facebook icon twitter icon youtube iconinstagram icon

Home About Contact Press

Explore: Photoessay

By Divyanshu Dutta Roy
Held in Jaipur, Rajasthan, the Indian city known for its pink and princely architecture, people of all kinds descend here during the third week of January to make the Jaipur Literature Festival what it is.
Not only is it Asia’s largest free festival of its kind with hundreds of authors and thousands of visitors, it is also India’s largest congregation of intelligentsia and selfie connoisseurs.

JLF Images

If you attended any of the recent iterations of India’s best-known literary fest, chances are your day began with the famed Diggipuri ki Chai. Shankar and two of his friends serve you the signature masala tea starring black pepper, cloves, cardamoms and ginger, that is even sworn by a few as the “best tea in world”.

JLF Images

Oh and the ladies you bought the coupons for the tea or quick bites from? They were the people who own the sprawling Diggi Palace – the venue for Jaipur Literary Festival in the heart of the Pink City. Sandhya Singh Diggi and Rajmata Diggi are of the royal family who believe in hospitality so much they do not outsource the responsibility and take great pride in taking care of the guests.

JLF Images

But the bustling festival itself, now one of the most eagerly anticipated events in the calendar of writers and readers alike, would hardly get past the online registration stage without its foot-soldiers. And they are the team of around 350 volunteers – mostly college students from all over the country who pour in for the experience of witnessing the frenzy from within.

JLF Images

However, specialist help is always required and so online ticketing website Kyazoonga sends a team of around 30 people to take care of the registration and validation. Participants are assigned barcoded passes which are scanned on every entry and that data is used to count footfalls and track the sea of people coming in.

JLF Images

All the sessions of JLF are filmed for webcasting, TV and the on-site screens. This year, around 60 people and 26 cameras from Teamwork – the event organising company, and 20 people from TV network Zee – the title sponsors of JLF, kept a close watch on the festival.

JLF Images

Behind every stage, three separate teams of video producers, audio engineers and cyber experts keep the show running, the feeds rolling and the social media doing its usual cartwheels.

JLF Images

Backstage, authors and speakers such as Jenny Uglow and Simon Singh have only a few minutes to sum up their thoughts before they are introduced on stage in front of an eager audience to talk about anything from politics to astrophysics.

JLF Images

Authors like Sam Miller who are done with their talks find themselves enjoying the rest of the festival and obliging to requests for photographs and autographs from fans.

JLF Images

All of this happens under the watch of some 175 police officers, who keep the crowds from running berserk when a Bollywood actress or a former President show up.

JLF Images

And then there is the team of 30 cleaners who keep the trash from going berserk. Rarely noticed, Pramod and his colleagues keep picking up callously dropped packets and plates and grounds as clean as they can.

JLF Images

But the festival of course would be half of what it is without its people. And that includes the hyperventilating horde of readers hanging around to hear their favourite author speak or the crowd who come in for a picnic.

JLF Images

But perhaps the most hard-working are the people visiting the Jaipur Literature Festival – the country’s premier hangout for the who’s who of books and beyond – to click a selfie. Travelling from the furthest corners of India, they carry multi-megapixel phones, increasingly longer selfie-sticks and even queue up behind ‘Selfie Booths’ at sponsor stalls to get clicked in January’s hottest geography.





Sunder Nursery, New Delhi

Sunder Nursery, New Delhi: Photo Essay

Just opposite the UNESCO heritage site of Humayun's tomb in Delhi is a botanical marvel - Sunder nursery. We walk you through this recently restored green paradise.

Uttam Nagar Potters Colony

Uttam Nagar Potter's Colony: Photo Essay

India's largest potters colony can be found in Uttam Nagar in Delhi. More than four hundred potters play with earth and fire here. Sanvi Bhatia, our eight year old correspondent brings the story.

Humayuns Tomb Cover image

Humayun's Tomb: Photo Essay

Delhi has witnessed some monsoon kisses and the monuments look washed and are smiling again. The newly renovated Humayun's tomb is the perfect heritage spot to step back into time. View

Cannes Film Festival Cover image

Cannes Film Festival: Photo Essay

Every year in May people from the cinema world throng the city of Cannes for the most coveted festival. Deals and Drama make the city a fantasy land. View

Anokhi image

Anokhi Museum of Hand Printing: Photo Essay

Each region in Rajasthan has years of association with hand block printing. Kind of Dyes and the blocks used change with every mile. This has now been meticulously documented at the Anokhi museum. View

Serendipity Store image

Serendipity Store, Delhi: Photo Essay

Delhi is a study in contrasts, one moment you are walking on a dirt road and the next you are sitting in a cool cafe with polished marble floors. Serendipity, the concept store is a bit like that - while you are navigating through chaos you suddenly come face to face with this charming "Haveli". Read More.


For A While, Himachal


Societe Naturelle


Sunder Nursery, New Delhi


Madan Meena


Jamini Design, Paris Zo Fidji


CW Pencil Enterprise



Travel Contest image




- Eat

- Stay

- Explore

- Art

- Design

- Offbeat

- Postcard

- Contests


- Video

- Photo

- Writing

- All Content


- Who We are

- Contact Us

- Press


facebook icon twitter icon youtube icon instagram icon

Sign up to our newsletter