Dastkari is a Hindi word for’ Made with Hands’. Delhi, the capital of India has had a history of many kingdoms that made it rich in culture. From food, crafts, architecture, literature, poetry and art, Delhi has a lot to offer. As a Textile and crafts enthusiast I curated a day in Delhi exploring the Crafts Museum that houses rare collections of textiles and crafts from all around the country as well as the Dastkari Mela that is a makeshift bazaar that invites artisans from around to country to showcase and sell their works to the ones living in the city.
Plastered with mud and hand-painted murals of warli art, a banyan tree courtyard with terracotta horses and elephants, many wooden doors through carved facade could give only a slight picture of the landscape at this museum. To spend a perfect afternoon at the Crafts Museum, one could begin with a brunch at Cafe Lota which serves regional Indian Food with a fusion. From Filter coffee to Aam Panna( Mango Juice), Dal Bati ( Dough balls with curry ) to Khichdi ( Rice and Pulses risotto-like dish) it offers a variety of authentic cuisine. Following the eating, The handloom and Handicrafts sections of the Museum walk through various textiles, pottery, artefacts and paintings from different states and eras. At the back of the museum is an amphitheatre that sometimes holds music and dance evenings, as well as a small area where craftsmen give live demonstrations of various techniques and one could also buy handicrafts from them. There is also a boutique within the premises of the museum that offers styled products sourced from different states as well as books that could make for a great souvenir.
Dastkar Mela offers something for everyone. From, Kolhapuris and Jutis( Leather Handmade Shoes and Sandals) Silk Kurta and Dupattas ( Tops and scarves), Terracotta teacups, Ikat Rugs, Silver Jewellery or Regional food, this bazaar could be a one-stop shop for a visitor or a local. Usually held in January every year at Dilli Haat, this open space is nice to stroll in the evening. One also gets to meet the artisans themselves, understand their process and interesting stories. You are sure to not come back empty handed!