A book village in India. You read that right!
And its doors will be open for everyone, starting today (May 4)! You also read that right.
By the time you read this, the village will have already been rechristened as ‘Pustakache Gaav’. Set in the tiny hamlet of Bhilar in Satara district of Maharashtra, a place that is already famous for its strawberries, the book village was inaugurated by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
Inspired by ‘Hay on Wye’ in England, a Welsh town known for its book stores and literature festivals, the concept of ‘Pustakache Gaav’ was introduced two years back by the state’s Education Minister Vinod Tawde, to bring back the culture of reading.
The famous Hay-on-Wye book village. Source: Wikimedia
Undertaken by the Marathi Bhasha department, the project covers 25 locations in the village that were converted into libraries. These include three temples, two schools, several houses and homestays! Each one of these places has around 400 to 450 books.
Around 15,000 books are just waiting for the bibliophile in you!
And if you think it’s just another place that ‘sells’ books, think again. All the locations have been reportedly provided with chairs and glass cupboards by the state government to provide an amazing reading experience. And beanbags. Beat that!
There is something more to the book village! All the 25 locations have been artistically decorated reflecting various genres pertaining to each location. Close to some 75 artists were invited by the state government to render their creativity at the premises, covering themes like literature, poetry, religion, women and children, history, environment, folk literature, biographies and autobiographies to festival specials.
While there are plans to hold literary festivals in the village during summers, keeping in mind the influx of tourists to Panchgani and Mahabaleshwar, the neighbouring hill stations, the state government has also planned on organising regular school excursions for students across Maharashtra. This will give the younger generation an opportunity to spend some quality time in the company of the books help them rediscover the gems of literature from the days bygone.
By the way, all the books in Bhilar are available to read, for absolutely no charge! Anybody can pick up a book of their choice and read is for as long as they want, and keep it back for others.