Mountain Echoes 2012 explores and celebrates the literary traditions and cultural nuances of both India and Bhutan.

It's springtime in Bhutan and the Land of the Thunder Dragon is gearing up to host one of the fastest growing literary festivals in the world. Mountain Echoes is an annual literary and cultural festival set in the serene surroundings of Bhutan. An initiative by the India- Bhutan Foundation, in association with Siyahi, Mountain Echoes is an attempt to share the rich culture and many myths, legends and folklore of the Himalayan region, while soaking up the best of literature.

The focus is to explore and celebrate the literary traditions and cultural nuances of India and Bhutan. The festival promises to be invigorating and thought-provoking, with a line up of literary discussions, story-telling, photography exhibitions, contemporary dance performances, stand-up comedy and travel and environment writing by some illustrious and well known names.

The three-day festival will be hosted at three venues at Thimphu: the Tarayana Centre, the Taj Tashi and the Nehru Wangchuck Centre. Her Majesty Queen Mother Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck is the Chief Royal Patron. “The festival brings together the common threads of culture, literature, music, art and tradition between the two countries. We try every year to make the festival more holistic, and give it a contemporary spin. This year, we have a lot of cinema, travel and environment writing and a host of other activities planned that will attract everyone, not just booklovers. The two countries have a lot to share, and its the festivals attempt to provide that platform” says Mita Kapur of Siyahi The festival was conceptualised by His Excellency Pavan K. Varma, Ambassador to Bhutan. Namita Gokhale and Pramod Kumar KG are the programme directors. The programme reflects the popularity of contemporary and popular culture in Thimpu.

Some events include a talk by Vikram Seth on The Rivered Earth; “Bolo Bollywood” by Mushtaq Shiekh, Vishal Bhardwaj in conversation with Tisca Chopra; “A Life In Poetry” by Javed Akhtar in conversation with Mushtaq Shiekh; “Remembering Satyajit Ray” by Sharmila Tagore in conversation with Shantanu Ray Chaudhuri; “Once Upon A Hill” by Kalpana Swaminathan and Ishrat Syed and “Bhutanese Cinema On The Move” by Tsokye Tsomo Karchung, Thukten Yeshi, Phuntsok Rabten in conversation with Kelly Dorji. The festival will also see the launch of Mishi Saran's new book, The Other Side of Light, as well as a concertBy Eka.

A perfect excuse to visit this beautiful country.

Mountain Echoes 2012; May 20 to 23, Tarayana Foundation, Taj Tashi and Nehru Wangchuck Centre, Thimphu.