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Your Guide To Survive Jaipur Literature Festival | Tips And Tricks

Jaipur Literature Festival is the world’s largest free literary festival. Even though there are many literary festivals taking place in India, this one has carved a niche for itself. It is considered the most leading literary event in India. JLF now has Australia, USA, and UK editions too. This blog on the Jaipur Literature Festival is a quick guide to the popular once a year event. With an increasing number of visitors every year, it is not merely a literary event, rather more of a lifestyle event. Many people now term it the Jaipur Lifestyle Festival instead of the Jaipur Literature Festival. Here is your survival guide for the Jaipur Literature Festival held in January every year.

Jaipur Literature Festival Guide

This Jaipur Literature Festival blog intends to answer most of your queries pertaining to stay, commute, sessions to attend, food to name a few. Here is all that you need to know about the world’s most leading literary festivals.

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Picture of 2018 Jaipur Literature Festival at Hotel Diggi Palace, Jaipur

What is the Jaipur Literature Festival?

JLF is a five-day literary event taking place at Jaipur in January, every year. The event is organized by Teamworks. It was first launched in 2006, not as a literary event and was called the Jaipur Festival. Today, it has become India’s largest literary festival and one of the world’s leading too. The event attracts close to 400,000 people. Emulating JLF there are many lit fests being organized in other cities like Kolkatta, Bangalore, Chennai, Dehradoon to name a few.

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What Happens at the Jaipur Literature Festival?

There are multiple sessions taking place in JLF which consist of book readings, panel discussions, interviews, and questions and answers with authors, writers, and eminent personalities. The participants include both Indian and international participants. Book signing and book launches are also part of JLF. Politicians, actors, sports & media personalities, social activists also feature among the participants apart from writers.

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The event starts with music, folk dance every day. in 2020 meditation and yoga were also included. The day ends with live music shows at a different venue. More on that later in this blog on JLF.

Do read the related write up: Attending the Jaipur Literature Festival? Your quick guide to Jaipur as you attend JLF

Jaipur Literature Festival Venue

JLF venue is Hotel Diggi Palace on Tonk Road. The lit festival is being held here ever since its inception. It is centrally located. Prominent landmarks near Hotel Diggi Palace are Maharani College, Maharajah College, and SMS Hospital. You are unlikely to face any issue in finding the venue. 2020 is likely to be the last time for the Jaipur Literature Festival to be held at Hotel Diggi Palace. Local authorities are finding it tough to manage such a large congregation at this site forcing them to ask organizers to shift the venue elsewhere.

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Darbar Hall, Hotel Diggi Palace, Jaipur

Jaipur Literature Festival – Where To Stay in Jaipur?

Hotel rooms fill up fast around this event so book in advance. It makes sense to stay in central locations as you save considerable time in commuting. Accommodations & hotels in and around  C-scheme, MI Road, Raja Park are best picks as they are not far from the venue. Even hostels in central locations fill up fast during JLF.

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Some of the popular hostels in Jaipur are Moustache, Blue Beds, Zostel, Jaipur Jantar to name a few.

Check out: Your essential guide to picking the best area for hotels in Jaipur

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What to Wear for JLF?

Weather in Jaipur is expected to be in the range of 7-20 C. Expect a bit of chill with some sunshine during the day. Layer up to stay warm. If attending JLF musical night, gear up for cold weather. Do note that JLF has gained a reputation for being a glamorous event so the key is to dress smart and comfortable. Some prefer to create their signature look.

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 Jaipur Literature Festival Timing

JLF starts at 9.15 AM with a morning music program. However, sessions are timed between 10.00 AM to 6.15 PM

Do read the related write up: Attending the Jaipur Literature Festival? Your quick guide to Jaipur as you attend JLF

 Jaipur Literature Festival Registration & Entry Charges

Jaipur Literature Festival is a free & registered event, book online in advance to save time. If you end up without prior booking at the Jaipur Literature Festival expect to pay for the admission.

Update for January 2020 JLF Registration and entry charges – If you haven’t registered before mid-December 2019, you need to buy passes for JLF.

General Pass Weekday is Rs 500 and the weekend pass is Rs 800 per person.

Delegate Pass provides access to lunches, access to the Delegate Lounge, priority seating at special sessions, and a cocktail evening. You can grab this for Rs 6300. Is it worth the price? I think it is certainly worth the price because it allows you to interact with the authors, writers, and speakers at JLF.

Musical evenings or cultural programs are not free, buy tickets well in advance as they are very popular and get sold out fast. Last year the JLF committee closed free entry to the visitors on 26th and 27th January 2019 owing to holidays, expecting a huge turnout.

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The crowd near the registration counter at JLF
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JLF draws a large number of visitors

Travel to JLF venue

Roads are often closed for traffic near the Jaipur Literature Festival venue. It is best to hire a cab & get off 100-200 meters prior to the venue and walk instead of getting stuck in traffic jams. Please note that there will be a pronounced traffic snarl on the road leading to the venue because of diversions.

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Hotel Diggi Palace, Jaipur venue for Jaipur Literature Festival.

Parking At JLF Venue

For those planning to drive down in their own car, JLF has created a temporary parking facility at Gokhale hostel, across the road. A word of caution; despite dedicated personnel to supervise parking some areas are not adequately monitored and it is likely you may get stuck in a jam inside the parking area. It is best to leave your car at the hotel/home and hire a taxi.

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Walk to the JLF venue

Things to carry To JLF

With hot sunny days carrying water will be a good idea. There is no restriction in carrying bags to the venue. All bags are scanned before one is allowed entry to the venue. Ensure your comfort by sticking with the bare minimum. A diary, pen, power bank, camera, are a few popular things that visitors usually carry to the venue. Grab your copy of the JLF program schedule from the visitor information desk.

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Grab your copy of the Jaipur Literature Festival program schedule

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Carry only relevant things but do ensure that you have a copy of JLF program guide

How to plan for Attending the JLF sessions

All about JLF sessions– The JLF sessions consist of interactive panel discussions, book reading and answering the questions from audiences. The panel consists of authors, actors, poets, writers, politicians and a moderator. Usually, visitors can get the writer’s book signed at a designated spot.

How to plan? Rather than attending sessions that don’t interest you, plan ahead and attend only the ones which interest you.  Sessions with celebrity speakers and popular writers tend to attract a huge crowd. If you wish to find a seat for yourself, ensure you grab one during the previous session. Yes, you will need to sit through the prior session, otherwise finding a seat is impossible. Some popular speakers like Shashi Tharoor, Ashwin Sanghi, Prasoon Joshi draw a large gathering. Do note that JLF sessions start and end on time.

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William Dalrymple is one of very popular travel writer and speaker & draws a huge crowd.
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A completely packed JLF session by Shashi Tharoor
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This is last year’s JLF layout guide. 2018 guide has not been released yet

There’s a change in this year’s layout. JLF venue Samvad has been moved out of Hotel Diggi Palace. To reach Samvad, you will have to come back to the main road and reach the lawn behind Suchna Kendra. It is inconvenient when you have to attend back to back sessions.

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The new venue for Samvad is just behind the Suchna Kendra building on Tonk Road.

The crowd at the Jaipur Literature Festival

Expect a huge crowd on weekends when a number of visitors surge especially the ones from Delhi and locals. Everyone wants to register their presence at JLF. I generally avoid visiting on weekends because of the mad rush.

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Packed session at Front Lawn with Shashi Tharoor as a speaker
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Plenty of food choices at JLF venue

The food at JLF venue

There are many food stalls at Jaipur Literature Festival from Jaipur as well as Delhi but they largely offer international and continental food choices but do note that all that comes at a steep price. There is no alternative option so you will have to depend on JLF food stalls. Diggipuri Chai served in Kulhhad is immensely popular among the visitors. It’s essentially a Masala tea. You can grab your Kulhhad at the front lawn. Food stalls accept payment through prepaid cards only, which can be procured inside the venue. You can get the cards loaded with the required amount, any unused amount will be refunded. A security deposit of Rs 100 against the card will also be refunded on surrendering it. Many visitors prefer to carry pre-packed from their homes or hotels because visiting the food kiosk results in not finding a vacant seat. If you intend to attend sessions in continuation then you too can plan on a similar strategy.

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Adding something different- Charlie Chaplin at one of the restaurants inside the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival.

Shopping – Jaipur Literature Festival Bazaar

Since JLF is not purely a literary event, you will find plenty of stalls selling their wares at the venue. Clothes, art pieces, handicraft items are the most popular things to buy in this festival. Before I forget, there is a large bookshop too.

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JLF Bazaar with a variety of handmade things to buy

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Getting back to the Hotel from JLF venue

Do note you might have a problem with fetching taxis once the sessions are over as there is a huge demand for the taxis especially over the weekend. Uber and Ola have in the past offered a discounted tariff for trips to the JLF venue.

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Ola cab booth outside the JLF venue

Surge price is a common situation one encounters with both Uber and Ola apps. You may find yourself in a “No Taxi” situation too. It is safer to leave a little early or pre-book your taxi. Alternatively, you can ask your hotel to arrange your pick up. Other options include finding an auto-rickshaw or e-rickshaw to take you back to the hotel.

Jaipur Literature Festival Music Program & Parties

JLF music programs & parties are held at different locations – Rambagh Palace and Hotel Clarks Amer. JLF music program tickets can be bought online and are not very expensive.

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The musical band performing at Clarks Amer, Jaipur
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Rambagh Palace Hotel Jaipur

The JLF after-parties are by invite only and are meant for the speakers, writers, and celebrities. There is an upgrade program in which you can buy JLF delegate pass and avail access to private areas, lounges, music programs, lunch & dinner which is accessible only to the speakers, media persons, and celebrities.

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Hotel Clarks Amer

Also, read related write-up:  Attending The Jaipur Literature Festival? Your Quick Guide To Explore Jaipur As You Attend JLF

Hope this quick travel guide will help you have a good experience at the Jaipur Literature Festival.

If you liked the post, don’t forget to share it on your social networks.

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149 thoughts on “Your Guide To Survive Jaipur Literature Festival | Tips And Tricks

    1. You should definitely visit JLF if you love literature and listening to eminent personas from across the world. Have you ever attended any other lit fest?

      Like

  1. This is such comprehensive tips and tricks as a book lover I always wished to be attending it but never got a chance.

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    1. Are you a book lover? I’m sure you will love visiting JLF. I know so many book-loving bloggers camping at JLF for all five days. Where are you based, Pooja?

      Like

  2. This is a very informative post-Arv. I have been listening about JLF for many years but just missed out due to confusions. But your post has made all the doubts clear. Hope to attend next year.

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    1. I’m sure you will enjoy JLF, Geethika. Despite some negative publicity of JLF in recent years, I still feel one should attend it at least once and form his or her own opinion.

      Like

  3. What a fabulous event! It is cold here and that kulhadwali chai is so inviting too 🙂 Reading your post and seeing the photos of this event helps us get a glimpse of it. Thanks for sharing

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Then you must visit JLF, Sandhya 😁
      Although this tea is branded as Diggipuri Chai 🍵 by the hotel people. Elsewhere it’s called Pushkar Chai. It’s a Masala Chai. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  4. JLF sounds huge! Almost like a mela with talks, food, shopping bazaar, music festival and even Uber sale! It must be quite an amazing experience. Will you be attending this year?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You got it right. It has become Mela, of late. Some people call it – Jaipur Lifestyle Festival! But despite all this JLF offers something unique – being able to see and hear some of the best writers and personas. Where else can you get this opportunity?
      BTW, JLF takes place in US, UK, and Australia too.
      Yes, I will be attending JLF this year. Last year, I only went once. Later, I heard the sessions live on FB! So you can also do that, Jyoti

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  5. I had been to Jaipur Literature Festival. It is an event worth visiting. Lot of discussion, interaction with authors, purchase books signed by authors, good food (one has to buy them) and great ambience. In the end of Jan when the festival happens, it is great to be in Jaipur. Most important, registration to the festival is free general visitors, which include students. Ofcourse, one can become paid delegate also. Paid delegates have better access to the speakers, authors and guests.

    All the posts written for “Jaipur Thru My Lens” are simply wonderful. The author explains every detail related to Jaipur so exquisitely and so eloquently. It shows his love for the city and anything associated with the city.

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