The festival attracts participants from across the globe Credit: File image

Guwahati: After the nine successful editions, the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan is all set to host the 10th edition of ‘Mountain Echoes: Bhutan Festival of Art, Literature and Culture’ in capital city Thimphu from August 22 to 25.

The venues for the festival this year are India House (inaugural), Royal University of Bhutan, Hotel Taj Tashi, City Cinema, Clock Tower and Mojo Park.

The theme for this edition of Mountain Echoes is ‘Many lives: Many Stories’. These can be stories of a traveller, a spiritual leader, tales of a celebrated river, a civilisation, a venerated mountain; each one of them with elements that make this pursuit meaningful. The festival will welcome about 80 writers, thinkers, filmmakers, academicians and cultural icons from Bhutan, India and across the globe.

The programming for this edition is especially exciting as it extends to not just sessions, but also workshops, film screenings, open mic, cultural performances, hip-hop, and a music concert by bands from India and Bhutan.

The festival is an initiative of the India-Bhutan Foundation and enjoys the patronage of the royal queen Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck and also includes Jaypee Group, Siyahi, a Jaipur-based literary agency headed by Mita Kapur and is known for bringing together literary stalwarts from across the world in the lap of the Himalayas. Festival directors include known literary names from the sector such as Namita Gokhale, Pramod Kumar KG, Tshering Tashi and Kelly Dorji.

Festival co-director Kelly Dorji, who is also an actor, artist and travel facilitator, said, “As Mountain Echoes turns 10, this year’s edition is very special as our theme encompasses ‘many lives’ and extend to more mediums and cultural activities. I am especially excited to see so many Bhutanese contribute their talents to this year’s festival.”

Visitors get to experience rich Bhutanese culture during the three-day festival

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“As Mountain Echoes returns for its 10th edition, my thoughts return to all these years of joy, inspiration and collaborative learnings with readers and writers from Bhutan, India, and around the world. It has been a transformative process to have been associated with Mountain Echoes from the very start, and to share perspectives on writing, poetry, music and life learnings from across the Himalayas and beyond,” said founder and co-director of Mountain Echoes and celebrated author Namita Gokhale.

The festival will also witness Indian speakers, including Venerable Kabir Saxena, founder and director of Root Institute for Wisdom Culture and a monk since 2002; principal economic advisor to the Government of India Sanjeev Sanyal; and Shivya Nath, author of the bestselling travel memoir The Shooting Star, along with other prominent names from various disciplines.

Confirmed international speakers attending the festival include Xyza Bacani, a Filipina documentary photographer based in Hong Kong; Neil Mac Gregor, director of the National Gallery, London (1987-2002) and director of the British Museum (2002-2015); and Australian digital rockstar, Toby Walsh, professor of Artificial Intelligence at the University of New South Wales and Data61; among others.

Eminent Bhutanese personalities from different spheres such as Lt Col Kesang Choeden (retd), the founder of Chuniding Food, an organic and heritage food enterprise; Khenpo Karchung, a monk and a Sanskrit teacher at Tago Dorden Tashithang Buddhist University; Lopen Lungtaen Gyatso, president of the College of Language and Culture Studies, and the pro-vice chancellor of Royal University of Bhutan; author Chador Wangmo and technology entrepreneur, finance and economics writer, marketing strategist Sonam Pelden, along with other renowned names, will be holding sessions on various subjects during the festival.

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