I’ve just returned from a wonderful vacation in Jaipur, Rajasthan, with two dear friends. The main reason for our visit was the Jaipur Literature Festival 2019. This iconic festival, at Diggi Palace, Jaipur, has a lot to offer fans of literature. It also has its limitations- it’s insufferably crowded, the traffic in the city is unbearable, and hotel prices skyrocket at this time. Don’t fret though, as you can have a good time with a little bit of planning. Read on to know my tips on making the most of the Jaipur Lit Fest. If you’d like to know which books I bought at the Lit Fest, click here.
Crazy crowds at the Jaipur Lit Fest
1.THE DELEGATE PASS:
If you don’t mind spending extra cash, the ‘Delegate Pass’ is your best bet. Prices begin at INR 6000 for a day (INR 3500 for the last day), and go up to INR 23,000 for all five days. Apart from premium access, you have perks like complimentary cloth bags, invites to cocktail evenings and concerts, complimentary lunches, access to the Baithak, and invites to experience some local flavor through a ‘majestic evening’.
You’ll still have to book your own accommodation, and pay for travel. The passes don’t guarantee a seat in any session, or first access to author signings. I heard many disgruntled delegates complain about wasting their money by buying this pass.
2.AVOID GOING ON THE WEEKEND:
I know this isn’t ideal for working people, but the weekends see a gigantic surge in attendees. If you’re keen on a fuss-free literature-infused experience, plan in advance so you can visit on Thursday-Friday or Sunday evening and Monday (which is the least busy day).
3.REGISTER ONLINE FOR FREE:
You can pre-register online for free entry to the festival. Keep in mind that online registration for the weekend shuts a month before the fest.
At the JLF Music Stage
4.BUY TICKETS ON THE SPOT TO SAVE TIME:
We were unable to register for the weekend. However, it was a blessing as the paid entry line was non-existent in comparison to the free online registration line. The INR 500 ticket was well worth the time we saved!
5.SCOUR THE SCHEDULE AND PLAN AHEAD:
The official Jaipur Lit Fest website puts up the schedule for all five days, in advance. Take some time before arrival to study the sessions you’re interested in. Familiarize yourself with the various venues, so you can hop between your favourite speakers and panels and score seats.
6.BUY IN ADVANCE, OR BRING FROM HOME THE BOOKS YOU WANT SIGNED BY AUTHORS:
Perhaps the best part of a Lit Fest is meeting your favourite writers. Identify which writers you want your books signed by, and buy them beforehand so you don’t waste time in the book shop lines at the venue.
Buy your books beforehand to get them signed by authors
7.IF IN GROUPS, STRATEGISE BY SPLITTING UP:
The advantage of travelling in groups is that you can split up to save time. Send one person to the book shop to buy books, one person to the book signing line, and another to the food counter line to optimize time. You’ll be able to eat together, with your signed copies in hand.
8.VISIT THE BOOK STORE EARLIER RATHER THAN LATER IN THE DAY:
Full Circle has a large book stall in the center of Diggi Palace, with a large selection of books. If you’d like some time to peruse the entire collection and avoid long lines for payment, visit the stall in the morning hours.
9.FAMILIARISE YOURSELF WITH THE NEAREST TOILETS, SMOKING SECTIONS AND EXITS:
The milling crowds make it difficult to find basic amenities like toilets and smoking sections. Get this information from the “Information Booth” upon entry, to save time later. The only smoking section is located above the Isobar.
With writer Gurcharan Das
10.EAT BEFOREHAND AND CARRY WATER:
There are many stalls to choose from, however everything I tried was below average in taste. Certainly not worth the long lines for coupons and collection. Eat well beforehand, and carry water with you.
11.WEAR COMFORTABLE LAYERED CLOTHING AND SHOES (UNLESS YOU’RE ONLY THERE FOR THE PHOTOS!):
Though most sessions take place in the sunny outdoors, the deceptive wind can give you a chill. It’s best to dress in layers, and wear comfortable shoes, in case you don’t find seats.
12.GIVE 30-45 MINUTES TO REACH ANY VENUE:
The traffic is overwhelming, so give yourself plenty of time to reach the venue in time for the sessions or concerts you want to attend.
13.BUY TICKETS FOR THE MUSIC STAGE ONLINE TO SAVE MONEY AND TIME:
I highly recommend a visit to the JLF Music Stage which takes place at Clarks Amer Hotel. There’s always a fantastic line-up of bands, both Indian and international. I heard “Indian Ocean” after ages. Buy your tickets online to save 20% off the ticket price.
14.BUY FOOD/ DRINK COUPONS IN BULK:
If you’re planning to eat and drink at the venue, buy coupons in bulk so you don’t have to stand in line again. Keep in mind that coupons aren’t redeemable, so don’t overdo it!
15.ASK YOUR HOTEL FOR SHUTTLE SERVICES TO FESTIVAL VENUES:
Many hotels offer shuttle services to the venue, so you can save on cab fare.
16.KEEP YOUR CAMERA READY:
Keep your phones fully charged and cameras ready, to capture selfies with celebrities!
17.CARRY YOUR ID CARD AND CREDIT/DEBIT CARDS EVERYWHERE:
You need an ID card for entry to the festival venues. Many stalls (such as the book store) only accept card payments, so keep those ready too.
I hope these tips make your next visit to Jaipur Lit Fest (or any fest) smooth and memorable. Read about my book haul at the JLF here. Do follow my blog by email, for travel updates, as well as information on other cultural activities.
This is a vlog of my experience at Jaipur. Follow me on Instagram at theladylawyer for more real time updates.
*All Pictures are taken on my phone. Copyright belongs to nooranandchawla.
**This is not a sponsored post.