Himalayan Echoes – Kumaon Festival of Literature and Arts is all set for its October date with authors, literati, lovers of good writing. This will be the fourth edition of the festival which is closely mentored by Namita Gokhale , advised by Anish Dayal and directed by Janhavi Prasada All three patrons belong to the region.
Janhavi Prasada who is the founder director of the festival works as a peace activist in the field of technology. She also dabbles in outsider art and dedicates her time to the conservation and promotion of literature, music, local textiles, food, heritage monuments, environment and wellness in Uttarakhand. Tales of Young Gandhi is her first graphic novel.
The festival will be held at Abbotsford ( www.abbotsford.in ) which is a 143 year old heritage estate on the 19 th -20 th of October 2019, Nainital, Uttarakhand.
In the last 3 years Himalayan Echoes, set in the beautiful environs of Nainital has created a unique identity with readers and writers and people with a mountain sensibility who celebrate books, music and poetry in the evocative setting of green mountains dotted with cedar and oak trees.
Janhavi says, “At Himalayan Echoes it is our constant endeavour to have speakers who have a deep connect with the mountains of the Himalayan terrain. Last year it was the President of Tibet Dr Lobsan Sangay who came for the festival as we have a large Tibetain community here. This year we have partnered with Northern Ireland for sending 4 Irish writers at Himalayan Echoes apart from a few speakers from the Himalayan Kingdom of Nepal.
She affirms that this is India’s only “Green” Festival set in the pristine hills of Kumaon at Abbotsford and adds that the” estate is home to Rabindranath Tagore’s niece Purnima J Prasada, my great grandmother. We try to curate our speaker sessions in such a way that each speaker has a mountain connect or a mountain sensibility. We believe in open areas for holding our sessions with views mountain ranges dotted with of the Deodars and oaks rather than conference rooms or enclosed tenting. We have birding sessions, forest walks, heritage trails on the sides of the festival. We give a lot of stress to local artisans to talk and showcase their art and craft from the region be it weavers, artists, cheesemakers or organic farmer from Uttarakhand. We are a plastic free festival, use of mineral water is in glass bottles and tea is in paper cups. Tin dustbins painted by school children are spread all over the festival and people are conscious about keeping a clean environment”.
We are also launching the first collaborate edition of a Writing Retreat with “The John O Connor Writing School, Armagh, Northern Ireland and Apsley House, Nainital, India”. This collaboration will carry forward the exchange of ideas in the field of literature, creativity, poetry, art and culture between the two countries.
Our themes are wide ranging from environment, conservation, wildlife, sustainable living, cinema, arts, and regional literature apart from the mainstream discourse. It is emerging as a platform for meaningful talks, deep impact and long lasting friendships over literature, nature, art and culture. The festival is intimate, interactive and informal.
Nainital is accessible by road, train and by air. It is India’s best preserved hill station till date and the month of October is great weather, clear blue skies, bright flowers and the fragrance of winter setting in , all great reasons why this is a litfest not to be missed!