Jaipur Literature Festival(JLF): An experience like no other


Jaipur is a city where traditions, trendiness, class, majesty, freedom and newness conjures. It’s a perennially lively city, The moment you land here, you feel the vivacity of the city talking to you. Its verve and vigour will never leave you and you’ll return home smitten by the Pink City. This city offers experiences that cannot be denied. One such experience is attending the Grand literary event of the world ‘Jaipur Literature Festival’. 

JLF comes up as a life-altering and one of a kind experience. Audiences from Rajasthan, across India and the world to learn from and exchange ideas with contemporary literary stouts.

What is the Jaipur Literature Festival?

Jaipur Literature Festival, referred as the greatest literary show on this planet, takes place in the last quarter of January, each year. Where access to these renowned thinkers and writers for many individuals remains the privilege of a few, it is a five-day event where JLF invites the creme de la creme of the literary landscape from Nobel laureates to literature enthusiasts and everyone in between, to take part in the five-day event. Along with literature lovers, local fun-seekers, Instagrammers, autograph-hunters, shoppers also visit this annual fest. 

Where is Jaipur Literature Fest hosted? 

This five-day programme is set against the backdrop of Diggi Palace, a haveli turned into a heritage hotel. However, the venue will soon be shifted elsewhere as local authorities are finding it tough to manage such a large congregation at this site.

Who is the founder of JLF?

The idea of Jaipur Literature Fest was conceived by Namita Gokhale and William Dalrymple in 2006. They have been associated with the Jaipur Literature Festival since the beginning. This literature festival has been organized by Teamwork Arts since 2008. 

What happens at the lit fest?

For five days, the world’s greatest minds, humanitarians, historians, politicians, business leaders, writers of every hue, agents, publishers, poets, celebrities, representatives of world media, sportspeople and entertainers from all walks of life flock to the Jaipur’s Diggi Palace to champion the freedom to express and engage in thoughtful debate and dialogue. They also offer insights into onstage events and offstage stories. Not only it hosts famous writers, authors, poets, journalists, and media, but also people who have considerable influence in the social sphere to take part in this grand event. 

There are multiple sessions comprising readings, discussions, and questions and answers from eminent personalities. The participants are both Indian and international. One can get engaged in inspirational talks and apparently buy the authors’ books and get them autographed. Once the literary sessions get over, musical nights are held in the evenings. In recent years, the festival has turned into quite a vogue affair and entices a plethora of extroverts.

JLF is not purely a literary event, there’s a range of stalls selling everything from food, clothes, art pieces to handicrafts. There’s also an airy lounge and a huge bookshop.

How it came into existence

In the initial years, people were not aware of the importance of The Jaipur Literature Festival. The festival was setting in slowly, where some wanderers and tourists had just stumbled upon the festival during their travels. Until the last few years, this fest got popularity and fame all over the globe. To its prestige, the fiesta still retains its important emphasis, on literature, while catering to both high and popular society. 

Every year this lit fest gets much bigger, better and grander than the last few that have gone by. In the past decade, this lit fest has transformed into a global literary phenomenon having hosted nearly 2000 speakers and welcoming over a million book lovers from across India and the globe. The Jaipur Literature Festival also made an appearance in The Limca Book of World Records! This fest has carved a niche for itself by now and also has Australia, USA, and UK editions. 

Main Highlights of Jaipur Literature Festival 

Since its inception, the lit fest has hosted some prominent and leading personalities such as 

Nobel Laureates J.M. Coetzee, Orhan Pamuk and Muhammad Yunus

Sahitya Akademi winners Gulzar, Javed Akhtar, M.T. Vasudevan Nair, Girish Karnad as well as the late Mahasweta Devi and U.R. Ananthamurthy

Man Booker Prize winners Ben Okri, Margaret Atwood and Paul Beatty

Literary dignitaries including Amish Tripathi, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Vikram Seth

Popular identities like Amartya Sen, Oprah Winfrey, Stephen Fry, Thomas Piketty, Amitabh Bachchan, the late A.P.J. Abdul Kalam

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, and former president of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai.

Jaipur BookMark

It is another event launched in 2014 which runs alongside the Jaipur literature festival at Diggi Palace. It is an amazing platform for writers and publishing professionals from India and around the world. It gives publishers, literary agents, translation agencies, and writers a chance to join and talk about business pacts. 

Website : http://jaipurbookmark.org/

Tickets and Registration

The festival is a democratic, non-aligned platform offering free and fair access. However, registration for the festival is compulsory and can be done on its official website, or in person. You can either register for General Entry or as a Delegate as they do have a ticketed premium version for people who travel especially for the Literature Fest and wish to attend all the fancy dinners and the conversations that go behind the scenes.

  • General Entry: free entry to all sessions at the festival.
  • Delegate Entry: full entry to the festival, private sessions, access to Delegate Lounge, lunch and dinner, cocktail evening, and music events. 

If you’re willing to meet and interact with authors and other powerful people, whom you’ll find at the lunches and dinners, you’ll need to register and buy tickets for a Delegate entry. If you are planning to attend the literary sessions only, register for the General Entry. More to this, if you wish to attend the music events at night there are separate tickets for those who aren’t delegates. 

Essential tips for attending Jaipur Lit Fest

  • Expect the weather in Jaipur in between 7-20 °C. Although days will be warm and sunny, you will experience a bit of chill in the evenings. If attending JLF musical night, Make sure you bring woollen and scarves to layer up and stay warm for cold weather.
  • Venues at this grandest Literary summit become extremely crowded. To get a seat you’ll have to arrive up to 30 minutes early. Do note that the sessions always start on time. 
  • Fetching taxis may be a great issue when the session gets over. You may encounter a surge price or even you might come across a “No Taxi” situation. It is safer to leave a little early or pre-book your taxi or an auto-rickshaw to take you back.
  • Food stalls accept payment through prepaid cards only, which can be obtained inside the venue. A security deposit of Rs 100 against the card is kept. You can refill the cards with the required amount. Any unused amount including the deposit will be refunded. 
  • Carry pre-packed from their homes or hotels because visiting the food kiosk results in not finding a vacant seat.
  • Rather than attending sessions that don’t interest you, plan and attend only the ones which interest you.
  • Carry some essentials to survive the whole day with ease. A water bottle so that you don’t miss out on session or your seat. A diary, pen, power bank, camera, are a few and a copy of the JLF program schedule from the visitor information desk.
  • Every year Jaipur literature fest is graced by thousands of people and hundreds of sessions over the five-day duration. Such an influx of people means that it’s important to register yourself and start planning your trip at the earliest. 

Jaipur Literature Festival 2021

As with the COVID-19 pandemic, everything is making its presence online and shifting to the virtual world, Jaipur literature festival will also be hosted virtually. It will be the 14th season of the Jaipur Literature Festival. 

The live virtual sessions will spread over two extended weekends. February 19-21 and 26-28, have been marked for the occurrence of the events. Also, this will be the eighth edition of the Jaipur Bookmark Festival. It will commence between the two weekends of the main fest, from February 22nd to 25th. JBM will host two sessions per day.

This year the fest will be hosting over 100 speakers with prominent names like Albie Sachs, Bibek Debroy, Carlo Rovelli, Daniel Simpson, John Zubrzycki and Marina Wheeler, amidst others.

Audiences will also get to witness the Festival’s signature morning and evening music sessions with performances by leading artists and entertainers. The books by joining in authors and traditional Festival goods will be available online on the official website Jaipur Literature Festival. 

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