How to attend the Jaipur Literature Festival

Darbar Hall at JLF

Jaipur Literature Festival or JLF

What is the Jaipur Literature Festival?

Jaipur literature festival or JLF is the largest free literary festival in the world. Over 100,000 people, 250+ writers and journalists show up for the event.

Teamwork Arts does a fantastic job of organizing the event. The staff is polite, educated and is able to deal with the crowds, demanding customers, police and politicians. We’ve been to many events but the quality of the staff like Ankur, Sahil and the owner Sanjoy is remarkable.

Since Teamwork Arts started the event, over 120 copycat events of dubious quality have started around India. This once grassroots event is now the biggest in the world. This is quite an achievement.

How to attend the Jaipur Literature Festival?

Tickets for Jaipur Literature Festival?

You can attend for free! Free registrations close a month before the festival. So, it is wise to register early and online at https://jaipurliteraturefestival.org/.

You can attend as a delegate with privileged access. Buy the delegate experience if you can spend the money. It is worth it for the access, the food, the drinks, the shows and exclusive events around the Jaipur Literature Festival. More about this later in the article.

You can attend as a volunteer
The festival requires over 300 volunteers. They are interviewed and selected after you apply on line. The deadline for application is generally the 31st of October the year before the festival.

Apply here: https://jaipurliteraturefestival.org/zee-jaipur-literature-festival-volunteer-programme/

Where to stay during the Jaipur Literature festival?

Staying at the venue Diggi palace is most convenient but it costs $250/night for two. You can view some of our recommendations for fancy hotels in Delhi on our “what to do in Rajasthan” post.

We also found cheaper options on Airbnb. Book early because the festival attracts a lot of people.

Sharell Cook recommends good places to stay in her article too. You can find a link to them at the bottom of this article.

Are you a budding writer and want to go for the Jaipur Literature festival?

Participate in the essay writing competition to get free access.
https://jaipurliteraturefestival.org/essay-writing-contest/

What to do before or after the Jaipur Literature festival?

You will most likely fly into Delhi to attend the festival or make the festival a part of a longer stay in India.

Take the Delhi Shopping Tour. We offer a 15% discount to Jaipur Literature festival attendees. Please show us your registration email to avail the discount. We can also recommend travel partners and itineraries for the remainder of your stay.

Should you buy the delegate experience for the Jaipur literature festival?

Our answer is a wholehearted yes!

The delegate experience is priced on a sliding scale. This means the more days you buy the delegate pass for, the cheaper it gets.

We recommend buying the pass for 5 days at 23000 INR / USD 325 which is about $65/day or a one day pass at 6000 INR/ 90 USD. The prices are updated every year and listed at https://jaipurliteraturefestival.org/delegate-experience/

The delegate experience is well worth the money. We were able to:

  • Spend time with authors and journalists in an informal setting
  • Enjoy a lavish lunch with drinks at the delegate lounge
  • Enjoy a nice tea break away from the crowds.
  • Get to exclusive events with meals and drinks paid for

It is hard to put a price on the exclusive event at Amer fort arranged by JLF in 2019. We were escorted up all to the way into the Amer fort. We were really well taken care of. We saw amazing music performances and ate good food. We sat in front of the amazingly lit Ganesh Pol at the fort and saw the city of Jaipur lit up at night. It was just about 2000 of us and it felt really exclusive. We spoke with authors and got our books signed. We debated issues where we disagreed with the authors – imagine that!

We also attended the Jaipur music stage and got free drinks and food at the event. The music from Indian ocean and others. It was really nice to get this level of access.

Further, we got preferred seating at Baithak, which is the most intimate / smallest venue at the festival. All in all we highly recommend it because you get two full meals, alcoholic drinks, cocktail hour and access to writers and music events at the festival. Be prepared to spend over 12 hours every day at the festival and after parties. It takes stamina.

One last thing, other writers festivals are far more expensive than JLF. So, if you spend the money on such events, you’ll get the most value for your money at Jaipur Literature Festival.

How to pace yourself at Jaipur Literature festival

If you make peace with the fact that you will miss certain sessions and that you may not be upto all the after parties on all days and you’ll be fine. 

Couple of concrete suggestions:

  1. Eat light at lunch. Rajasthani food is heavy and you are mostly sitting around from 10-6 and then eating more at the dinner events
  2. Drink less. 
  3. Have lots of water

That’s it. 

Other Literature festivals of note

The Ubud Writers Festival

http://www.ubudwritersfestival.com/
Basic tickets start at $50

The Hay Festival

https://www.hayfestival.com/home

Here is the excerpt from their website, “During Hay Festival, entry to the Festival site is free, so everyone can explore and enjoy the cafés, bars, restaurants, exhibitors and shops. All Festival events are ticketed individually and you need to buy a ticket(s) to each event that you wish to attend. Entry to some events is free – but if there is a limited capacity you need to reserve a ticket: this is always indicated in the event listing.”

This seems ludicrously complicated to us since each event is priced between GBP 10- GBP 40.

Useful resources for the Jaipur literature festival

Sharell Cook’s article on the Jaipur Literature festival

Need help with visiting JLF and Delhi?



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