On a mission to shop!
The annual Diwali Mela held at the Blind School, Lodhi Road, is on everyone’s must-visit list. This post is aimed at the few people who may be living under a rock!
The Diwali Mela is on from the 10th to the 16th of October, from 11:00 am to 8:00 pm. This year it’s much larger, both in terms of number of stalls and what’s on offer. I’ve been visiting this Mela with my mother since I was 14. Today the baton was passed along, as my son accompanied me for the first time.
Food stalls galore
The Mela has always been a shopper’s paradise. With various types of home, fashion, jewellery and food related items available under one roof; it covers your entire Diwali shopping list. It’s especially good for stocking up on Diwali gifts (traditionally Indians exchange gifts with their near and dear on Diwali). It’s also known for its diyas (oil lamps made of baked clay), made by the blind students of the school, 100% proceeds of which go towards their welfare.
There is a clear hierarchy of goods sold here. The Gandhi Hall houses the most exclusive items, and is probably the most expensive area to rent. Next is the enclosed area right outside the hall, followed by the rest of the garden. An entire section is dedicated to the popular food stalls. Most returning vendors get the same spot every year, perhaps for ease of recognition.
Gorgeous potted plants
This year, there were some new additions. A separate area was dedicated to a “story-telling tent” which seemed quite popular. I also noticed a plethora of cheap merchandise for sale. Chinese toys, fake designer handbags and cheap homeware were lined along the route to Gandhi Hall; unlike previous years. In fact overall, there were more stalls than usual. While this is a positive step for people with lower budgets, it poses a huge problem in terms of space.
The already full to capacity area may get stifling when inundated with crowds. The swarms of people usually come after 4 pm on weekdays and all through the weekend. You can just imagine the difficult parking situation and traffic in surrounding areas.
The “Story-Telling Tent”
Having said that, missing the Blind School Mela would be almost sacrilegious! If you’re looking for some serious shopping, I would recommend you visit in the morning or early afternoon on a weekday.
Quirky yet beautiful homeware from Crafted Passion
My favourite stalls this year (of the ones I visited) were the lovely home goods at Crafted Passion; the embellished shoes at She Shoo; and all the stalls with adorable potted plants. It’s a great place to find a spectacular bargain, or a certain unique piece.
Whether you’re on a shopping mission, or a fun jaunt for yummy food and people watching; there is something for everyone. I know I’m definitely going back!
Mela Rating: 4/5