SHILLONG: A team of scientists and research scholars of the Institute of Bioresources and Sustainable Development (IBSD), Government of India led by Prof. Dinabandhu Sahoo, Director IBSD, have been travelling extensively across the Khasi Hills of Meghalaya to study the onset of flowering of the Himalayan Cherry, in a lead up to the ‘India International Cherry Blossom Festival 2018’ to be held here from November 14 to 17.
The scientist's delegation has reported that the cherry blossoms have already started blooming on some trees in the higher altitude hills of Upper Shillong and also in Shillong, and these will be in full bloom by next week.
Sahoo who is also leading a research group on cherry blossoms in India said that Japanese researchers from Tokyo University have shown keen interest to collaborate with IBSD and will visit Shillong during the festival dates.
Most of the cherry trees in and around Shillong, are now at the budding stage and the flowering is expected to start next week and the full bloom is expected the week of 14-17 November 2018, which are the festival dates.
Prof Sahoo, also mentioned that the cherry blossoms are an excellent indicator for not only the change of seasons but also for climate change. He referred to the recent unexpected blooming of the cherry blossoms in Japan several months ahead of the usual blossoming in Spring.
Sahoo also said that tourists who are already in the Khasi Hills can enjoy the full blossoms in several areas of Upper Shillong. He stated that the tourists who are already in Shillong or will be visiting in the next two weeks would be able to enjoy the cherry blossoms in full view ahead of the huge rush expected during the festival dates.
“The festival is being organized by the Forest and Environment Department, Government of Meghalaya and IBSD in collaboration with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), Government of India,” said Aldous Mawlong IAS, Commissioner, and Secretary, Government of Meghalaya.
The festival will celebrate the unique autumn flowering of the Himalayan Cherry Blossoms with several cultural events in Shillong. Visitors can enjoy fashion shows, rock concerts, a beauty pageant and even compete in an amateur golf tournament.
“Alongside, there will be stalls showcasing the region’s food, wine, and crafts and there are several Japanese cultural events, a Japanese Food Pavilion and a Higher Education Stall in partnership with the Embassy of Japan in India,” said N. Munish Singh, Regional Director, ICCR.