TODAY -

This Eleventh Edition of Sangai Festival

SK Singh *

 Eleventh Edition of Sangai Festival 2022



This Nov 3, the CM kick started a tourism promotional campaign luxuriously entitled "Experiencing Manipur Sangai Festival 2022". This was in connection with the proposed Sangai festival slated to be during November 21 to 30. Briefing the media the CM underlined that this Sangai Festival would aim at attracting not only domestic tourists but also tourists from abroad.

The festival provides an opportunity to showcase not only the case of Sangai and its habitat, its surroundings, its beauty but also the unique cultural diversity, expose the rich handloom and handicraft of MAnipur that has been the hall mark of the finery of the artisans of the state from time immemorial.

The CM opined that this edition of Sangai Festival could be equated to kind of a 'Festival of Awareness', which would be the 'theme' of the festival. The state of Manipur, its diversity and yet its unison among the hills and the valley, amongst the communities as large, diverse and yet uniquely in unison is the point in view.

On 7 November, the CM also launched official 'Theme Song' sung by noted pop singer MUSHKA Mayanglambam, in CM's Secretariat. Elaborately presented, lyrics and music composition is the works of Mangangsana, yet another lyricist of the day.

The CM proudly recalled that this time around the festival would be spread in 13 select venues far and widely spread around the main city Imphal and the ethnic birth place of this rare breed of Sangai, set up only for this occasion, the Ethnic park at Moirang Khunou. There had been outcry in the past that the festival centered around this rare breed of Sangai was nowhere to be seen even at its birth place being centered in the capital city.

The government in a grand way going to hold the festival in 13 different locations is commendable. The core consideration could be the urge for fostering intrinsic ties among communities living far and wide, among the districts and amidst the people of varying tribes and casts.

Covering spots like Mao in Senapati, Behiang and Khuga in Churachandpur, even Ukhrul for its Khangkhui Cave, known for its age, depth and noted to be an abode of a unique breed of 'bat' is certainly thoughtful.

The added show cases include an extravaganza of fashion show, Sangai run, flower show, indigenous cultural program. Handloom and handicraft, arambai show, mukna, yubi lakpi, international polo tournament, CM's Sagol kangjei championship, film screening and mix martial arts. These are certainly as diverse as the culture and tradition of the ethnic communities in the state.

These areas apart, the proclaimed luxuries apart, the ethnicity of handloom and handicraft products of the state, the polo game in its very birth place, the food festivities of varied tastes from the hills, the plains plus exotic ones which adorn the state, even the Keibul Lamjao Ntional Park, its unique habitat, the thickened phumdies often touching a thickness of 5-6 feet, the water-grass laden over the years which serve as one and only abode of Sangai deer.

Tourists are themselves unique tribe. They hunt for luxury in terms of amenities, fancy food, beverages to stimulate some adventure, some fun. All come for a leisure trip. They look for places to unwind their fatigued body, de-stress their minds from the trappings of civilization. They hunt for something new, something unique.

Money is not much of a consideration, they can dig their pockets deep if the right facilities and enamors are in place. They come to witness the state's tourist spots apart from the Keibul Lamjao Park, value and fathom the state's rich cultural traditions, exotic locations including select hill spots of interest.

They would love to have a feel of a kind of ecotourism, agro-forestry based tourism where they can explore, in a single run. a bit more than Sangai so, on return, they are laden with rich, untouched memories of a life time.

All these references to, side- trappings of, rich cultural heritage, ethnicity, traditional foods, polo, dances and all that are not adequate to quench the thirst of an average tourist. He or she is on the run for some fun, some pleasure time; could be witnessing Sangai dancing even at a distance, some treats of Polo games, some exquisite dance recitals, even the Rash Leela to name a few, could greatly enthuse the average tourists.

An added attraction could be the easy availability of food, the varieties, the tastes easily available, not necessarily within the confines of the hotel where he or she stays. Street vendors, eateries with some make-shift sitting facilities are popular these days. They are fresh, prepared on your face, cheap and tasty. The tourists, the average ones adorn these amenities.

Tourist also looks for package trips, day-long ones or even ones stretching to an overnight stay. If Keibul Lamjao Park does not have this facility, one can think of a night shelter at Shendra after an afternoon trip to Keibul. Loktak Lake, all around the guest house interpolated with fisher mens' dim lantern scattered across, more so in the night would remain inbuilt in the memory of the beholder.

Tour packages on these lines could be attractive. Tourists may be bent upon returning next season with more friends ignoring even the fact that there were no live Sangai deer anywhere despite the big banners around. It's no wonder as in neighboring Nagaland too, Hornbill festival passes by largely popular despite that fact that all hornbills had been eaten up by the natives leaving behind the stories of the past.

Souvenirs collected at the end of a trip, especially after covering Sangai Festival, touching handloom and handicraft stalls, the flower shows, tasting traditional cousins of various tribes would constitute an important piece.

Do we have thought about it? In other countries, as we end up a round of, say, handloom products, as we exit, eye catching souvenirs of various shapes and forms, photos of scenic spots and many others are on display. As they go exit, they collect some and this is a way of publicity of our products and more importantly, sale, earning some income. Surely the authorities must have thought about it.


* SK Singh wrote this article for e-pao.net
The writer can be contacted at kunjabiharis(AT)rediffmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on 16 November 2022.



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