Bhutan to host seventh edition of Mountain Echoes this year
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.