Indians need not dish out thousands of dollars to visit Japan in spring for Hanami, the cherry blossom festival, any longer. India now has its own cherry blossom festival, initiated last year in Shillong.
After a successful small-scale festival last year, captured accurately in the video above, Shillong is upping its game this year and will be organising India’s first International Cherry Blossom Festival from 8-11 November. The festival will be organised by the government of Meghalaya, Institute of Bioresources and Sustainable Development (IBSD) and the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR).
The beautiful white and pink flowers are a worldwide attraction in spring, when they blossom for a few days. In Shillong, however, unlike the rest of the world, the flowers blossom in late October-early November. To celebrate the beauty of the sakura flowers, Chief Minister Mukul Sangma and Director of IBSD Dinabandhu Sahoo announced the festival, which will include several attractions besides the flowers, including night walks under the illuminated cherry blossoms, musical events, stalls showcasing the art-craft and heritage of the region, and various other sporting and cultural community events.
In preparation for the festival, the government has planted thousands of cherry blossom trees, which otherwise also grow wild in the Khasi Hills. “Our target is to plant 20,000 so that by the time Meghalaya celebrates the 50th anniversary of its creation in 2022, Shillong will become a pink city unlike the traditional pink city that we know as Jaipur,” Sahoo said in a press statement.