New Delhi World Book Fair (commonly known just as the “World Book Fair” or “Vishwa Pustak Mela” in Hindi) is the Asia’s largest book fair. It is organized every year in the month of February. Indian Government’s agency National Book Trust, India has been organizing this fair for more than four decades. Earlier New Delhi World Book Fair used to be organized once every two years. But from 2013 onwards, this mega literary event was turned annual.
I visited New Delhi World Book Fair for the first time when I was doing my graduation. I have been a great lover of books since my childhood. The local public library used to satisfy my reading needs. But, I remember, when I needed to understand the philosophy of Gautama the Buddha, I could not find good books in the library. That was the primary reason that took me to the New Delhi World Book Fair for the first time. And I was fascinated to see an ocean of books there!
- Dates: 14 to 22 February 2015
- Timings: 11am to 8pm daily
- Venue: Pragati Maidan, New Delhi
- How to Reach Pragati Maidan: Pragati Maidan is located near Purana Qila. This exhibition venue lies on the blue line of the Delhi Metro. There is a Metro station near Gate No. 10 of Pragati Maidan. You can get off the Metro and walk for 5-10 minutes to enter the Maidan through Gate 10. Hall No. 12 and 12A are located nearest to the Gate 10.
- Halls: 1, 6, 7(A-E), 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 12A and 14
- Tickets for New Delhi World Book 2015 will be available at Gate No. 1, 2, 7, 8, and 10 of Pragati Maidan
- Tickets will also be available at about 40 Delhi Metro stations (including Kashmere Gate, Rajiv Chowk, Vishwavidyalaya)
- Ticket Price: Following are the prices of tickets to enter Pragati Maidan during NDWBF
- Rs. 20 for adults
- Rs. 10 for children below 12 years
- Rs. 10 for students (you will have to show your student ID card)
- Public parking: If you’re a exhibitor in the fair, you’ll get a special pass that will allow you to park your vehicle inside Pragati Maidan. For general public, parking is located at Bhairon Marg. It is paid parking. After parking your vehicle you will have to walk a considerable distance to reach Gate No. 1 of Pragati Maidan. From Gate No. 1, you’ll get the free shuttle service that will take you to the desired Hall. The nearest Halls to Gate No. 1 are Hall 6 and 1
- Facilities: National Book Trust, India offers several facilities to the fair visitors
- Free shuttle service: These vehicles ply between Gates and Halls. Use them to cut the distance you would need to walk in huge Pragati Maidan area.
- Mobile ATM: Usually one or two mobile ATM machines are stationed inside the Pragati Maidan. You can easily withdraw cash from these machines.
- Purchasing books: All the exhibitors in the New Delhi World Book Fair are required to give 10% discount on the printed price of the books.
- Only some of the exhibitors accept credit cards.
- Please note that it is best to carry enough cash if you want to purchase books. Most of the publishers do not accept credit or debit cards.
- However, if you run out of cash, you can always use the mobile ATM (but you’ll have to locate it!).
- Most of the publishers will provide you with carry bags, so that should not be a problem.
- If you are looking forward to buy a lot of books, I would advise that you begin purchase from Hall 7, Hall 6 and Hall 1. Then proceed towards Gate number 5,6,7,8 (located on Mathura Road). You can keep on gathering books on your way from various Halls and at the end make an exit from Gate 5,6,7 or 8. This is perhaps the most efficient way if you have to walk on foot.
- Note that the shuttle service stops operation at 5:00 pm
- Getting a taxi or auto from outside Pragati Maidan could prove to be a difficult thing, especially after dusk. Plan your visit keeping this in mind.
- Pragati Maidan has eateries within the premises. You can grab snacks or a meal from there. Authorized tea and coffee vendors, ice-cream sellers also roam around. But all these items are expensive.
- Try not to miss the cultural programs that are organized at Lal Chowk area in the evening. They are good.
How to Navigate inside Pragati Maidan
Pragati Maidan is a huge exhibition ground. Although there are proper signboards everywhere inside the Maidan, but still finding your way could be confusing. The following map of Pragati Maidan can help you find directions to your desired Hall or other places. Click on the map to enlarge it:
Accessibility of Pragati Maidan
Pragati Maidan is a fairly accessible venue. They have built even roads. There are big and clear signboards to point you towards various locations. All the Halls are either barrier-free or have ramps built for wheelchair users.
During the New Delhi World Book Fair, I have seen that elderly and people with disabilities can borrow wheelchairs from the entry gate. Nevertheless, if you are a wheelchair user, it is recommended that you bring your own wheelchair. You’ll find most of the places accessible. Toilets are not very clean but they are accessible.
Information about Activities in New Delhi World Book Fair
There are several ways you can get information about the fair and what’s going on in there. Following are a few of such options:
- Pick a free newsletter: National Book Trust, India publishes daily newsletter which contains reports on activities of the previous day and also the schedule of events that will happen on the current day. The Hindi newsletter is called Mela Varta and the English counterpart is Show Daily. These newsletter are for free distribution. If your arrive early at Pragati Maidan, you can pick you copy from information desks and other places in every Hall.
- Follow New Delhi World Book Fair on Facebook: NBT India has significant social media presence. During the fair, the organization make posts about the on-going activities on their Facebook page. From this page you can also get photographs and clippings from the above mentioned newsletters.
- Ask at Information Desk: If you have a question, you can go to the information desks in various Halls.
- Download Mobile App: NBT India has launched a mobile app that will give you all the important information about the fair. This app will also act as your guide within the fair venue. The app is available for Android and iOS platforms.
List of Publishers / Exhibitors at the New Delhi World Book Fair 2015
National Book Trust, India publishes the list of all the publishers who take part in the New Delhi World Book Fair. This list is released in two parts; one contains those publishers who will setup their stalls and the the other list contains information on publishers who have applied for stands.
- List of publishers on stalls
- List of publishers on stands
This list tells you every participating publisher’s Hall No. and stall / stand number.
Theme of the New Delhi World Book Fair 2015
Every edition of NDWBF, with few exceptions, has been having a theme. Special programs are organized during the fair to focus on the year’s theme. In most cases, a Theme Pavilion has also been constructed.
Theme of the NDWBF 2015 is Suryodaya: Emerging voices from North East India. The fair will focus on the literature and writers from the North-Eastern states of India (Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura).
Themes of previous editions of NDWBF
- Kathasagara: Celebrating Children’s Literature (year 2014)
- Indigenous Voices: Mapping India’s Folk & Tribal Literature (year 2013)
- Towards 100 years of Indian Cinema (year 2012)
Guest of Honour Country at New Delhi World Book Fair
Often there is a specific country on which New Delhi World Book Fair put focus. This country is called the Guest of Honour Country. Publishers from this country come as a delegation to participate in the fair. Literature and culture of Guest of Honour Country is showcased to the fair visitors in the Foreign Pavilion.
Guest of Honour Country for the year 2015 is Singapore. Following countries have been Guest of Honour in previous years:
- Poland (2014)
- France (2013)
Organizer of the New Delhi World Book Fair
Not many people know who organize the Asia’s biggest book fair! Well, it is the National Book Trust, India which organizes this gala event every year in New Delhi. For last few years, India Trade Promotion Organization (ITPO) has been the co-organizer of the fair. ITPO is the owner of Pragati Maidan.
National Book Trust, India is mostly referred to as NBT India or just NBT. It is the government agency whose mandate is to promote books and reading habit in the country. To this end, NBT India organize several book fairs all over the country every year. New Delhi World Book Fair is the largest among the fairs organized by NBT India.
NBT India has created a video documentary on New Delhi World Book Fair. It gives you visual information on several aspects of the Asia’s largest book fair.
I would encourage all my readers to go and visit this excellent fair. At New Delhi World Book Fair, you’ll find thousands of publishers and millions of books. A host of literary programs, discounts, meetings with your favorite authors and massive variety of books will certainly help satiate your desire to read and learn. Go to Pragati Maidan and visit New Delhi World Book Fair!
This article has been written and submitted by Kishore Sharma.