Shillong Cherry Blossom Fields Forever

The India International Cherry Blossom Festival 2017 is all set to take place in Shillong between 8 and 11 November
Shillong Cherry Blossom Fields Forever

Not many know that Meghalaya is one of Indias four biodiversity hotspots. It is home to 5,538 species of fauna, which includes one of Indias only two species of true apes, and about 3,128 species of flowering plants, that account for 18% of the countrys total floral wealth.

Over two years ago, the states government launched the Cherry Blossom Festival in recognition of this abundance. The idea first came to Institute of Bioresources & Sustainable Development (IBSD) director Professor Dinabandhu Sahoo, while the chief Minister, Dr. Mukul M. Sangma, had been instrumental in making it a reality.

Every state of the country must be connected with the global community by creating a product which is exclusive to that state. And since cherry blossom is something unique and exclusive as far as its availability in Meghalaya is concernedappearing naturally on the roadsidewe took it as an advantage. We brought in more and more saplings, which we encouraged people to grow. We are also promoting eco-tourism, rural tourism and community tourism by involving all stakeholders. And tourism is something new to the people of the northeast we ultimately want to bring in more aggressive participation of all the stakeholders and the India International Cherry Blossom Festival is one such initiative, says Dr Sangma.

Now known as the India International Cherry Blossom Festival, thousands of trees of the flower have been planted. This is the worlds only autumn cherry blossom flowering event and the festival is meant to display it to visitors in places such as Japan, where there has been an age-old tradition to grow the flower and use it as a symbol of peace and friendship, the flowering only takes place in March.

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