Trade fair: visitors throng international stalls selling dry fruits, jamdani sari

Dry fruits, jewellery, home decor pieces, food products, are among the items on offer at the IITF

Published - November 21, 2023 01:59 am IST - New Delhi

Visitors at the Khidmat Group’s stall at the IITF at Bharat Mandapam on Monday. 

Visitors at the Khidmat Group’s stall at the IITF at Bharat Mandapam on Monday.  | Photo Credit: SUSHIL KUMAR VERMA

The stall of Afghanistan’s Khidmat Group at the India International Trade Fair (IITF) on Monday saw a heavy crowd of buyers and window shoppers.

For 30 years now, owner Abdul Ali Sharfarazi has been selling various onyx-based products at the annual exhibition.

Onyx vases on demand

“At least one of our onyx vases adorn the homes of most affluent families in Delhi,” a 42-year-old employee at the stall said proudly.

The 42nd edition of the trade fair at Bharat Mandapam, which opened on Sunday and will end on November 27, is a melting pot of cultures. Over 3,500 exhibitors representing several States and 13 nations have set up shop across the 14 halls of the complex.

Dry fruits, jewellery, home decor pieces, food products, are just some of the items on offer.

A senior police officer in charge of the venue’s security said over 60,000 visitors turned up at the venue on Sunday, while more than 50,000 visited on Monday.

Heavy footfall at Hall 4

Most visitors rushed to the international pavilions at Hall 4, said a security guard posted at the venue’s Gate No. 4.

Since Sunday, many customers have visited Raya Ahmed’s stall to buy handcrafted jamdani sari from Dhaka, Bangladesh. Ms. Ahmed, who has been setting up a stall at the IITF for the last two years, said the crowd this year has raised her hopes. “I have products starting from ₹2,000 till ₹30,000. This time, my saris got picked up across ranges,” she said.

While the fair has seen heavy footfall, Mahmood Omarzaid, a saffron seller from Iran, said, “Customers here have always been warm. But since 2019, sales have dipped a bit.”

The 31-year-old, who has been putting up his stall for many years, said he is hopeful of a better response this time. While many Delhiites throng the yearly affair, Bharat Mandapam — opened in July and spread across 123 acres — is a huge draw for many tourists from other States.

Visitors beyond Delhi

Aishwarya P.A. from Kerala, who is on a tour of Delhi and Agra, said she and seven of her fellow travellers decided to visit the fair when their tour guide told them about it. “We felt that it would be a good addition to our sightseeing,” she added.

Many Delhiites finally set foot inside Bharat Mandapam after seeing it being built in front of their eyes for over three years.

“My father commutes to ITPO [India Trade Promotion Organisation complex, where Bharat Mandapam is located] every day for work. He used to give us updates on how the construction was going on. In addition to that, the G-20 Summit also added to our curiosity of wanting to see the finished product,” said Rajouri Garden resident Shivani Khanna.

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