What to expect at this year’s Mountain Echoes Literary Festival in Bhutan
Apart from the breathtaking scenery and the reputation as one of the happiest nations in the world, there is an additional reason to attend the eighth edition of the Mountain Echoes Literary Festival (August 25 to 27).
The theme for this year is Untouched Beauty, Unexplored Ideas and Unstoppable Voices. Over 70 literary personalities from Bhutan, India and across the world will attend the event. Some of the most popular names include Australian author Markus Zusak, best known for his novel, The Book Thief; Phuntsho Namgyel, the first director of Bhutan’s Election Commission and author of the acclaimed book Forest for Gross National Happiness; Indian film director Imtiaz Ali as well as mythologist and author Devdutt Pattanaik.
While it is a literary event, fashion design is also part of it. Designers from the Bhutanese and Indian fashion worlds, including Chandrika Tamang, Chimmi Choden and Abraham and Thakore, will curate collections which intersperse their nation’s textile heritage with contemporary fashion. Malika Kashyap, founder of digital publication Border and Fall, will present The Sari Series, a documentation of the apparel.
The event will include a performance of the Drametse Ngacham or dance of the drums, which is a sacred dance honouring the 8th century Buddhist master, Padmasambhava. The traditional dance sees 16 masked male dancers and 10 musicians represent the revered deities as they perform to a symphony of cymbals, trumpets and drums. The dance has even been included in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO. Local performers such as singer Sangay Lhaden and dance troupes Druk Jackson and Waki Nation Crew will also be performing at this event.
As part of this event, there will be an exhibition, titled Handmade in Rajasthan, curated by Prasad Bidapa that will celebrate the indigenous craft forms of Rajasthan. Author and television host Padma Lakshmi will chat with journalist Barkha Dutt about her childhood in America and her personal philosophy of food.
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