Lodhi Road. Till November 8, 10:30 am-8pm, entry free
DILLI HAAT, PITAMPURA, JANAKPURI
West Delhi’s famous Meri Dilli Utsav (the Dilli Haat Diwali mela held in Pitampura) might have packed up on November 2 but the two fairs lined up in the area this weekend are just as exciting. The Dhanteras Special and the Diwali Bazaar at Pitampura are shopping carnivals with stalls that offer traditional clothing, jewellery, decorations and furnishing items. And once you’re all shopped out there, head to Janakpuri’s Dilli Haat a few kilometers away to stock up on candles, colourful diyas, earthen lamps, and pretty idols of Lakshmi and Ganesha.
HT pick: Ganesha idols
At: Dilli Haat, Pitampura, 11am to 10pm, November 7-9. Entry: 10; Dilli Haat, Janakpuri, Lal Sai Marg, 11am to 10pm, till November 8. Entry: 10
FOR THE KIDS
Kids Diwali Fest, Select Citywalk, Saket,
November 7-8, 12 noon onwards