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The 8th Edition of Mountain Echoes Literary Festival in Bhutan to Showcase Unexplored Landscapes, History and Literature

The festival will take place from August 25 to 27, with a special inaugural ceremony on Thursday evening in Thimphu

Literary Festival, Trongsa Dzong
Trongsa Dzong architechture in Bhutan. Mountain Echoes Literary Festival in Bhutan to have Unexplored Landscapes, History and Literature. Wikimedia
  • The festival promises to be a walk along unexplored landscapes and breathtaking beauty
  • Festival visitors will have an opportunity to indulge in activities that are close to nature
  • This extraordinary advantage of the lit fest comes along with a stellar line-up of writers, artists, and performers

Thimphu, August 24, 2017: Literature festivals are quite the trend these days, but this one comes with an added attraction of the surreal beauty that the Land of the Thunder Dragon is known for. Literary stalwarts have already begun descending on Bhutan’s picturesque capital for the eighth edition of Mountain Echoes Literary Festival, but visitors will have much more than just literature to savor.

The festival promises to be a walk along unexplored landscapes and breathtaking beauty, as well as dzongs and monasteries steeped in history. With a legacy of culture, tradition and natural beauty like few others, festival visitors will have an opportunity to indulge in activities that are close to nature.

From a visit to the 15th century Punakha Dzong, that translates into the Palace of Great Happiness, to a trek along the Dochula pass at an altitude of over 10,000 feet, there are a lot of thrills in the itinerary of visitors.

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This extraordinary advantage of the lit fest comes along with a stellar line-up of writers, artists, and performers who will enthrall the visitors. While lit fest regulars like Shashi Tharoor, Namita Gokhale, and Ruskin Bond will share their stories with book lovers, there are quite a few offbeat names like Markus Zusak, Padma Lakshmi, Pranay Lal, Francesca Beard and Phuntsho Namgyel that visitors may also look forward to for some interesting discussions.

Fashion is also one of the key themes this year as the festival aims to weave the traditional textile heritage of Bhutan and India with contemporary fashion and build a common thread between the two countries and their shared cultures.

The festival will be held from August 25 to 27, with a special inaugural ceremony on Thursday evening in Thimphu.

(Saket Suman’s visit to Thimphu is at the invitation of the organizers of the Mountain Echoes Literary Festival) (IANS)

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Chhattisgarh: Ten Facts that will bring you closer to the Paradise of Tribal India

The untainted green woodlands spotted with beautiful waterfalls, grand levels, and winding streams offer a gala to eyes

Chhattisgarh tribal women. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Sept 04, 2016: There is an assortment of traveller spots in Chhattisgarh, a significant portion of which lie for all intents and purposes unexplored. The untainted green woodlands spotted with beautiful waterfalls, grand levels, and winding streams offer a gala to eyes.

The hollows and posts of an overlooked time change it up as vacation spots in Chhattisgarh. Bunches of wild lives cover up in the backwoods of Chhattisgarh, which possess a colossal 42% of the state’s property surface. However, not the minimum essential to specify the draw of the intriguing tribal existence of Chhattisgarh goes about as a magnet to pull in vacationer to the city of Chhattisgarh.

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The tribal state otherwise called “The Rice Bowl of India” was framed on 1 November 2000, by dividing 16 Chhattisgarhi regions of Madhya Pradesh. Chhattisgarh is the tenth biggest state with a range of 135,190 km, arranged in focal India. Because of good water system framework with massive dams and long trenches on various relentless rivers, hundreds of assortments of rice are developed in the state  and therefore it is named as The Rice Bowl of India.

The state is amazingly gifted with tribal art, Kosa silk, wax workmanship (unfortunately, that is long lost) and brims with old landmarks, magnificent untamed life and stunningly cut sanctuaries. Fundamental attractions of Chhattisgarh are Chitrakoot waterfalls, Kutumsar hollows, Ramgarh and Sita Bengra, Bamleshwari sanctuary at Dongargarh, Danteshwari temple in Dantewada and a unique Buddhist focus in Malhar town. Given copious minerals, Chhattisgarh stands out as one of the essential electrical power and steel delivering condition of India. Today, a major portion of Chhattisgarh is dealing with numerous issues- Naxalism, Witchcraft and Ailing health but it is taking steps to counter the problems as well.

Chhattisgarh is known in old writings, engravings and in travelogues of foreign vacationers as “Dakshin Kosala”. It has a noteworthy tribal populace (32.5%) in contrast to the 7.8% of the total tribal population of India. Enormously blessed with natural beauty and resources, Chhattisgarh brags of having 12% of India’s timberlands. The Vindhyachal mountain ranges administer the state. Further, stunning waterfalls add to the wild grand excellence and alongside mountains feel completely soothing to the eyes.

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Chhattisgarhi cooking styles are heavenly- rice is popular with the locals and cooked in several interesting methods. A significant portion of the conventional and tribal dishes are made of rice and rice flour like Pakhal Bhat, Kosa, Angakar Roti and Rice Flour Chapati. The tribal and urban folk appreciate local delicacy- made from a small, smooth white product of from a tree called Mahuwa. Mahuwa is a mainstream item and over the width and expansiveness of Chhattisgarh; diverse cooking styles are something to drool on- from jalebis to Safari (Barfi) and petha (sweets).

What makes Chattisgarh so interesting is that it has numerous places that have historical significance attached to it. The ten most sought after Tourist Places in Chhattisgarh are listed below:

I. Bastar: Bastar is one of the major districts in India which has the large tribal population and tattoos among the tribals are interest to many. The patterns, shapes and designs will win anyone’s heart.

II. Bilaspur: Bilaspur is better known for it’s Kosa silk and its excellent. It is the 2nd largest city in the state.

III. Sirpur: Sirpur is a small town about 84 km from Raipur, the capital of Chhattisgarh. It is well known for its archaeological monuments.

IV. Kawardha: The place of Kawardha Palace itself is wonderful. It is situated at 941 meters altitude above sea level on Maikal Ranges. Bhoramdeo Temple or the ‘Khajuraho of Chhattisgarh’, designed on the rocky stones in the Nagar style is a historical Hindu temple focused to Lord Shiva.

V. Bhilai: The zoo cum park provides various attractions, and it is one of the famous picnic spots in the state. The popular Bhilai Steel Plant was founded by Maitri Bagh.

VI. Kanker: Known earlier as Radha Niwas Bagicha, Kanker Palace was developed in the 20th century and reconstructed in the year 1937. The stylish palace shows the impact of the colonial structure.

VII. Champaran: The city of Champaran was the birthplace of Saint Vallabhacharya.

VIII. Raipur: Raipur is one of the fastest developing cities in the state of Chhattisgarh not only in the context of industry but also tourism as it is attracting tourists from every part of the nation.

IX. Ambikapur: There are some amazing appeals of Ambikapur too that attract a large number of visitors every year. Some of these include Deogarh, Ramgarh hill, Dipadih, Kailash caves, Tattapani, Semarsot and Sita Bengra, among several others. The climatic condition of Ambikapur makes the areas of the spot suitable not only for farming but also for human habitation.

X. Jashpur Waterfalls: The Rivers, Caves, and Waterfalls in Jashpur are ideal for wandering and hiking. There are adequate Tourist Destinations in Jashpur.

– by Yogiraj Mishra of NewsGram. Twitter: @yogirajmishra


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Partition memories, brand Modi highlight the Kumaon Literary Festival


Dhanachuli: Pakistan participants discussed partition memories in Kumaon Literary Festival though Pakistani author Kanza Javed was denied participation.

In a late evening session titled ‘Remnants of a Separation’, Asif Noorani, columnist of Pakistan newspaper Dawn, however reiterated the fact that there is no enmity between the people of two countries.

“When I go back to Pakistan, people ask me about the price of onions and tomatoes in India. There is no enmity between people. It’s only the leaders who create the divide,” said Noorani, whose family migrated from then Bombay for Lahore when he was five years old.

The session evoked some emotional moments with the audience also sharing stories of Partition and how the heartache still lingers in both sides.

Noorani also urged that it’s high time that the countries move beyond the security forces’ drill at the Attari-Wagah border and replace it by cultural programmes as suggested by Ameena Saiyid, founder of Karachi and Islamabad literary festivals.

To a question of why the Partition happened, Noorani said that everyone has to share the blame.

“It’s like the Gulzar movie ‘Aandhi’. At the end of the movie, the estranged couple introspects that both have to be share the blame for their separation. In the case of Partition too, it’s the same,” he said.

Earlier in the day, a session titled ‘Ab Ki Baar Slogan War’ saw Trinamool Congress MP Dinesh Trivedi and social commentator Santosh Desai brainstorming on how Mod’s advertising campaign during 2014 general elections changed the landscape of political campaign in the country.

While blaming Modi’s advertising campaigning for corporatizing politics, Trivedi said that the ‘Acche Din’ campaign has become a butt of jokes in social media.

“The flip side of the Modi campaign is out now. With pulses at Rs 200, people are asking where is acche din? He has failed to deliver,” he said.

Arguing that Modi was successful in branding himself as a ‘reliable product’, Desai said that other political parties have also aping Modi’s playbook.

In another session, literary historian Rakshananda Jalil and Saif Mahmood,founder of SAALARC, discussed how the Urdu language from lingua franca became only the preserve of Muslims.

While forgotten legends of Indian cinema were discussed by theatre director M.K. Raina, the day was rounded off by performance ‘Making of Mahabharata’ by Deepti Pant.

The festival was inaugurated Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat on Friday.


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Dazzling line-up of writers for Jaipur Literature Festival


New Delhi: The first list of dignitaries who are slated to attend the ninth edition of the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival promises to wow the audience. Some of the legends to attend are poet, novelist and literary critic Margaret Atwood and lord of the lens’ Steve McCurry.

The five day extravaganza, to be held at the historic Diggi Palace Hotel in Jaipur from January 21, will have 165 top notch Indian and international authors to set the intellect ticking.

Those participating also include India’s own prolific writer Ruskin Bond, controversial Harvard historian Niall Ferguson and English comedian, actor, writer, presenter and activist Stephen Fry, who is considered Britain’s national treasure.

French economist and global voice on wealth and income inequality Thomas Piketty, Bosnian American fiction writer Aleksandar Hemon and Israeli author and peace activist David Grossman are some of the other star attractions.

Some of the Indian authors who are set to take centre stage are author-turned- psychoanalyst Sudhir Kakar, Hindi poet and author Uday Prakash, Sahitya Akademi awardees Rita Chowdhury and Dhrubajyoti Bora as well as prominent Gujarati poet and scholar Sitanshu Yashaschandra.

The festival will explore issues such as migration, privacy and navigating change, according to Namita Gokhale, writer, publisher and co-director of the Jaipur Literature Festival.

“The JLF is propelled by ideas and the excitement of real time conversations. We bring together the finest minds from across the world and explore our changing times through sessions on economics, politics and the sciences. Yet we remain rooted in local culture and language, and our literary perspective is always from the grassroots upwards,” said Gokhale.

The organisers said that Homi Bhabha from the Mahindra Humanities Centre will curate a session around the theme of privacy.

Those set to participate in the discussion are British author and columnist Ben Macintyre, American reporter Dexter Filkins, English foreign correspondent Christina Lamb and CNN’s national security analyst Peter Bergen.

Some of the other Indian writers who will participate include Mridula Sinha, Alka Saraogi, Ashok Vajpeyi, Yatindra Mishra, Prabhat Ranjan, Harish Trivedi and Mridul Kirti, Anita Agnihotri in Bangla, Vivek Shanbhag in Kannada, Ila Arab Mehta and Madhav Hada.

“Each year at Jaipur, we try to produce a programme more remarkable than the year before, but this year has to be our most astonishing line up ever. It’s going to be an incredible few days and I can’t wait for January so that we can get started”, said William Dalrymple, writer and co-director of the JLF.