Bharat Parv 2019 was organised from January 26 to 31st at the Ramleela Grounds of Delhi’s historic Red Fort. This edition also lived up to its reputation of showcasing India’s immense cultural diversity and was a very well attended event throughout the six days.
Apart from food and handicrafts stalls from different states of India, there were plenty of activities on offer to keep the visitors entertained. The six day event was very participatory in nature as it featuring several contests and competitions.
As 2019 marks the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi he featured as the theme of the event along with Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. Jhankis featuring Gandhi which took part in the Republic Day were put on display at the Parv. A photo exhibition and a painting exhibition on the lives of these two stalwarts (Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel) was also put up. A replica of world’s tallest statue ‘Statue of Unity’ was placed at the ground. The replica like the original was also very awe inspiring and proved to be a very popular selfie point for the visitors. This edition featured folk dancers performing at the stage in a relay form, something which was very popular with the visitors.
The Uttarakhand food stall was particularly impressive, a visit to the stall was just like visiting a traditional Pahadi household as it was embellished with a whole gamut of Pahari traditional utensils and household equipments. .
Pankaj Agarwal from Hapur Walo Ki Dukan, Mussoorie who managed the stall explained how the health benefits of using of traditional utensils in cooking and serving food “The idea behind displaying these traditional utensils is that I want people to restart using these because these have immense health benefits besides being aesthetically appealing.
We use wooden utensils for preparation of all milk based foods as they do not get infested by insects so Raita, Chaanch, are all prepared in wooden utensils. Similarly storing water in copper utensils is good for liver, drinking water from earthen utensils acts as an appetizer.”
Madhya Pradesh food stall offered the best food items of each region of the state- Malwa ka Dal balfa, Indori poha, Gwalior ki kachori and more. Prem Paul the manager of the stall explained the uniqueness of MP cuisine “Poha is common in many places but in our Indori Poha we also use annar(pomegranate), Varki Samosa of Gwalior is different from samosas elsewhere, as its covering is extra crispy and a very thin, the stuffing contains fruits, Aloo and peas. Moong dal ke Mangode is in a way similar to Ram Laddu but different as it is much more granular than Ram Laddu.”
Ramesh Lal from ‘The Tribes of India’ stall came all the way from Keylong in Lahaul Spiti, his stall featured handspun shawls made of Ladakhi Yak wool “These are handspun shawls they take seven days to prepare. Many of our products also use rabbit wool like we are offering mufflers that contain 40% of rabbit wool.” Lal described rabbit wool as a luxury commodity and declared Yak wool is the warmest of all materials.
The Chandigarh handicraft stall attracted a lot of attention as it offered organic Dhoop Battis and Agarbattis. Tarun Sharma at the stall explained the uniqueness of the product “We at ‘Bridge Kanti Madhu Agarbatti’, Chandigarh specialize in organicDhoop Battis and Agarbattis. The dhoop battis available in the market contain charcoal and chemicals, this is the reason why they turn the wall black on contact. These are harmful to health and cause breathlessness. Our products are made from pure herbs, spices and oils hence are beneficial to health and the fragrance is more long lasting, even the ash residue that remains after burning serves as a fertilizer for plants.”
Lucky Gehlot at the Punjab handicraft stall was selling Juttis, he does not agree with the notion that handmade items such asJuttis were luxury items only fit to be worn at special occasions such as marriages “handmade shoes come in both categories daily wear as well as luxury wear. Due to cheap China made shoes the market for handmade shoes had suffered, but now people are coming back to handmade realizing its utility and charm.”
The Ministry of Tourism stall put up virtual reality tools to showcase the various tourist destinations across India. Mayur Karodia is the co- founder of Outside VR, the company which is providing virtual reality solutions for the Ministry he explained the utility of his company’s mobile application “Through our application we are bridging the geographical and financial gap to enable everyone to get a feel of a place of their choice. We are using virtual reality technology, you can scan the QR codes and open those sites in 3D on your smart phones, you get a 360 degree 3D experience right on your handsets, it is free of cost. This is not only a way of satisfying your wanderlust but also helps people in planning their trips better it features audio guides which have been written by eminent educators” .
Dinesh Arya and Kunal who were part of the organising team expressed pride at how this edition of Bharat Parv was conducted “Those who missed the Republic Day parade could see the Jankis here singers, games and competitions were conducted at an unprecedented scale we distributed turbans, and applied Mehandi free of cost. The visitor attendance was very high throughout the six days.” Kunal felt that the strength of the Parv was the variety it offers “security and facilities at the event were hassle-free, the event included lots of activities, I think the kind of variety the Bharat Parv offers any concert or any other function anywhere would pale in comparison to this.”