One of India’s largest and most popular literature festivals is all set to get underway from the 25th of January. Yes, we are talking about the Jaipur Literature Festival 2018, or JLF 2018 in short. Someone has rightly said that JLF is the Tomorrowland of Indian Intellectuals. Founded in 2006, and held annually at the Diggi Palace Hotel in Jaipur, the festival has grown by leaps and bounds ever since, and has featured several distinguished writers and personalities in past editions, such as William Dalrymple, Salman Rushdie, Vikram Seth, Shashi Tharoor, Jamaica Kincaid, J.M. Coetzee, V.S. Naipaul and former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, to name a few. The upcoming version promises to be no exception either, and if you are planning to experience it first hand, then you can look no further than our handy guide here to help you out.
1. Registration is Important
The entry to the JLF 2018 is free, as long as you register yourself under the category of ‘General Registration’ beforehand. It is highly recommended that you register beforehand because the festival is immensely popular and attracts thousands of people from all over the world. Unless you want to spend the whole morning waiting in a queue at the registration desk under the Jaipur sun, it is advisable to complete the registration before you show up. The early bird catches the front seat, right?
2. Map Your Journey
The venue for the event is the sprawling Diggi Palace Hotel, which is further subdivided into seven zones, namely Charbagh, Front Lawn, Mughal Tent, Baithak, Durbar Hall, Samvad and Jaipur Bookmark Haveli. It is quite easy to get lost amidst all the hullaballoo of the huge crowds gathered there, which might mean you could miss that programme that you wanted to attend. Therefore, it is advisable to equip yourself with a map of the festival at the information desk once you get there.
3. Stick To The Schedule
While you are at the information desk, get yourself the schedule for the JLF 2018 as well. The festival is spread over five days, across seven zones, and each zone has a programme occurring simultaneously. Having a schedule in hand will make it easier for you to decide on which programmes to attend on which days. The seats get filled very fast, so knowing what is happening where will ensure that you get there well in time, and enjoy the event seated comfortably.
4. Learn About The Authors/Speakers
The festival has always been graced by the presence of numerous notable writers, and the JLF 2018 will see nearly 250 writers, philosophers, journalists and prominent cultural icons from more than 35 countries. Most of these eminent personalities have won major awards such as the Pulitzer, Nobel, Man Booker, Padma Vibhushan and the Sahitya Akademi Awards. The ensemble cast includes the author of The Joy Luck Club, Amy Tan, accomplished director and producer, Anurag Kashyap, the former President of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, the author of Bridget Jones’s Diary, Helen Fielding, the author of The English Patient, Michael Ondaatje, and renowned poet and illustrator, Rupi Kaur.
5. Beyond Literature
If you think that JLF 2018 will be solely about literature, then be ready to get surprised. This exquisite literary festival is also an excellent opportunity to witness the fashion, cuisine, and hospitality that the capital of Rajasthan has to offer. So spruce up your wardrobe, and let your royal side reign free. Enjoy all the local delicacies as you soak in the rich and vibrant atmosphere of India’s western frontiers.
6. Don’t Miss The Musical Performances
The festival is also a great place to be if you are a music enthusiast. Each day, the mornings and evenings on either side of the programmes are flanked by majestic musical performances by maestros from across the country. The morning sessions are free to attend, but the evening events require passes, which you need to secure beforehand as early as possible if you want to get in. An added bonus for music aficionados is that table master, Zakir Hussain, is also a distinguished guest at the JLF 2018.
7. Bibliophile’s Delight
What’s a literature festival without books, right? If listening to some of your favourite authors is not enough excitement for you, how about getting a copy of their book signed by them? The JLF 2018, like previous editions, has a book sale where you can find the books by the event’s speakers and guests, and also other notable works from around the globe. Once you buy them, you can get them signed by the authors personally. Truly a memoir to cherish through time!
8. Dress The Part
With fur coats, crisp jumpers, boho sarees & more, JLF is always high on fashion. Try to level up for the festival this year. The best dress code for this event is smart casual. So do try to wear your nicest gear, whether it’s western or ethnic. Also, remember that Jaipur in January can be cool in the evenings and mornings, with scorching afternoon sun in between. Adorn layers that you can remove, and carry your sunglasses and a hat to shield yourself from the hot sun during outdoor afternoon sessions.
9. Learn & Socialize By Volunteering
If mere participation in the festival is not enough to whet your literary appetite, then why not lend a helping hand as a volunteer? One needs to pre-register as a volunteer before entering the selection process. On average, the festival requires about 300 volunteers, so if you are really interested, you will have to register and apply as early as possible. Volunteering will also give you the opportunity to interact, albeit briefly and in a professional manner, with the eminent speakers and guests of the events.
10. Become A Delegate
Volunteering at the event is not the only way you can be actively involved at the JLF 2018. You can also choose to register as a delegate for the festival, which involves paying a fee depending on how many days of the event you will be attending. The delegate ‘package’ experience includes exclusive lunches and dinners with the authors and speakers, access to a private lounge and refreshments, and festival concerts (talk about being treated like royalty!)
11. Beat The Traffic
As much as you are tempted to drive down to the event in your car, take it from us, DON’T! Since thousands of other people will also have the same idea, the end result will be a massive traffic jam on either side of the venue. So, why not hire a cab or carpool with your friends? And if you are staying reasonably close to the venue, you can very well stroll to the Diggi Palace Hotel, soaking in the late winter sun. That’s way better than being stuck in the traffic for hours, only to end up not finding a parking spot.
Well, there you have it! A handy treatise on what to do and what not to do at the JLF 2018 this month. The festival is a haven for bookworms and literary enthusiasts from all corners of the country, and if you are one too, and want to get the most out of the experience without unnecessary hassles, then our nifty article is the perfect, and only, guide you are going to need.