Ukhrul: The 2nd edition of Paorei Village Cosmos Flower Festival kicked off today amid the full bloom of multi-hued flowers at the local ground, Paorei village, Ukhrul district, Manipur.
The inaugural ceremony was attended by the DFO of Ukhrul, Shanngam Shaliwo as chief guest and Additional SP of Ukhrul, Ringthing Hongchui as guest of honour.
Shanngam Shaliwo hoisted the flag in the presence of the headman of Phungcham, Wungnaongam Horam, Paorei VDC chairman Chinaongam Yangya, chairman of Peh, Moon Shimrah, VDC chairman of Phungcham, Phokreingam Pheirei, VDC chairman of Varangalai Ningkhan Pheirei and other dignitaries.
Speaking at the occasion, Shanngam Shaliwo appreciated the efforts of the villagers in maintaining cleanliness and nurturing the cosmos flowers in the village. He also called upon the locals to listen to the message of the cosmos flower to human beings. “Cosmos flowers testify to their beauty in a short span just like humans. However, despite the short span of its lifetime, the cosmos shines in its mighty bloom. Let us also take a cue from the message, and shine ourselves just like the cosmos in our prime time” added Shanngam Shaliwo.
Additional SP of Ukhrul, Ringthing Hongchui stated that as per the World Happiness Index published in 2023 publication, the happy nations in the world are Denmark, Finland, Switzerland and others.
He said that factors and criteria for listing these nations in the publication are happiness, health-care facilities, generosity/philanthropy, absence of corruption, and social responsibility.
But happiness can’t be attained without sufficient income generation among people, he said.
He asserted that for people to attain happiness in their lives, they must strive to ensure adequate income generation through the proper application of education. A sufficient economy comes from the proper application of education and its varied skills and is vital for the well-being and happiness of people, he said.
He lamented that lack of education and proper income generation among the locals has come to stand in the way of happiness for the people. He then called for diversification of livelihood activities and ventures and avoiding herd mentality, while urging the locals to find ways to secure their income through the celebration of the cosmos festival.
Situated about 30km from Ukhrul headquarters, people from various corners throng Paorei village to witness the colourful bloom of varied shades of cosmos on both sides of the roadway leading to the village.
The bloom in well-maintained gardens in the heart of the village also attracted a lot of people to admire the bloom and take photographs.
Adding meaning to the celebration, local artists Somichan Vashum and Nimzing Horam presented songs expressing admiration for the cosmos flower and the significance of the bloom and the village’s heritage, while calling for its preservation for posterity.
The festival will continue until 14 October 2023. Sales and exhibitions of indigenous flowers, handicrafts, organic vegetables and seasonal delicacies are being held. A spot painting competition will also be organised during the festival.
Paorei village is also nurturing its Phakharok Orchid Park, spanning an area of sprawling 10 acres. The villagers have been preserving the area since 1996. Late Professor Dr M Horam and ex-MLA of 45-Chingai Assembly Constituency cultivated the idea of setting up an orchid park.
Though the concept was there before, the actual activities of planting orchids at Phākharok were initiated a few years back.
The youth of Paorei village has taken the initiative of collecting different types of orchids from the jungle of Paorei and transplanting them at Phākharok with an aim to fruition the long cherished dreams of the villagers.
Today, one can see hundreds of orchids of different varieties and different colours blooming beautifully in the month of May in the reserved area, sending out a sweet fragrance. Though the Phākharok Orchid Park is at an initial stage, it is attracting local tourists for camping and sightseeing.
The villagers with their limited resources are trying their best to convert this area into an orchid park and a hot destination for tourists in the coming years. They have also laid out a plan to construct homestays for tourists. Spreading about 10 acres, one can witness plain areas filled with huge oak and alder trees with a good water source inside the park.