From a visit to the ruins of an early 14th Century monument in the middle of South Delhi to a fashion show with village elders as models — the Delhi government is set to put the limelight on the capital’s urban village of Shahpur Jat with a two-day festival this month.
On October 19 and 20, the government will host the Shahpur Jat Autumn Festival, said Manisha Saxena, secretary of Delhi’s tourism department.
“The tagline of the festival is ‘when fashion meets history’ as Shahpur Jat is an ancient village with a lot of history, and currently houses a lot of fashion brands too. The festival will be a mix of both,” said Saxena.
This comes two months after the Delhi government’s three-day-long Mehrauli Monsoon Festival, which too hosted heritage walks and exhibitions. On the roster are a heritage walk to Tohfe Wala Gumbad, a part of the Siri Fort built in 1303 during the reign of Alauddin Khalji, as well as a Diwali Bazaar.
“The ruins of Tohfe Wala Gumbad are protected by the Archaeological Survey of India and we are in talks with groups and historians about a heritage walk. The park opposite the Sarvodaya school will be the main venue,” said Saxena.
Apart from the walk, a workshop on recycling and substituting plastic at home will also be held at the festival. The Diwali Bazaar will host potters, silversmiths and traditional weavers from Shahpur Jat. “We are in talks with fashion labels at the market to hold a fashion show and get the village elders to walk the ramp. We want the community to be involved in this. We are also hoping to get an A-list artist to perform at the festival. Through the day, Haryanvi folk music will play there and a chaupal will be set up for visitors,” said Saxena.
After Mehrauli and Shahpur Jat, the department aims to add Feroz Shah Kotla and Jaunti village near Bawana on the festival list. “Delhi tourism revolves around three-four monuments such as Humayun’s Tomb and Red Fort. Tourists spend only a short time here but Delhi is more than just these heritage structures. Through these festivals, we want Dilliwaalas and visitors to experience other areas too. We want locals to become protective of the heritage they are surrounded by,” said Saxena.