India Gate lawns seem to have a new purpose. It is a venue for various fairs and festivals organized by the government departments. We have already visited Bharat Parv here.
But North East is still uncharted territory for many of us. We never stop going hee and haa when we see pictures of the amazing mountains, forests, Sattriya temples or Naga weaves. Delhi Tourism organized a North East Festival for all of us at India Gate from 9-10 Sep, 2017. Now India Gate draws crowds throughout the year. The festival here was a double bonanza.
The huge lawn had a variety of functions. A host of food stalls served North-East fare some of which we known (read fish and non-vegetarian dishes). And some were new (sweet meats like puli and peethe, bamboo smoked green tea). Regardless, it was refreshing taste at most amazing prices. To give you an idea, we tried to catch a few glimpses.
The other focus area was crafts comprising handloom and handicraft. North-east has a rich repertoire handloom. Assam’s muga silk or the golden silk is well known for its sheen and durability. There are moreover thousands of weaving styles in this region. Every tribe has its own design and weaving style. This has led to myriad forms such as Garhi, Karbi and so on. The festival brought to us many such unique weaves in the form of saris, stoles, yardage as well as stitched clothes. The wicker furniture, dry flowers, ornaments and bags made of natural produce were popular among the crafts. One of the pavilions displayed natural produce such as spices (read Bhut jhalakiya, the strongest chili) and saplings.
There was also a host of engaging entertainment programs that went on the huge stage erected for the occasion. Traditional performances like the Bihu dance were presented hand in hand with a concert by the famous band Parikrama. This zone was even busier than the food area.
We have visited North–East fairs before, for instance at IGNCA . But the central location of India Gate and the sprawling lawns made this event different. Moreover the strong promotion on radio also helped to draw footfall. This was a fuss-free event and guess – at no entry fee!
No wonder why North East Calling Festival is what we call a Fun-Do.