If it’s the art and culture aspect of your travels that excites you most, perhaps you’re more suited for scholarly discussions over fine wine than a fireside evening of beer and dancing. If you want to become a tourist of the literary and arts circuit, here’s some amazing offerings that you can mark on your calendar.
India Art Festival
40 art galleries, over 300 artists, over 1 lakh visitors come together for the incredibly prestigious India International Festival (IIF). With many successful editions in Mumbai, and an international edition at World Trade Centre, Seoul, the India Art Festival is truly a world class act. The mixed selection of emerging artists and established names makes it an important shopping venue for galleries and independent collectors. Visitors will be treated to contemporary issues imagined in concept art, eclectic installation work, as well as stunning mixed media work. Most importantly, there is the work of ‘masters’, which can be accessed by medium to small level galleries and curators, creating collaboration among art galleries, independent artists, art collectors and connoisseurs. On the sidelines are panel discussions and talks, analysis of contemporary art and the economy, studio practices and more.
Delhi International Arts Festival
The Delhi International Arts Festival is comprehensive, both in its scope of art in all forms, as well as its participation from countries across the world. The winter festival attracts artists, writers, connoisseurs and tourists, and is not only an arts extravaganza but also a cultural diplomacy circuit. Held across multiple venues, it’s most influential and prestigious arts festival of Delhi, comprising and performing arts, films, literature. Just like the Jaipur Literature Festival, it is free of cost!
Jaipur Literature Fest
India’s most iconic literature festival draws massive crowds to the historic Diggi Palace in the last week of January. It is the largest free of cost literary festival in the world, and dozens of Rajasthani, Indian and International writing, as well as Nobel laureates and debut novelists come together. Excellent curated literary and musical programmes blend with a relaxed vibe that allows luminaries to speak frankly in the many insightful discussions. There’s excellent music, food and wine, and you’ll run into the names who grace your bookshelves.
Goa Arts and Literary Festival
Goa’s famous for sun, sand and nightlife, but only those in the literary circuit know that there’s literary events, book launches and more during The Goa Arts and Literary festival. The winter event debuted in 2010, and with its homegrown volunteer-driven and non-profit roots has become an authentic hotspot for cultural exploration. GALF addresses the “the margins” of arts and culture, and sees writers and artists from Goa, the North-East, Kashmir, Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh. Themes include Dalit writing, poetry, graphic novels, and translations. Over the year, inaugural keynote addresses have been delivered by Gulzar, Amitav Ghosh, Arvind Krishna Mehrotra, and Wendell Rodricks.
Kala Ghoda Arts Festival
Established to promote Mumbai’s art and cultural heritage, the 9-day festival celebrates paintings, films, theatre, food and history. The highlight, however, is the installation art at the Kala Ghoda Precinct, and cultural events here. Festival includes visual arts, dance, music, theatre, cinema, literature (including children’s literature) workshops, heritage walks, urban design and architecture (2014), food, and a dedicated section for children. It’s held across the National Gallery of Modern Art, the David Sassoon Library garden, the lawns and auditoriums at the CSMVS, The Museum, the Horniman Circle garden, the M C Ghia Hall, the Cafeteria at Westside, the Tata store at Army and Navy Building and the Kailash’s Dubash Marg.