Monthly Archives: January 2018

Rajasthan Tourism Beat at Ranthambore Festival in Nahargarh Palace

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After a spectacular run with more than 3000 attendees in January 2017, Ranthambore Festival returned to the magnificent Nahargarh Palace for a second edition this month and our team was invited as guests to attend the Festival. The music and wildlife conservation festival enthralled the attendees from January 19th to 21st but Rajasthan Tourism Beat decided to attend the first day of the festival as the following days had different reservations for us. We reached the Nahargarh Palace around 14.00 hrs when the beautiful open garden Bageechi was showcasing the film : Looking for Sultan by Gautam Pandey. Thus began our journey of the Ranthambore Festival at Nahargarh palace.

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If you think that its first edition showcased the richness of Rajasthani folk music and wildlife landscape, mind you the second edition marvelously returned with even newer sounds, fresh ideas and terrific activities. Picture an open theatre in the midst of an imposing palace, complete with manicured plants and shady trees. ‘Bageechi’ also played host to an informative Wine Tasting session by Grover Zampa.

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wine tasting

Now imagine, as the sun begins to set you are sitting surrounding a marble white step well swimming pool – “Book a Smile Hathikund” and listening to Bangladeshi musician Labik Kamal, international world music ensemble Trio Benares from Germany, and the live performance by actor and musician Farhan Akhtar and his band.The well-curated line-up of musical performances on all three days also included a soulful rendition by Ustad Ma Zila Khan.

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Numerous patrons of music, whatever is the genre of their preference appeared at Nahargarh Palace to sample the collective, ecstatic experience of a musical art form.

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The festival successfully showcased some of the best in Rajasthani folk music by providing a platform to little-known yet immensely talented folk artists and prominent wildlife conservationists, alike. A 12-person nagara ensemble led by Nathulal Ji Solanki (Ajmer), Kanha Ram (Gujarat) on ektara and khartaal, Mohan (Bhuj) on gadha gambhira, Ram Swaroop (Alwar) on bakri ki masak enlivened the First Stone Amphitheatre of Nahargarh Palace.

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The artists’ performances and the music made us stir from within while the amazing Drum Circle by Omkar Salunkhe was an experience unforgettable. However, what can easily be called the highpoint of the festival was a dazzling performance by 35-handpicked (by Abhimanyu Alsisar, himself) Rajasthani folk musicians.

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In addition to showcasing the rich musical traditions, Ranthambore Festival also hosted intriguing all day workshops like pottery making workshop by Dastkar, Block printing & Toy making workshop by Dhonk, lac bangle making by Shadab khan, Khartaal master classes by Imammuddin Khan and Bhapang master class by Yusuf and Mehmood Khan.

Given the immensely encouraging response received last year, the Souk experience at the Ranthambore Festival was even more elaborate and magical this time. It presented an eclectic blend of the most sought after brands in the country.

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This time around, Ranthambore Festival also extended a series of thrilling experiential activities like a heritage bicycle tour, naked-eye stargazing with local tribal interpretations, secret royal suppers and hot air balloon rides for the guests.

 

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The Den lastly came to life at night when the music lovers broke into a party mood, they drank, talked, laughed and danced till they dropped.

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The next day, out team had bid adieu to Ranthambore Festival and chose to hit the jungle for Ranthambhore Tiger Safari. We booked a private gypsy safari to avoid crowds and have a more intimate experience with the national park. Unfortunately, we did not see tigers on safari in Ranthambhore, but the entire feel of jungle and the experience was still amazing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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When our team got candid with JLF 2018 Music Stage Performers

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Rajasthan Tourism Beat’s parallel venture Jaipur Beat gets candid with one of the greatest Indian folk & Sufi Music artists of India – Kailash Kher !
Watch him talk about music, love, passion & his special connection with Jaipur before his performance  at JLF Music Stage 2018 at Hotel Clarks Amer .

Following Kailash Kher we have English singer-songwriter David Gray  who talked about his music, passion & his first gig performance in India !
David Gray also performed at JLF Music Stage 2018 at Hotel Clarks Amer, Jaipur .

 

 

 

The Vanishing Stepwells of India!

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Revisiting a forgotten facet of Indian architecture with American author Victoria Lautman

STEPWELL JACKET LARGE

Tourists throng India’s temples, palaces, forts and mosques, but the country’s ancient stepwells are largely unknown. These remarkable subterranean structures not only provided communities with water all year long but also served as civic centers, refuges, remote oases and, in many cases, active places of worship. But besides their many functions, stepwells were marvels of engineering, architecture, and art. Some were lavish and ornate, others minimal and utilitarian. They could be enormous, plunging nine stories into the earth, or could be intimately scaled for private use. Thousands of these fascinating edifices once proliferated across India, but most were abandoned as a result of modernization and depleted water tables. While some have been restored by the government, most are sadly neglected and in danger of extinction.

 

PANNA MEENA Ka und

Panna Meena Ka Kund

ASSI KHAMBHA

Assi Kambha

BATRIS KOTHA

Batris Kotha

CHAND BAORI

Chand Baori

HELICAL

Helical

 

 

 

 

USE NAGPURIA

Nagpuria

 

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Van Talaab

UJALA BAOLI

Ujala Baoli

SAI NATH USE

Sai Nath

NAVGHAN KUVO

Navghan kuvo

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Neemrana Baori

NEEMRANA BAORI

Neemrana Baori

The Vanishing Stepwells of India is an marvellous book, documenting the author’s extensive travels across India and her exploration of the country’s ancient water-harvesting systems – brilliant examples of ancient Indian engineering, now largely forgotten. The book presents seventy-five subterranean wonders, a fraction of those Victoria spent four years photographing throughout India. Informative rather than scholarly, the book sheds light on a unique – if ignored – architectural typology, through several hundred colour photographs and detailed entries. GPS coordinates are provided, in the hopes that readers will be inspired to see these elusive beauties with their own eyes.

Website: www.victorialautman.com

To get featured, send mail at rajasthantourismbuzz@gmail.com

Jaisalmer Desert Festival begins today

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The celebrations of the desert festival make the desert region come alive with color, zest and enthusiasm . The festival commences with a procession in the morning from the Jaisalmer Fort to the Shahid Poonam Singh Stadium.  The gair, gymnastic acts and the fire dance are highlights of the festival. The tribes of the region create an enchanting environment with their poignant folk music recitals and ballads.

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Image via google

Be a spectator of rare competitions like camel polo, camel race, gymnastic stunts on camelback and camel formation dancing. These competitions are followed by the Border Security Force camel tattoo, tug-of-war, turban tying, Maru-Shri (Mr. Desert competition) and the longest moustache competition. The grand finale of the festival is the Rajasthani folk concert following an Air Force display, cricket match and parachuting. Desert safari and camping can be also enjoyed at the eve of the festival.

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New additions have been made this year to enthrall the tourists coming to witness the Desert Festival in Jaisalmer. for the first time horse race will be organised in which 200 horses will be included.
Also for the first time information about Tharparkar cows will be disseminated. Live demonstration will be given at Dhedhania ground. The District collector of Jaisalmer, KC Meena informed that the Desert Festival will commence with a procession from Gadisar Lake. Several popular festival competitions like Mr Desert, Miss Moomal, Tourist Turban Tying, Camel Race, Tug-of-War will be organized to attract both domestic and foreign tourist.

Venue– Don’t miss your chance to be in Jaisalmer to enjoy delicious food, interesting stalls displaying artifacts, handicrafts and other souvenirs.

Date- Prepare yourself for some mind-blowing experience from 29th to 31st of January.

Getting There-

By Air

Jodhpur Airport is the nearest international airport to reach Jaisalmer. The airport is 337 kilometers away. You can either hire a prepaid or a private taxi from the Airport to reach Jaisalmer.

By Rail

Jaisalmer is well connected with a wide network of trains covering most of the Indian cities. The railway station is located in the centre of the desert city. Once you reach the railhead, there are many auto-rickshaws and private taxis connecting the city.

By Road

Jaisalmer has excellent road connectivity. It is easy to commute to the city. Normal state owned buses, luxury coaches, sleeper AC buses, cabs, taxis and private vehicles can reach the city.

WHAT TO SEE, EAT, SHOP IN JAIPUR DURING R-DAY WEEKEND AND JAIPUR LIT FEST 2018

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It’s not the Foucault’s Pendulum we are known for, we have the incredible Jantar -Mantar, the largest in the country. As you get knee deep into the Maha-Kumbh of Literature & music, there is a reason its setting could be none other than the beautiful Pink City. The capital of music, culture, literature and art, Jaipur is the home of ‘LekhakiKalakaari and the Kaarigari‘. The quiet & the solitude that this city can offer contrasts with the bursts of colors, its long winding bylanes of history, the languid green hills, placid water bodies, the intricately carved architecture, soulful rustic music and over 1000 temples,  it is aptly called the ‘Paris of the east’ and ‘Choti Kashi’ in the same breath.

You are now in the middle of this beauty as it’s a long weekend and the entire world is rushing to inhale the gyaan, literature, music at the ongoing Jaipur Literature Festival in the city. To avoid the confusions and dilemma, here are some quick hacks for you while you eat, shop, drink, & breathe in the pink city 🙂

The picture perfect postcards of Hawa Mahal, Amer fort, the old city, and the gorgeous Jal Mahal have described Jaipur for ages. We bring you some of the lesser known yet exquisite places to see in Jaipur.

Ghat ki Ghuni Complex: Sisodia Rani Bagh+Vidhyadhar Ka Bagh
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It is located 8 kilometers from Jaipur on the Agra road. Laid out in Mughal style, it is painted with the legends of Radha and Krishna. The garden is multi-tiered and has fountains, watercourses, and painted pavilions. Vidhyadhar Ka Bagh, the Architect of Jaipur is also abutting this complex.
Galtaji: 
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Galtaji is an ancient pilgrimage center in Jaipur. Set amidst low hills and packed with locals and tourists alike, the attractive spot has temples, pavilions, and holy Kunds.
Panna Mian Ka Kund:
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Built in the 16th century, this 8 story Kund or Step well was used actively by the community around as a source of water, it was also the place of community gathering where people would come to chat, relax or swim in the cool waters.
 Nahargarh Baoli:
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Image courtesy google.
This stunning organic steps of this ‘Baoli’ are mesmerizing, to say the least. It is located inside Nahargarh fort where the song  ‘Masti Ki Pathshala’ from the movie ‘Rang De Basanti ‘was shot.
Jantar-Mantar
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The Jantar Mantar in Jaipur is considered to be the largest of the five astronomical observatories built by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, the founder of Jaipur. It contains fourteen geometric devices, designed to measure time, track celestial bodies and observe the orbits of the planets around the sun.
Maharaniyon Ki Chattri
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Image courtesy- google
This is a tomb/ Chhatri for the women belonging to Jaipur’s royal family and is located on the way to Amber fort. This crematorium has several exquisitely carved cenotaphs built to commemorate them. The magnificent beauty and the historical significance of Maharani ki Chhatri makes it one of the most visited tourist attractions in Jaipur.
Isar Lat :
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Ishwar Lat, also known as Swarg Suli is a 60 feet high grand minaret in Jaipur. Also called ‘Swarg Suli‘ or ‘heaven piercing minaret’, this tower near Tripolia Gate was built by Raja Ishwari Singh in 1749 A.D to commemorate a grand victory against his brother Madho Singh in the Bagru war. Ishwar Lat offers a breath-taking view of Jaipur.
Jawahar Kala Kendra:

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Built by one of the most famous Indian Architects of India, Charles Correa, it is an art & cultural center based on the 9 square ‘Vastu Purusha Mandala’ that Jaipur’s walled city plan is based on. Do try the Daal-Baati at their ‘Padharo Sa‘ restaurant.

City palace:
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The City Palace is a splendid example of the foresight that Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II had. As the founder of Jaipur, he took pains to create a magnificent walled city that encloses marvels such as the City Palace. The palace is a beautiful blend of Mughal and Rajput styles of architecture.
 Govind dev Ji temple.
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The Krishna temple is a rare spireless temple and houses the idol of Govind Devji that Sawai Jai Singh brought from Vrindavan. It is built in the style of Diwan-e-Khas or the court of the ruler as Sawai Raja Jai believed Govind dev Ji to be the ruler of the city & he his instrument. It is based on ‘Bhakti style’of architecture with wide corridors all around.
EAT, what Jaipur eats – The historical notes in the ‘ruaab’ of Jaipur:

Laxmi Mishtan Bhandar, Johari BazaarFamous for its dahi bade, rasgulle, rasmalai, and especially paneer ghevar, LMB is ready to serve you with whatsoever is on your list !

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Mahaveer Rabri Bhandar, Chandpole:

Known for their Rabri, Mohanthaal, Bejar Ki roti and Aloo Pyaz ki Suzi.

Handi: (MI Road & Vaishali Nagar)

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One of the older award winning restaurants of Jaipur. Number one recommendation for Rajasthani non-vegetarian food. Try the Laal Maas, Junglee Maas or the famous Handi Maas from their menu.

Once upon a time: (Nahargarh Fort): 

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The most romantic and incredible view of the Jaipur City as you dine in an ambiance of bygone times.

The Forresta Kitchen & Bar, Bani Park

Located in Bani Park, The Forresta Kitchen & Bar boasts of a fresh green ambiance  along with a rich array of drinks and a scrumptious variety of cuisines. Try Keema Baati and Italian food for the best experience ever. 

Tapri (C- Scheme): 

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 It’s a ‘Chai shop’ with a difference.With all things Chai and delicious light snacks, it’s ideal for breakfast or evening tea.

Muslim Musafir Khana :

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It completely reminds one of Karim’s at Jama Masjid, Delhi in its ambiance. The food is delicious, affordable and unforgettable and the flavors are very different from Karim’s, Delhi.

 

Tattoo Cafe:

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A fairly new restaurant in town, it is located bang opposite Hawa Mahal and is a good choice for breakfast or a cup of coffee. The view of Hawa Mahal early morning as the sun lights up the beautiful monument is priceless and the bonus as the name suggests, get awesome tattoos here. Instagram Alert!

SHOP – City of the handcrafted, you said?

Anokhi Museum:

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At a mere ten-minute walk through the cobbled streets of Amber lies the Anokhi Museum of Hand Printing. Located in a magnificently restored haveli (mansion), the museum displays a varied selection of block-printed textiles alongside images, tools and related objects – all chosen to provide an in-depth look into the complexity of this ancient tradition.

Mayori Clothing  (Bhawani Singh Road, C-Scheme)

With a fresh international take on Jaipur hand-block printing, Mayori clothing amalgamates the traditional printing techniques with modern silhouettes and creates beautiful garments with 100% cotton and a soothing palette of pastels. if you’re a cotton aficionado, explore trendy chic clothing at Mayori.

Blue Pottery, (Kripal Kumbh, Banipark)

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One of the oldest and the most well-known Blue Pottery studios, it was started by Late Shri Kirpal Singh Shekhawat known as the founder of Blue pottery. they are known for their incomparable quality.

Chameliwala Silver Market, MI Road.

20161214_135445The silver market just abutting MI Road is a silver haven. You can pick up semi-precious stones, get them dressed and have them inlaid in silver.Apart from that there is meenakari work on Silver, traditional, contemporary and tribal silver jewelry is available in a huge variety.

Take Back some memories & a little something more

Rajasthali: A Rajasthan government-run emporium which also features works of Bangladeshi designer Bibi Russell. Apart from creative and unique items crafted by rural artisans,you will find exclusive designer collection for men and women.

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Jagmohan/ Chandrahas / Kesar Kasturi: the incredible royal liquors of Rajasthan.Infused with many spices and condiments, these come in the category of collectibles.

Jaipur Watch Company:  

jaipur-watch-company-2Custom made, Bespoke luxury Watches from Jaipur.

Trunk Company, Jaipur: Bespoke, handcrafted trunk furniture from Jaipur.

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Rajputana Custom Motorbikes:

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Rajputana: A labor of love, handcrafted bike restoration/ customization Mecca.

Now, the basics

Traveling to & from Jaipur:

Air: Jaipur International Airport connects Jaipur to all major cities in the country as well as major international destinations. The capital of India, New Delhi is merely 250 Km from Jaipur. If you cannot get a direct flight to Jaipur, get one to Delhi as there are multiple daily connections between the two cities. The easiest way is to go to makemytrip.com or yatra.com and book your flights.

Rail: Jaipur Junction is a well-connected station with trains from all across the country. The easiest way to travel from Delhi is by the Double Decker train or Rajdhani.To book your train tickets, click here

Road: There are many Public and private operators of Buses as well as taxis in the city. Rajasthan government run RSRTC is a very good option or try the private operators for traveling to and from the Jaipur.

Getting around Jaipur: It is mostly a square.

Taxis: Uber or Ola: There are plenty of Uber and Ola Cabs easily available for within the city travel through the phone apps. They are the safest, fastest and most reasonably priced mode of transport. For Intercity travel Hippocabs is providing an exclusive for the JLF. Rajputana cabs.  You also have an option of using Rajasthan government run taxis for within and outside city tours.

Rickshaws: E/Cycle /AutoThere are plenty of Rickshaws in the city be it e-rickshaws, cycle (shorter distances) or auto rickshaws. They easily navigate the city through the traffic be it the old or the new city. They are available 24 X 7 and outside most hotels and public places. Negotiate & settle the fare before taking the ride as they don’t use meters. Use google maps whenever in doubt.

Buses: Low Floor buses / Jaipur Safari / Pink Pepper. The comfortable seating, a wide network of bus stands & the low prices of the government run low floor buses make it an ideal companion to travel around the city. The city also offers interesting open air private tour buses to savor the beautiful scenic view the city provides. Click to book Jaipur safari for ‘Jaipur by the night’ tour or the day Safari tour. You can also ride the Pink Pepper buses which doubles up as a restaurant.

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Metro: If you are located anywhere between Mansarover or Chand pole, take the Metro to get to JLF. The nearest Metro stations to the Diggi Palace, the venue for JLF, are Sindhi Camp Station and Jaipur Railways station. From outside the metro stations, take Rickshaws or cabs as convenient.To check the route, fares, and stops, click here.

Take this slice of Jaipur back with you in these few days of the Jaipur Literature Festival. Who knows, once you fall in love with the city, the next time you return back here not in the audience but right up on the stage.

Till the next time, so long and thanks for all the love.

Jhalawar becomes the new Bird Sighting Destination in Rajasthan

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Rajasthan’s historic district with religious values- Jhalawar is slowly and gradually making its mark in Eco-Tourism and wildlife. The traditionally rich land of Hadoti region is becoming a new Birding Hot Spot in Rajasthan and is attracting tourist from across the world. This year the Second Bird Festival of the District has been organized with Zeal and Enthusiasm along with collaboration of District Administration and Forest Department.

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According to the Bird enthusiast Anil Rodgers, the Bird Festival has been organized in a wonderful manner and under the keen supervision of District Collector Dr. Jitendra Kumar Soni. The presence and participation of school and college student, wildlife research scholars, scientists, local bird and environment lovers, participants from Kota, Bundi, Udaipur, Chittorgarh and Bharatpur including many other District added to the charm of the festival. A world class Wildlife and Birding Photography Exhibition showing the true Wild colours of Hadoti along with a rare and exclusive stamp collection was also a part of the festival.

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Jhalawar is replete with the rich avifaunal biodiversity, there are more than 250 local and migratory species recorded here. Including Bar Headed Geese, Greylag Geese, Ruddy Shelduck, Flamingoes, Northern Shovelor, Northern Pintail, Common Teal,  Gadwal, Red Crested Pochard, TufftedPochard,  White Eyed Pochard, Common Pochard, EurasionWegion, Pallas Gull, Black Tailed Godvit, Redshank, Green Shank and many other waders. Moreover, Jhalawar has active habitation of critically endangered long billed vultures, and White Rumped Vultures and you can also see rare Asian King Vulture (Sarcogypscalvus)  and endangered Egyptian Vultures in Abundance. Wetlands of Jhalawar are big attraction to see the tallest flying bird, Sarus Cranes are breeding here in good numbers as well as you can see Painted storks, Whooly necked stork, Migratory Black Stork and Resident Black Necked Stork in the Gorges and Open Wetlands.

Besides these, Ancient Kolvi Caves, World Heritage Site Gagron Fort, Dalhanpur Ruins, Sun Temple, Chandrabhaga Temple are worth visiting places in Jhalawar. Enriched with old traditional values wouldn’t be able to miss the hospitality of the people of Jhalawar.

All images via: Wildlife Photographer Anil Rodgers

Amer and Hawa Mahal to host glorious heritage evenings during Jaipur Literature Festival

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With the most amazing lineup of artists, authors and performers for mesmerizing music and theatre performances, the Jaipur Literature Festival, in its 11th edition, will celebrate the Pink City’s exuberant heritage, against the exquisite backdrop of its popular monuments.

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The five-day literary festival starting from January 25, 2018 at the magnificent venue of Diggi Palace, Jaipur will host two glorious heritage evenings, organized in association with Rajasthan Tourism, at Jaipur’s iconic Amber Fort and Hawa Mahal. On the second day of the festival i.e 26th January, ‘Under the Stars’ at Hawa Mahal will feature ‘The Troth-Usne Kaha Tha’, a multimedia dance and theatre production presented by Akademi, a UK-based producer of Indian dance, marking the centenary of World War I. The poignant narrative through an interplay between image, music and dance is something not to be missed.

On January 28, ‘A Majestic Evening’ at Amber Fort will begin with Sarangi recital by Ustad Kamal Sabri, son of sarangi legend Ustad Sabri Khan. The recital will be followed by ‘Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi…’, a tribute to the late ghazal maestro, Jagjit Singh, by singer-composer Shekhar Ravjiani.

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The ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival’s Heritage Evenings will celebrate the built heritage of Rajasthan where it will highlight Rajasthan’s rich cultural and architectural legacy through the performing arts showcases.

In association with Rajasthan Tourism, the cultural evenings  will present some of the best music and theatre performances against the backdrop of over 1000 years of Indian architecture and heritage i.e. Hawa Mahal and Amer. Entry to these events is through invitation only.