Shillong and the entire East Khasi Hills of Meghalaya have turned pink this month. For this is the time of year when the cherry blossoms bloom, dotting the rolling green hills with shades of pink and white. Prunus cerasoides, or the Wild Himalayan cherry tree, blooms in autumn, unlike its cousins in Japan and Korea, which flower in spring.
The tree is native to the Himalayan region but grows abundantly in Shillong. Meghalaya has always seen as a perfect spot to bear witness to the dramatic and effective seasonal transformation of flowering plant species.
Acknowledging this potential, the Institute of Bio-resources and Sustainable Development (IBSD), Department of Biotechnology, Government of India every year organise this festival. Now you no longer have to visit Japan or USA for the Cherry Blossom Festival.
Thousand of National and International tourists visited Shillong to be part of this annual event.
The 4th Edition of this annual event was launched by Conrad Sangma, Chief Minister of Meghalaya at a glittering function held at Polo Ground, Shillong. Cabinet Ministers, senior Govt Officials, members of civil society, tourists and scores of school children were also present.
India’s first Cherry Blossom Festival is in sync with the Government of Meghalaya’s push for “Destination Meghalaya”. The India International, Cherry Blossom Festival, 2019, celebrates the mass flowering of autumn Himalayan Cherry Blossoms with several cultural events at Shillong from November 13 – 16.
This year’s festival the India International, Cherry Blossom Festival, 2019, is partnering with the Embassy of Republic of Korea and the Korean Cultural Centre in this International Year of Indigenous Languages.
Stating that the government wants to focus on the state’s natural strength, Chief Minister Conrad Sangma said its environment and beautiful landscape to enhance the experience of tourists.
“Today, the Cherry Blossom Festival is one of these measures to give a different feel and experience to tourists,” Sangma said.
According to the Chief Minister, this is a great example of how natural resources and sustainable tourism can be utilised in an effective manner and create the value of something which already exists.
He added that the government wants to focus on the state’s natural strength, like its environment and beautiful landscape to enhance the experience of tourists.
Sangma also said that the government wants to ensure that the state gets tourists who respect nature.
Speaking of the recent visit made by him and a delegation to Bangladesh to explore trade opportunities with the neighbouring country, the Chief Minister said that his government wants to explore the potentialities of tourism based on the cultural and historical ties between Meghalaya and Bangladesh.
He told the gathering that during their trip to Bangladesh, they visited the jail where Khasi Freedom Fighter, U Tirot Sing was imprisoned and breathed his last. They also visited Jaintiapur the winter capital of the erstwhile Jaintia king.
“Our people would love to visit these sites and this is a strong opportunity to built tourism where both sides gain,” the Chief Minister said.
Sangma also said that his government is trying to build the right infrastructures so that tourists can have the right experience.
He informed that a Laser Light Show in on the anvil at the Ward’s Lake, the view point at Umiam will be further developed and the state government is trying to bring in cable cars so that tourists can see the beauty of the state from a different view point.
The traditional Bamboo artefacts were the highlight of the event as various traditional arts and crafts were on display. Meghalaya is one of the most richly endowed states with bamboo forests. The aroma of traditional delicacies also grabs attention of the visitors. Most importantly, the event also focuses on maintaining cleanliness.
On the opening day of the 4th Edition of the India International, Cherry Blossom Festival, 2019 Fitness Art, Fashion Show and Nostalgia (Elvis and Beatles show) was held at Polo Fifth Ground, at Ward’s Lake, the Northeast NCC Cultural Jamboree and LG Queen of the Kitchen and Unplugged Western Music was held.