There’s something about these Mehendiwalas in Delhi. With a fabulous imagination of dazzling designs, and dexterity in skills, they are surely unmatched.
Generally migrants from nearby places such as Rajasthan, Varanasi or Agra, all that these guys need to invest in are a couple of cones containing the mehendi mixture, two low lying stools/moda and try to manage a bit of space in a bustling market place. And it would be business time for them. However harsh the weather is- well Delhi could touch 45 degrees centigrade in summer and drop as low as 5 degrees centigrade in winters- these guys could always be spotted, calling out to you to get your hands and legs adorned. Arabic, Bombay, South Indian, pots and peacocks, these form the main feature of ethnico designs. You express your desire and in a matter of minutes mehendi designs would be laid out on your palms or feet.
From the plethora of mehendiwalas across the city, I handpicked a few spots that gave me the best feel of the art on my hands.
- Central Market, Lajpat Nagar- This is considered a one-stop shop in Delhi. You could practically get anything under the sun here. From home décor to clothes, to appliances to beauty products. Amidst the chaotic atmosphere of this market, you could spot Mehendiwalas or ‘Henna appliers’ seated along the pathways. Most of them offer a number of exquisite designs. I did a bit of haggling here and managed to get a single floral pattern hand mehendi design for Rs. 50. It was a pretty neatly done job I must say, without any overlapping or smudges.
- Ajmal Khan Road, Karol Bagh Market- This is a popular destination for very-affordable but high quality garments. I spotted a couple of mehendiwalas near the Karol Bagh Metro station and asked them what their specialty was. He thrust a few laminated photographs into my hand and told me to choose from the Kundan mehendi design and the Zardozi mehendi. I gave it a shot and ended up spending around a 1000 bucks. If you are in Delhi to attend a wedding, these guys could well do the job of adorning your hands with perfection.
- Dilli Haat- where the class crowd goes to shop. Lined with cottage emporium natured shops, this is a place where you could find handicrafts, handlooms and art from across every state in India. It surely is a visual delight and a cultural epicenter in Delhi. I found the mehendiwalas in Dilli Haat way too expensive though, thanks to the influx of international tourists here. I haggled a bit but could not come bring it down to a reasonable amount. But if you do want to soak in the cultural atmosphere, and don’t mind spending, do stretch your hand out to him.
- Rajouri Gardens- Probably one of the most expensive mehendiwalas I encountered. He claimed to be a specialist in Bridal Henna and could adorn two hands till the elbow and your legs till the knees in an hour.
- Paharganj- The earliest of mehendiwalas exist in this area, probably due to the proximity to the station. I found them to be the most cost effective. Charges were nominal from 100 to 1500 as per the design you choose.
So the next time you are in Delhi, take a pick and do try these out.