Dilli Haat

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Dilli Haat is a large open air market near the village Haat in New Delhi where you will find artisan crafts-work from all over the country. The market itself is of permanent status, however the vendors within the market function on a rotational basis of a maximum stay of 15 days. Before selling their wares in the market the vendors must complete a rigorous application process for approval and are assigned to certain areas based upon the state they are from.

IMG_6390Before entering the market as a visitor, one must purchase a daily ticket for 20 rupees. This fee supports the funding for the market, and helps to keep out the excessive crowds you become familiar with when visiting other open air markets throughout New Delhi.

I visited this market for a few hours yesterday and immediately noticed a big difference in the atmosphere here. Although there were still crowds of people, it was far from the chaotic world of Chandi Chowk. Walking through the various stalls of crafts, products and foods reminded me of a peaceful day at the park.

There were crafts from all corners of India, from hand loomed carpets, carved sandal wood, elaborately beaded mats, hand woven baskets, clothing, scarves, teas, bags, jewellery and more.

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Greater Kailash

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GK01Or GK, as referred to by locals, is a popular residential neighborhood located in South Delhi home to some of the most affluent families in town. Divided into GK 1 & GK 2, the area’s most popular clothing stores, restaurants, and specialty shops are found here. Highly recommended by a colleague of the AIG, the liveliness of the markets and wide variety of shops certainly lived up to the hype. Many thanks Tanu!

Happy Diwali!

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DiwaliThe AIG spent it’s first Diwali on the rooftop oohing and aahing at the incredible fireworks display put on by what seemed to be every person in Delhi. Felt a bit like a surreal tennis match as we looked left, then right, then back again enjoying our panoramic view from atop our home. Reports said that fireworks sales were down this Diwali, the AIG would beg to differ.

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Diwali Eve

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LightsAnxiously awaiting Diwali along with the rest of Delhi, the AIG managed to stop by a local market on the way back from the office and pick up a few holiday items. Apparently we were not the only ones with the idea of doing a bit of last minute shopping as the streets were filled with eager customers picking up flowers, gifts, and sweets.

FlowersLoosely translated to “row of lamps”, Diwali supporters often light small handmade clay pots signifying the triumph of good over evil. In addition to the lamps, homes and store fronts are often meticulously decorated with strings of lights, breathing a festive energy into the streets once the sun begins to set. This time of night is usually when the fireworks make their first appearance. Beware light sleepers, as they have a knack for running into the wee hours of the morning.

Lajpat Nagar

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When you’re looking for clothes or fabric in New Delhi (and who isn’t with Diwali just around the corner) there is only one place to go, Lajpat Nagar Central Market.LajpatNagar

Named for Lala Lajpat Rai (the Lion of Punjab) Lajpat Nagar is an affluent suburb of South Delhi and is probably best known for its Central Market. Lajpat Nagar Market is a very large and crowded market with numerous lanes of shops and stalls selling a range of goods from traditional Indian clothing, jewellery crockery and even trending Western clothing.

Each lane of shops will sell within a focused type of goods, such as costume jewellery ranging from small earrings, “jhumkas”, wedding costume jewellery and bangles of all sorts. Other lanes will focus on traditional Indian attire with intricate saris, salwar kameez, sherwani and more. If a shopper is looking for more diversity, trending and designer western style clothing is also available by simply turning down the proper lane of shops.

Mehndiwalas (appliers of Henna) are very famous in the market and people love to get their hands tinted in the traditional Indian patterns.

Although overflowing with options and treats, Lajpat Nagar market is a place of high bargaining. Be ready to haggle, but remember, the more you buy the better the deal.

Henna

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IMG_1494Diwali, the festival of lights is a five day celebration that totally takes over New Delhi every year. As the festival begins on the 3rd we will take the time to give you a snapshot of the traditions and rituals of this fantastic celebration.

A big part of the celebrations involve looking your best and dressing brightly and traditionally.  It is very common for people to buy new clothes, get a new hairstyle and, for women, decorate their hands with Henna.  Henna body art is a ritual as old as humanity but it is far from old fashioned, designs are constantly changing and there are special Diwali designs which, with only nine days to go will be keeping the artists in the markets busy.  Of course, you have to remember that they take a little while to dry…

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One month relocation

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post 1The AIG team is at it again, traveling an accumulated 27,434 miles and returning to New Delhi, India. Our new home for the next 4 weeks is in Jangpura, a quieter slightly more isolated spot but the busy markets of Delhi are just a short walk away where you can get anything from quilts, ceramics, and fruit – to lumber, locksmiths and mechanics.

With Diwali right around the corner, we will be sure to share some exciting photos from this “festival of lights” so keep an eye out for future posts.

For this immersion, we also welcome two new team members Smiggy and Luko!

Terima Kasih & Selamat Tinggal

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wet traffic stillTerima kasih & selamat tinggal ! Or thank you and goodbye in Bahasa, Indonesia’s native language. The city of Jakarta bid farewell to the AIG much like it greeted us: a hot cup of jasmine tea, a nasi goreng, and a torrential downpour. Unlike the first encounter with mother nature, the AIG had to maneuver it’s way through the flooded streets by foot, a feat that is certainly not recommended to do the city’s less than forgiving ‘sidewalks’. For a video of the flooded streets click here.

Nevertheless, the team made it back in time to pack up and upload one last post. Many thanks to all those who supported us – from the folks on the ground to the our loyal blog readers around the world!

Keep an eye out for us, you never know where we’ll pop up next…

“Laser” Light Show

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Monument-01 Located in the heart of the city, the Monumen Nasional, or National Monument, is roughly 1 square km full of expansive lawns and shade trees. Visible from blocks away is the 433′ (132m) obelisk monument symbolizing Indonesia’s fight for freedom. Completed in 1975, the park has become a destination for families as the city’s largest open area where motorized vehicles are prohibited, although the AIG saw more than a few local workarounds.

Come on a Saturday night to witness a laser light and fountain show, where the tower is lit with a rainbow of colors while crowds lounge on the lawn and partake in volleyball, football (soccer), and the occasional python wrangling.

Props to Goose for nailing the low light camera settings. Monument-02

Fast and Faster Food

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PizzaHut-01Fast food, every brand you know is here in Jakarta.  The corporate giants from the US, Europe and China are all peddling their burgers, coffee and noodles but up close you see something is just a little different.  The restaurants are unexpectedly clean, there is a maitre’d in Pizza Hut and live music in the KFC on weekends…LIVE MUSIC? You see, western fast food isn’t Indonesian fast food; your Whopper and Tater Tots can’t compete with the street on price and availability so they don’t try.  Instead, they entice you with a more upmarket experience, so the next time you find yourself short on time and in the queue for a fast food fix, don’t forget to ask the manager who’s playing on Saturday night. StreetFood-01