Go Now: Cherry Blossom Festival in Shillong

Turn up for guided nature walks, rock concerts, and delicious local food.  
Nongstoin Cherry Blossom Meghalaya
The Himalayan cherry tree lends its delicate pink beauty to Meghalaya's Khasi Hills. The town of Nongstoin is pictured here. Photo: Arridapha Shullai

The cherry blossoms of Japan and U.S.A.’s Washington D.C. draw millions of visitors every spring, but this November, a festival in Meghalaya is hoping to spark a new trend: watching the Himalayan cherry tree blossom in autumn. The tree, which is endemic to the region and typically grows wild, makes the Khasi Hills come alive every November with its delicate reds and pinks. From Mon November 14-Thur November 17, 2016 the Cherry Blossom Festival in Shillong will celebrate the flowering with guided night walks, live music gigs, a beauty pageant, and booths showcasing the cuisine and craft of the region.

The festival, organised by the state government and the Institute of Bioresources and Sustainable Development, is free and open to all. Travellers can join night walks led by volunteers at Ward Lake between 5-8p.m., for a better appreciation of the cherry tree and the region’s plant life. Alongside, there will be a rock concert, traditional folk music and dance performances, choir performances, bicycle and motorbike rallies, and storytelling sessions of local and world folktales. Visitors can even bring their golf set along to participate in the amateur golf tournament. For more details, view the schedule here, and follow updates on the festival’s Facebook page.

Cherry Blossom Tree Meghalaya

The Himalayan cherry blossom usually grows wild, flowering for a few weeks in November. The state government and Institute of Bioresources and Sustainable Development started a plantation last year to understand the tree better. Photo: Arridapha Shullai

While in Shillong, use our city guide, and browse through our trip ideas in the Northeast here. Within a three-hour drive from Shillong are the gorgeous waterfalls and quiet retreats of Sohra (Cherrapunji, one of the world’s wettest landscapes), and Mawlynnong, better known as Asia’s cleanest village.

The Guide

Where Festival events will be held at various venues in Shillong, Meghalaya: Ward Lake and the State Guest House opposite, Polo 2nd Ground, Golf Course, State Central Library, and Fire Brigade Ground.

When November 14-17, 2016

Getting There The nearest airport to Shillong is at Umroi, 35km away, while the airport at Guwahati, 128km away, is better connected with the rest of the country. State buses run between the Umroi airport and Shillong, and shared taxis and airport shuttle buses are available between Guwahati and Shillong. Guwahati is a major railhead, and is connected to most major Indian metros. More details here. Within the city, travellers can take shared taxis and state buses to the festival venues.

Entry Free

Details See the website cherryblossomfestival.in and the festival’s Facebook page.

 

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    Saumya Ancheri is Assistant Web Editor at National Geographic Traveller India. She loves places by the sea, and travels to shift her own boundaries. She tweets as @Saumya_Ancheri.

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