The first day of the 10th edition Mountain Echoes saw charged dialogues and conversations happen in Thimphu yesterday.
Chief Royal Patron of Mountain Echoes, Her Majesty the Queen Mother Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck graced the opening ceremony.
“The journey that we have travelled in the last 10 years have brought us to this level of caring, sharing, and interacting with our hearts, words, and deeds,” said Her Majesty.
Zooming in on the theme, “Many Lives, Many Stories’, Her Majesty paid tribute to her late father Yab Dasho Ugyen Dorji, who, she said inspired values and visions in Her and Her siblings.
Reminiscing on the life story and times through which late Yab Dasho Ugyen Dorji toiled tirelessly, Her Majesty remembered Yab as a loving father to their Majesties. “My father was skilled, hard-working, visionary, and was a pioneer in the landscape of entrepreneurship in Bhutan.”
The first day saw huge crowd at Royal University of Bhutan hall. The talks circled around the legacy of the Wangchuck Dynasty, Buddhism and spirituality, Bhutan’s digital journey, journey of a common bird species, Ruddy Shelduck, graphic imagination and expression through comic writing.
The audience had choice to switch venue according to their topics of interest. In Taj Tashi, ancient form of storytelling, modern literature, entrepreneurship and start-up stories, among others, were discussed.
Artists from Bhutan and India performed in between the talks to entertain and educate on the folksongs and modern dances. Towards the evening, Bhutanese music was showcased in Clock Tower, jointly organised by M-studio and Mrigya.
About 80 speakers and performers came from different parts of the world with different stories to narrate, perspectives on spiritual education, art of cinematic storytelling, and engaging stories on food, fashion, wellness and business.
On August 22, Her Majesty formally inaugurated the festival with the traditional lighting of the lamp ceremony.
Ambassador of India to Bhutan, Ruchira Kamboj, Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering, and festival director Pramod Kumar KG attended a launch in India House, Thimphu.
At the opening ceremony, Her Majesty said that Mountain Echoes brought about a better understanding and bonding between Bhutan and India through friendship.
“This festival has played a significant role for understanding each others’ cultures. Beyond being a platform for young Bhutanese to showcase their talents, I believe the festival encourages them to unearth their skills in the arts and literature,” Her Majesty said.
Festival Producer and CEO of Siyahi, Mita Kapur said that away from the humdrum of daily lives, Mountain Echoes offered a unique platform for language and literature unhindered by the other worlds.
Mountain Echoes is an initiative of India-Bhutan friendship in association with Siyahi.