Stars and sequins

Cycle under water. Meet authors at the beach. Party with fire-eaters. Here’s a guide to India’s three coolest new festivals. Where are you headed next?

September 06, 2017 04:38 pm | Updated 08:42 pm IST

Wonderflip Circus

When: November 9 to 12

Where: Khempur, Rajasthan

Khempur, a little known village in Rajasthan, is currently on its way to fame, preparing for a carnival, or as the organisers insist on calling it — “a circus.” Titled Wonderflip, the event is a combination of music, art, performance and magic.

“Wonderflip is a truly immersive festival, where we encourage people to participate in all that’s happening around them. There will be feats by acrobats, jugglers, magicians, dancers... We want to bring to life the lost experience of attending a circus with The Room of Reflections and Illusions, The Well of Death, The Tree of Wishes among others,” says Aliya Rashid, creator of the concept from Festival People.

Wonderflip will have two stages: The Marquee, with live bands, and the Big Top, for DJs, where aerial circus acts will also take place.

The line-up this year includes Patrice Baumel, Frankey & Sandrino, Eagles and Butterflies, Atmos, Ankytrixx, Bullzeye, 8-Bit Culprit, Gipsy Sound Revolution, Gaudi and Gaurav Raina; one half of the Midival Punditz will also be performing solo as Grain.

Guests are encouraged to dress up, buy circus looks, become part of the art and performances by getting on stage. Anyone can perform here — be it reciting a poem, mimicry, dance... just about anything you want to showcase.

The set-up will have cutting-edge art installations; specially commissioned pieces designed by India’s leading artists, fashion designers and studios.

The idea is to position it as a destination holiday where people gather, eat, drink and enjoy the outdoors — 14 acres of forest and farmland that’s a 45-minute drive from Udaipur. (By the way, the Ravla Khempur Haveli here is also the venue where The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel was shot.)

There are three options to stay at the campsite, which by the way, also offers lots of games and activities. There are full-service luxury tents, with two or three-beds and attached bathrooms. A dome tent campsite where people can rent a two-person tent. And finally, for the do-it-yourself brigade, so you can bring your own tent, set it up and party.

Entry Ticket only: ₹10,500 + GST

2 Tickets + 2 Person Luxury Tent Stay Package (for 3 nights): ₹23,750 per person + GST

3 Tickets + 3 Personal Luxury Tent Stay Package (for three 3 nights): 20,800/ person + GST

2 Tickets + 2 Person Dome Tent: 16,500/ person + GST

1 Ticket + Pitch your own tent: 13,000/ person + GST

The festival is open to people aged 21 and above. For details, log on to www.

Priyadarshini Paitandy

Books on the Beach

When: November 10 to 12

Where: Kovalam, Kerala

Here is a festival that places travellers, readers, writers and all those in love with the written word on the same page. Books on the Beach opens a new chapter for the seaside town of Kovalam. It promises to bring some of the most happening contemporary writers in India to the palm-fringed Kovalam beach, from November 10 to 12. Organised by India Book Foundation, a non-profit organisation, and supported by Kerala Tourism, Books on the Beach envisages a lit-fest that goes beyond the calendar of a conventional literary festival, with its readings and interactions with authors. “It is part of the grand scheme to position Kerala as a destination for contemporary arts, literature, cinema and so on in addition to traditional arts,” says Venu V, Principal Secretary, Department of Tourism.

“Literature has real value. It appeals to a more discerning audience. The Hay Festival here a few years ago was a huge success and led to increased awareness of Kerala, thanks to word-of-mouth. It is time we established a durable institution that showcases Thiruvananthapuram and Kerala as a place of ideas and culture. But a lit-fest is not for visitors alone; it will also further energise the already vibrant reading culture in the State,” states Shashi Tharoor, patron and guide of the festival and Member of Parliament from Thiruvananthapuram.

The festival hopes to celebrate good writing and different voices. The plan is to continue the affair with reading by creating a Books on the Beach Book Club to organise reading sessions and conduct workshops in schools and colleges. “Firstly, international festivals brand cities, and help them find a prominent place on the global cultural map, driving both economic development and socio-cultural progress. Secondly, we believe in the need to go back to reading and writing — to the cognitive relevance of the word — in a highly digitised world,” says Sabin Iqbal, the key person behind India Book Foundation, the main organiser of the festival.

Poet K Satchidanandan, Tishani Doshi, Deepak Unnikrishnan, Pakistani author Sabyn Javeri and Guyanese-American writer Gaiutra Bahadur are some of the wordsmiths attending the book festival.

Saraswathy Nagarajan

Underwater Festival

When: September 10

Where: Pune, Maharashtra

Pockmarked with hills, trails, pubs and breweries, and home to a thriving theatre scene, Pune is at once the bedrock of both adventure and culture, as well as of the aspirational “fast” lifestyle. The multi-faceted city is now gearing up for its second — and India’s third — underwater festival, set to wow on September 10. Organised by FinKick Adventures, a scuba diving centre based in Pune and Mumbai, Underwater Festival 2017 celebrates the spirit of inclusiveness and the wealth of underwater biodiversity. It features events like underwater hockey, an underwater photobooth, diving games, slackline, showcases and more. “We want to sample exactly what the people are looking for, before taking the event to real marine locations,” says Ankit Saboo, FinKick co-founder. But for now, the festival will be sticking to poolside venues. The 2017 fest will be held at the Divisional Sports Complex, Yerwada. The USP of this event is that it’s open to everybody, from trained and certified divers, to laymen, to physically-challenged enthusiasts. While some of the cooler events are, understandably, restricted to experts, there is something there for everyone.

Saboo’s partner, Kshitij Mittal, is a trained diving instructor, “One of the country’s few specially-abled diving instructors,” says Saboo, adding, “He has been trained to instruct people with physical disabilities in diving. He is in charge of the events meant for them. We see water as a highly equalising medium.”

Visitor pass: Underwater photography + exhibitions + diving trips showcases – ₹100

Underwater Pass (ages 10+ only): Underwater playground + underwater hockey + dive games + free diving – ₹2,750

10% off on group bookings

To check which events you are eligible for, check www.

Meghna Majumdar

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