Indian Diwali, Chinese brightness!

Indian Diwali, Chinese brightness!

Long before Lord Rama escorts Sita back into Ayodhya, Lajpat Rai market and Bhagirath Palace, begin Diwali celebrations with considerable Chinese support! As dusk gradually approaches, the narrow lanes of these two markets in Chandni Chowk are doused in multi-coloured hues.

Known as the largest markets in Asia for electrical goods, medical equipment and allopathic medicines, Diwali celebrations definitely begin from Bhagirath Palace, where hundreds of small and big shops exhibit indoor and outdoor lights in countless innovative designs, shapes, textures and sizes.

A short walk from Lajpat Rai market, which has fewer shops and less variety, takes you to Bhagirath Palace where streets bathed in brightness welcome the visitor with scores of beautiful and soothing Chinese LED lights.

Most shopkeepers have been into the business of lighting up homes, shops and offi­ces since decades and they are not only the trend setters but have been privy to trend changes too. They are the ones who have seen the Chinese outdoor and indoor lights capturing the entire market, leaving little scope for indigenous high-cost lights to survive.
Blinking lights in the form of ladis; magic flower balls which 650 bulbs; a bunch of sparkling flowers and flower vines with coloured lights and ladiyan with diyas and candle lights - all have made their way here, from China.

Counted amongst the top favourites are decorative lights with designs of big flowers, alongwith magic balls. A ladi of diyas and candles with 25 bulbs costs Rs 40 and 50 respectively.

Shopkeepers say, its been more than 10 years that Chi­n­e­­se lights, which are less expensive, have sidelined local lights, which co­n­sume more energy and are costlier.
Lalit Gupta, a shopkeeper  says Indian lights are completely out of fashion now. “Ladis of zero watt bulbs and litchi lights were quite famous but as Chinese ladiyan came along, the former went out of favour. Zero watt in name only, those lights consumed more electricity and were high maintenance. On the other hand, Chinese lights are cheap, easier to maintain and lighter in weight,” he says.

“People go with ladis of flash lights and big flowers designs. Even in diya and candle ladi, the LEDs are Chinese, while designs have been created in Delhi. Some buy magic balls, Swastik and Om lights to hang at entrances,” he says.

The length of the ladis has also gone up substantially this year, as compared to previous years when at least 5-10 ladis were needed to cover the front facade. Now, you get the same results with just one ladi which can be unspooled in one shot and covers the entire width of the facade.

According to a recent survey by ASSOCHAM-Social Development Foundation (ASDF), 78 per cent custo­m­ers say Chinese lights are alm­ost 50 percent cheaper. They also save nearly 35 per cent of the Diwali budget.

But Chinese is not equal to inexpensive always. Small and round lights emitting soothing brightness instantly attract one’s attention. One such bulb has eight RGB. In the shape of grapes, a ladi with a bunch of 50 bulbs costs Rs 800.

Ravi, another shopkeeper says, “Many ask about these lights but only one percent buy them. These lights are popular in Europe. People here don’t believe in spending this much for an annual occasion. A Chinese string of about 100 small bulbs can be bought in the range of Rs 40-60.”

Whatever your budget, head for Chandni Chowk and you will not be disappointed.

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