Bringing together some of the greatest thinkers and writers from across the South East Asia and the world, Jaipur Literature Festival has grown from a modest beginning to the largest Free Literature Festival in the world. With an approximate attendance of nearly 100,000 annually, the festival draws hordes of audience and guests from over the world during the 5 day event, which usually takes place in the third week of January. Each year, participants, from Nobel laureates, to local writers and from Man Booker Prize winners to debutant novelists engage into readings, debates, discussions along with the audience at the elegant Diggi Palace in the heart of Rajasthan’s capital. Now increasingly regarded as a catalyst for cultural intermingling within India and across the world, The Jaipur Literature Festival is here to stay while also acquiring different meanings and dimensions with each year as it evolves.
History of Jaipur Literature Festival
Jaipur Literature Festival, though widely popular in and outside India will just be celebrating its 10th year in 2016. The festival was initiated on modest grounds in the year 2006 with only 18 writes including William Dalrymple, Namita Gokhale, Shobhaa De and Hari Kunzru and 14 other authors and only 100 attendees.
In the subsequent years, the attendance to the festival grew while more famous and distinguished names from the literary and other relevant disciplines began to participate in the extravaganza, which was acquiring a wider dimension now. In the year 2009, about 12,000 people attended the festival with over 140 authors and speakers including Vikram Seth, Shashi Tharoor, Hanif Kurieshi, Ashok Vajpayee, Tariq Ali etc. speaking or participating in the event. However, in the year 2012, the festival ran into difficulty when author Salman Rushdie cancelled his complete tour of India over the possible threats to assassinate him over the readings of his controversial book, The Satanic Verses. Later on even the Government of India intervened to stop the proposed video link between the author and the festival participants.
For 2015, there were 181 speakers including the Nobel Laureate V.S Naipaul, Amish Tripathi and Chetan Bhagat etc. This year the festival also expanded beyond its usual boundaries of Diggi Palace, hosting over 300 events at 10 separate venues like Clarkes Amer, The Jaipur BookMark at Narain Niwas and also Amer Fort and Hawa Mahal as well. Again 2015 marked a new beginning for the festival when its spread its wings to London’s Southbank and Colarado in United States.
Celebration of Jaipur Literature Festival 2020
The ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival is one of its kind of festival and is often described as the largest literary show in the world. In the five day event that is organized, observed and celebrated, authors and dignitaries from across the world and especially the South East Asian countries participate and engage with crowds on various issues and partake in readings, debates and discussions with them or with each other. The Festival is essentially an event of coming together of some of the world's greatest minds, historians, humanitarians, sports people, business leaders and entertainers from all walks of life who share the stage and put forward their ideas and thoughts.
In between the short events listed in the itinerary, various cultural events like musical gatherings, songs and dance performances and other celebrations are organized to keep the audience engaged and introduce them to various expressions of Indian folklore and culture. The festival is a great opportunity for the people of Rajasthan and across India and the world to learn a great amount of knowledge from the exchange of opinions and perceptions from such an assemblage of great contemporary stalwarts.
Due to its exceptional popularity, the ZEE Jaipur Lit Fest has been extended beyond the borders of the country to the shores of United States and UK with a weekend event celebrated at London’s Southbank center in May and in Boulder in Colorado in September. The Jaipur Literature Festival is celebrated annually in Diggi Palace which is a Royal Palace cum heritage hotel located on Shivaji Marg in Jaipur.
Jaipur Literature Festival Tickets
Jaipur Literature Festival is a free un-ticketed event, but registration for the same is compulsory. However, the Evening Music Sessions at Clarks Amer are ticketed and you need to contact the press office if you want to attend these events.
Sightseeing Around Jaipur Literature Festival
Since you would be in Jaipur for the Jaipur Literary Festival, you would want to explore the other destinations in the Pink City. The Hawa Mahal, a pyramidal palace built of red and pink sandstone, is the foremost attraction. Amber Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a masterpiece and assumes majestic proportions. Another example of outstanding architecture is the Jal Mahal Palace in Jaipur. The Albert Hall, built in honor of the Princes of Wales, depicts the culture of Meenas, Bhils and Lohars. For the delights of shopping, head to places like Tripolia Bazaar, Johari Bazaar and Bapu Bazaar. The Doll Museum, which showcases dolls clad in various attires representing different cultures, is definitely worth visiting. Birla Planetarium, which showcases various facets of astronomy to the general public, also attracts tourists in large numbers.
How to Reach
Jaipur is one of the primary tourist destinations and is easily accessible by road, rail and air. In addition to enjoying the festival, You can indulge yourself in the sightseeing of Jaipur in which you can explore stunning fort & palaces, buildings, pleasure gardens as well as shop and eat around in local markets and mix with the people to understand the native culture, customs and traditions.
The nearest airport to Jaipur is Sanaganer, whose domestic terminal is located at 7 km and international terminal is located at 10 km respectively from the city center. The airport connect to all major locations inside India and some of the important international locations like Sharjah, Dubai and Muscat. Within India, daily domestic flights connects Jaipur to Delhi, Udaipur, Jodhpur, Hyderabad, Aurangabad, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Pune, Goa, Indore, Mumbai and Bangalore. Besides, flights to Bangkok and Singapore are also available through Delhi while the airport also offers charted flights to Dublin and London. Tourists can hire a taxi or bus to the Jaipur Literature Festival, once they get down at the airport.
Jaipur is a major station and trains from almost all parts of India have a stopover here. Several trains from Delhi, Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Alwar, Ajmer, Kota, Bikaner, Jammu, Kolkata, Ludhiana, Haridwar, Udaipur, Pathankot, Rookee and Kanpur etc. stop here. Also long distance trains from destinations like Banaras, Surat, Nagpur, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Vadodara and Mysore etc. also pass through and halt at Jaipur. There are three main junctions for the Jaipur city. These are the main Jaipur station, Gandhinagar, Durgapur. All the trains have a stopover at Jaipur while few also stop at Gandhinagar and Durgapur. Besides the amazing luxury train, Palace on Wheels also connects Delhi to all major destinations inside Rajasthan, including Jaipur. After de-boarding at the station, one can hire an autorickshaw, taxi or a bus to Jaipur Literature Festival.
Jaipur is connected to all major cities across India through a chain of National Highways number 8, 11 and 12 to count a few. Excellent and regular buses of Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation (RSRTC) ply between Delhi and Jaipur with an interval of half an hour. Both AC and Non-AC Volvo are available. While from Jaipur you can catch the bus from Narayan Singh Circle or the main Sindhi Camp bust station, from Delhi buses for Jaipur can be boarded from Bikaner House, near India Gate. Some private buses to Jaipur also ply from Dhaula Kuan in Delhi. Besides Delhi, Jaipur is also liked through road to other important cities like Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Udaipur and Vadodara as well also connected to Agra via bus.