Shillong (Meghalaya) , Nov 15 : The third edition of India International Cherry Blossom Festival-2018 is currently underway here .
Cherry blossoms have painted ‘Scotland of the east ‘ into hues of pink. Meghalaya witnesses several cultural events during the unique flowering of Himalayan Cherry Blossoms.
The event which was graced by the Japanese Ambassador to India, Kenji Hiramatsu was inaugurated by Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma. CM Sangma said that the festival has received international attention with the participation of Japan government.
He also said that the festival also strengthens their relationship further.
Tourists and Shillongites are witnessing full cherry blooms in some of the prominent areas of the city like Forest Colony, Lawsohtun, Upper Shillong in the areas around Elephant Falls.White cherry trees can also be spotted among the pink ones.
Visitors can also have a taste of the region’s food and wine at a Japanese Food Pavilion and a Higher Education Stall which in partnership with the Embassy of Japan in India.
Fashion shows, rock concerts, beauty pageant, amateur Golf Tournament are also part of this colourful festival.
At the inauguration on Wednesday CM Conrad said : “The trees have blossomed three weeks earlier. We can witness 70 per cent of the Cherry Blossom. It will be a great opportunity for the scientists and other people to study the aspect.”
He also said that the state government is contemplating collaboration with Japan in key sectors like agriculture, food processing, tourism and even education, besides infrastructure development.
Speaking on the outcome of the ‘Dialogue with States’ organised by the Government of Meghalaya and the Embassy of Japan, Chief Minister Conrad Sangma said Meghalaya should be part of the growth story of Indo-Japan relationship.
Japan is keen to ensure that the North East becomes a part of the growth story of Indo-Japan relationship.
Collaboration for infrastructure development has already started in which JICA and the Government of Japan have spent almost Rs 19,000 crore on the region.
Conrad said he is looking forward to further collaborations as “there are similarities and areas where Meghalaya and Japan can help each other”.
“Other programs arranged at the event include Japanese cosplay competition, a Japanese Judokan display, screening of Japanese films and a cultural mosaic featuring the fusion of Indian and Japanese drummers.
The four-day long festival is being organised by the Forest and Environment Department, Govt of Meghalaya, Institute of Bio-resources and Sustainable Development in collaboration with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations.