Dussehra Celebrations in Old Delhi: 100,000 plates of food gone every night

olddelhi-dussehra-260909-297Any celebration in India has to be accompanied with food. Period. Everything else is incidental.

Take the Dussehra celebrations in Subhash Park, also known as Parade Ground, located across the road from Red Fort in Old Delhi. Venue of the biggest Ramlila, stage performances based on Ramayana depicting the life of Hindu Lord Rama, you will find food stalls galore. Most selling street food of the area. This includes chaats of all kinds, differently flavoured home made ice creams, chilas, chole kulchas, tikkis, all kinds of sweets, fresh juices, lollies made from freshly crushed ice and lots more. All prepared fresh as you wait.

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How much do they sell? Just one stall had fruits stacked going at least 20 feet high. Good to make 10,000 portions of fruit chaat. How long does it sell out in? One night. That’s what the vendor told me. And this is just one of the stalls. Multiply this by a modest 10 stalls, and you are looking at 100,000 portions sold in one night at one venue. Maybe not on the same scale, but you can easily say the sales volumes across the city would be 10 times of this at the 750 small and big Ramlilas taking place. Over 10 days of Navratra, the holy period for Hindus, and Dussehra. Even at an average pricing of Rs. 30 per dish, do you want to hazard the math?

All this sale picks up after 9 pm, and goes on till at least two in the morning if not longer. Cuisines are not limited to from Delhi; you can get Gujarati, Rajasthani, south Indian, Chinese and kebabs of all kinds. Vendors need to keep their nerves together with everyone jostling to place orders. No wonder they perch themselves on platforms a few feet higher than others to avoid being trampled over.

To build up an appetite, you can always go for joyrides on carnival rides set up at many locations including the Red Fort. Burp!

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