Visit Shillong, not Japan, for International Cherry Blossom festival

The city of Meghalaya turns pink with its very own cherry blossoms

Talk about cherry blossoms and the only place that comes to mind are the scenes of Japan and its picturesque lanes over-shadowed by plink flowers. But, did you know that our very own country that is rich in its diverse culture and tradition has its own cherry blossoms? Yes, you heard that right.

In gods own country, India, every year in November the quaint city of Shillong that is surrounded by the scenic charming hills and beautiful colourful flora and fauna has its very own cherry blossoms.

The Cherry blossom festival In the city, that reminded the British of Scotland due to its rolling hills hence calling it the ‘Scotland of the East’, since 2016 every year, during the cold winters of mid-November, the International Cherry Blossom Festival celebrates the beautiful blooms.

The festival is organized every year in Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya, by the Government of Meghalaya in association with Institute of Bioresources and Sustainable Development (IBSD) is to celebrate the unique autumn flowering of the Himalayan cherry blossoms and basically mark the beginning of India’s version of autumn.

While the festival allows you to soak in the beauty of these light pink flowers it also hosts sessions of live music, rock concerts, fitness, art, fashion show, a beauty pageant, disco, martial arts, Japanese cosplay, an amateur golf tournament, stalls showcasing the cuisine, wine, arts and craft of the region and much more to mark the festival. And mind you, all the event happenings are free of cost.

These cherry blossoms also known as the Prunuscerasoides, underline the Himalayas and cover the east and west Khasi hills of Meghalaya. Though they grow in the wild, one can also spot them across the state, especially during this time of the year. And the flowers are expected to continue blooming till the end of November.

Pandemic hits the festival But due the current ongoing COVID 19 pandemic the cherry blossom festival was cancelled. However, nothing stops the nature as the wispy pink-and-white blooms came in full bloom in this time around keeping the spirits of the locals alive giving them a reason to smile. Locals took to social media sharing the blooming cherry flowers. And everyone is of the hope that everything will return to normal and they will be able to celebrate the cherry blossom festival next year.

You have to see these flowers with your own eyes to understand and absorb its gorgeousness to know how vibrant and lively they are.