USHA presents Mountain Echoes Literary Festival 2014


Mountain Echoes Literary Festival, which turns five this year, aims to bring together writers, biographers, historians, environmentalists, scholars, photographers, poets, musicians, artists and film-makers to engage in cultural dialogue, share stories, create memories for  three blissful days in the mountains. An initiative of the India-Bhutan Foundation in association with SIYAHI, the festival is being held between May 22nd -24th in Thimpu Valley. The sessions will be spread across Tarayana Centre, Hotel Taj Tashi, Nehru Wangchuck Cultural Centre and Mojo Park in Thimphu, Bhutan.

The festival is presented by USHA and enjoys the patronage of Her Majesty Queen Mother Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck. Namita Gokhale, Pramod Kumar KG, Kunzang Choden and Siok Sian Dorji are the Festival Directors.

Apart from the literary sessions, film screenings and workshops, open mic and concerts, exhibitions and culinary demonstrations aim to enhance the experience.  Each day begins with traditional and spiritual performances by Bhutanese musicians like Lhamo Dukpa, Ugyen Pandey and Sonam Dorji.

The festival takes off with Her Majesty Queen Mother Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck speaking about the values of compassion in daily life. The tradition of Pema Lingpa and the philosophy of Crazy Wisdom will be explained by Ani Kinley, Dorji Gyeltshen, Dr. Karma Phuntsho, Sonam Jatso, Dasho Kinley Dorji and Karma Choden.

Post elections and new Government formation in May, the challenges to Government and the people in the democratic countries of Bhutan and India will be openly discussed between Pavan K. Varma, Lily Wangchuk, Mihir Sharma, Dago Tshering, Umesh Anand, Kesang Chuki Dorjee and Siddharth Shriram. Singaporean writer Robert Yeo talks about using humour to tackle difficult political issues in his country.

The relationship between man and nature will be explored by Sonam Wangchuk, Rebecca Pradhan, Sangay Wangchuk and Manju Wakhley. Marie Venø Thesbjerg, Passang Passu, Dr. Francoise Pommaret will be in conversation with Siok Sian Dorji about people who inhabit spaces outside of 'mainstream society'.

Namita Gokhale will lead a conversation with Advaita Kala, Navtej Sarna and Namgay Zam on her latest anthology, Travelling In, Travelling Out. The Queen Mother, who is a contributor to this anthology, will also be reading from her story. Join Malvika Singh and Gavin Francis on a journey from New Delhi to the Poles.

Dasho Sangay Wangchug, Lopen Lungtaen Gyatso and Arshia Sattar will bring to life the myths and legends of India and Bhutan. Kjell Ola Dahl, Christopher C. Doyle and Somnath Batabyal discuss the art of the whodunit and the thriller. Reading from their works will be: Anuja Chauhan, Florence Noiville, Navtej Sarna, Pavan K. Varma, Ashok Vajpeyi, Ira Pande and Gavin Francis.

Masterchef Kunal Kapur will discuss his culinary journey and Prabeen Singh will give a demonstration on aphrodisiac food. Rashna Imhasly Gandhy will take the audience on a guided tour of the mind. Change your life with Sujeev Shakya and Christopher C. Doyle as they reveal leadership secrets and the philosophy of Buddha.

For all art lovers, Alka Pande, Sonia Khurrana and Pramod Kumar KG teach you the ABC of Art: Appreciating, Buying and Collecting. There will also be exhibitions showcasing the amalgamation of Bhutanese textile traditions into current fashion trends and artworks by young and upcoming Bhutanese artists.

There will be screenings of a variety of Indian and Bhutanese short films and documentaries. Join for open mic sessions and music concerts by The Baby Boomers, Daydream Farmers, Poisoned Apple and Zhaw and the Ngorigaps.

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