Hello fellow literature lovers!
If you are looking forward to attend the Jaipur Literature Festival’19 a.k.a ‘the most fabulous literary love-fest in the world’, then you are at the right place.
(This picture was taken at JLF’ 17.)
Although anyone can go and attend the fest, but I believe that you can make the most of it if you go with a little hands on tips. So many programmes happen there that most people tend to get lost and exhausted. Lest it feels like just another crowded fair, prepare yourself with a little knowledge on JLF to avoid the hassle.
To make it easier, I have listed down a few pointers based on my own experiences which you can keep in mind before you go to the ‘Ibiza of the world literature’:
Always register yourself well in advance through the JLF website. It is better to register for all the days, even if you do not plan to attend the entire event. Registration is free of cost, if you do online. For on-the-spot registration at the venue they charge a small amount. Online registration would require you to have an email id or a valid Indian phone number. You can also register on someone else’s behalf. After you register, they would send a code to both your phone and email. It is very important to save that code, because they ask for it at the venue.
2. Event list
This one is most important for me. You must download the itinerary list from the JLF website, and go through it atleast once before you actually go. There are going to be 7-8 programmes simultaneously going on at the venue. To avoid missing out on the events/authors of your interest, I would suggest you to go through the itinerary list for each day thoroughly and circle out the ones that you would want to attend. This way you can plan your visit as per the session schedule that interests you.
It is advisable to stay closer to Diggi Palace. However, such stays are going to be very expensive or unavailable if you do it just before the event. So, you must book your hotel well in advance. If your hotel is not closer to Diggi Palace, then you can easily commute via autos, Uber, and Ola.
4. Entry (with online registration)
I always do this. I register online for free and on reaching the venue I look out for the desks which cater to the online registration. They ask you for your registration code. You can show it on your phone. If you lose your registration code then just tell them your phone number, they will retrieve your information. They also ask for a valid photo ID proof. Once checked, they give you a name tag and an itinerary booklet. Keep the booklet handy for easy reference. You must keep wearing the name tag at all time. Do not lose it.
5. Entry (with on the spot registration)
For on-the-spot registration, I would recommend you to reach the venue around 9am to avoid long queues. Carry a valid ID proof and some cash. (JLF’ 18 on-the-spot registration charged Rs. 100/person). Here, you cannot register on someone else’s behalf.
6. Reach early
It is always advisable to reach the venue early i.e., before 11am to avoid the rush. Around afternoon it gets very crowded, and then the entire security checking process can take up to 30-45 minutes. To avoid wasting your time try to reach early.
7. Less luggage
This one is no brainer, as we all know how convenient less luggage is. It is advisable not to carry many bags with you inside the venue, otherwise you’d feel exhausted watching over your luggage constantly. And there is going to be a thorough security check of all your bags every time you enter, so less luggage makes it easy for all.
8. Credit/Debit card
JLF’ 18 went totally cashless for all purchases (books, food, etc) inside the venue. So, do carry a valid credit/debit card. They don’t take cash no matter what. However, you can buy rechargeable cash card through advance deposit, which is refundable.
For any help get hold of any volunteers. They will help you out for something as trivial as booking a cab back to hotel.
Drinking water is available in abundance at many places inside the venue. There are many food and beverage options too, but they are a little bit expensive. However, there are few cheaper options available outside where you can grab a quick meal. If you don’t want to spend time going out and coming back (because every entry asks for security check), you can carry your own food. I saw many elderly people doing it.
11. Author signed books
There is always an author signing booth closer to every session venue. To get author signed copies, make sure you reach the author signing booth before everyone else. But, before rushing off to the signing booths ask the volunteers whether a particular author will sign books or not, because they sometimes make some last minute changes. In such cases, you can approach the authors on your own after the end of the session.
(I approached Dalrymple when he was casually walking around.)
12. Sessions’ venue
There are always 7-8 sessions going on simultaneously in all the session venues. There are two types of venue inside Diggi Palace- a closed one and an open one.
To attend a session inside a closed venue, it is advisable to reach early and take a seat as there is limited seating. There is no such issue in an open venue, so you can stand anywhere and attend. Durbar hall, Samvad, Baithak are closed or small event venue. While Mughal Tent, Front Lawn, and Charbagh are open.
Change of session notifications are always put up in white boards outside every session venue, so always look out for them.
13. Best sessions
This one is my personal observation. I noticed that best events are always lined up in the last two days. However, this may not be true all the time. So, if you are going there for less time, choose the dates based on the scheduled events by going through the itinerary list. And, if you hate crowd don’t plan your visits on the weekends especially Sunday. Entire Jaipur decides to drop by on Sunday.
14. What else you can do inside Diggi Palace?
There are plenty of options other than attending sessions. You can talk to random people and make new friends. You can kill your time at the book store. There is plenty of food and beverage options, which you can try. You can take pictures for your Instagram profile, as the entire event boasts of beautiful geeky decorations. If you get too exhausted to do anything, you can head to the open food court near Baithak to grab a beer.
Important note: JLF is a no smoke zone.
(This was me at JLF’ 18.)
14. Do not try to juggle
Keep aside an entire day for Jaipur sight seeing. If you are new in the city, you cannot successfully juggle between sight seeing and JLF and would end up losing on both.
Bonus tip: Wear comfortable shoes if you are planning to spend the entire day at JLF. And after the last event of the day head to Tapri (which is very close to Diggi Palace) for a cup of tea!
(Me again, with my JLF friends at Tapri.)
With these pointers, you can easily attend the next JLF like a pro. Have a great time and don’t forget to share your experiences with me.
For any other query you can mail me.