Cherry blossoms are beginning to be seen in the hills of Upper Shillong Credit: EastMojo image

Shillong: There’s good news for tourists planning to visit Shillong during the India International Cherry Blossom Festival 2018 to he held in the capital city of Meghalaya from November 14 to 17.

As per scientists and research scholars of the Institute of Bioresources and Sustainable Development (IBSD), cherry blossoms have already started blooming in some higher-altitude hills of Shillong, and will be in full bloom by next week. The team of scientists, led by its director Prof Dinabandhu Sahoo, has been travelling extensively across the Khasi Hills of Meghalaya to study the onset of flowering of the Himalayan cherry blossoms.

Sahoo, who is also leading a research group on cherry blossoms in India, said that Japanese researchers from Tokyo University have shown keen interest to collaborate with IBSD and will visit Shillong during the festival.

However, as per the team, most of the cherry blossom trees in and around Shillong are still in the budding stages and flowering is expected to start only next week. However, full bloom is expected during the festival days.

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 season in spring.

The India International Cherry Blossom Festival 2018 is being organised by the state forest and environment department in association with IBSD and the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, said Meghalaya state commissioner and secretary Aldous Mawlong. The festival will celebrate the unique autumn flowering of the Himalayan cherry blossoms with several cultural events planned in Shillong during the festival.

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. There will also be several Japanese cultural events, a Japanese food pavilion and a higher education stall in partnership with the Embassy of Japan in India.

EastMojo is the digital partner of the festival.

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