“We want to connect Meghalaya with the rest of the world with the cherry blossom festival,” said Mukul Sangma, Chief Minister of Meghalaya, a famous tourist destination state in Northeast India.

Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya, is gearing up to hold the International Cherry Blossom Festival, the first in India, on 8-11 November, the chief minister announced. The place is popular for its natural beauty and flora in abundance, warm hospitality and the blissful life there.

Winter sets in early in this part of the world. By November, the days get real cold and misty. However, it’s a truly beautiful time of the year here in November, as the cherry tree begins to blossom. Unlike in other countries where cherry blossom blooms in March-June, here it blooms in November.

The white and pink cherry blossoms brings cheer to the city in the winter’s cold. The flowering of the pretty cherry blossoms often last for two-three weeks.

The people in the state are provided cherry blossom saplings by the government in an effort to promote the tradition of planting cherry blossoms, which origin is found in the Himalayas. According to reports, around 5,000 cherry blossom trees have been planted along the road to Shillong as you enter Meghalaya by road from Assam.

Cherry Blossoms
(Getty Images)

 

“We are encouraging people to set up community nurseries… We now have complete involvement of stakeholders,” Sangma said.

The Shillong cherry blossom festival was first held in 2016. This year, it is being organised at the international level. With it, India joins several countries across the world, including the US, New Zealand, Holland and South Korea, to hold cherry blossom festivals.

“There will be a rock concert, traditional folk music, unplugged western music and dance performances from all over North East India, choir performances, photography competitions, bicycle rallies, storytelling sessions of local and world folktales and an exhibition football match,” according to a statement.

Apart from musical events, beauty pageants and exhibition of traditional food and crafts, the festival will also include night walks under illuminated cherry blossoms, which would provide visitors to the festival a unique and thrilling experience.

The India International Cherry Blossom Festival in Shillong is set to bring more visitors and tourists to the state. Sangma said the state with its conducive environment for tourism welcomes more  tourists to the place.

“As Chief Minister, I can assure you that Meghalaya has pure air and pure air is also good for mental health,” he said, adding, “Come to Meghalaya and stay for a reasonable period of time”.

The India International Cherry Blossom Festival is being organised by the Meghalaya government in collaboration with the Institute of Bioresources and Sustainable Development (IBSD), a national institute under the Department of Biotechnology, and the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR).