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Indian Palate

Inaugurated by Sheila Dikshit, Chief Minister of Delhi, the ‘Delhi ke Pakwan’ Festival was enclosed within an 1,100 ft long wall decorated with paintings by several artists, who have made Delhi their home over the years. The wall symbolised the mood and culture that is unique to Delhi. Each painting had a story to tell, be it that of the Yamuna, which read, “There is a river. A river in you, in me. Let it flow” or that of Mirza Ghalib quoting his eternal couplet “Hazaron Khwahishen Aisi, ki har Khwahish pe Dam Nikle,” which means “there are thousands of desires, such that you could give your life for each.” The stalls were uniquely designed with thatched roofs and this added to the special ambience. The food counters could be accessed through any one of the seven gates that had been constructed to symbolise the seven gates of Delhi; each of them (the original gates) was built by a different dynastic ruler, who made Delhi his capital. A visitor to Delhi may never reach the famous food streets that lie in the crowded areas in the very heart of Delhi, not marked but known by all the ‘Dilli wallas’. This Festival was an opportunity to taste the famous delights without having to hunt them down. The entire map of Delhi had been compressed and streets and places such as, Paranthe wali Gali, Sarojini Nagar and Lotus Temple had been transported to Baba Kharak Singh Marg to celebrate the different avatars of Delhi for the nine days of the festival. The enthusiastic visitors gorged on Raj Kachori, Gol Gappe, Chaat Papri, Dahi Bhalla, Aloo Tikki, Kebabs, stuffed Parathas, Chholey Bhature and other mouth-watering delights downed

Facing page Top: Shopping stall at the Food Festival Facing page Bottom:Visitors relishing Fruit Chaat and ‘Aloo Chaat’ Top: Curious visitors peek into the traditional bio-scope Above: ‘Chaat Bazaar’ in full swing

with a cup of steaming hot Chai or Expresso Coffee, the old Indian name for a Cappuccino. Those who wanted to take a break from foodstall-hopping could pick up colourful handicrafts from the various outlets put up at the venue. This was a feast for the eyes of a different kind and reflected the colourful diversity that is India. Another unique feature of the festival was the 100 chairs of different sizes, shapes and colours that were lined up near India Gate, one of the entrances of the festival - an obeisance to Delhi’s sovereignty as the seat of power for a century now and the Delhi of many many years before that…R


January 2012


An Indian Journey  
An Indian Journey  

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