NEW DELHI: Who can resist the smell of perfectly marinated kebabs? Or, the sight of colourful kulfi-faluda? If all goes well according to a plan, the Delhi government’s tourism department will invite famous eateries to open stalls at Pitampura Dilli Haat for bringing back the crowds.
Two Dilli Haats — Pitampura and Janakpuri —have a low footfall especially after the mushrooming of swanky malls all over Delhi and NCR cities. Though the tourism department frequently holds food festivals, fairs and special cultural events, these attempts have not produced the desired results.
It has now decided to revamp a food court at Pitampura by allocating space to Delhi’s popular food joints that are known for traditional fare.
“The idea is to give a distinct identity to Pitampura Dilli Haat for bringing more visitors to the place. Eating out has become an essential ritual in family outings nowadays. So, we are targeting to cater that need of the people who especially look for food places to eat,” said a senior official of Delhi government.
According to officials, an exercise to document food experts and outlets such as Wenger’s, Chaina Ram, Karim’s, Keventers, and Haldiram’s is already underway.
In the summer, about 250 visitors visit Dilli Haat at Pitampura, which was opened in April 2008, and the footfall goes up to 300 on weekends. The number increases in winters to 400. On Saturdays and Sundays, it is merely 500 visitors.
Things are slightly better at Janakpuri Dilli Haat, which was inaugurated in July 2014, as it gets nearly 500 guests daily in the summer. The numbers go up to about 700 on weekends. In winters, the daily footfall is 1,000 and this doubles on weekends. On the other hand, the Dilli Haat at INA, which was inaugurated in March 1994, sees 3,000 guests on a given day in the summer. It reaches 6,000-mark on a weekend or a holiday. In winters, it is more than 7,000 daily.
“The food plaza will be based on the lines of erstwhile ‘food street’ in Pragati Maidan and Kingdom of Dreams in Gurugram. It will be indoor and fully air-conditioned arena with special lighting effects giving the feel of twilight. People should get the taste of city’s traditional cuisines under one roof. This is the idea,” said the official.
The two Dilli Haats have been struggling to attract a good number of visitors ever since their inception. To promote Janakpuri Dilli Haat, an auditorium with the state-of-the-art facilities and techniques were built in September. “We organise festivals such as Teej and Baisakshi etc. Despite various other events, including magic shows, footfall at Pitampura remains significantly low. We hope the new food plaza will bring more people to this place,” a tourism official said.