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Bengaluru gears up for a mega cultural festival in December

From book readings, film festivals to tech summits, the citizens of Bengaluru will experience an amalgamation of literature, tech, arts, and food in the upcoming city fest

Unboxing Habba promises a vibrant journey highlighting the rich cultural heritage along with modern technological advancements.
Unboxing Habba promises a vibrant journey highlighting the rich cultural heritage along with modern technological advancements. (Pexels)

Along with roads, sanitation, and flyovers, a city also needs ‘soft infrastructure’: This seems to be the overwhelming message of the ongoing Unboxing Bangalore Habba 2023, a first-of-its-kind festival set to take over the city for 11 days in December. “Hard infrastructure, while vital to a city's optimal functioning, on its own is insufficient to build and bind a city,” says Malini Goyal, one of the founders of Unboxing BLR, a collaborative project that seeks to create a new brand narrative for Bengaluru. 

The Unboxing BLR Habba (UBH) attempts to showcase Bengaluru's unique culture and has been conceived as a mega event with over 400 events planned for 11 days, across 50 locations in the city. The event will see 55 organizations joining forces across 12 different sectors, from a tech summit to film and literature festivals, book readings, food and heritage walks, cultural performances, and more. “Soft infrastructure options such as entertainment, leisure, and cultural amenities are instrumental in bolstering a city's attractiveness to residents and visitors alike. The most remarkable cities in the world boast rich cultural environments that are unique to their respective locales,” says Goyal. 

The first weekend of the festival brings with it the much-awaited Bengaluru Literature Festival featuring authors such as Abraham Verghese, Amitava Kumar, Perumal Murugan, Vivek Shanbhag, Sagarika Ghosh, Anita Nair, Anuja Chauhan and others on 2 and 3 December. For book lovers, there is also a BLR Reads event happening on the first two weekends of the month as well as various literature-related events at bookstore Atta Galata.

Also read: Madras Art Weekend returns in a bigger, bolder avatar this year

For a long time, Bengaluru has been synonymous with technology and startups. From pop culture references to panel discussions, the city’s core culture was been well-established as the ‘IT capital of India.’ However, in recent years, with people from across the country finding a home in Bengaluru, there has been a marked emergence of multiculturism. Celebrating this, the Unboxing BLR Habba aims to take people on a journey highlighting the rich cultural heritage of the city along with its evolution, the organisers said.

Along with a range of technology and literature-focused events, people can enjoy art exhibitions, film screenings at the Under 25 Film Festival by Bangalore International Short Film Festival, and an Airport Art Walkthrough. Starting 1 December, people will have access to a range of experiences such as city walks, dance and theatre events, musical nights, handmade crafts mela, and food events as part of the festival.

There will also be special events for like-minded people to meet and engage such as Bangalore Design Week from 2 to 9 December, Par Excellence Golf Tournament, and Open Street Festivals. Those who are interested in conversations on varied ideas and thoughts can also check out the different panel discussions at Bengaluru International Centre.

EcoEdu, a platform focusing on quality environmental education and Bengaluru Creative Circus will also host events to explore sustainability and interactions with the natural world—crucial conversations in today's world. 

With diverse events catering to different interests, the festival aims to get people to discover and rediscover the city. 

Also read: Citizen scientists observe trees to understand climate change


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