Also Read - Meet Meaidaibahun Majaw, A 9-Year-Old Shillong Girl Who Has Just Developed An Anti-Bullying App
Every year, billions of cherry blossoms bloom in countries like India, Pakistan, Siberia, Japan and China. The mass blooming of cherry blossoms is seen as a symbol of the fleeting nature of life, and how even the most beautiful things come to an end. It is a time to celebrate life and mortality, especially in Japan. But an initiative by the government of Meghalaya is looking to bring the cherry blossom festival to India as well. The government will be working with the ICCR and IBSD to organize the second international cherry blossom festival in India in November 2017. ALSO READ: 14 mind blowing photos of Shillong that will inspire you to travel! Also Read - Citizenship Act Protest in Bengal: Dissenters Torch Railway Stations in Murshidabad And Howrah
The host of this festival will be beautiful Shillong, where millions of cherry blossoms will bloom for a short while before falling. During this short period, the hills and mountains of Shillong will turn pink. The idea for a festival came up when IBSD director Dinabandhu Sahoo first noticed a cherry blossoms in Shillong in 2014. Also Read - Citizenship Act Protests Reach Delhi's Jamia: 50 Students Detained, 3 Cops Injured; Amit Shah's Shillong Trip Cancelled
A river flows along a deep gorge flanked by florested mountains of the Khasi range with Bangladesh visible on the horizon near Shillong, Meghalaya, India
These flowers have been an important cultural icon for centuries in several countries, influencing films, music and other forms of art over time. But despite the fact that the Himalayan mountain forests are the first to see cherry blossoms every year, the incredible sight of these short-living blossoms have never really entered the popular culture of India or other Himalayan countries. But Sahoo is quick to note that the upcoming cherry blossom festival will not be borrowing ideas from Japan. The first cherry blossom festival in Shillong happened in 2016, but this year will be bigger in scale.
The festival will take place from November 8 to 11, although you will still be able to catch the bloom of cherry blossoms for two weeks. In preparation, cherry trees have been planted at Mawphlang, New Shillong, Ward’s Lake and the Umiam Lake-Shillong road. Around 5,000 have been planted, and Sahoo said that the target is to plant 20,000 cherry blossom trees by the 50th anniversary of the festival in 2022. NOW READ: 5 reasons why visiting Umiam Lake is the best thing to do in Shillong
Apart from the rare sight of cherry blossoms, the festival will also feature guided night walks through the blossoms, stalls that showcase Shillong and Meghalaya’s arts and crafts, wine and cuisine, along with live music performances. That includes folk music, rock performances and dances by artists across Northeast India, and bike rallies and photography contests. Locals will be given saplings to plant more cherry blossom trees and encouraged to build community nurseries.