Jaipur Literature Festival 2013

Jaipur Literature Festival, the most prestigious literary fest of Asia-Pacific for all the book-lovers kicked off yesterday at Diggi Palace, Jaipur.

Like last year, this year too, I went to this much talked about fest with my bogging friend Kadambari. We decided to go for HH Dalai Lama’s session. As we were getting ourselves registered and getting the security check done, HH Dalai Lama’s convoy arrived at the venue. He was sitting on the front seat of a SUV and was greeting the Tibetans who were standing on the other side of the road to catch a glimpse (or seek blessings) of their spiritual leader.

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The decor at the entrance

On time, we reached the Front Lawns, and what a sight it was. It was jam packed, there was not even an iota of space to move. Of course all around us were not literature loving people, there must be many who would have come to just see the celebrities! But what a disciplined audience it was! Even before His Highness could come on the stage, there was pin drop silence.

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The ‘elite’ crowd

The spiritual leader was in conversation with Pico Iyer on Kinships of Faiths : Finding the Middle Way. His talk was interesting and enlightening. It was interesting to note that HH Dalai Lama as a young Buddhist, when he was about 7 years old, was not interested in his studies, but the fear of his teacher forced him to learn. And now, in his 77th year, he still considers himself a student of Nalanda University. He talked about secularism, similarities between science and philosophies of Buddha. I expected HH Dalai Lama to be a great orator but that was not the case.

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The close-up

The next session was a tribute to Sunil Gangopadhyay by Sharmila Tagore. Sharmila Tagore looked very graceful and was extremely well-read on Sunil Da’s work. She read some excerpts from his famous novel ‘Sei Samoy”

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Saw Shashi Tharoor in conversation with Tarun Tejpal too. During the break between sessions we saw yesteryear actor, Vijayendra Ghatge. There were so many familiar faces too. That was day one at JLF.

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57 thoughts on “Jaipur Literature Festival 2013

  1. Hi Shilpa, I’ve come over from Miss Teerious, hoping to find your post on the Lit Fest since Chicky was lazy!

    Nice post! Gorgeous picture of the entrance; are those things Chinese lamps? What’s the food like at the venue (can a poor hungry bachelor survive on a budget of 50/- per day)? How big is the Diggi Palace; does it get too crowded to even walk about? Does it have spaces to sit and look at the crowd from afar? Does the fest have a new book smell? 😀

    Do post more pictures if you can. Thank you.

    • Hi Abhiroop. Welcome to this space!! So happy to see your enthusiasm for this fest. 🙂
      Yes, they are Chinese lanterns!! LOL 😀 Food is the main attraction in Jaipur, so there are a lot of stalls selling a wide variety of stuff. Tea in kulhads and coffee in mugs is there and of course, you can sip wine with a book in your hand too, at the venue, as there are a lot of small chic lounges for the ‘arty-elite’ type of folks!
      Diggi Palace is located in the heart of the city and is the venue for JLF since 2006 and has some 70 rooms!
      And since the last few years, this fest attracts huge crowds, so yes, it is a bit crowded. You can see a lot of celebrities everywhere in discussions with fans and friends. And school kids come too in their uniforms!! If you want to observe people, you can do so too! 😀
      And there are lots of book stalls too, offering some attractive discounts!! Also there are lots of stalls of handicrafts and Fab India types of clothes!! It is a treat for the eyes and the senses, this fest! 🙂

    • Hello, how kind of you to take time out to respond to my none too sensible questions!

      You couldn’t have made the fest sound more charming.

      Totally sounds like my kinda place. The Book Fairs of Delhi aren’t a patch on this week long jamboree. I am definitely going next year 🙂

    • Hi Abhiroop! It is my pleasure to share some info about this fest! Glad that you liked it and are planning to visit our city and the ‘talk of the world’ fest next year!! See you at JLF 2014! 🙂

  2. Lucky you! I have met Dalai Lama once so very well understand the crowd.
    Last year this festival was in news more because of Oprah. Btw, I loved the conversation in between Barkha Dutt and Oprah.
    Great pictures and narration Shilpa.Thanks for sharing.

  3. Your luck makes be bedeviled with envy. How I wish I could be at Jaipur now!
    SG, the fact is that enlightenment or just the light itself has been scary to many and it is that fear we see around when voices and groups raise their voices violently against dissemination of knowledge and argumentation. To shut out and be in the dark or feign blindness in the face of light seems to be more comforting for many.

    • Oh! You must come next year then, and you can enjoy the heritage and culture of other places in Rajasthan too! 🙂
      True and even if you acquire that knowledge or light, applying it is hard too!

  4. Thanks for the nice commentary. Wish I were there too.

    When Anil Kurup mentioned “SG”, I for a minute thought why he is mentioning my name in your post. Now I got it. Hahaha.

  5. It was so good to read about this, wish I was there.
    Sharmila Tagore is always well read, and now a days she looks so simple and beautiful.
    For a second even I was confused by SG used by Anil, but I soon realized he meant you. SG is of course known to many of us.

  6. lucky Lucky you ! I couldn’t make this year how I wish I could go !
    I have such lovely memories form last year. Did you attend the session by Mahashweta Devi as well ?

    • Aah! Wish we had know each other last year and wish you could make it this year… 🙁
      JLF is a treat for all senses, and it is good to be soak in all the sights, food for thought… Nope, could not attend her session! 😛

  7. Shilpa, that was a fantastic write up and I loved reading every line of it. You know, I’ve always been wanting to go to JLF and never got to. Been cribbing about it but I believe that I am going to seriously prioritize it next year because it’s a mecca for book lovers like us. I really enjoyed reading this post from your perspective and looked longingly at the pics you posted as well 🙂

  8. We have only a book fair here. Some orators do come and speak but its not a lit fest. Hope one comes to Chennai soon 🙂 BTW, excellent description and photos. You are lucky to have got a seat so close to the dais.

    Destination Infinity

    • Earlier there was only this JLF, but last year, Bangalore Lit Fest and Chandigarh Lit Fest were organised too!! No, didnt get to sit there, was standing all the time and the zoom of the camera gave these nice clear pics! Thanks DI 🙂

    • Jaipur Literature Festival is a celebration of national and international literature. It encompasses a range of readings, talks, debates, performances, children’s workshops and interactive activities from renowned authors, writers, celebrities… JLF is now regarded as the Kumbh Mela of Indian and international writing, drawing in writers and readers from across India and the wider world: from America, Europe, Africa and from across the breadth of South Asia. It is organised every year in January. It happens in open lawns or tents where discussions happen on a range of topics. In the evenings there are musical evenings and high profile parties at various chic venues.

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