November is here with cold winds that set in and ruffle your hair. It is also a time when Meghalaya merrily mocks the rest of India with her pretty pink blooms. The Himalayan cherry blossom lights up parts of the East Khasi Hills and the state capital Shillong to mark the beginning of India’s version of autumn.
However, what we can’t contain our excitement over is Shillong’s fourth Cherry Blossom Festival. This is held every year to celebrate the unique autumn flowering of the Himalayan cherry blossoms, along with several other cultural events. This year it is being held from 13th-16th November.
The popular flowers, which are all over Instagram, are also synonymous with Japan’s beauty, and are seen lining Washington DC and Brooklyn in the US, as well as parts of Paris and Spain.
While the flowers bloom in Japan during the spring, in Northeast India, the colours arrive a tad earlier in November.
The India International Cherry Blossom Festival-2019 is organised by the Government of Meghalaya in association with Institute of Bioresources and Sustainable Development (IBSD). They had planted 5000 cherry trees between Umiam Lake, the Wards’ Lake, New Shillong and all the way to Mawphlang. The target is to plant 20000 more trees.
In Shillong, the festival is being held across different venues, namely the Polo 5th Ground, State Convention Centre, Golf Course, JN Stadium and Indoor Stadium Polo.
The festival hosts a plethora of activities such as live music gigs, a beauty pageant, and stalls showcasing the cuisine, wine, arts and craft of the region. Travellers can also enjoy illuminated cherry blossoms and fine dining at Ward’s Lake between 4-8 pm.
Alongside, there will be a rock concert, traditional folk music, unplugged western music and dance performances from all over Northeast India, choir performances, bicycle rallies, storytelling sessions of local and world folktales.
Visitors too can even bring their golf set along to participate in the amateur golf tournament. All events are free and open to all.
Check out the itinerary for the festival below.
Here is our final calendar of events – and we are just 3 weeks away ! Shillong’s 4th India International Cherry Blossom Festival 2019- will celebrate the unique autumn flowering of Himalayan Cherry Blossoms with several cultural events at Shillong, Meghalaya from 13-16Nov2019 pic.twitter.com/0zSZE0evkM
— India International Cherry Blossom Festival 2019 (@india_cbfest) October 23, 2019
This November, come to Shillong to witness the autumn Cherry Blossoms at the 4th India International Cherry Blossom Festival 2019 (Nov 13-16, 2019) – full calendar of events at https://t.co/2PiUj71nwx pic.twitter.com/KCAb40sDQr
— India International Cherry Blossom Festival 2019 (@india_cbfest) October 30, 2019
Getting there: You can fly to Shillong from some major cities through Kolkata, though it’s more convenient to fly through Guwahati and drive three hours to Shillong. If you’re planning to hire a self-driven car from Guwahati to Shillong, consider that the bylanes in the town are narrow and steep, and traffic can be tiring — a 2km stretch can take up to an hour at peak times, and there are barely any parking spots in the main area.