New Delhi: Come May and literature enthusiasts can head to Bhutan, the land of scenic landscapes and fabled dragons for a festival that seeks to bring authors, poets, writers and other celebrities on a common platform.
"We had a resounding success last year when the festival was held for the first time and we are returning again with a lot more programmes," Mita Kapur, founder director of the festival "Mountain Echoes" to be held in Thimphu.
The five-day festival beginning May 20 seeks to explore and celebrate the rich literary culture of both India and Bhutan and would focus on themes like the need and importance of preserving languages; oral traditions; the contemporary art of science fiction; story writing; ballads; fantasy fiction, among others.
Like last year there are a host of celebrites lined up. Poet lyricists Gulzaar and Javed Akthar along with several other celebrity authors are confirmed to participate in the literary festival again this year.
"We are going to have several well known names from both Bhutan and India as well as countries like China, Singapore, Phillipines etc. A notable mention is Pulitzer winning American author Kai Bird," says Kapur.
Organisers are positioning the festival as a tourism cum litereray festival inviting travellers to the mountainous land filled which derives colour from its vivid green valleys, red rice, chillies, white yaks, lamas in maroon gowns under golden parasols along with a string of venerated pilgrimage sites.
Organised by the India-Bhutan Foundation in association with Siyahi, a literary consultancy, the festival will comprise of sessions like Treasures of the Thunder Dragon, Tiger Tales, Stories of Earth and Sky: Folk Tales and Contemporary Themes, Buddhism and Environment, Crafting Identity, Memoirs and Biographies, Myth and Memory, The Power of She, A Taste of Home, Writings in Dzongkha, Straight Face: Two Offbeat Writers Share their Wit and Wisdom, Understanding Heritage and Dawn of the Digital Age: Social Media and the New Bhutan among many others.
The festival which enjoys the patronage of Bhutan`s Queen Mother Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck and has been conceptualized by Pavan Varma, India`s Ambassador to Bhutan will also see performances like Ananda Dhara: The Stream of Joy, a choreography based on select songs of Rabindranath Tagore and Vivek Rajagopalan`s Quartet.