Shillong set for three days of fun, frolic, literature in a burst of pink
Cherry blossom flowers, an ageless embodiment of beauty and unfailing allegory of the journey of human life, is native to Asia and blooms gloriously during spring in Japan, Korea and China.
But in India, the Himalayan foothills witness the blossoming of these wonderful flowers in autumn - a spectacle that takes a festive avatar in Shillong, the capital city of Meghalaya, every November.
Since 2016, the city has been celebrating this scenic phenomenon by organising a festival, which this year, has been rebranded by the state tourism department as the “Shillong Cherry Blossom”.
Come November 25 and the pink-draped streets of Shillong will be abuzz with people. Inspired from the Cherry Blossom Festivals of Japan and Korea, where a wide variety of activities are organised to facilitate the concept of Hanani - flower viewing, the Shillong Cherry Blossom Festival will offer tourists an active and meaningful engagement with the city’s history, people, culture, food and the overall environment.
The three-day festival, which will be on till November 27, 2021, will have two venues -- Ward's lake and Polo Grounds. While Ward’s Lake will be exclusively dedicated to a slower space of celebrations in the form of a literary festival – “Shillong Cherry Blossom Literary Festival”, the Polo Grounds will be host musical performances, fashion shows and other events.
On all three days, the serene and picturesque Ward's Lake will host award-winning authors, thinkers and creative professionals, who will flock to the venue to bask in a celebration of words, stories, languages and literature. Drawing inspirations from different cultural milieus, the programmes will include discussions on music, art, food, fashion, film and much more.
Polo grounds, on the other hand, will offer a vibrant festival atmosphere with events circling around cosplay, music, fashion and culture. Fashion shows by upcoming designers - Zanya Fashion House, Preeti Thapa and Tatyana Momin alongside the search for the next Mr and Miss Shillong Cherry Blossom festival - will add some sharp zing to the already exciting itinerary on all three days at the venue.
With an aim to provide and promote the young and upcoming musicians from the state, the cultural shows, organised in collaboration with ICCR (The Indian Council for Cultural Relations), will take place on the same stage with that of international artistes such as C.N.R Mafia (Rock-UAE), Pixy (K-Pop South Korea), Pyra (Pop-Thailand) and Mari Ferrari (EDM-Portugal).
The local “band wagon” will comprise of popular names such as The Rechords, Dosser's Urge, Rum and Monkeys, Jessie Lyngdoh & Guests, Shane, DJ Knack & Guests, B4NSHAN, Lily Sawian & MC.K, DJ Wanshan & Guests and DJ Zethan.
To encourage the youth and bring out hidden talents, a host of competitions - such as painting, photography, graffiti and singing - will also be organised at the two venues.
The Shillong Cherry Blossom Festival 2021 is also a hub for visitors to experience the culture of the state by indulging in locally-made goods, food, handicrafts and other products that will be available at the Makers' Market & Food Court.
Keeping Covid protocols in mind, the events at Wards Lake will accommodate a capacity of 500 people per day and around 1000 people will soak in celebrations at Polo Grounds. Notably, only double vaccinated people are allowed in both the venues on all three days.
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