All You Need To Know About The Cherry Blossom Festival In Shillong

5 Mins read

The northeastern belt of India is undoubtedly a bewitching sight. The entire belt boasts immense beauty, that simply cannot be missed. And Shillong is no exception. Situated in Meghalaya, which literally means an abode in the clouds, one can only imagine the surreal beauty this place holds. The capital of Meghalaya needs no introduction. Owing to its clear skies, refreshing breeze and azure grasslands, the ‘Scotland of East’ as it is endearingly referred to, is quite possibly a nature lover’s paradise.

What’s more? Shillong is the only city that witnesses vibrant, blooming, pink cherry blossoms – almost resembling the likes of Japan. Cherry Blossoms, the most revered and beautiful flowers bloom during the winter months in India, wherein the streets of Shillong feature gram-worthy canopies of trees and are cloaked in breathtaking hues of pinks, which is unmissable. And these Cherry Blossoms are the backdrop for the famed Cherry Blossom Festival in Shillong! 

Every year, Meghalaya Tourism organizes the annual Cherry Blossom Festival in Shillong, which is a perfect melange of art, culture, music and food. The festival witnesses massive artists, delectable local food, small as well big artists, engaging contests and more, all amidst the soothing landscapes of the cherry blossoms. This year, the festival is back with a bang, after a couple of years’ hiatus owing to the pandemic. 

The beautiful cherry blossoms in Shillong

Cherry Blossom Festival, Shillong

The festival itself is a memorable meet-and-greet and is a celebration of various cultures through their arts, crafts, wines, food and grand musical performances. Drawing tourists from all over the country, the focal point of the festival remains its cherry blossoms, as the name suggests, making it a magical sight. Along with the live bands, singers and performances, the festival boasts kiosks featuring local businesses, story-telling sessions, art and craft workshops, bicycle rallies, pageants and a lot more! 

Why Should You Visit The Cherry Blossom Festival This Year?

To elevate the hype leading up to the festival, there are several pre-events being held across cities in India and Thailand called ‘Road To Cherry Blossom,’ between the 15th and 29th of October. The pre-festivities culminate during the final festival in Shillong being held from 23rd to 26th November. Preceding the main event, there are 2 more events being held – a Mega Music Contest and a Literary Fest, between the 17th and 22nd of November. 

The line-up for the main festival includes massive names including Papon, HRVY, Hybrid Theory, Nikhil Chinapa, Jonas Blue, Street Stories, Snow White and many more – making for a festival to remember! 

The Phase 1 Line up is out! (Image Courtesy – https://www.shillongcherryblossom.com/)

History Of The Cherry Blossom Festival 

The Cherry Blossom Festival began in 2016 on the Polo Grounds of Shillong. This festival was inaugurated primarily to showcase and celebrate the gorgeous beauty of these beautiful Himalayan flowers, and in the process holding various cultural events. These flowers generally grow in the eastern and western areas of Khasi Hills, and are viewed as a sign of good luck.

How To Reach Shillong 

Shillong is a stunning city, however, it is a tad bit disconnected from the major cities of the country. Here is how you can reach Shillong – 

By Air 

One of the nearest airports to Shillong is the Umroi Airport at a distance of 25 km.. However, it does not have frequent flights to and from the city. The major nearest airport to Shillong is Guwahati, which is approximately 100 km. and a short 2.5 hours drive away. Taxis from Guwahati Airport to Shillong are readily available.

By Train 

The major nearest well-connected station to Shillong is the Guwahati railway station. There are several trains departing from and to Guwahati from India’s major metropolitan cities. 

By Road 

The road to Shillong is all things scenic, and perfect for those seeking solace from the monotony. There are many buses available from Guwahati to Shillong. You can also rent a car to self-drive. 

Places to Visit in Shillong

Whilst you are revelling in the festivities, you might want to keep in mind that there are many places to explore in Shillong! The city is absolutely ethereal and boasts a myriad of tourist attractions. The lush green plateaus, cascading waterfalls, and riot of pinks engulf the city, making it a sight to savour. You might want to take out time and wander around the streets of Shillong and indulge in various activities. 

– Trek to the Shillong Peak – the highest point of the city – and devour the serene panoramas 

– Breathtaking sunsets and a myriad of water sports – experience both at Umiam Lake 

– Head over to the Laitlums Canyons nestled in the East Khasi Hills that promise to help you disconnect from the outside world 

– Take a trip to the one of the steepest waterfalls of the country, Sweet Falls 

– The Lady Hydari Park is perfect for a lazy stroll and avid-birdwatchers

Enjoy a picnic by the Umiam Lake

The tickets for the festival are already live! Visit https://www.shillongcherryblossom.com/ for all the details! 

Here are a few FAQs –

When can you see Cherry Blossoms in Shillong? 

Cherry Blossoms bloom fully in mid-November. 

What is the Cherry Blossom Festival in Shillong? 

Meghalaya tourism has brought back the Cherry Blossom Festival! The festival is a celebration of art, culture, music and food, whilst you witness the vibrant cherry blossoms that are in full bloom.

When is the Cherry Blossom Festival in Shillong happening? 

The festival in Shillong begins on 17th November to 26th November. Before that, there is a pre-festival, called ‘Road to Cherry Blossom Festival,’ in Thailand and Malaysia and in cities across India. 

Where is the Cherry Blossom Festival in Shillong going to be held? 

The festival will take place at The Ward’s Lake and the Polo Grounds. 

How to reach Shillong? 

By Air – The major nearest airport to Shillong is Guwahati, that is approximately 2.5 hours away. You can rent a taxi from Guwahati airport to Shillong. 

By Train – Again, the major well-connected city is nearest to the Guwahati railway station. 

By Road – There are many buses available from Guwahati to Shillong. You can also rent a car to self-drive.

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Trying to navigate through the twenties, manoeuvring through the ifs and buts, Riya is an aspiring writer looking to expand her skillset. When she's not animatedly dissecting character arcs and storylines, you can find her trying to weave stories and dabbling into poems. She looks forward to all things fries, hardcovers and Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
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