Attributes: Heritage, Weekend Getaway, Around the City
The month of May added a new item on every reader’s bucket list, right at the top! Thanks to an excellent initiative by Government of Maharashtra, the state can now boast of “India’s first Book Village”. The project aims to make it a tourist hub, unlike other while promoting Marathi language.
A village named Bhilar, situated in the lap of hill stations Panchgani and Mahableshwar, has turned into a book-readers paradise. With a population of 10,000 hosting more than 15,000 books, Bhilar has the highest per-capital availability of books. Entire village has turned into a huge library.
Within a month’s time, Bhilar has become a “Pustakanche Gaon”. Readers have the liberty to choose from a wide range of fiction and non-fiction books. Categories include Novels, Literature, Science, History, Sports, Women-oriented, Travel, Comic and Children’s collection. Most books available right now are in Marathi language, however, local administration has announced of adding Hindi and English languages in due time.
After a serene drive through Panchgani, a huge map welcomes us at the entrance of the village. As we move through the village, we see large graffiti and designs on different walls. They indicate the genre of the books available in that house, school or temple.
Any reader can walk into any of the 25 locations, pick a book of his choice and read it for free. The locals offer refreshments for an additional price, if required. As the place is popular for Strawberry farming, one can read while munching on strawberries. This makes it a unique combination too.
Although the concept is not new to the world, it has been a talking point amongst locals, tourists and administration alike. If you like to surround yourself with a world full of books, this is the place!
Author and Picture Credit: Rishikesh Lokapure
Address:41 KM towards west from District head quarters Satara