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Uttarakhand’s first cultural and literary festival, Varta was inaugurated today by the Honorable Chief Minister, Shri. Pushkar Singh Dhami. The festival will run from August 18 to August 20, 2023. This groundbreaking event promises to showcase the rich cultural tapestry of Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, and the Union Territories of Jammu, Kashmir, and Ladakh. Honorable ministers, Shri Satpal ji Maharaj, Minister of Culture and Tourism, and Dr. Dhan Singh Rawat, Minister of Education also graced the occasion. 

Varta festival has been conceptualized by national-award-winning nonprofit, Millennium India Education Foundation and Peerbagh. The event is co-hosted with Sahakar Bharati. The festival closed yesterday with felicitations and an author chat with DGP, Uttarakhand, Mr. Ashok Kumar.

Awards and Honors

School Winners: 67 school teams with ~400 students participated in 6 creative competitions for school children organized over 3 days. Here are the winning teams.

  1. Inter-school Flash Fiction
    • Group A (grade 6-8):
      • 1st prize, Jadon Thomas Dommen, Krist Jyoti Public School
      • 2nd prize, Arush Chandel, Summer Valley School
      • 3rd prize, Dhwani Vishnu, Doon World School
    • Group B (grade 9-10):
      • 1st prize, Akshita Rawat, Himalayan Public School
      • 2nd prize, Jaine Khandari, Krist Jyoti Public School
      • 3rd prize, Komal Lehtwar, Fylfot Public School
  2. Inter-school painting competition
    • Group A (grade 4-5)
      • 1st prize, Manasmita Singh, Pestle Weed School
      • 2nd prize, Aviral Verma, Fylfot school
      • 3rd prize, Kristesh Saklani, Himalayan Public School
    • Group B (grade 6-8)
      • 1st prize, Hassan, Krist Jyoti Public School
      • 2nd prize, Lilinda, Doon International School
      • 3rd prize, Riddhi, Gurunanak Public School
    • Group C (grade 9-10)
      • 1st prize, Dishika Ravi, Sant Kabir Public School
      • 2nd prize, Gargi Chithori, Himalayan Public School
      • 3rd prize, Ansh Farash, Saint Xavier’s Public School
  3. Inter-school poster making competition
    • 1st prize, Pragya Parmitanag, Sant Kabir School
    • 2nd prize, Ritika Kumari, Sunrise Academy
    • 3rd prize, Harshit, Fylfot Public School
  4. Inter-school group folk song competition
    • 1st prize, Himalayan Public School
    • 2nd prize, Sant Kabir Public School
    • 3rd prize, Guru Nanak International Public School
  5. Inter-school group folk dance competition
    • 1st prize, Himalayan Public School
    • 2nd prize, Saint Xavier’s School
    • 3rd prize, Universal Academy
  6. Inter-school skit competition
    • 1st prize, Sai Baba International School
    • 2nd prize, Fylfot Public School

College/University Competitions: Over 62 college teams with 350+ students participated in 6 online and in-person creative competitions spanning 3 days. Over 500 students engaged as viewers per day and 50+ students volunteered for the festival.

  1. Inter-college group folk dance competition
    • 1st prize, DAV PG college, Dehradun
    • 2nd prize, Graphic Era Hill
    • 3rd prize, Doon University
  2. Inter-college group Nukkad Natak competition
    • 1st prize, Doon University
    • 2nd prize, DWT college, Dehradun
    • 3rd prize, DAV PG college, Dehradun
  3. Inter-college ad storytelling competition
    • 1st prize, Graphic Era, Dehradun
    • 2nd prize, Government Degree College, Dehradun (Sehar)
    • 3rd prize, Shaheed Durgamal Government Degree College, Doiwala
  4. Inter-college seminar competition on preservation of indigenous languages
    • 1st prize, Pragati Joshi, Rajkiya Mahavidyalaya Uttarkashi
    • 2nd prize, Khushi, Doon University
    • 3rd prize, Swati Nautiyal, Rajkiya Mahavidyalaya Uttarkashi
  5. Inter-college seminar competition on indigenous communities and how they maintain their identity
    • 1st prize, Himadri Pokhriyal & Gunjan Tripathi, DWT college, Dehradun
    • 2nd prize, Sadhna Raturi and Sahiba, Government Degree College, Dehradun (Sehar)
    • 3rd prize, Priya Negi and Karan Nainwal, Rajkiya Mahavidyalaya Kotdwar
  6. Inter-college seminar competition on significance of folk stories
    • 1st prize, Sakshi Rana, SMJN PG College, Haridwar
    • 2nd prize, Sneha and Vivek, Durgamal Government Degree College, Doiwala, Dehradun
    • 3rd prize, Saiyam and Sameeksha, Doon University

Festival Book Selections: Our reading committee shared 6 top books including children’s and YA books, and fiction/non-fiction from 2022-23. Selected books included:

  1. Letters to Lahore by Tanu Shree Singh (Penguin)
  2. Munni Monster by Madhurima Vidyarthi (Penguin)
  3. Blue Women by Anukriti Upadhyay (Harper Collins)
  4. The Village Maestro and 100 other stories (Pippa Rann)
  5. Valmiki’s Women by Anand Nilekanthan (Westland Books)
  6. The People of Indus by Nikhil Gulati (Penguin)

Festival Book Launches: Two new children’s books were launched, 20odle 20o by Dushyant Wadivkar and Ravan’s Lost Boon by Vatsala Kakroo. Find them here.

50 Gaurav Samaan awards were given in recognition for cultural and literary contributions. Winners including Dr. Surekha Dangwal (South Asian literature expert and VC, Doon University), Dr. Chandreshwar Tiwari (agriculturalist), Veteran journalists, Brij Nath Betab, Manoj Istwal, Cultural researcher, Nitin Sharma, Director of Higher Education, Dr. A.S. Uniyal and 12 departments of Uttarakhand government.