Tag Archives: Jaipur

Jaipur set to host India’s first World Health and Wellness Fest-21

Dates: December 17-19, 2021

Venue: Hotel Clarks Amer, Jaipur

The World Health and Wellness Fest-21 majorly aims at advancing health and wellness. The event embraces the concept of expansion of holistic living, spiritual comfort and an unruffled way of life.

A highly impressive line-up of speakers at the World Health & Wellness Festival to witness HH Acharya Dr. Lokesh Muni, Ms. BK Shivani, Mr. Annu Kapoor, Ms. Padmini Kolhapure and Dr Mickey Mehta.   

Clarks Amer, Jaipur

Most keenly awaited festival by the health, fitness and wellness enthusiasts of the country to highlight the future of healthcare and financial situations post-COVID.  The festival will run on-ground from 17th – 19th December 2021 and the virtual sessions will go live simultaneously. It would be a one-of-its-kind hybrid event that will motivate one and all to start the new year in a healthy way.

The first list of illustrious speakers has been unveiled by the co-founders: Pt. Mukesh Bharadwaj, Mr. Nareshant Sharma and Mr. Mukesh Mishra, WHWF recently.   

The Key Speakers include:

  • HH Acharya Dr. Lokesh Muni, Founder Ahimsa Vishwa Bharti, Social Reformer & Spiritual Leader. Acharya Muni is a versatile thinker, writer, poet and social reformer and has been continuously making efforts in national character building, yoga meditation teacher and a spiritual guide & mentor.
  • BK Shivani, is a World-renowned spiritual speaker, practitioner, and teacher of Rajayoga Meditation which is taught at the Brahma Kumaris centres worldwide.
  • Annu Kapoor is a versatile Indian actor, singer, director, radio jockey and television presenter who has appeared in over a hundred films, as well as television series. 
  • Padmini Kolhapure is a veteran actor and singer, who has acted in several hit films.  
  • Dr Mickey Mehta, Global Leading Holistic Health Guru & Life Coach to billionaires, top Bollywood superstars and Supermodels.
  • Netrapal Singh, CEO, Aditya Birla housing finance is a veteran of the mortgage industry.
  • Mr. Anil Singhvi, Managing Editor, Zee Business & Well-Known financial Expert.
  • Dr. Vincent, World famous Consultant General/Hepatobiliary and Pancreas Surgeon, Royal College of Surgeons, England.
  • Dr Pramod Tripathi, Founder, Freedom From Diabetes, is known to be a pioneer of Diabetes Reversal in India
  • Ms Shabnam Siddiqui, Executive Director, United Nations Global Compact Network India, specializes in developing and executing strategic intervention.

Apart from the above-mentioned dignitaries Shri Shri Ravi Shankar, Founder, Art of Living and Sadguru, Founder, Isha Foundation have also been invited for this first-ever truly hybrid wellness extravaganza.

Mr Mukesh Mishra

“The idea behind WHWF revolves around the synergistic collection of constructive and compatible elements, which aim to encourage the core values of health and wellness that encompasses the multidimensional aspects of life”, announced Mr. Mukesh Mishra, Co-founder, World Health and Wellness Festival.

The Festival organised at Hotel Clarks Amer, Jaipur will have additional facilities to accommodate footfalls, besides following COVID 19 safety protocols as per government guidelines. The iconic event will present a series of breakout sessions featuring speakers and panellists from various countries, as well as key marketers and partners around the world including Ministers and senior-level guests from more than 20 countries.

Pt. Mukesh Bharadwaj

Pt. Mukesh Bharadwaj, co-founder shared, “Happiness and success are the two most important aspects of our lives, and it can be achieved only if all the four elements – physical, mental, social and spiritual are taken care of and kept in balance. WHWF would be catering to all four key extents.”

Mr Nareshant Sharma

Mr Nareshant Sharma, Co-Founder “We are sure that this event will be a grand and dynamic amalgamation of diverse ideas. We have curated the top investors, industry experts, and brand leaders & healers to explore how wellness and wellbeing may be harnessed to live longer, better lives.”

WHWF is a manifesto that shall exhibit numerous products, services and concepts to assist all on the path of comprehensive contentment.

The organizers have a background of the Jaipur Marathon, which was recognized by the World Book of Records. It is the only marathon in India where more than 15 world records were made in various categories since its inception. More than 1 lac runners participate in the Marathon every year.

WHWF is a manifesto that shall exhibit numerous products, services and concepts to assist all on the path of comprehensive contentment.

The HealthSpan Show, which will take place at the crossroads of two huge trends- longevity and wellness will bring together investors, industry experts, and brand leaders to explore how wellness and wellbeing may be harnessed to live longer, better life and the role that corporations, healthcare institutions and consumers may play in a global health change.

The inaugural, in-person & online event will run through December 17-18-19, 2021. The event will present a series of breakout sessions featuring speakers and panellists from various countries, as well as key marketers and partners around the world including Ministers and senior-level guests from more than 20 countries.

For further details, write to:


Ghoomar Ghoomar Ghoomar Ghoome Re…

  Did the idea of Ghoomar come to me with Dame D being on all the news channels & social media for some wrong reasons?

No, not at all, I thought of this dance form as my cousin (Bua’s daughter based in Jaipur, raised in Jodhpur) Aarti’s Birthday was approaching (September 27). What could have been a better gift than a post on Ghoomar, which she loves and dances so gracefully?

I saw Aarti performing Ghoomar on her own Mehndi – Sangeet ceremony in 2014 along with her cousin Deepa Mathur (Her Bua’s daughter), I was amazed at the dance moves, the grace, the music, the costume…everything was just too good. That time I couldn’t recollect when I had seen a dance like this?

Another Ghoomar performance is worth a mention is by Shachi Didi (fondly called Cheena Didi) who is the elder sister of Aparna Chaturvedi Di) on Aparna Di’s Son Aniruddh’s Sangeet ceremony in Hyderabad last year. She looked resplendent in her attire, beautiful lehenga chunri with traditional Rajasthani rakhdi (maang teeka), she performed Ghoomar with elan. Grooving with Diyas in her hands, every step was perfect and totally in sync with the music. She pulled through the entire song with such panache and grace, leaving the audience speechless! The camera captured Shachi Didi’s various moods!!

But when I got down to write this post, I recollected that I had seen Ghoomar many years ago, during a cultural program of my father’s office (BHEL) “Kala Milan” in Kamani Auditorium, New Delhi. This was the time; I was studying in school (Std. 12) and I had gone there with my mother and brother as Papa being Admin Manager was overseeing all the arrangements.

Shri N.D. Tiwari, the then Industries Minister was the Chief Guest of the program. So, you can imagine the grandeur of the program. The venue was beautifully decorated with flowers and the stage was set with Samay lamp and singers on the stage to sing  Saraswati Vandana. I had never seen anything so grand before, I was quite excited…obviously!

As Minister ji was the Chief Guest, the delay was inevitable rather fashionable. As many of my Papa’s colleagues knew us, we got real VIP treatment there. Suddenly I saw Papa walking to us and told me that some children have come from Kendriya Vidyalaya, Jhansi (where I had studied for just one year in probably 7th Grade). Now I was after him to take me backstage to spot some of my friends. It was not difficult for him, and I made a swift entry into make – up the room. There I saw many girls in Rajasthani Lehenga – Chunri with diyas in their hands.

Now the moment of truth, how to spot my friends, if any! Many years had elapsed, all of us had changed, but how to tell?  Whom to tell? Everybody looked princesses in their traditional costumes, this made my task even more difficult. Suddenly a girl from the group, asked me who was I? Why I was there? I told her the reason.

She stressed her mind, amidst all that chaos and asked me, “Verma Uncle’s daughter”? I thought maybe Papa is making arrangements, so this question. I told her the purpose, that I am looking for somebody from KV, Jhansi. Now, it was time for her to throw a surprise, Bienu Didi? I said yes! She said, “I am Shweta Pathak, I use to travel with you on the school bus.”

OMG! What a moment it was! She had turned out to be such a beautiful girl!  Now she called all the girls from her troupe and I could meet many of my school mates…some I could place, some I could not, but everybody was happy to know that I was from their school. It was one of the most overwhelming moments of my life! Meeting many of my school mates as a Dance Troupe from KV, Jhansi.

After tearful departure from backstage, I moved to my seat only to watch the most amazing, traditional, graceful, enjoyable Ghoomar dance of my life. That was my first brush with Ghoomar dance, which received the first prize from Shri N D Tiwariji.

Can anyone beat KVians when it comes to winning prizes?

After which, I only watched Aarti and Deepa doing it, and recent being Cheena didi doing it with same panache!

My post is a gift to Aarti on her Birthday, hope she likes it!

Love you Deepa!! 


Ghoomer is the dance of Rajasthan, danced by women in Lehengas and Chunris in resplendent colours with all jewellery and finery (squares of cloth draping head and shoulders and tucked in front at the waist). Ghoomar is one of the traditional folk dances of Rajasthan, India, known for its high level of difficulty and in a competition of local dances around the world in 2013, had been ranked fourth.

All women performers pirouette while they are in the motion of describing a wide circle together. With two motions involved, it requires tremendous skill to maintain uniform distance throughout as well as look elegant in a group. Derived from the word ‘Ghoomna’, meaning a twirl or going round, Ghoomar takes a special place for the people of the state and is mentioned with pride by Rajasthanis.



Man Booker recipient George Saunders to feature in 100th episode of JLF Brave New World

Teamwork Arts, the producer of the iconic Jaipur Literature Festival, launched JLF Brave New World a few months ago, as the world went into lockdown grappling with a global pandemic. JLF Brave New World celebrates the power of literature in bringing together communities, a vital need in the de-globalised world created by Covid-19. Since its inception in April, the series has come a long way in a mere four months, witnessing some of the best conversations of current times with a diverse range of speakers. The series will soon celebrate its 100th milestone episode on Wednesday, 29th July 2020, with an extended celebratory evening featuring leading contemporary authors and speakers.

In this special episode, Man Booker Prize-winning author of Lincoln in the Bardo, George Saunders will share insights into the mosaic of his prolific life and genre-bending body of work. In conversation with writer Amitava Kumar, Saunders, the master of modern fiction, will discuss the state of contemporary literature, its relation with power and politics, and the place held by darkness and kindness in stories.

The following episodes on Friday and Saturday will feature speakers like Stephen Fry, Bapsi Sidhwa, Urvashi Butalia, Carl Miller, Paulo Lemos Horta, etc.

Stephen Fry is one of the world’s best-known actors and comedians. But when he arrived at Cambridge, he was a convicted thief, an addict with a failed suicide attempt, and convinced that he would be expelled. Instead, university life offered him love and the chance to entertain. He befriended bright young things like Hugh Laurie and actress Emma Thompson. On Friday, Fry talks about his life and work with Mint Lounge editor Anindita Ghose as he tells the hilarious and compelling story of how he took his first step in the worlds of theatre, radio, television and film.

The next session will feature celebrated Zoroastrian novelist Bapsi Sidhwa speaking to writer and feminist publisher Urvashi Butalia about her creative journey across cultures, continents and chronicles, and what she calls her ‘Punjabi-Pakistani -Parsi’ roots. Her novels ‘Ice Candy Man’ and ‘Water: A Novel’ were adapted by Deepa Mehta for acclaimed films like ‘Earth’ and ‘Water’.  A biopic – ‘Bapsi: The Silences of My Life’ – is currently in production.

Multinational corporations are being shut overnight with a single tweet, Facebook has grown bigger than any state, robots are battling for elections, coders and hackers are writing policies, and algorithms are shaping our lives in more than unimaginable ways. On Saturday, Carl Miller, co-founder of the Centre for the Analysis of Social Media and author of the Transmission Prize-winning ‘The Death of the Gods’ that analyses the trajectory of power in the digital age, delves into how this power is indeed being transformed, fought over, lost and won in the digital medium, at this timely and incisive session.

Writer and translator Paulo Lemos Horta has written on the cultural and literary history of the ‘Arabian Nights’ and of the travellers, translators and storytellers who gave the world these unforgettable tales in his ‘Marvellous Thieves: Secret Authors of the Arabian Nights’ and Aladdin: A New Translation’. In ‘Aladdin’, Horta takes us on a dazzling journey, interweaving and reinventing the dark themes and enchanting whimsy of a classic that has transfixed us for ages. In conversation with Jaipur Literature Festival & JLF producer Sanjoy K. Roy at the week’s concluding session, Horta speaks of the stories, along with the stories behind the stories, to provide a fascinating glimpse of the great cultural reservoir of Arabic, Persian and Indian narratives.

Sessions at JLF Brave New World include conversations with speakers as well as Q&A picked from social media channels where audiences can submit questions and share comments with their favorite speakers. The full archive of past sessions, as well as a list of upcoming sessions of the series, can be accessed via the #JLFLitfest social media pages on FacebookTwitterand YouTube.

Jaipur Lit Fest’s Brave New World crosses over 2 million views

Described as the ‘greatest literary show on Earth’, the Jaipur Literature Festival is a sumptuous feast of ideas. The past decade has seen it transform into a global literary phenomenon having hosted nearly 2000 speakers and welcoming over a million book lovers from across India and the globe. Their core values remain unchanged: to serve as a democratic, non-aligned platform offering free and fair access.

Unbelievable, now that we are holed up inside our homes from over 5 months, I fondly remember my trip to Jaipur for Jaipur Lit Fest from Mumbai, planned in a jiffy, which has enriched my personal experiences beyond measure.

Every year, the Festival brings together a diverse mix of the world’s greatest writers, thinkers, humanitarians, politicians, business leaders, sports people and entertainers on one stage to champion the freedom to express and engage in thoughtful debate and dialogue.

Writers and Festival Directors Namita Gokhale and William Dalrymple, alongside producer Teamwork Arts, invite speakers to take part in the five-day programme set against the backdrop of Rajasthan’s stunning cultural heritage and the Diggi Palace in the state capital Jaipur.

Past speakers have ranged from Nobel Laureates J.M. Coetzee, Orhan Pamuk, and Muhammad Yunus, Man Booker Prize winners Ben Okri, Margaret Atwood and Paul Beatty, Sahitya Akademi winners Gulzar, Javed Akhtar, M.T. Vasudevan Nair as well as the late Girish Karnad, Mahasweta Devi, and U.R. Ananthamurthy along with literary superstars including Amish Tripathi, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Vikram Seth. An annual event that goes beyond literature, the Festival has also hosted Amartya Sen, Amitabh Bachchan, the late A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Oprah Winfrey, Stephen Fry, Thomas Piketty, and former president of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai.

The Jaipur Literature Festival is a flagship event of Teamwork Arts, which produces it along with over 25 highly acclaimed performing arts, visual arts, and literary festivals across more than 40 cities globally.

For over 30 years, Teamwork Arts has taken India to the world and brought the world to India, presenting the finest of Indian performers, writers and visual artists in the cultural and art space in India and abroad through Jaipur Lit Fest.

Every year, they produce over 25 performing, visual arts and literary festivals in several countries including Australia, Egypt, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, the UK, and USA as well as many eclectic festivals across India. They  produce the world’s largest literary gathering: the annual Jaipur Literature Festival; JLF international now travels to the US, UK, Canada, Qatar and Australia and they have recently launched a digital series – JLF Brave New World. Their musical extravaganza, Bollywood Love Story – A Musical, continues to tour the world with sold-out shows everywhere it is held.

April 2020, as the Covid-19 pandemic forced a global lockdown, isolating millions, Teamwork Arts, the producer of the iconic Jaipur Literature Festival, launched “JLF Brave New World”, an online literature series to celebrate books, their power, and positivity. JLF Brave New World sought to address issues critical to our times apart from discussing poetry, fiction, environment, the writing process, geopolitics, war and conflict, art, music, food, fashion and more through conversations with renowned writers and leading experts from around the world. In just a few months JLF Brave New World has captured the attention of a loyal tranche of followers. Teamwork Arts announced that the series has reached 2 million (20,00,000) cumulative views and a reach of over 9 million (90,00,000).

The much-loved series has featured around 90 episodes so far and will be hosting a celebratory 100th episode on 29th July 2020. Sessions at JLF Brave New World has covered subjects as diverse as the political and economic impact of Covid-19, the creative process of writing, literature, climate change, psychological wellbeing and compassion in these challenging times, the art of poetry, technology, and Artificial Intelligence, etc. The series has hosted nearly 200 speakers including Abhijit V. Banerjee, Asma Khan, Benjamin Moser, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Colm Toibin, Devdutt Pattanaik, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Elizabeth Gilbert, Ira Mukhoty, Jhumpa Lahiri, Manu S. Pillai, Margaret Atwood, Neil Gaiman, Orhan Pamuk, Paul Muldoon, Peter Frankopan, Peter Carey, Peter Morgan, Ruskin Bond, Rupi Kaur, Shubha Mudgal, Shashi Tharoor, Siddhartha Mukherjee, Sonal Mansingh, to name a few.

Sessions at JLF Brave New World include conversations with speakers as well as Q&A picked from social media channels where audiences can submit questions and share comments with their favourite speakers. The full archive of past sessions, as well as a list of upcoming sessions of the series, can be accessed via the #JLFLitfest social media pages on FacebookTwitterand YouTube.

Now that extraordinary Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted us in every way and made us distance ourselves physically from one another while finding resilience in the invaluable ties which connect us to one another.

Book-lovers are never truly alone. We’re certainly never lonely, not when we have books, and certainly not when we have each other.

We, at the Jaipur Literature Festival, has always believed in the spirit of the community. We believe that these challenging times are also the moments in which we need to interrogate and make sense of our world through books and ideas, debate and dialogue, music and philosophy, science, and the arts. The festival, which has always been a platform that celebrates the spirit of human connection, is now ready to go straight into the hearts and minds and homes.

We are privileged to present ‘JLF presents Brave New World’, an online literature series in which the sprawling grounds of Diggi Palace are replaced by the boundless possibilities of the Internet. In short, our digital platform is your virtual stage.

Reading gives us strength, inspires, and instills new hope. The iconic Jaipur Literature Festival, the “greatest literary show on Earth” embodies the power of the word and the spirit of connection. For over 13 years, the Festival has connected thousands through the universal language of literature.

We need now, more than ever before to keep alive a free-flowing exchange of thoughts and ideas, nurture and keep open partnerships and literary connections. So, let the words flow and the ideas come as you tune in from your homes and join their stellar list of speakers and authors.



TEERTHRAJ PUSHKAR – The place of Fairs & Festivities!

Historic district of the town of Pushkar on the sacred Pushkar Lake, Rajasthan, India, Asia

As goes the saying: Paying obeisance at Teerth Raj Pushkar in Rajasthan, India is equivalent to paying obeisance at chaar dham!

I was lucky to accomplish my chaar dham yatra by visiting Pushkar in January 2020, when I visited Jaipur for Literature Fest.

After finishing our Jaipur Lit Fest activities, Aarti, my cousin planned a trip to Ajmer, where our bade chacha lives. I was quite excited to meet him and my younger Chachi who live in Ajmer and I had not met them for years. En route Ajmer was the holy town of Pushkar, and I expressed my desire to visit Pushkar. My wish was granted and Mohit drove us ladies to Pushkar. I was very happy to be in Pushkar, which I had visited with my father some decades ago. Reliving those memories!

Pushkar is one of the oldest cities in India. Located to the northwest of Ajmer, the tranquil city of Pushkar is a favoured destination for thousands of tourists and devotees flocking to Rajasthan. Situated at a height of 510 metres, Pushkar is surrounded by hillocks on three sides. The ‘Nag Pahar’, literally meaning Snake Mountain forms a natural border between Ajmer and Pushkar. Known as ‘the rose garden of Rajasthan’, the essence of the famous Pushkar rose is exported all over the world. Along with an interesting mythological history, a legacy of timeless architectural heritage makes Pushkar a fascinating city.

According to legends, Lord Brahma, believed to be the creator of the Universe dropped a lotus to the ground leading to the immediate creation of a lake. He then decided to name the place after the flower, and thus the name, Pushkar. The city of Pushkar is home to the only temple dedicated to Lord Brahma in the whole world. Hindus consider a journey to Pushkar to be the ultimate pilgrimage that must be undertaken to attain salvation.

I didn’t have vivid memories of Pushkar so it was like being there for the first time. The experience was simply divine to Brahma Ji temple (only temple in India). I must admit that the market leading to the temple is to die for. You can shop so many curious, traditional dresses, handicrafts, pooja samagri and what to say of eating joints there servicing hot crunchy maal puas and rasgoolas!

The pilgrimage is loved and respected equally by foreigners and Indians, which was quite evident there. A number of steps lead to Brahmaji temple which is engraved in silver with gold stambh in the centre of its verandah.

Built with marble and decorated with silver coins, this temple can be identified by its red spire and the image of a swan (considered sacred to Lord Brahma). The chaturmukhi (four-faced) idol of Lord Brahma is housed in the inner sanctum. A marble statue of the sun god stands sentinel at the temple. Interestingly, while all the gods are shown barefooted, Surya is shown wearing ancient warrior’s boots. The feeling was simply divine.

After Brahma temple, we moved towards Pushkar Lake where people were performing religious rites but I was surprised to note that there was no concept of hygiene or cleanliness. It was quite an unpleasant sight, otherwise, it is so scenic which can’t be described in words, surrounded by mountains from all sides. Rajasthan Tourism needs to take up the initiative of cleaning the place on the lines of Namami Gange Program of Government of India. It is truly the need of an hour!

I also visited Pracheentum Hanuman Mandir there, followed by a sumptuous meal of Poori, Aloo Sabzi and Maal Puas at a typical bhojnalaya. I must admit that Pushkar visit is quite a walk and if your legs are strong enough then only you can see it in totality. Mine are of course not, still, they behaved.

Pushkar is well connected to the national highways of Rajasthan. Regular buses ply from Pushkar to the major Sanganer Airport in Jaipur is the nearest at a distance of 146 kilometres.cities of Jaipur, Jodhpur and Ajmer from the Ajmer bus stand.

Pushkar Terminus Railway station which is operational since 2012, is connected to Ajmer railway station located at a distance of 14 kilometres.

If you are planning a trip to Rajasthan, Pushkar visit should top your itinerary! 

Pink Hawa Mahal of Pink City in Pink winter…

…Couldn’t have asked for more!

After completing the first exciting day at Jaipur Literature Festival at Diggi Palace, Aarti and Mohit decided to take me to the old city of Jaipur which is home to many shops painted in Pink (Probably they knew shopaholic in me was restless). It was a breezy wintery evening, and I had some cool time there!

I found Hawa Mahal to be quite imposing, artistic, having an extraordinary architecture which is delicately honeycombed and rises a dizzying five stories. Certainly, it is much grander than it looks in the picture, you can’t escape its grandeur while in Jaipur. My child-like excitement in the vicinity of Hawa Mahal was palpable. We clicked many pictures there and gathered some beautiful memories of this beautiful monument.

For the uninitiated, Jaipur’s Hawa Mahal was constructed in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh to enable ladies of the royal household to watch the life and processions of the city. The top offers stunning views over Jantar Mantar and the City Palace in one direction and over Sireh Deori Bazaar in the other.

Popularly known as “The Palace of Winds” or “The Palace of Breeze” is in Jaipur, Rajasthan, India. Made with the red and pink sandstone, the palace sits on the edge of the City Palace, Jaipur, and extends to the Zenana, or women’s chambers. Made for ladies, it holds special importance for me as a lady.

There’s a small museum (open Saturday to Thursday), with miniature paintings and some rich relics, such as ceremonial armour, which help evoke the royal past. Entrance is from the back of the complex. To get here, return to the intersection on your left as you face the Hawa Mahal, turn right and then take the first right again through an archway. Shopkeepers can show you another way – past their shops!

Its 953 small windows called Jharokhas are decorated with intricate latticework.  The original intent of the lattice design was to allow royal ladies to observe everyday life and festivals celebrated in the street below without being seen since they had to obey the strict rules of “purdah”, which forbade them from appearing in public without face coverings.

This architectural feature also allowed cool air from the Venturi effect to pass through, thus making the whole area more pleasant during the high temperatures in summer. Many people see the Hawa Mahal from the street view and think it is the front of the palace, but in reality, it is the back of that structure.

In 2006, renovation works on the Mahal were undertaken, after a gap of 50 years, to give a facelift to the monument at an estimated cost of Rs 4.568 million.

The palace is an extended part of a huge complex. The stone-carved screens, small casements, and arched roofs are some of the features of this popular tourist spot. The monument also has delicately modelled hanging cornices.

The corporate sector lent a hand to preserve the historical monuments of Jaipur and the Unit Trust of India has adopted Hawa Mahal to maintain it.

Oh! What an impressive line up of Authors and Speakers!! Jaipur Lit Fest!!!

Jaipur Literature Festival 2020 to celebrate the vast bounty of Indian languages

India’s rich, diverse and colourful literary heritage remains at the core of the 13th Jaipur Literature Festival as it brings together writers from across India representing a multitude of the country’s languages. This year, the Festival hosts speakers from the vast canvas of Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Malayalam, Marathi, Nagamese, Oriya, Prakrit, Rajasthani, Sanskrit, Santhali, Tamil and Urdu writing. The programme explores the magnificent legacy of these languages while examining contemporary trends in writing.

The 13th edition of the Festival, set to take place between 23-27 January, features over 300 speakers from India as well as across the world.

Conversations span the length and breadth of the country and include voices from known and lesser-known literary treasure troves searched with meticulous attention to contemporary linguistic narratives especially in the many regions of India, each with its own myriad literary traditions, norms and quirks. The idea is to sustain the incomparable vastness of our national languages amidst galloping globalisation and draw succour from an incredible linguistic and literary legacy.

Rajasthani language finds voice in its distinctive syntax and variety of dialects –- the iconic Rajasthani poet Chandra Prakash Deval, a pioneer poet of Rajasthani literature Raju Ram Bijarnian, eminent authors Ritupriya and Madhu Acharya will speak of the rich heritage and linguistic traditions of the state in a session titled “Rajasthani Binya Kyaro Rajasthan”. In a conversation with distinguished author Vishes Kothari, the panel will talk about the unique genius of Rajasthani literature in its many manifestations.

In another conversation, Vishes Kothari and Chandra Prakash Deval will speak to bilingual novelist Anukrti Upadhyay on Rajasthani writer, poet and litterateur Vijaydan Detha’s rich legacy of magical narratives. Detha belonged to a family of bards and contributed enormously in bringing folklore and oral traditions into the mainstream of Indian literature. This session will feature Vishes Kothari’s vivid English rendering of the Timeless Tales from Marwar, a handpicked collection from Detha’s celebrated Batan ri Phulwari – literally “Garden of Tales”.

Modern Hindi fiction represents a continuum between many pasts and an emergent present. Two prominent writers evoke the landscape of change. Kamlakant Tripathi’s recent novel Sarayu Se Ganga is a magnificent evocation of history and culture across the last century. Another prolific Rajasthani author Nand Bhardwaj’s latest collection of short stories Badalati Sargam also covers a range of themes that highlight the quirks and contradictions of a changing society. In conversation with celebrated Hindi author Anu Singh Chowdhary, they will speak and read from their new work.

An inspirational session titled “The Rivers, The Sky, The Self”, with four writers from north-east India will speak of the landscape of memory, evoking folklore, oral narratives and the histories of their people. The panel consists of Esther Syiem, a bilingual poet, academic and playwright, who has also worked with oral scripting in Khasi; Easterine Kire, an award-winning poet, short story writer and novelist from Nagaland and author of the novel A Respectable Woman set against the decisive Battle of Kohima; and Mridul Haloi, winner of the Sahitya Akademi Yuva Puraskar in 2017 for the poetry collection Akale Aso Kushale Aso. The distinguished panel will be in conversation with academic and feminist publisher Urvashi Butalia and read from and speak of their work and the legacies of myth and memory.

Sanskrit has been the primary language of knowledge, learning and ritual in ancient and medieval India. Its rich traditions permeate most modern Indian languages, and its tremendous influence continues in every aspect of Indian life. It remains yet very much a living language, taught in schools, broadcast on All India Radio, and with over 90 publications published in it across the nation. In a splendid session, writers and scholars from across the world will discuss the grandeur, practicality and accessibility of Sanskrit and its role in the culture and daily life of modern times. The panel will feature Oscar Pujol, writer of the Sanskrit dictionaries titled Sanskrit-Catalan and Sanskrit-Spanish; Madhura Godbole, programme head of the Sanskrit Language Department at the American Institute of Indian Studies; Makarand R. Paranjape, poet, scholar and Director of the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies who has written extensively on pre and post-colonial Indian culture politics and society; Rachel Dwyer, Professor of Indian Culture and Cinema at School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.

The landscape of Indian literature is multilingual and multivocal with 22 official languages and thousands of mother tongues and dialects. “Many Languages One Literature” will be a session that interrogates and celebrates the unity in this diversity with three celebrated writers – Aruni Kashya, KR Meera and Shubhangi Swarup will be reading from their works in Assamese, Malayalam and English, as they discuss the literary and linguistic context of their inspirations.

The Festival’s multi-faceted content promises a variety of linguistic riches.

Can one Night stands, Stand?

Team Wordoholics

Read the previous part of the story, Chapter 10 here

Chapter 11

Shekhar returned home tired after spending day with his novelist friend and finds happier looking Tara and Roohi. Roohi was packing her bags for next morning and Tara was busy on phone with Jenny. He served the dinner himself and settled on the couch with his big mug of hot chocolate to watch TLC channel where they were showing Himalayan destinations. In no time his mind went back to the trekking / mountaineering expedition he had gone with his friends, accompanying a group of tourists of different nationalities. Why & what happened there, Shekhar is still seeking those answers, but tonight he wanted to relive those moments which he had fondly treasured. The story teller in him was awake…

…that was an unforgettable experience. What could have been worse than this, wrong person, wrong timing, wrong setting …but no wrong intentions, that was the only solace. Shekhar hurriedly walked towards his untidy room and parked himself on untidier bed with an intention to catch up some sleep which he badly needed. Good thing was Maa had gone to Pishi Maa’s house otherwise would have pestered him no end, “Khokon ki holo? Coffee, Chai…ki?

Hesitatingly he picked up the phone to call Tara after a week, just thinking of connecting with her and put her at ease. But the person on other side replied, “Tara has left the job and the city forever.” I retorted, “When, Where, Which city, Why,” but probably I only had the answers to these questions. Another chapter of my life was over which came and went like a breeze…

…Days passed, months passed, years passed, life was just the same for Shekhar but there was some kind of vacuum in his life. In the words of renowned film maker, Mahesh Bhatt, “Tanhai (loneliness) aapko aur bhi srujnatmak (Creative) bana deti hai”. This was happening with Sehkhar too. One fine evening he got an offer from a well-known publishing house from Delhi to commission stories and books for them. In no time he lapped this opportunity, now the showcase was ready for larger world for Shekhar Dutta’ s words & works. They started taking his works to next level, promoted him extremely well as accomplished author, his books were visible on stores on a pan India level, book-stores, book-reviews, book – fairs, book-discussions and book-fests became a norm. “Have I arrived”? Shekhar questioned himself. Maa was happy as she had a car to herself to visit her relatives and Kali Baari temple nearby.

In the evening while taking stroll on the mall road, and lost in his lingering thought that whatever it takes, he must take a break from all this to rejuvenate himself. Life was becoming too monotonous amidst all these interesting fictional characters of his stories. Luckily he chanced upon the board of travel agency whose advertisement he had seen in paper today.  Shekhar walked into the travel agency to check some outings to Himalayas. There he got to know about some exciting tours starting next Sunday from Dehradoon. He enrolled himself for that expedition along with that tourist group for Sahasradhara, Chamoli, Uttarkashi and Joshimath etc.


chamoli joshimath urrakashi urrakashi

“Interesting, tiring & relaxing at the same time”, thought Shekhar. Maa was happy to see her son happy. Shekhar did some mental calculations and said, “Yes I can afford this holiday and a nice holiday gear from Dehradoon too!” The tour was to start next Sunday which looked like ages to Shekhar as living so close to Himalayas he had not visited these places…his excitement was palpable.

The journey started in a plush luxury bus from Dehradoon and his mind was wandering in the beautiful valleys during the course. Shekhar was in blissful state with no story ideas dancing in his head. He was calmly enjoying the journey, the jungles, the mountains, the lakes, the valleys, the flowers…what not!  “OMG! I am missing out on such much in life by remaining confined in four walls of my house”, he was talking to himself.  When bus halted for tea and snacks, Shekhar found himself bonding really well after some hesitation with this group who represented some really far flung countries like Romania, Spain, Mozambique, Brazil, Miami, Alaska, U.K. who were charting out Beatles numbers in chorus on their instruments.

Once again some surprises unfolded. He was introduced to handsome looking AVP from a publishing house in U.K. who loved Himalayas, was accompanied by his colleague Tara, who was none other than Ms Mukherjee. Obviously his excitement had taken a beating…but? How to face this awkward situation now?

man woman

After few hours of travel, he could notice Aryan and Tara getting close, really close. Any way when they reached Chamoli, weather took its ugliest turn, there was thundering, showering and land-slide, the bus had to halt and change track once weather improved. For some unknown reason, Tara had started noticing my presence. Amidst all this chaos, she came and sat next to me, whole day stuck in the bus they chatted heartedly on topics ranging from their school days, college days, first crushes, teachers, maa, baba, friends, frenemies…what not. This was the most wonderful conversation Shekhar ever had; He found Tara to be charming to the core. She admitted that she was attracted to Aryan as she finds him handsome, soft-spoken, loving and brings lots of presents for her from New Delhi’s Dilli Haat. Enough to charm any girl. “Were they in a relationship”? Yes! Probably. But Shekhar’s attraction towards Tara was unquestionable now.

Amidst all this, they did not know how time flew. It was evening and then suddenly they saw everybody around them discussing Aryan who had not returned yet from a nearby market, where he had gone to make a call to his mom from a PCO. Now was the time for bus to leave, but Aryan was nowhere in the sight. Tara got very anxious and insisted on waiting for Aryan. “But it is not possible. He will join us in the morning when weather improves”, tour conductor gave his farmaan.


Bus moved on and so his life…weather was slightly better at their next halt. Tara was very tired, anxious, worried, drained out and hungry at the same time. Shekhar felt like comforting her with a big hug but did not let this thought proceed. After having hot & sumptuous dinner, Tara  made a strange request to him, “Can I sleep in your tent, with you?” I am very scared to stay alone in my tent for the night, and I don’t trust anyone else”. Shekhar’s jaws dropped in dis-belief. He was aghast at this very strange request. His Indian sensibilities were at play. His life was quite bland and now this sudden decoction?? He reluctantly gave in to her request. Shekhar thought, he will sit and wait for the morning while watching this sleeping Cinderella. For any young man, writer, sensitive, sensible (???) and close observer of life and relationships, this was strange. Really didn’t know what to do. Tara slept well and Shekhar said to himself, “Great going till now”. Suddenly lightening struck and Cinderella…oops Tara’s sleep got disturbed, tired and sleepy Tara came very close to me, held him tight and started blabbering strange words…it was time two young people could not control their emotions…night was long, dark and tumultuous!

OMG! he said to himself, “What is this? Why me? Only me? Before dawn Tara moved to her tent and Shekhar saw her sipping coffee in the morning with Aryan. She did not want to face him anymore. Was it Shekhar’s fault only? Whatever it may be he wanted to steer clear. Shekhar returned from the tour mid way on pretext of Maa’s health but…Some strange feelings stayed on! Who can explain such one night stands? His heart was bombarding him with questions and more questions. Why Shekhar and Tara get trapped in such situations, was it destiny, probably Tara thought that way.  Now she had handsome Aryan and intellectual Shekhar in a tug of war in her heart and in her head.

Another year of incessant writing and his publishers from Delhi arranged a book-reading session for him in Jaipur’s Literary Fest. It looked like a dream opportunity, “Presenting my words & works to the literati of this world”, Shekhar murmured.

Excited Shekhar drove to Dehradoon to catch flight to Jaipur. Maa had come to see him off for his debut flight.

Hoping no drama ahead, Shekhar took off…but that was not to be!

img1 - jaipur (3)

Arrangements, venue, gathering, everything was just awesome, which Shekhar had never experienced before. He felt blessed to be here. For the first time in his life he chose to wear a formal suit for the evening dinner and he really looked handsome. Feeling little awkward, he sat on a table and started flipping Marwari menu; which read like Greek, Latin to him as he had rarely tasted cuisine of any other state. Suddenly he was distracted by a very familiar feminine voice, “Oh! No, not again…She can’t be Tara”, Yes! She was Tara who was involved in some serious discussion with an author. With red-bindi on her forehead, gold Bangles in her hand and beautifully draped Magenta Dhaka sari with Pashmina shawl overthrown, she looked a resplendent Bengali bride. Married? Thank God! While in his thoughts, she turned her back to adjust her sari & Lo & Behold! Their eyes met. In no time, Tara was sitting in front of Shekhar, with lot of emotions crossing his face and probably her heart…but they were happy to see each other. She worked in a U.K. publishing house and was representing it in Jaipur fest. First thing she asked him was about Maa. After having Marwari dinner for the first time in his life, that too in a formal suit, and Tara for company, setting looked strange. After dinner Tara told Shekhar how it was like working in the U.K. publishing house and why she is planning to return to Mumbai by year end. She also expressed her desire to work with him while she is in Mumbai. Shekhar was a relaxed man after ages, but past moved before his eyes like a show-reel. His feelings took a spin once again when Tara told him, “though I am not married yet, but I believe in institution of marriage and I am a strong and independent woman, and love taking life in her stride”. Though she was talking of strength and independence, Tara looked emotionally charged, vulnerable, probably Aryan had ditched her and settled for a Punjabi girl…who knows.  Now one more question followed him, “What does she think of one night stands”?  Can it be love? Shekhar shrugged his head.

Can one night stands, Stand? Phew!

Story idea?? Nope!

Next morning when he was calling Maa from hotel lobby, a pat on his back disturbed him, she was Tara who said, “I will also talk to Maa”. He handed over the phone to her and they were in an unending conversation on this STD call. In the evening Tara told him that she was traveling to Mussorie on Thursday for some work there. Now…Ghosh…what is this yaar…hope I am not involved. They traveled together and exchanged notes on Jaipur fest.

Who knew another drama was unfolding in Shekhar’s life.

After a tiring journey, when he reached home, he noted that the house looked decorated with marigold flowers, buntings, lights, what not right from the gate. “Maa has done all this for Pujo celebrations”, he thought. Now Shekhar found his maashi maa, pishi maa, cousins, their children in their finneries…lot of activity in the household. Tired, he called for Coffee. “What was going on in my house? My room was looking like a decorated den. What is this yaar? Where have my stuff vanished? Why this bight pink bed sheets & curtains?” Questions & more questions.

Maa stepped into Shekhar’s room and declared, “It’s not Pujo but your marriage this evening, go and get ready for pre marriage ceremonies”. He angrily retaliated, “I am not doing this. Why a poor girl is being trapped? Think of her Maa, I am not husband material at all, and my life is fine”. But their was no point arguing, the stage was set for his hanging ceremony. She did not buy any of my arguments.

bong bride
The Bakra was ready for halaali in the evening. His mama from Cooch Behar brought the bride to the altar, to his greatest amazement, she was none other than Madam Tara Mukherjee…who looked coy Bengali bride in Red & gold Benares Saree, gold jewellery, make-up and beautiful to say the least. Shekhar & Tara were author & editor last evening and man & wife this evening. No wonder, Maa was so excited about his going to Jaipur, got him suit stitched, Shekhar recollected Maa receiving phone calls at odd hours and chatted animatedly. So were they in touch? They laid this trap for him? Shekhar was still seeking answers.

Destiny had transpired this for Shekhar and Tara.

Maa lived happily ever after…

…Now Aryan Ahuja is their neighbour.

Me and my team are participating in ‘Game Of Blogs’ Blogadda #celebrate Blogging

Three cheers for 10665344_764322290293277_5715540420956964706_n

Read next part of the story Chapter 12 Here

– By Bienu Verma Vaghela

Great Indian Travel Bazaar returns next year in Jaipur

After a hiatus of one year the well- known inbound tourism mart, the Great Indian Travel Bazaar (GITB) will now return to Jaipur. Recently, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the Department of Tourism and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) in Jaipur.


As per the MoU, GITB will be organized jointly by FICCI and the tourism department for the next five years beginning 2015 to 2019 to be held in the month of April. Alike the past, it will be actively supported by Union Tourism Ministry, Indian Heritage Hotel Association (IHHA), Hotel & Restaurant Association of Rajasthan (HRAR) and Rajasthan Association of Tour Operators (RATO).


GITB, which began in 2008, became an increasingly popular B2B inbound tourism mart in the country. A large number of tour operators, travel agents and travel writers were visiting Jaipur for the event. GITB was to the tourism industry what the Jaipur literature festival was for litterateurs.

After the first edition of GITB an MOU was signed between FICCI and the department of tourism for five years. “GITB was a concept suggested by FICCI and the name was jointly registered between the two. The then minister tourism Bina Kak announced at GITB 2013’s inaugural ceremony that the seventh edition of GITB would be organized in Jaipur in 2014 and the dates would be announced in due time. But thereafter the MoU was not renewed by the Gehlot government and the 2014 event had to be cancelled.

“GITB had established itself as the most important travel mart in North India during the six years. It had become especially important for small and standalone hotels of Rajasthan which cannot afford to attend international travel marts. I am glad it is being organized again from next year,” said Randhir Vikram Singh Mandawa, general secretary of Indian Heritage Hotels Association.

World’s Best Palace Hotels