From May 4, Bhilar, a tiny hamlet in Satara district of Maharashtra is all set to become India’s first ‘book village’. The concept of book village is inspired by Britain’s Hay-on-Wye, which is a Welsh town located in the United Kingdom, famous for its bookstores and literature festivals.
Under this initiative, tourists and locals can come and read books, magazines, newspapers stacked at 25 artistically decorated locations around the village. The books on wide-ranging subjects and 15,000 books in Marathi would be made available on these premises. Some of the books that will be available for the readers are very rare and out of publication, including novels, reference books about Maharashtra and Marathi culture written by prominent authors. To make sure that the books are returned by the tourists, tourists will be made to pay a nominal deposit.
Bhilar has been chosen as already it attracts a number of tourists who throng the village to taste the locally produced strawberries. The state government has chosen Bhilar to further promote tourism and the Marathi language.
Bhilar is a small village located near picturesque hill station Panchagani in Satara district of Maharashtra. The village is popular for its strawberries. Near the village exists the British-era hill station of Mahabaleshwar. Bhilar produces nearly 100 tonnes of strawberry every year. Around 90% of the village’s population of around 10,000 is involved in strawberry farming.
Hay-on-Wye is a village located in Wales of the UK. It is the world’s largest second-hand book centre. In 1972, a person named Richard Booth established a second-hand bookstore in an abandoned fire station and subsequently many followed, making Hay-on-Wye a book paradise. Today there exists around 30 bookstores catering to the needs of the village’s population of 1,500 people. Every year, the village hosts the Hay Festival, one of the world’s top literary festivals. Recently, the village also made news when a note written by author Enid Blyton was discovered in one of the village’s bookstore.