- NET Web Desk
Following a two-year gap owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Manipur Governor – La Ganesan on Wednesday inaugurated the four-days long 4th edition of State-Level ‘Shirui Lily Festival 2022’ at Shirui Village Ground, in presence of Chief Minister – N Biren Singh.
Hosted by the Directorate of Tourism in collaboration with the Ukhrul District Administration and Shirui Village Authority, this annual gala event emerged as an occasion that promotes harmony and unifying people of the hills and valley closer than ever.
According to the Manipur CM, during this 4-days event from May 25-28, visitors will be able to appreciate Shirui’s scenic beauty, try local cuisines, and purchase local products such as Longpi (Nungbi) pottery, fruits, and Sirarakhong’s Hathei Chilly, among others.
Longpi (Nungbi) pottery is a black earthenware crafted by Tangkhul tribe, residing along Nungbi hamlet in Ukhrul District. The technique of this art is said to have been passed-down from the Neolithic period.
One of the unique features of this earthenware, is that it is crafted without a potter’s wheel. Clay and black rock are the two primary elements used for its formation. Such pots, which are primarily a male-oriented craft, necessitate a great level of skill and attention.
Besides, the festival also reflects the adoption of unique Tangkhul dog breed, and encourage rearing of Mithun, which stands to be immensely significant for the inhabitants of Ukhrul; added Singh.
He deeply appreciated the initiative of Tangkhul leaders, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and chiefs for supporting the state government’s ‘War On Drugs’ campaign by proclaiming the ban of poppy cultivation in all Tangkhul-inhabited areas of the state.
Meanwhile, the Manipur CM alongside Governor – La Ganesan visited the stalls of Shirui festival, which showcases amazing products and attractions.
“The flower which is found only on top of the Shirui Hill of Manipur’s Ukhrul District, requires proper scientific study so that this endangered flower can continue to thrive in its original habitat.” – informed the Chief Guest.
During the inaugural ceremony, the Visiting Chief Guest informed that the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has taken up tissue culture of this plant, and intends to perpetuate this lily not only in the original habitat but also in laboratory conditions.
“Shirui Lily Festival if marketed properly can become a tourist attraction. It will not only create awareness about the need for protection of our environment which need to be targeted to our own people but it can attract tourist which will not only improve the well being of the local population but can also bring in advanced knowledge and expertise to improve the environment. Not only the Lily but the monsoon flowers of Shirui range and the Rhododendron can be marketed,” – informed the Chief Guest.
Addressing the gathering, the Manipur Chief Minister – N Biren Singh, who was the functional president at the occasion remarked that 46 crores have been sanctioned under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Vikas Karyakram (PMJVK) scheme, for the construction of Shirui Heritage Village and upgradation of Bakshi ground.
The concerned project will soon commence. He also informed that constructions of cable cars at Loktak and Shirui are in the pipeline. Referring to upgradation of Pettigrew College to a University, one of the oldest colleges in the state, he said one more bus have recently been given. Moreover constructions in the college are in full progress now. The government will not compromise for quality. Misappropriation of funds and projects taken-up under the ruling government by any agent whether it be departmental or contractors will come under the scrutiny of the law. He later appealed the public for corporation so as to enable the process of development in the land be successful.
The grand tourism event – ‘Shirui Lily Festival 2022’ aims to raise awareness about the endangered ‘Shirui Lily’ which is endemic to the Kashong Hills in Shirui village, and recognize the state’s ongoing efforts to foster sustainable and responsible tourism.
It celebrates Manipur’s vast biodiversity and rich cultural legacy, allowing travelers to learn about the Tangkhul Naga tribe of Ukhrul and explore Manipur’s highest hill station through its cultural origins, values, and customs.
Other features during the festival includes Miss Shirui Lily beauty contest, cycling, marathon, 7 A-side football, Essay writing, music will mark the four-days festival.
Moreover, special appearances by Miss Universe 3rd runner up, Adline Castenino as showstopper at the opening fashion show and performance of ‘The Monument’ – a British progressive metal band at Bakshi ground on May 28 evening are some of the few highlights.
According to the Director, Tourism – Shri W. Ibohal Singh, Bakshi ground in Ukhrul town will be the venue for Shirock, 2022, one of the main attractions of the festival. ‘ShiRock’ – a musical spectacle of live music performances and competition, is one of the festival’s greatest draws, attracting visitors from all across the state and even adjacent regions.
Its worthy to note that the English Botanist – Dr. Frank Kingdon Ward from the New York Botanical Society first discovered the flower in 1946 and named it after his wife, Jean Macklin.
This endemic flora clinched the prestigious merit award in the Chelsea Flower Show organized by the Royal Horticulture Society, London. While, in 1989, it was designated as the ‘State Flower of Manipur’.