Ramlila Ground is a foodies' paradise

Ramlila Ground is a foodies' paradise

Festive moods

From Morarji Desai to Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Anna Hazare to Baba Ramdev, all have been here but only for political purposes. Come nav­r­a­tris and the famous Ramlila Maidan turns into a foodies’ paradise.

queuing up: Street food stalls at Ramlila Maidan during Dussehra are an annual feature.

While most talk about the maidan for its rendition of Ramlila every year and the celebration of good over evil on Dusshera, what is often given a miss, is the chaat and snack mela that crops up from the first Navratri and goes on till Bharat milap.

As the dusk nears, one enters Ramlila Ground and the sight of ferris wheel and other swing catch the eye.

A walk past them and there are hoards of food stalls to indulge your taste buds with some chatpata stuff. What is even better is that most of the stall owners here own permanent stalls in the food court of Pragati Maidan.

Shockingly, tho­u­gh, there is a huge margin in prices that are offered here and there! For example, a plate of Chole Bhature costing Rs 80 in Pragati Maidan would cost only Rs 30 here! On the flip side, the quality offered at the former is also much better.

Subhash Sharma’s stall in Ramlila ground sells lip-smacking golgappas, bhalle papri, aloo tikki, aloo chat, chila, pao bhaji and chole bhature.  Subhash has lots of childhood memories attached to this place.

Earlier, there used to be big sawaris organised by brands like Fawara Bidi and Sitara which brought in dhol players to gather the attention of people. These food stalls and swings used to be outside the ground. My grandfather started this stall in 1960 and we used to sell a plate of 10 gol gappas for Rs 2. Now a plate of six (for suji) or eight (for atta) gol gappas costs Rs 20.”

Banwari Lal, the sole seller of lassi at the ground remembers growing up here. “Mera bachpan yahin guzra hai. My father came from UP and started selling chaat here.” Banwari’s stall still does not have a name and it has been like this since the time his father set it up the first time.

“The gol gappa vendors used to carry baskets of gol gappas on their head and water in a khomchi (matki). Now there are proper stalls and when I took over, I introduced lassi which a lot of people opt for, because drinking water is at quite a distance.”

A glass of lassi here costs a mere Rs 10 and he manages a sale of around 2,000 on any given day. The taste may be average but worth its cost.

One can also find figures of Goddess Durga and Lord Ganpati, carved out of chole and decked with grated radishes, carrots and masalas to attract customers at the chole bhature stalls. At the ‘Jai Maa Lakshmi, Sharma Caterers’, Naresh Sharma shares, “We have been setting this stall up for the last 20 years.

Earlier, we used to have only bhature but now we to cater to customers’ demands. So we also have Chinese and even South Indian dishes. We are planning to introduce vegetarian kandi kebab with rumali roti from next year.”

So go ahead, try these out and that too without spending too much from your pocket!         

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