With the Mountain Echoes literary festival’s aim to celebrate the beauties and ideas of the Himalayas, the ninth edition of the festival is set to celebrate five decades of rich cultural ties between India and Bhutan. 

The literary festival begins on August 23 and will end on August 25. 

With the concurrent theme to celebrate the rich history between India and Bhutan, the festival will also host panel discussions and cultural performances. 

As an initiative of the India Bhutan Foundation, the festival would host conversation of the two ambassadors from India and Bhutan with the Director of the Royal Institute for Governance and Strategic Studies, Zimpon Wom Chewang Rinzin, according to a press release from the Mountain Echoes literary festival team. 

The session ‘Treasures of Friendship: 50 years of Bhutan-India ties’ would chronicle the journey of the bond between the two nations and how it has strengthened over the years. 

According to the press release, the third day of the festival would hold a roundtable on film ‘Moving Images: Crossover Narratives’ at Taj Tashi. The film would have experts from Indian and Bhutanese film industry discuss the shifts in storytelling formats in both countries. 

Renowned Indian actors and theatre veterans Naseeruddin Shah and Ratna Pathak Shah are to join and explore the state of film-making, and newer formats of storytelling in the two countries. 

Notable names from the Bhutanese film industry such as actress Tandin Bidha; director Chencho Dorji; Dechen Roder, the co-founder and organiser of Bhutan’s first film festival Beskop; actor, musician and journalist, Tshechu Kunga Tenzin Dorji; and former jury chairperson for Film Association of Bhutan, Druksel Dorji will join the discussion. 

Members of the International Film Festival of India, film and media curator L Somi Roy and Vani Tripathi Tikoo would also join the roundtable. 

As a tribute to the cultural bond shared by the two countries, the festival will have Royal Academy of Performing Arts (RAPA) dancers perform during all three days at the festival at Royal University of Bhutan. 

The press release stated that the performance ‘Melody of Friendship’ by students of RAPA will trace the journey from Buddhist roots. The performance will also feature ‘Song of Enduring Friendship’, composed by author and current chief librarian at the National Library of Bhutan, Gyonpo Tshering.  

The mountain echoes literary festival is also set to have two prominent art exhibitions – the ‘Colours of Nature by Green Pigment’ and ‘Tree of Life: The Tree of Immortality’ at the Royal Textile Academy in Thimphu, Bhutan starting tomorrow.

Key themes at this year’s edition include Environment and Wildlife, Spirituality and Buddhism, and Food Traditions among others.

Phurpa Lhamo