Guwahati: Union Minister for Defence, Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday inaugurated the annual 10-day Manipur Sangai Festival-2018 at Hafta Kangjeibung in Imphal. Sitharaman inaugurated the festival at the function held at Bheigyachandra Open Air Theatre located near Hafta Kangjeibung by lighting the ceremonial lamp.
The festival named after Manipur’s state animal “Sangai” is being held at three major locations at Mao, Imphal and Keibul Lamjao National Park(the place where Sangai-Brow Antlered Deer lives), to showcase the rich culture, traditions of the state.
Inaugurating the festival Sitharaman said, "Culturally rich Manipur has so many to offer to the world". She further said, that Manipur was endowed with abundant natural beauty and it had a variety of unique delicacies that could attract people from the world over given that people world over are looking for exotic foods. Food is an inevitable part of the culture. “The state has exotic varieties of vegetables, spices, lotus stem and many more what cannot be served on the table,” she added.
“Manipur people have not forgotten its culture and that is the beauty of the people here. Dance of Manipur! Oh my God, I have seen it many times, those swift and gentle moves are so mesmerizing,” she said.
Showering her praise on the women of Manipur for their hard work and the empowerment, Sitharaman, also mentioned that she learnt about the women of the state fought for the man-made scarcity of rice years back (Nupi Lal-Womens war)
She further added the handloom, handicrafts of the state were well-known all over the world while admiring the creativity, amazing handwork of women of the state.
the Minister while appealing to the government and the people of the state to make the state a gem among the states expressed hope that the state would have peace to prosper.
As part of the festival, Sangai Run was organised earlier in the morning at three different venues at Mao, Imphal and Keibul Lamjao National Park. The run was inaugurated by Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh. “The Cherry Blossom” is also underway for three days at Mao of state's Senapati district as part of the festival.
Adventure sports like expeditions to tourist spots like Shiroi hill and Khangkhui cave in Ukhrul district, Dzuko valley in Senapati district are also being organised. At Loktak Lake water paragliding and other water sports are attracting huge tourist.
The Festival will come to an end on November 30.