There comes a point when the art of writing simply cannot flourish in the middle of an urban chaos. Especially, if you are waiting to get your hands on completing that book you started but never finished, or the connecting pieces of the memoir that you have written half-way aren’t hitting the spot. An urge to get away for some days begins to surface, clear the mental fog, prompt creative and well-written lines. Fortunately, scenic, writer-only stays, that are known to rekindle the drooped literary senses, dot different parts of India and provide their occupants with the best from their breathtaking surroundings. Locations that are perfect to lose out the dreary exhaustions of city-life, meander through dwindling little roads, and reconnect with your manuscript or even start a new one, house some of the best writers’ retreats of the Country, and here’s a list:
I. Art Ichol - Madhya Pradesh
A curated getaway for every creative mind, Art Ichol - in the peaceful hills of Maihar in Madhya Pradesh - is the perfect place to work on every type of masterpiece. Though there are a lot of artists currently resideing at the heritage home, their Writer’s Cottage, Amariya is available for those looking for a secluded spot away from the masses. On the banks of the river Tamas you can take your work outdoors and set up shop on a hammock (if you dare) to pen your great novel in the midst of unparalleled beauty.
II. Himalayan Writer’s Retreat - Uttarakhand
There are plenty artist’s retreats across the country for people looking for the perfect working getaway but one of our favourites is the Himalayan Writing Retreat which lies nestled amid the foothills of the great mountains themselves. The retreat was started by Chetan Mahajan, a self-termed ‘accidental author’. After being set up as the fall guy in a case of corporate fraud, he was imprisoned for a month in the town of Bokaro in Jharkand. There are two main events at the retreat, The Himalayan Writing Weekend and the Himalayan Writer’s Retreat each curated for the level of assistance you may need.
The retreat is the brainchild of writer and editor Tara Khandelwal, who has previously also conceptualised Paper House – a Himalayan writers’ retreat, which featured mentors like Sahitya Akademi award-winner Janice Pariat, novelist and spoken-word artist Priyanka Menon and the co-founder of Terribly Tiny Tales Chintan Ruparel.
IV. Panchgani Writers Retreat - Panchgani
Set amid the rolling Sahyadri range, the Panchgani Writers Retreat is a haven to stimulate creativity and get rid of that writers’ block. The setting of the retreat is perfect to spend that much-coveted time with your writing and reading: the accommodation is a beautiful bungalow stay with tasteful, handmade furniture and furnishings, all concealed by abundant greenery. Pick your spot to sit and write endlessly – somewhere cosy inside the room, or a refreshing exterior location by the pool. Home-cooked meals and high tea are provided, not to mention the warm hospitality that you receive throughout an immersive writing experience. The Retreat also hosts optional poetry workshops and memoir writing workshops, in case you are looking for an external literary stimulus. To stir physical and spiritual well-being, you can also opt for their reviving yoga and meditation sessions hosted by professionals, as constructive breaks from the writing binge. Hosted annually around October/ November, the Retreat is your chance to experience the cool Sahyadri wind beckoning your writer’s spirit.
V. Preet Nagar - Punjab
Preet Nagar was known during Pre-independance era as a creative meeting point. With Gurbaksh Singh at the helm, the publication Preet Lari was founded here in 1933, with its name literally translating into ‘linked through love’. Renowned Punjabi, Hindi and Urdu writers, artists and intellectuals would frequent the township, for it truly showcased composite Indian culture bereft of British influence, at the time. Today they continue the tradition in grand style by providing a safe space for artists, writers and musicians in search of a safe have to practice their craft.
VI. Sangam House - Bangalore
In Sanskrit, Sangam literally translates to ‘going together’. The ethos behind Sangam House is to bring writers from the world over to a single space in order to facilitate the birth of new ideas. This is intended as a safe platform for published writers who haven’t yet achieved the level of acclaim to which they aspire. They aim to house writers of all cultures, religions and beliefs as they believe that ‘broadens the scope of each individual’s work’. This unique environment is one for the free-thinking intellectual in search of new experiences, friendships, and inspiration.
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