The 10-day Sangai Festival got off to a colourful start at Imphal’s Hafta Kangjeibung ground on 21st November. Manipur Governor V Shanmuganathan was the chief guest at the inaugural function, which was presided over by Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh. Norwegian Ambassador Nils Ragnar Kamsvag was the special guest, while Deputy Chief Minister Gaikhangam and Parliamentary Secretary M Prithiviraj Singh were the guests of honour.
The festival is being organised with the objective of showcasing the uniqueness of the shy and gentle brow-antlered deer popularly known as sangai and found only in Manipur at the floating Keibul Lamjao National Park in Loktak Lake and to promote Manipur as a world-class tourism destination.
Speaking on the occasion, Governor Shanmuganathan appealed to the people to work for a harmonious and peaceful Manipur while inviting the people from other parts of the world to visit the State during the festival period.
In his speech, Ibobi said that tourism held great potential for a backward State like Manipur. He, however, stressed on improving the State’s infrastructure to boost the sector, especially to link up far-flung areas. ‘Manipur has much to offer to tourists – indigenous cuisines, music, adventure sports and natural beauty,’ he added.
Ambassador Kamsvag, Deputy Chief Minister Gaikhangam and Parliamentary secretary M Prithiviraj also spoke on the occasion. The major attractions of this year’s festival include an international polo tournament, Asian theatre festival, international film festival, a series of cultural shows and other eco-tourism activities.