Bhutan to host sev­enth edi­tion of Moun­tain Echoes this year

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Bhutan will cel­e­brate the sev­enth edi­tion of Moun­tain Echoes lit­er­ary fes­ti­val from 26th to 28th of Au­gust this year. This di­verse three day fes­ti­val is uniquely set against the back­drop of the ver­dant Hi­malayas, in the cap­i­tal of Bhutan.

An ini­tia­tive of the In­dia-Bhutan Foun­da­tion in as­so­ci­a­tion with Siyahi, Moun­tain Echoes is a con­flu­ence of art, mu­sic, lit­er­a­ture and news me­dia of both coun­tries, serv­ing as the ideal plat­form for de­bate, dis­cus­sion, and cul­tural ex­change. Its idyl­lic lo­ca­tion and pro­gramme of events makes it one of the most unique lit­er­ary fes­ti­vals and a lead­ing event in the in­ter­na­tional lit­er­ary cal­en­dar.

Set within a coun­try renowned for its sus­tain­able democ­racy and proac­tive stance on ecol­ogy, Moun­tain Echoes will open with a conversation on ‘cli­mate change and its im­pact’ pre­sented by au­thor Ami­tav Ghosh and in­tro­duced by Am­bas­sador Jaideep Sarkar , the In­dian Am­bas­sador.

With sixty per­cent of its land un­der for­est cover, Bhutan is a ver­i­ta­ble par­adise, hailed as one of the green­est coun­tries on the planet. Ac­cord­ing to the ECIU (En­ergy and Cli­mate In­tel­li­gence Unit) Bhutan’s forests ab­sorb three times more CO2 emis­sions than its so­ci­ety cre­ates, mak­ing it not only carbon neu­tral, but carbon neg­a­tive.

In April 2016, tens of thou­sands of Bhutanese marked the birth of His Royal High­ness The Gyalsey Jigme Nam­gyel Wangchuck by plant­ing 108,000 tree saplings, which in Bud­dhist cul­ture sym­bol­izes long life, health, beauty and com­pas­sion. Ear­lier that month Bhutan’s Prime Min­is­ter, Ly­onch­hen Tsh­er­ing Tob­gay, shared his coun­try’s pledge to re­main carbon neu­tral and mis­sion to put hap­pi­ness be­fore eco­nomic growth dur­ing a TED Talk in Canada.

As well as ex­plor­ing con­tem­po­rary issues fac­ing Bhutan to­day, the fes­ti­val will span the coun­try’s full his­tory, with a conversation on the 400th an­niver­sary of the ar­rival of Zhab­drung Ngawang Nam­gyel in Bhutan, the first ruler to unite Bhutan as a sin­gle nation.

Kuenga Wangmo, Ney­phug Trulku and Dasho San­gay Khandu will dis­cuss his jour­ney as un­doubt­edly one of the great­est fig­ures in the his­tory of Bhutan.

Vis­i­tors to Moun­tain Echoes 2016 can also at­tend a va­ri­ety of col­lat­eral events, such as an ex­hi­bi­tion of art­works by the Jogi fam­ily; se­lec­tions from Jogi Art by Tu­lika Ke­dia at the Royal Uni­ver­sity of Bhutan au­di­to­rium and an ex­hi­bi­tion of pho­to­graphs by Sud­hir Kasli­wal, cu­rated by Pramod Ku­mar KG, that cap­tures a vi­brant, liv­ing Ra­jasthan. Good to Great Gasa, a photography ex­hi­bi­tion by Bhutanese pho­tog­ra­pher and Dzongdag of Gasa Dorji Dhrad­hul will also pro­vide view­ers with a glimpse into the his­tory, cul­ture, and nat­u­ral splen­dor of Bhutan’s Gasa re­gion. Some of the pro­ceeds of the ex­hi­bi­tion will go to the Good to Great Gasa Fund.

Work­shops in­clude El­e­ments of a Story: Cre­ative Writ­ing Work­shop by Sonam Wangmo Jha­lani, Brand Build­ing and Ad­ver­tis­ing by Piyush Pandey and Sculpt­ing the Spirit: Yoga Work­shop by Ira Trivedi, plus a spe­cial mu­si­cal per­for­mance by In­dian fu­sion rock band, In­dian Ocean.

Namita Gokhale, Fes­ti­val Di­rec­tor Moun­tain Echoes says, “We are all look­ing for­ward with ea­ger an­tic­i­pa­tion to the sev­enth edi­tion of this ex­quis­ite fes­ti­val. With the high al­ti­tude think­ing in the unique cul­tural cli­mate and rar­efied en­vi­ron­ment of the an­cient king­dom of Bhutan, this is also the world’s youngest democ­racy.”

Tsh­er­ing Tashi, Fes­ti­val Di­rec­tor Moun­tain Echoes says, “What mask dancers are to the Tsechues, au­thors are to the Moun­tain Echoes Tsechue.”

Mean­while, Her Majesty the Royal Queen Mother Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck is the chief Royal pa­tron of Moun­tain Echoes. Namita Gokhale, Pramod Ku­mar KG, Siok Sian Dorji and Tsh­er­ing Tashi are the Fes­ti­val Di­rec­tors. Kun­zang Cho­den, Malvika Singh, Nam­gay Zam, Namita Bhan­dare, Pa­van K Varma and Sonam Jatso are the fes­ti­val ad­vi­sors. Jaypee Group is the ti­tle spon­sors of Moun­tain Echoes 2016, pow­ered by De­part­ment of Tourism, Govern­ment of Ra­jasthan.

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