If you have been thinking for years about attending the Zee Jaipur Literature Festival, then now is the time to make the most of your long weekend. Tis the tourist season in Jaipur and foggy mornings and sunny days shall welcome you to the the largest free literary festival in the world. It is a five day festival and happens in January, every year with much pomp and fare, inaugurated by Rajasthan’s Chief Minister, Vasundhara Raje.
The schedule is choc-a-bloc with various sessions being simultaneously held in the
myriad halls. I list them : Char Bagh, Front Lawns, Mughal Tent, Baithak, Durbar Hall and Samvad. Making your way around might prove to be a hassle, for that I will attach a rough map right at the end.
Around quarter of a million people are expected to attend and listen to approximately 380 speakers.
Some Helpful Tips for people attending JLF 2017
Parking : Parking at Diggi Palace (Venue of the JLF in C Scheme) is quite an issue, in spite of volunteers and staff trying their best to make it a smooth affair. You simply cannot accommodate a thousand cars in space meant for two hundred. A good idea is to ditch your own car and simply arrive here in a cab. Ola and Uber work fine in Jaipur.
Must attend sessions : Identify in advance what session(s) you want to attend and make sure you get a seat at least twenty minutes in advance. The Ruskin Bond session began at 1110 hrs and the seats were full much earlier, people quietly stood and listened to him as he recollected his childhood experiences and regaled many with his wit and humour.
A session titled ‘The Pity of Partition’ recounts one of the greatest migrations of human history (India-Pakistan), though the works of Saadat Hasan Manto. William Dalrymple is here too & travel buffs will be thrilled to hear Colin Thubron speak. Listen to some crazy experiences of Steve McCurry as he talks about life ‘Beyond the Afghan Girl’. Basharat Peer, the Kashmiri journalist who scripted Haider is a speaker too, at the JLF.
Registration : Online registration is the easiest and simplest. You just have to collect your badge from Tent No. 1 if you have already registered online. If you haven’t, then a 100 rupee expense will get you a badge and pass from Tent No. 2. For delegates and other people Tent No. 3 shall do the needful. The volunteers are well informed and very helpful; I was pleased to interact with them.
Evening parties : Although there are many parties to attend and afterparties too; they are all mostly by invitation. There’s a musical evening every day at Clark’s Amer, after the sessions are over. The Rambagh Palace is a venue for most private parties but you need to call up influential people and get invited!
Fashion : It is time to bring out your burberry trench coats and trendy woollens not only to blend with the fashionable crowds but also to keep the cold at bay. The weather is pretty chilly in Jaipur right now. Oh and bearded men are swooned upon (I can’t ignore the ladies).
Toilets & conveniences : Although there is a toilet near the café, it was full even with the limited crowd in the morning. I found another one which is kind of hidden near the Front Lawns and is cleaner and better. (Shhh)
Cafés & restaurants : You are spoilt for choice with this one and tea lovers can rejoice with a glass of Kulhad Chai at Diggi Chat near the Front Lawns. Find your quaint corner to sit down and nibble between sessions, there are many food options around the lawns between the session halls.
I had a lovely day at the JLF today and shall be around for all the five days. It is a haven for book lovers in a charming city.