Cherry Blossom arrive early in Shillong

Albert Chiang, Scientist IBSD

A team of scientists and research scholars of the Institute of Bioresources and Sustainable Development (IBSD) led by Prof. Dinabandhu Sahoo, Director IBSD, have been travelling extensively across the Khasi Hills of Meghalaya in the month of October 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 at Shillong, Meghalaya during 14-17 November 2018.
This scientific delegation have 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 last week of October. Sahoo who is also leading a research group on cherry blossoms in India said that Japanese researchers from Tokyo University has shown keen interest to collaborate with IBSD and will visit Shillong during the festival dates.
However, most of the Cherry Trees in and around Shillong, are at the budding stage 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 and he invited the tourists who are already in Shillong or will be visiting, can enjoy the cherry blossoms in full view ahead of the huge rush expected during the festival dates.
The India International Cherry Blossom Festival 2018 will be held at Shillong, Meghalaya from 14-17 November 2018 at Shillong, Meghalaya, which is well connected from Guwahati and its own airport at Umroi. The festival, being organised by Forest and Environment Department, Govt of Meghalaya and Institute of Bioresources and Sustainable Development (IBSD), Govt of India in collaboration with Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), Govt of India, said Mr. Aldous Mawlong IAS, Commissioner and Secretary, Govt of Meghalaya. The festival will celebrate the unique autumn flowering of Himalayan Cherry Blossoms with several cultural events at Shillong, Meghalaya. 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 Mr. N. Munish Singh, Regional Director, ICCR.

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