Source : DNA – JBM
It’s been called the maha kumbh and ‘Woodstock’ of literature, ‘the greatest literary show on earth’; in terms of numbers, alone – over five-lakh visitors last year – the Zee Jaipur Literature Festival (Zee-JLF) is the largest of its kind anywhere in the world. No wonder, there’s the hype, and the eager anticipation in the run-up to the 12th edition of festival that begins in a little over 10 days. For anyone who loves books and reading, the five days of ZeeJLF is an immersive experience like no other – surrounded by the world of words, listening to some of the best minds from across the globe, seeing writers whose words conjure magic, breathing the same air as them and, if lucky, actually meeting them.
For those who’ve made plans to be in Jaipur this year, or the many more who won’t, here’s a foretaste of what it’s like on the ground at ZeeJLF.
If you’re visiting for the first time, Diggi Palace, the nearly 170-year-old urban ‘palace’ that hosts ZeeJLF, can be a bit daunting, especially on public holidays/weekends. There are, for one, the crowds – plenty of youngsters all dressed to the nines in bright colours. Then, the rajwada kitsch – bright-hued buntings, the baubles hanging above the decorated passages, the marquee tents in Rajasthani block prints that create a festive air, and provide a picturesque backdrop for selfies. Look out for the selfie seekers posing prettily next to a Rajasthani dhol or a puppet doll.
It also takes some time to work out the layout of the venue. There’re the Front Lawns as you enter along with Charbagh on your right, the two big venues where the most ‘happening’ sessions are held; Mughal Tent, and the smaller, exquisitely painted Durbar Hall. Beware having to wade through the crowds as you make your way from one venue to the other – sometimes even the 15 minute-long gap between sessions aren’t enough, especially if you also want to break for a kulhad of Diggipuri ki chai.
Like any mela worth its salt, there’s an entire range of things-to-do at ZeeJLF – and books is only a part of it. There’s music, which opens the daily proceedings, and also closes it – the Jaipur Music Stage at the Clarks Amer Hotel grounds some kilometres away. In recent years, the festival has tied up with the state tourism department to offer cultural experiences at the Amer Fort; this year, there’ll also be a unique crafts-fashion display sale at Jawahar Kala Kendra not too far away.
There’s shopping at Diggi too, for those who want to take a break from all the intellectual discussion. The Festival Bazaar has a range of interesting knick-knacks from designers and craftspeople across Rajasthan – clothes, jewellery, stationery, home décor, etc. And, last but not the least, food – from pop-ups of well-known restaurants to thelas by home chefs and little kiosks selling chaat and muri. It’s a feast – and not just for the mind.
Things To Do @ JLF
- ZeeJLF saw over five lakh visitors at its last edition
- The festival has something in store for everyone. From music, fashion and craft to food, jewellery and stationery
- At a festival that is as spread out as ZeeJLF, you’d have to be on your toes to keep up