There was a time before 2020 when my dear friend, Suchi Mishra, and I would go out for a lunch date on Fridays. We would drop the children to school and then head out – sometimes for a movie, sometimes shopping, and sometimes just sitting at a café to chit-chat. We would then pick up the kids from school and come back home.
Just like we have play dates for our children – this used to be our playdate. Sadly pandemic happened and we were confined to our homes. The first wave, then the second wave, and then the third. But things started looking so much better recently. So we decided to step out again together after almost two years.
We decided to visit Dilli Haat this time. We dropped the kids off at about 8:00 am at school and then left for Delhi.
Dilli Haat opens at 10:30 and we had some time, we decided to stop at Saravana Bhawan for breakfast. There are two branches and we went to the one at Janpath. We got parking easily and went inside. The place is super clean and spacious. We got a table easily. There were some occupied tables but not close to ours. I usually have a light breakfast but the moment I entered the place, my appetite just aroused !!
We ordered Dosai and sweet curd. The service was quick. It was soul food. But incomplete without filter coffee. We sipped our coffees slowly, savoring every sip. We paid the bill (we paid around 800 Rupees for two) and decided to pick some sweets for the family. There was a wide range of sweets like Mysore pak, coconut barfi, laddoos, and lots of savory delicacies. Like excited children, we loaded the boxes in the car and left for Dilli Haat.
We reached Dilli Haat at 10:30 am sharp. We were probably the first ones and the only ones, which was a delight as crowded places are still not safe. We took our tickets (we paid 60 rupees for 2 tickets) and went inside.
The place just took me back to my college days. The feeling was incredible. The morning sun (even though it was hot), the sounds of the hustle-bustle when the market is being unveiled and of course, the displayed items made us so happy that there was spring in our steps now.
We decided that we should first just look around – each and every shop! There were handloom sarees – cotton, organza, silks, blends. There were Dupattas – Silks, cotton, plain, georgette, embroidered, so many varieties. There were Kurtas – so many styles, different varieties. There were juttis – again so many varieties. There were crockery stores – where you would get ceramic crockery. They said that they use only lead-free paint. Kashmiri shawls and stoles – During my college days, I used to save my pocket money and buy Kashmiri embroidered stoles. They would go with everything – denims, suits, and sometimes my mom would also wear them to school with her sarees.
There were handmade Rajasthani puppet dolls, lampshades, embroidered tea cozies, cloth napkins, durries, quilts, comforters, and carpets. There were so many silver shops too where you would get all kinds of silver and junk jewelry. There were jute products and furniture too.
After our first round, we decided to go and drink something. We needed to cool down before our second round. I had my favourite fruit beer (it is non-alcoholic) and my friend had fresh lime soda. After our refreshing break, we went for our second round where this time we picked up a few things.
We also spoke to a few people. There was a lady making cloth napkins and handkerchiefs at the stall. Gracefully dressed and with a smile on her face, she was working alone, making intricate designs on the napkins. We then stopped at the puppet makers open stall. He and his wife had made all the toys. There was no plastic. He showed us a picture where he had made a really big puppet. It was probably from the ground to the first floor. The puppet was kept in a museum in Jaipur. He is an award-winning puppet maker. He not only makes puppets, but he also organizes Rajasthani dances like Ghoomar at Indian weddings. All the shopkeepers were happy and smiling, even if you weren’t buying from them.
They have clean toilets as well. It took about 40 minutes to reach Janpath and 15 minutes to reach Dilli Haat from there. Roughly it took us about 45 minutes to get back to Gurgaon from Dilli Haat. We had almost reached Gurgaon when I realized that I had forgotten to buy a Phulkari dupatta for a suit. We both smiled as we will go back soon now. To relive our college days.
It was simply delightful, refreshing and unwinding to visit Dilli Haat with my friend.
Some tips to keep in mind –
- If you can, then visit on a weekday to avoid crowd.
- If you can, do leave early like we did to avoid heavy traffic.
It is so important to go out with a friend, even if it is a nearby café for a quick break. It is a part of selfcare, you know!!