Cherry blossoms have long been synonymous with Japan and Washington D.C., USA. You can now add India to the list. From late October to mid-November, Meghalaya’s Khasi Hills bloom with the soft whites, pinks and reds of the Himalayan cherry blossom tree. The indigenous tree grows wild here; it’s only very recently that locals have begun to take time out to appreciate its delicate charms. Last November, Shillong hosted India’s first cherry blossom festival, and it’s back in town from 8-11 November 2017.
The India International Cherry Blossom Festival will be held in multiple venues in Shillong, and is free and open to all. It is organised by the state government with the Institute of Bioresources and Sustainable Development and the Indian Council for Cultural Relations. Instagram opportunities abound—the state government and the institute planted 3,000 saplings in the city in 2015 to better understand the indigenous tree, and are looking to transplant varieties from Himachal Pradesh soon.