Delhi has changed over the decades, with few icons left from my childhood. These include the Diwali mela’s (read more about them here and here), and the India International Trade Fair. Held every year at Pragati Maidan, Delhi, it is the ultimate shopping destination.
Currently in its 37th edition, this fair draws multitudes of crowds from across the country. Organised by the India Trade Promotion Organization of the Government, it aims to promote economic activity by providing a platform to many businesses. Foreign nations are invited to exhibit their goods, to promote international cooperation.
The exterior and interiors of the halls
As there are thousands of exhibitors, Pragati Maidan is the ideal location. This past year, its iconic Hall of Nations was demolished practically overnight, leaving much of the area under construction. To accommodate the crowds in the reduced area, a cap of 60,000 visitors per day has been imposed. The government is selling tickets online and not at the venue, to ensure this number is maintained.
The trade fair always takes place in lovely weather, and makes for a nice family excursion. Many people visit to people-watch or to eat yummy food from different states. For many others, it’s the best place to stock up on their annual shopping. There is a huge variety to choose from, and everything is very reasonably priced. The serious shopaholics bring empty suitcases and visit over many days, to cover all the halls. Driving from Srinagar to Gulmarg a few years ago, our Kashmiri cabbie fondly recalled visiting Delhi for the trade fair every year!
Beaded jewellery from South Africa
I went on a Wednesday afternoon with my aunt and cousin. My aunt reminisced about visiting the fair as a child. According to her, there weren’t many other options of family entertainment. I too remember the childlike excitement of heading to the fair with my family!
We entered from Gate no. 8, but if you’re using the metro, Gate no. 10 is your best option. We only visited one hall (No. 18) as we just wanted a flavor of the place. With international exhibits like Thailand, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, South Africa, Malaysia, Dubai and United Kingdom; it was a good hall. The shopping included home goods, clothes, blankets, jewellery, leather accessories, spices, food products etc. The hall was carpeted but quite damp and slightly smelly. It was also very crowded- some stalls more popular than others.
The milling crowds
After a quick round and some trinket shopping, we walked to the food court right next to Hall 18. It was outdoors with plastic chairs and tables. We were lucky to find seating with the amount of people there. The food was catered by a company called Standard Sweets and Caterers, with many options to choose from. My cousin enjoyed her egg and chicken roll, which they customized to her needs. My aunt and I had delicious plain dosas of the perfect consistency. It was a satisfying meal, made special by the lovely winter sun.
Enjoying our treats
A shuttle bus service runs every 10 minutes and there are 18 cash terminals, to make the trade fair a hassle-free experience. Despite the crazy crowds and average infrastructure, it’s meant to be enjoyed in the right spirit. It captures India in all its chaotic glory!
Days: 14th to 27th November 2017
Time: 9:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: INR 60 for adults and INR 40 for children on weekdays
INR 100 for adults on weekends
Entry free for senior citizens and disabled people
Book your tickets here: https://in.bookmyshow.com/exhibition/india-international-trade-fair
Event rating: 4/5