SHIRUI (MANIPUR), May 19 - The five-day Shirui Festival 2017 was formally inaugurated amidst a dazzling display of cultural items and modern art and music on Tuesday. All roads led to Shirui village to witness the State flower Shirui Lily (Lilium mackliniae) which blooms during mid-May till early part of June on the picturesque Shirui Kashung hill range in Manipur’s Ukhrul district at an elevation of 5000-8000 ft above sea level.
This time the festival has been organised at the State level in an effort to promote and conserve the rare Lily.
Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren Singh inaugurated the Festival at the colourful Shirui village ground, 100 km north of Imphal.
On the occasion, Singh said the government would take steps to protect and conserve the State flower and also bird – Nongin (Hume’s Pheasant) and its habitats. He announced a Rs 5 crore package for infrastructure development to attract domestic and foreign tourists to the village.
Another Rs 15 crore would be sought from NEC for development of other infrastructure, he added. Moreover, Kangkhui cave, which is already a popular tourist destination, would be developed at an estimated cost of Rs 4-5 crore.
Releasing a book entitled, ‘Brief Introduction to Shirui Kashong: Abode of Shirui Lily’, he also announced that Shirui Festival would be celebrated henceforth from May 16 every year.
A number cultural events of different communities, modern music, fashion shows and screening of South Asian and local films are the daily events during the festival which will conclude on May 20.