The Cherrapunjee Festival was organized by the Sub-Divisional Administration on the 18th of December 2013, at Sa-I-Mika Park, Sohra. The Festival was organized with the objective of promoting livelihoods, eco and adventure Tourism and highlighting the rich indigenous art and culture of the people of Sohra and Shella. The Festival witnessed the participation of over Thirty Self Help Groups engaged in various activities which include api-culture, Orchid Farming, Weavers and preparation of indigenous food. The various items particularly oranges from village of Mawphu, Nongsteng and Laitiam, the bananas and handicraft items from Nongpriang Village, the honey from Nongsteng, Mawphu and Laitiam and the indigenous food like Shrew, Phandieng and locally grown vegetables from far-flung areas of the Sub-Division were given prominence.
The festival was inaugurated amidst fanfare and gaiety by Shri. K. Khyriem, Hon’ble Parliamentary Secretary in-charge of tourism in the presence of Shri. David Nongrum, Hon’ble Chairman of the Meghalaya Tourism Development Corporation, Shri. T. ChyneHon’ble MLA of Sohra Constituency, Smti. R.V. Suchiang, Commissioner and Secretary, Department of Tourism, Government of Meghalaya, Smti. R. Sohkhlet, Director of tourism, Government of Meghalaya and Shri. Sanjay Goyal, Deputy Commissioner, East Khasi Hills Districts. The Sub-Divisional officer (civil) Shri. C.V.D. Diengdoh in his inaugural address stressed on the three important areas of livelihood promotion, eco-tourism and promotion of indigenous art and culture as the principle grounds behind organizing the festival. Shri. T. Chyne, Hon’ble MLA of Sohra Constituency while lauding the efforts of the Sub-Divisional Administration in organizing the festival called upon the participants to revive and strengthen indigenous art and culture with special emphasis on ‘Akor Sohra’. Shri. David Nongrum in his address sought the cooperation of the local people of the Sub-Division to make Sohra the favourite tourist destination of the state and the country as a whole. Shri. K. Khyriem, Hon’ble Parliamentary Secretary while paying tribute to U SosoTham, the father of Khasi poetry called upon the people of Sohra to emulate the mannerisms and culture that Sohra is renowned for. Further, he congratulated the Sub-Divisional Administration for organizing the event and particularly for reviving the forgotten indigenous games of Maw-Poin and the rich cultural dance and songs by the Seng Khasi Sohra and the various contingents from Sohkynduh Village and Sohbar Village. The inaugural programme was followed by the inspection of indigenous games of Mawpoin and the various fruit and indigenous food stalls by the dignitaries.
The traditional stalls which housed the indigenous food and fruit items were painstakingly planned and designed by the artisans of Nongtraw Village. The stalls numbering thirty added a traditional touch to the venue of the Festival. In addition to the traditional stalls, several other stalls serving traditional and Indian gourmet as well as locally prepared ginger and strawberry wine were put up to tickle the taste buds of the visitors. A unique attribute of the festival was the museum which was a major attraction among the visitors. The museum showcased the rich history and culture of the people of Sohra and included several artifacts hitherto unknown to the present generation. The museum also displayed unique and old photographs of Sohra town dating back to the days of undivided Assam.
With the intention to boost adventure tourism and to put Sohra in the map of adventure sports, a mountain biking competition was organized in the early hours of the 18th of December, 2013. The competition witnessed the participation of bikers from Shillong and Guwahati who traversed the entire stretch of the road connecting Sa-I-Mika to Laitduh village and back. The Competition was a major success as it provided the right platform for local bikers to partake and interact with bikers from the state as well as outside the state, besides, it provided an opportunity to the young people of the Sub-Division to consider mountain biking as one of the sports that could be promoted in the area.
With a view to encourage indigenous games among the young people of the Sub-Division, Maw Poin and Archery Competition were organized on the 17th December, 2013 and finally culminating with the finals on the day of the Festival. Both the traditional games witnessed overwhelming participation of the young and old people alike and were one of the major attractions of the festival. Since the 18th of December is also commemorated as the death anniversary of U SosoTham, the great bard of Khasi poetry, Poetry Recitation Competition and Phawar Competition was organized among the school going children and youth representing various institutions and villages. Indigenous dances and songs by various artists and cultural groups from Sohra, Sohkynduh and Sohbar were performed during the Festival.
The Festival culminated with musical extravaganza towards the evening where prominent bands including the Strait Brothers from Shillong and Summer Salt enthralled the audience with their thrilling performance. The musical extravaganza also included performance by Shri. Rana Kharkongor, a celebrated Khasi singer who in his solo renditions called upon the people of Sohra to revive the ‘Akor Khasi’ and preserve the flora and fauna of the region.
On the whole, the Cherrapunjee Festival, 2013 met with resounding success as it accomplished in achieving its main thrusts which include promotion of indigenous food, promotion of Khasi Mandarin (Oranges), revival and encouragement of indigenous games, celebrating the rich culture of the Khasi people through indigenous songs and dances and building bonhomie among the people of the various villages under Sohra Civil Sub-Division.
Smti. B. Ranee, MCS, E.A.C. Sohra Civil Sub-Division
The Chief Guest Along With The Dignataries
Students Of R.K.M, Sohra Presenting A Traditional Song
Fresh Oranges From Nongsteng Village
Handicraft Items From Nongpriang Village
Fruits And Local Products
Locally Prepared Wines And Cut Flowers
Fruits And Local Products
Shri. C.V.D. Diengdoh, IAS, SDO (C) flagging off the 1st Sohra Mountain Bike challege
A participant presenting a cultural item.
“ Shad Kynjoh Skain” performed by the artists from Sohkynduh Village.
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