India's first `book village'

The sleepy village of Bhilar, in the heart of Maharashtra's famed `strawberry country' will soon get another identity as India's first “book village“. Inspired by Britain's Hay-on-Wye, the state government has decided to convert the village near the twin hill-stations of Mahabaleshwar-Panchgani into a readers's paradise.

The country's first-ever `book village' will be inaugurated on May 4 by CM Devendra Fadnavis.

Located around 250 km from Mumbai, Bhilar boasts of a year-round salubrious climate and lush greenery. The government has financed around 15,000 books to be kept there permanently for the public at around 25 key locations around the village of 600 families. Anybody can simply pick up a book of his/her choice, read for as long as they want and keep it back for the others. The 25 book hotspots in the village have been decked up into `mini-libraries' and 75 artists have creatively designed the 25 locations.

Initially, the books ranging from literature to environment, biographies and history, shall be available in Marathi and other languages will be introduced later.

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