Jaipur Lit Fest
Artists perform during the Jaipur Literature Festival at Diggi Palace in Jaipur on 21 January, 2015.IANS

The eighth edition of the Jaipur Literature Festival got off to a dazzling start on Wednesday with an array of authors, poets, Nobel Laureates along with some Bollywood stars making their way to the pink city to take part in one of Asia's biggest literary gathering.

Vasundhara Raje, the Rajasthan CM, inaugurated the five-day event and indulged in a bit of nostalgia by recalling the origins of the festival in 2006, reports India Today.

"When I came first to the festival there were around 40 people and last year it recorded a footfall of over two lakh people. The world is so fast-paced and it is through intellectual gatherings like this one [sic] can restore sanity, plug into other people and believe that there is a possibility of change," he said.

About 300 speakers from various fields are expected to speak on a series of issues ranging from the global economic crisis to gender equality and other matters relating to literature, art and films.

The main event is being hosted at the Diggi Palace, while other venues including Amer Fort, Hawa Mahal, Narain Niwas and Clarks Amer have also been roped in.

Sanjoy Roy, the festival producer, welcomed the "plurality of voices" at the grand event.

"Authors do not write because they have a right of violation, they do not write necessarily to please someone... For them it's important to put their thoughts on paper for a better tomorrow.

"Plurality of voices holds importance in countries like ours where there is great inequity and the only way to bring out equity and progress is by sharing knowledge, vision and education," Roy said.

Festival Director Namita Gokhale, calling the festival an annual literary pilgrimage, said that the event had truly come of age since its debut in Neemrana.

"It's now celebrated as an annual journey of literature and critical thinking. The deliberations upon changing society, changing patterns and changing world have transformed the way south Asian literature is viewed across the world," Ms Gokhale said.

Former President APJ Abdul Kalam, actor Naseeruddin Shah, playwright Girish Karnad and Nobel laureate VS Naipaul are few of the participants lined up for the LitFest.