The 20th World Book Fair 2012 has just started in New Delhi’s Pragati Maidan from 25th Feb till 4th March 2012. I got to know about the Fair about a week before it was to start off. Hence was able to adjust my travel plans to ensure I could attend at least Day1.
The inauguration for the Book Fair was slated at 10.30am. We figured that most of the stalls wouldn’t be even up and functional if we went in early. So we set off from Gurgaon at around 12.30pm. By Metro, we took the Yellow Line (starting at Huda City Center) till Rajeev Chowk, and then shifted to the Blue Line that was headed to Vaishali/Noida City Center.
The entire trip took us an hour and a half, so it was around 2pm that we got out of the Metro Station at Pragati Maidan.
Pragati Maidan, which mean Field of Progress, was built in 1982 over an area of 150 acres. It hosts around 18 exhibition halls, several buildings, eateries and open performace spaces and compounds. It hosts around 70 national and international exhibitions each year. The most prominent of them are the India International Trade Fair, World Book Fair and the Auto Expo.
When one steps out of the Metro Station, one has to head to the back of the station to reach Gate No 10, which is the entrance to the Fair. We didn’t know that and enquired from some people who were standing outside the station. I guess they were there for another trade fair (travel related) and directed us outside the Main Gate towards Gate No 18. The only good thing was that we weren’t the only ones that were confused… there were many more with us in that particular boat!!! 😉
So we finally headed back to the Metro Station, towards the Book Fair. On the way we passed by the Supreme Court of India, and took the requisite photos.
The World Book Fair is organized biennially by the National Book Trust (NBT) at this venue.
The only flaw that I could make out with the Book Fair was that there was not a single board near the entrance that could guide people to the Halls of their choice. One had to go through almost all the halls to figure out what was where.
The ones we covered were:
- Hall 12: Claims to be meant for Educational aids, CDs, Games and Miscellaneous. There was nothing related to the first 3 items… only the miscellaneous.
- Hall 10: Books in regional languages. We were specifically looking for Telugu books. There was 1 stall, where was absolutely empty. There other shared space with Kannada books, and wasn’t what we were looking for. In fact from South India there were only 6 stalls – 1 Telugu, 3 Kannada, 1 Tamil, 1 Malayalam. Of course Malayalam Manorama opted to feature itself in Hall 1, rather than in the regional ones. Actually, given the diversity of Indian languages, I expected a lot more from this Hall.
- Hall 6: This was where all the major English book sellers had their stalls. Om bookstore featured some new books, while flipkart.com had a book reading by author Ashok Banker. Penguin India had a huge series of books, formatted according to publisher, and The Penguin Car as the main highlight. There were books for all ages and types to get their fill.
- Hall 1: This hall featured mainly publishers, though some retailers where also there, such as Reliance Timeout and IBD. I must say that Reliance Timeout was giving some nice discounts.
- Hall 7: This was the Theme Pavilion. However, we just saw this from outside… I was more keen on getting to Hall 6! The theme for this year is “POINT OF VIEW: An International Rights Exhibition of Books on Indian Cinema (Towards Hundred Years of Indian Cinema)”.
- Hall 12: Science & Technology: This was another one we saw just from outside; didn’t step in for the simple reason that we weren’t interested!
There were other halls as well. Halls 1-6 were English book publishers. Halls 8-9 were books on Social Science and Humanities. Hall 11 was books in Hindi. Hall 14 was for books for Children and Educational Books.
In case of energy shortage, there are some nice food courts across the place. The one we went was the Pragati Food Court near Hall 12. It is a big hall with ample seating space, and the options for food are really nice. For those who want traditional food, there is Chole-Bature, biryanis, chaats and South Indian snacks. For the who prefer fast food, there is Pizza Hut and Subway.
The timings for the Fair at 11am to 8pm. Be sure to have a large book budget, and comfortable walking shoes when attending. Also make sure you have ample time to go through the various halls. There are also various programs organized on different themes. Be sure to check it on the NBT website before you attend. You are more likely to be able to attend the programs once you get the schedule from there!
The Fair is definitely a book-lover’s paradise.