WHAT DO you do when you don't have the time for shopping? Over the weekends, you might be busy partying with friends and relatives. But what if you were given the chance to party at the same time as you shop, that too, under the stars? Well, now you can savour the experience of a night bazaar with all the flavours of India at New Delhi's Hotel Ashok's Lily Pond.
The brainchild of Tourism Minister Renuka Chowdhury, this designer night bazaar includes 30 shops selling upmarket handicrafts items and textiles by a number of designers. The bazaar will continue till April 25.
As you enter, folk dancers welcome you with their colourful performances. The bazaar features a number of stalls selling handicrafts from various States. Pottery from West Bengal, intricately embroidered shawls, saris and salwar kameez with chikankari work of Uttar Pradesh, embroidered shawls from Madhya Pradesh, are just a few of the offerings. Besides, there are kurtis, bags, ponchos, bracelets, pendants, rings and earrings in semi-precious stones. The price range starts from Rs.1200 and goes up to Rs.6000.
If you don't want to spend just on products, there are fortune-tellers and astrologers at your service. An interesting stop is the photo studio, where, for Rs.100, you can get your photo clicked as a maharaja, or with a hero or heroine or sitting in a rickshaw.
Among the items for sale are relics of the past, like the telegraph machine for Rs.700, a wall-mounted telex phone of 1860 vintage for Rs.1400, besides gramophones, lanterns, watches and animal hides in different shades and sizes.
One of the irresistible attractions at the night bazaar is the food court featuring specialities from Delhi as well as world cuisine. Old Delhi delights like chaat, papdi, golgappas, etc. make an appearance here.
Says Surabhi Agarwal, a visitor to the bazaar, "It's nice to explore something different, and I appreciate that Hotel Ashok has come up with a different concept, because you can come with your family to enjoy it, as the daytime is slightly busy for everyone."
Meena Joshi, another visitor, feels, "It is very expensive. Even a pair of bangles costs Rs.50. But if you are coming for a family outing, it's all right, as they have provided everything under one roof, to hop around."
Deepika Bhandari, exploring the night bazaar, is even more parsimonious in her praise. "I don't think that for an Indian it has got any exciting stuff. There is plenty of similar stuff, which you can find at Dilli Haat. The food is also not interesting as most of the stalls are from Hotel Ashok. Though the night bazaar concept is fine, since you do not have one in Delhi, they have to improve upon their food and give something that Delhiites have never seen before. One good thing is,it is open-air, and for a night out you don't have to sit in PVR cinemas watching stupid movies."
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