The country’s biggest and most popular celebration of literature is back. Commencing tomorrow, the Jaipur Literature Festival will continue for its tradition of five days of conversations, culture, and community building at Diggi Palace, Jaipur. This year the dialogue will focus on scientific temper, fiction, artificial intelligence, gender equity, and what the future holds. Co-directors author and historian William Dalrymple and author Namita Gokhale have brought on board a vibrant list of over 250 speakers, including Yann Martel (author, ’Life of Pi’), Shabana Azmi, Shashi Tharoor, Pulitzer Prize winner Colson Whitehead, and André Aciman (author, ‘Call Me By Your Name’). With the intellectual stimulation about to begin, we roundup the top five things you need to catch at the Jaipur Lit Fest 2019, and the three in the Pink City its housed in.
Jaipur Music Stage
Running parallel to the fest, the Music Stage will play for four days and expand the conversation around arts beyond the written word. This celebration of ‘Variety, Discovery, and Collaboration’ puts diverse genres and artists from across the globe on one platform. Expect Blues, Rock, ghazals, Funk, all on the same stage, punctuated by conversations and interactions with the artists on their work ad the industry. Not all work, the JMS keeps the fun element running with its night market and after parties. Catch live performances by the likes of Dualist Inquiry, Midival Punditz, and the Kutle Khan Project.
When: January 24-27
Where: Hotel Clarks Amer, Jaipur
Fashion show from interiors of India
Moving the spotlight to craftsmanship and creativity found in the depths of the country, a fashion show will feature artisan designers from Kutch. A melting pot of varied communities — Afghani, Sindhi, Persian, African, Rajasthani, and Pakistani — the region has a strong cultural identity. The same will be showcased by a display of textile craftsmanship, and techniques such as Bhujodi weaves, block printing, bandhani, and dhebaria rabari embroidery will be presented. Two exhibitions by eight artisan designers will be devoted to this, ‘Painted Narratives: Preserving History Through the Art of Storytelling’ and ‘Sacred Geometry in Contemporary Miniature Art’. One can also indulge in Rajasthani folk music, traditional performance arts, craft films, and talks around the same for deeper insight.
When: January 24-28
Where: Sphatik Art Gallery, Jawahar Kala Kendra
A ceremonial dance from Kerala, an oral storytelling tradition from West Africa, three generations of percussionists performing together. Aptly titles ‘A Majestic Evening’, it will be hosted in a fort and make for an enriching few hours for perforce art patrons. Renowned artists such as Vidwan Vikku Vinayakram and Ben Okri form a part of the line-up.
When: January 26
Where: Ganesh Pole, Amber Fort
A musical lit fest, this. Other than the Music Stage, soak in the Morning Music, with different Indian genres to start the day. Planned in the Front Lawn for each day of the fest, it will feature five internationally acclaimed female Indian artists, namely Vidya Shah, Barnali Chattopadhyay, S Shruthi Vishwanath, Usha Uthup, and Deepa Nair Rasiya.
When: January 24-28
Where: Hotel Diggi Palace
While your planner may already be inked with the talks to attend, here are a few that are absolutely not to be missed. Politician Sachin Pilot’s talk on democracy and the political process is well-timed, pertinent just months before the General Elections. Actor Manisha Koirala on life with and after ovarian cancer touches upon positive thinking and healing. Gayatri Rangachari Shah and Mallika Kapur, co-authors of ‘Changemakers’, come together with stuntwoman Geeta Tandon, producer Guneet Monga, and cinematographer Priya Seth to throw light on women’s contribution to Bollywood, and how the silent spectators actually form the foundation of the industry. Lastly, feeding the should of JLF is the ‘How To Get Published’ launch by Shobhaa De. Written by Meghna Pant, the book acts as a go-to guide for anyone who wants to get published in India.
Beyond the Jaipur Lit Fest
A five-minute drive from Diggi Palace, hop over from a drink as beautiful as the interiors of the space. The laid-back essence has white and blue hues, mixing a Mediterranean beat with Rajasthani regality. Relish their Italian fare with a side of prosecco. Soups and pastas are paired with wines, Venetian spirits, and classic cocktails. Don’t forget to sip their signature tipple, the Marina Rossa.
The Nahargarh Ride
Early mornings, history, nature, peace & quiet. If any or all of these feature in your likes list, then go for this three-hour cycling trip. Taking one across Hawa Mahal, Jal Mahal, and finally Nhargarh Fort, it offers a view of the Aravallis as you paddle through the city lanes. A panoramic view of the city from the fort, sunrise, and birdwatching round off the experience.
Take a closer peek at wilderness with elephants and camels at this camp. A 30-minute drive from JLF, Dera Amer offers camel safaris where their two resident camels take you around the local area. The elephant safari explores the wilderness, the bathing and dining with elephants experiences make for fun activities. Keeping with their ethos of caring for animals, the safaris are with them, not riding on them, and the timings ensure they aren’t overworked. One can also opt for their village walks and birdwatching.