Serious deliberations, witty conversations, and moments of epiphany in between: this is what happens when authors and their admirers (and critics) come under the same roof to discuss history, society, poetry, and everything that's known to humanity. When you are in India, you can't ignore the literature festivals happening across the country. Impressive line-ups of literary figures, publishing professionals, literary agents, energetic audiences, and thought-provoking ideas are a staple in any of these festivals. To think of these fests in a different way, they can also be a nice excuse for exploring the historic cities, cultural capital, and a famed beach destination.
#1. Jaipur Literature Festival
Sitting in the lush green lawns of the historic Diggi Palace and listening to some fine narratives and verses under a mellow sun is a pleasure you can't deny when you are attending Jaipur Literature Festival. Every January, the city comes alive with this largest free literature festival in the world. A fine ensemble of literary figures descends on the 'Pink City' for a five-day fest that includes interactive workshops and live music sessions. To take a break from the wonderful world of books, head to the Johari Bazaar, a couple of blocks away from the venue. This is the place to buy unique souvenirs. History buffs will be always on their toes to discover the historic attractions.
#2. Hyderabad Literary Festival
If you have only four days to spare in Hyderabad, you won't regret devoting a lion's share of your time attending the Literary Festival. The four-day fest kicks off from the haloed precincts of the Hyderabad Public School. A splendid venue, established authors, and engaging sessions make it a must-attend event for those who have a heart for all things literary. In the evenings, explore the magnificent palaces and mosques of the old city, visit the 16th-century Charminar, and sit down at any traditional eatery to try the famous biryani.
#3. Mumbai International Literary Festival
Mumbai, the largest metropolis in India, hosts one of the most talked about literature festivals in the country. The International Literary Festival draws over a hundred authors and artistes from India and abroad who come together to celebrate literature in all its forms. The sixth edition of the festival is scheduled to kick-start on October 29, 2015 with names like Vikram Seth and Wendy Doniger already building up the excitement. With National Centre for Performing Arts as the venue, you will find yourself within hand-shaking distance from the roaring Arabian Sea by the Marine Drive, the famous Taj Mahal Hotel, and the art district of Kala Ghoda.
#4. Goa Arts and Literary Festival
When you are not soaking up the atmosphere in the beaches or hopping from one Portuguese church to another, you should be seen at The International Centre near Dona Paula bay. Enthusiasm rules supreme during this four-day festival of books, music, theater, and movies. Spend your days in the company of veteran and budding authors as they bring in their expertise in different genres and body of works that are close to your heart. After sundown, celebrate a rewarding day over Goanese wine in beachfront bars.
#5. Kolkata Literary Festival
Crisp winter afternoons and illuminating interactions with the best minds from around the world over a cup of tea: that's the common setting of Kolkata Literary Festival that will host its seventh edition in January 2016. It's a different feeling to be at the heritage venues across the city and engage with the thinkers and writers. From wisecracks to revelations and panel discussions to debates, every session comes as a joy for bibliophiles. You will surely come back with good memories.
#6. Delhi Literature Festival
Attending the the largest book festival in the political capital of India and watching the diplomats and journalists sharing the stage with acclaimed writers is an experience that you owe to Delhi. From interesting chronicles to social elegies and literary workshops to book launches, there will be enough temptations for you to give in. It is for the love of literature and sheer pleasure of meeting prolific minds that hundreds and thousands of bookworms attend this two-day festival. To make your days in Delhi more memorable, explore the monuments of Mughal era, expansive palaces of colonial days, and the lasting legacy of Old Delhi.
Published On: Friday, October 16th, 2015