Jaipur favourite city for many topnotch events

Jaipur favourite  city for many topnotch events

Going beyond its traditional character of rich heritage city,  Jaipur has now joined the league of foreign countries known for hosting international festivals like Glastonbury, Dia de los Muertos and Carnevale.

Over the years, the Pink City has earned global recognition for playing host to many internationally-acclaimed cultural and literary events like Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF), SAARC Sufi festival, Jaipur International Film Festival (JIFF) and the biggest theater fest of north India -Jairangam.

These events are organised every year during winter, which is also the peak tourist season in Rajasthan. Following the huge popularity at the global level, these festivals have become major contributors to the economy of the city.

This year the season started with eight-day Jaipur Theatre Festival Jairangam which has redefined the importance of performing arts in Northern India.

Deepak Gera, the festival director of the Jairangam, said, “Over the years Jairangam has evolved into the biggest theatre festival in the country. This time we staged 33 plays and more than 50 street plays. Actors such as Anupam Kher, Makrand Deshpande, Yashpal Sharma, Neena Gupta and Kalki Koechlin performed in Jairangam. Next year we plan to take this festival to another level and people may see some international artistes performing in Jaipur.”

“I think events like these can uplift theatre. Theatre  is the  backbone of any performing art,” said Anupam Kher, who was in the city to act in a play with his co-artiste Neena Gupta.

The theatre bonanza was accompanied by several other events like art exhibition, painting competition for schools, food festival, musical nights, street plays and various talk shows on art and theatre moderated by prominent artists.

SAARC Sufi festival is another event that has gained immense prominence. The fourth edition of three-day Sufi festival by the Foundation of SAARC Writers and Literature (FOSWAL) concluded at Diggi Palace on October 12. The festival was a melange of Sufi dance and music performances, poetry, book readings, book launches and interactive sessions.

Around 50 SAARC Sufi scholars, 40 poets, 80 Sufi musicians, singers and dancers and performers from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka attended the event.

Noted Urdu scholar Dr Tarannum Riyaz, former Prime Minister of the government of Tibet in exile Samdhong Rimpoche, noted actor and writer Om Puri and granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi and vice chairperson of Gandhi Smriti and Kasturba Gandhi National Memorial Trust Tara Gandhi Bhattacharjee were some of the prominent speakers during three-day festival.

Scintillating performances by Pakistani artiste Malang Waheed Baksh, multi-instrumentalist Vishesh Kalimero, Sufi artist Zia Nath and poetry recitals of the well-known Sufi poet Rumi mesmerised audience.

Sacred dance forms of  Egypt and Suhel Bhan's Sufi Bharatnatyam dance were well appreciated. M Sayed Alam's famous play “Lal Qile ka Aakhri Mushaira” was also staged in which cine actor Tom Alter portrayed the main protagonist.

“The programme was aimed at spreading the vision of a terror-free world. In the face of ethnic conflicts and terrorism marring all countries, we decided to organise the festival on the theme — Sufi and Bhakti. It will go a long way in promoting inter-cultural harmony and inter-religious respect,” said Ajeet Cour, who spearheads FOSWAL, an apex body of SAARC.

The biggest internationally acclaimed event is Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF). Started in 2006, the JLF has emerged as Asia's biggest literary event organised every year in January at the beautiful Diggi Palace in Jaipur. The five-day of reading, debates and discussions have been  major attractions for the renowned authors, speakers and celebrities. 

The JLF is accompanied by several cultural programmers and musical nights at old monuments and grandiose hotels in the city. The Writer’s Ball on the concluding day remains the major attraction. The ninth edition of the event will start from January 21 in 2016.

 After events related to the books, music and theatre, Jaipur hosts The Jaipur International Film Festival which is one of the fastest growing film festivals in the world. The event is held every year in January.

All these festivals have become a distinctive feature of Jaipur city and provide a big boost to the local economy. “During this year's JLF all hotels were full.  A few conferences were cancelled as there was no accommodation in the city. Such festivals are a big boost for tourism and hotel industry,” said Ranvijay Singh, a tour operator and an hotelier.  Winters have never been so profitable in Jaipur, he added.

 Apart from tourism industry, the local markets and restaurants serving specialties of Rajasthan also do a brisk business. “Number of tourists normally high in winter. During the JLF or  the film festival,  people coming here certainly visit local markets to see and feel the speciality of Jaipur,” said Abhishek Paliwal, who runs a handicrafts shop.

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