Did You Know The Man Behind India’s Cherry Blossom Festival Is From Odisha?

City Lights: Lifestyle

Much recently, you might have come across India’s very own Cherry Blossom Fest in Shillong, making the rounds of Internet and piquing everyone’s attention. Those who are not aware what this fest is; we are here to tell you all about it and the man behind this ‘blossoming’ initiative.

Considered as one of the most colorfuland spectacular events in Japan, Cherry Blossom Festival is like a part of Japanese culture itself. Now much to the delight of Indians, some of whom earlier had to fly down to Japan for witnessing the grandeur of cherry blossoms, we can enjoy this beautiful event in our own country, all thanks to the efforts of Odisha born Prof Dinabandhu Sahoo, Director of the Imphal-based Institute of Bioresources and Sustainable Development (IBSD).

Picture Courtesy: hindustantimes.com

Back in February 2014, when Sahoo was a Botany professor at Delhi University, he had visited Shillong to deliver a TEDx talk on algae where he first stumbled upon a cherry blossom tree, and an idea bloomed in his mind. “On my several trips to Japan, I had witnessed the beauty of the cherry blossom tree and later I was lucky to attend a Sakura Festival. During my trip to Shillong, I remember looking out of the window of my hotel and spotting a cherry blossom tree. I wondered what it would be like to have a cherry blossom festival in India”, says Sahoo.

The idea of Sahoo to use this beautiful domestic tree and organising a full-fledged fest out of it was to boost the economy of North-east region, attract more tourists and promote sustainable tourism in that part of India. In fact, it took Sahoo two years to woo the State Government and make them recognise the Cherry Blossom plant.

Picture Courtesy: hindustantimes.com

Sahoo’s determination led him to quit his job at Delhi University and join IBSD, Manipur in 2015. He began tracking down Shillong’s cherry blossom trees and convinced Meghalaya’s Chief Minister to plant more and host a unique festival. Soon enough, the Japanese got to know about it, who had wanted to collaborate with India since long, and they thought this festival would be the best time for it. So in February 2016, the Japanese Cherry Blossom Association planted saplings at the Talkatora Gardens in Delhi and now the second edition of this festival is going to start in Shillong, with added attractions.

Picture Courtesy: hindustantimes.com

This year it will be known as India International Cherry Blossom Festival which will be hosted from November 8-11 in Meghalaya’s Khasi Hills. Billed as world’s only autumn cherry blossom event, thousands of cherry blossoms have been planted and there will be plethora of activities to enjoy. The event’s line-up includes open-mic nights, local rappers, stunt bikers, beauty pageant, women’s football match, a study-in-Japan fair, golf tournament, live music gigs, choir performances, storytelling sessions and much more. All events are free and open to all.

We hope that just like this idea of creative festival, Sahoo’s thoughts will keep blossoming more in the years to come.

Know more about the event: https://cherryblossomfestival.in/

Feature & Banner Picture Courtesy: thehindubusinessline.com