Jaipur Literature Festival or JLF is considered to be one of the must attend events in Jaipur. While this four day event witnesses participation from number of national and international literary figures, it is also attended by a huge crowd coming from nearby cities that make traveling to Jaipur impossible.
The ambience of Diggi Palace, the host venue of the event, energetic crowd and mind blowing musical performances make for some of the reasons why you should attend Jaipur literature festival. At the same time, this event fails to provide impression of the Pink City that a traveler should have. If you are exploring Rajasthan and your Jaipur visit dates coincide with Literature Festival then it is recommended that you change your travel plans, skip Jaipur and move on towards Pushkar, Bharatpur, Agra or Delhi.
Fun fact: The prime areas of Delhi (Hauj Khas Village, Greater Kailash, Khan Market, etc.) are absolutely empty during the JLF.
The utter annoyance that I went through during this event made me write this blog. Here are some reasons that will convince you not to visit Pink City during Jaipur Literature Festival.
Overpriced Hotels – I happened to be in Jaipur during the 2018 edition of Jaipur literature festival because I had to change a train to Jaisalmer. After booking my hostel, I realized that I just paid INR 500 for the bed that costs INR 250 during off season. Worse, the events go till 11:00 PM and once the people start returning, they kill the sleep for every guest who just wants to rest after a tiring day of city visit.
Crowded places of sightseeing – What happens when a city known for its beautiful forts, glorious sunrise and amazing palaces is visited by 10000 so called literature loving enthusiasts? Well, when they are not at Literature Festival they are busy exploring the city. So if a simpleton like you wants to visit Nahargarh Fort or Amer Fort, then be ready to bear a huge crowd taking selfies. The crowd is so huge that even at 8 PM Nahargarh keeps bustling with tourists. On normal days the fort usually goes empty after the sunset.
Traffic jams and diversions make it worse – Because Literature Festival is a huge event and Diggi Palace’s location is at one of the important areas of the city, you’ll end up being victim of the incredible traffic jam leading towards Pink City, Hawa Mahal and Amer Fort. Traffic is suddenly diverted and don’t be surprised when your auto rikshaw or cab takes a longer route than what Google Maps suggests because the shorter route is closed.
Getting into the venue is itself a huge task – Now when you are in Jaipur during an event that may have invited one of your favourite authors, how can you not pay a visit. Well, the crowded entrance, food stalls and the auditoriums will suggest you otherwise. There is no place to move, you’ll have to push people to make way and if you want to hear your favourite author then prepare yourself to go through hundreds of other people who are just around to click photographs.
You’ll not want to compete with the Instagram crazy people – Hawa Mahal is a confined space with a small passage to walk. Naharagarh Fort has edges from where people can fall and get seriously injured. There is one beautiful door at City Palace and Albert Hall requires a great deal of patience to see and observe. Do you know what happens to these beautiful places during JLF? Well they all turn into selfie booths. People make a huge line in front of the City Palace gate, take a selfie at every window and jharokha of Hawa Mahal and the daredevils will stand on the edges of Naharagh Fort to show how high they are. Well, why would you want to be around a crowd like this?
Last minute train/bus/hotel booking is almost impossible – For those who travel without a plan and make impromptu decisions, it is impossible to get a train booking to or from Jaipur. A lot of JLF attendees make plans for Jodhpur and Jaisalmer and they book their tickets in advance. If you are traveling from Delhi then you’ll be facing this problem a day or two before JLF starts. However, the trains will be almost empty as usual during the dates of festival. Getting a last minute booking in hotels or hostel is impossible and even if you do, be ready to pay a hefty amount.
Since Jaipur Literature Festival falls during the peak tourist season of Rajasthan, it is not surprising that you’ll end up being a victim of these issues. Next year, when you are planning a trip to Rajasthan, check the dates, confirm that you are not in Jaipur or even around during this festival because trust me, you’ll miss the real essence of The Pink City that this festival destroys.