Situated on the verdant hills of Mokokchung district, Longkhum village in Nagaland has long been a scenic haven, adorned with the delicate beauty of cherry blossoms. This year, a momentous occasion awaits as the village eagerly prepares to host its first inaugural Cherry Blossom Festival, scheduled for 22-24 November. This is also set to be the first Cherry Bloom Festival in the state of Nagaland.
The story of Longkhum’s introduction to cherry blossoms unfolds through the narration of C Angang, the Chairman of the Longkhum Village Council, in a conversation with Mokokchung Times. The inception of these delicate blooms in Longkhum village traces its roots back over 40 years. According to C Angang, the journey began in 1980 when the forest department of the Nagaland state government sourced cherry tree saplings from the northeastern state of Meghalaya.
Recalling the events of that year, C Angang shared, “In 1980, during Dalle Namo’s tenure as the MLA of Koridang AC and the Home Minister of the state, he assigned the 2nd NAP battalion in Alichen the responsibility of planting the cherry trees.” The village council chairman continued, “While the cherry saplings were planted in places like gardens and fields in other constituencies, in Koridang AC, the members of the battalion planted the cherries along the roads.”
Koridang AC is the constituency to which Longkhum village belongs, along with six other villages in Mokokchung district.
According to Angang, it took “only about ten years” for the cherry blossoms to bloom since their planting in 1980. However, Longkhum village for the past thirty years did not celebrate it as a festival. As the chairman expressed, this year, the village has decided to observe the Cherry Blossom Festival as “it feels like it suits the time and age of today.”
It may be noted that in addition to the Cherry Blossom, Longkhum village has always been a tourist magnet, enchanting visitors with cultural marvels like Lunglangba, also known as the Stone Ladder, and the legendary “Living Mug,” among other natural heritage. Therefore, this festival signifies not only the blooming of delicate cherry blossoms but also the flourishing of tourism in Longkhum.
The village has been actively working towards promoting its unique cultural and natural attractions, recognizing the importance of sustainable tourism for community growth. In a recent milestone, Longkhum launched its tourism website (www.explorelongkhum.com) in September, providing a virtual gateway for travelers and visitors to explore the village’s rich heritage, scenic landscapes, and the upcoming Cherry Blossom Festival.
The village council chairman added to this narrative, stating that the initiative to organize this festival was spearheaded by the Local Tourism Committee appointed by the “Longkhum Senso Mungdang.”
“The Local Tourism Committee, led by its convenor, made the decision to host this festival and held discussions with the village council. They have resolved that this festival will be an annual event from now on,” stated Angang, emphasizing, “It is indeed a very joyous moment for me personally and the entire village because everyone in the village will be participating.”
Interestingly, the festival is being organized independently as a community initiative without the support of the government. The Longkhum village council chairman informed that they have also prepared various items for sale to attract visitors, serving as a means to promote their culture and traditions.
“Longkhum is naturally a tourist destination with many places to visit, and we believe that the cherry blossom, being the main attraction, will offer people a lot to see,” expressed the village council chairman optimistically.
Longkhum is more than just nature as the village boasts numerous tourist sites, each steeped in cultural and traditional significance. As the village prepares itself to unveil its inaugural Cherry Blossom Festival, it not only celebrates the beauty of cherry blossoms but also marks a new chapter in Longkhum’s cultural identity and tourism story.
Multi-cuisine food stalls, music, games, and a kids’ play zone, along with other attractions like a local art and craft sale, will be featured in the festival. Sightseeing and walks along illuminated cherry blossom trees and pine groves are poised to be the biggest attractions of the festival. Activities will commence at 2:00 pm on each day of the three-day festival.