Tour & Travel

FIRST EVER TOURISM FESTIVAL IN GARO HILLS

To promote tourism in splendid Garo Hills of Meghalaya state, the first ever “Williamnagar Winter Festival”, organized by Meghalaya Tourism and sponsored by North Eastern Council was held from December 13-16.  

It was time for all to celebrate in Garo Hills as the festival added vivacity and vigor to this enchanting region in the festive winter season. The theme of the fest was “Peace for all season”. Apt to the theme the festival’s main attraction - the peace run and the march symbolized peace for all season as old and young took part to spread the message of peace, as the festival got underway.  

The cultural extravaganza displaying the vibrant culture of Meghalaya trilled the people, as Garo, Khasi, Jaintia, Rabha, Koch and other tribes of state altogether had their day with its different form of rhythmic dance and music at the festival. Music and dance is in the soul of the people in North East, people here are found of western and rock and roll music, the winter festival gave an opportunity for the local bands to perform that thrilled the audience as people got high in music for four days continuously.  

Meghalya is going ahead with fashion; a fashion galore held at the festival displayed the vibrant dress of the Garo’s which were given a modern and complete western outlook. The festival also gave an opportunity for Self Help Groups (SHGs) and other entrepreneurs a platform to sell their goods. As the winter festival was celebrated with style, the display of Anthurium, Rose, Bird of Paradise and other exotic flowers grown at the Centre for Excellence, Samgong Farm in Williamnagar added beauty and colour.

Meghalaya Governor, M M Jacob inaugurating the winter fest stressed on the need to organize this kind of festival, a much felt need to promote tourism in the region which has immense potential for becoming a most sought after tourist destination in the country. “The scenic beauty of Garo Hills has been tinged with rich tribal culture and tradition” remarked Jacob while stressing that this is of something rarity for the rest of the country to witness the tribal way of life, their songs, dances and handicraft.

“Tourism can revitalize the economy of the state and we can earn valuable foreign exchange” said Jacob adding “This should be given a priority as the region lack in other core sector like agriculture, industries etc”.

Jacob appreciating the endeavour of tourism department for their achievement in recent years called upon the department to concentrate and complete the ongoing schemes meant for development of tourism infrastructure.  

“Let peace prevails and the tempo of the festivity goes on” said Jacob expressing his happiness to be part of the festival. Appreciating the media for playing an important role for promoting tourism in the region, Former Deputy Chief Minister and Tourism Minister, local MLA, Debora Marak said “the festival will spread the message of positive note for the rest of the country”.  

“This kind of festival will give an opportunity for tourist to visit the region which has to offer everything for any wanderlust tourist”, said Marak.  Stating, that the enchanting and breathtaking mountains, waterfall and the rich culture and heritage of the people in Meghalaya can attract any tourist, Marak observed that Garo Hills is yet to be explored by tourist.  

“Garo Hills can be the best destination for adventure, eco and cultural tourism” felt Marak while pointing that the need is to develop the infrastructure properly. “This is our first step which will be carried on to showcase and popularize the Garo Hills region”, observed Marak as she talks to this correspondent.  

The other highlight of the festival were swimming, boating, beach volleyball, beach soccer, fishing, cycling, fashion shows, food festival, concerts and Mr. and Miss Garo Hills contest etc.

(December 2006)