The land of the Hill People does not consider its geographical distance from ‘mainland India’ as a disadvantage, and it has no reason to. Mizoram, which shares its borders with Tripura, Manipur and Assam, has enough to be proud of: every year during autumn, the Anthurium Festival reaches its doorstep. The hilly State beckons tourists of all hues to the colourful festival in Reiek Village, on the foothills of the Reiek Mountain, which sees participation of all the different tribes in Mizoram. While the event seeks to bind people from different communities together, it has also been highly successful in boosting the tourism potential of the State.
The Mizo people are known to be passionate about flower keeping and gardening, the State’s temperate weather and rich alluvial soil allowing horticultural ventures to be highly viable. The government of Mizoram first introduced the cultivation of the Anthurium plant in 2002 under Technology Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture in Northeastern states, after importing the seeds and technology required for Anthurium cultivation from Netherlands. The natural climatic conditions boosted a variety of types, almost over 80, to be cultivated across the State by hundreds of families.
This tropical perennial herb can grow up to a height of 20 inches and is cultivated on controlled environment in most places, even in the land of its largest manufacturer, Holland. Ideal agro conditions, availability of groups of progressive farmers with land and other infrastructure increases potential to reap in considerable commercial profits in Mizoram. Anthurium Festival thrives to encourage this potential and boost Anthurium cultivation in the State.
The Making of Anthurium Festival
The festival begins when the Anthurium flower blooms around September-October at Tourist Resort Reiek at Reik Village which is located 30 kms from Aizawl although last year it was held in Lengpui Mini Sports Complex due to a surge in the number of visitors to the three-day event. Reiek village is an ideal place to attract crowds as it is home to a serene spread of natural forests that has been long preserved by Mizo chiefs, and also caves and caverns for the adventurous spirits to explore.
The Tourism Department of Mizoram parents the entire cultural event and oversees its management alongside the Horticulture Department who equally contributes to the process. It is generally reserved for the third week of September or the first week of October and is financed by the State Government.
A Colourful Confluence
There is always so much happening at the event that it is hard to take your eyes off one section and admire the beauty of something happening at another corner. Whether it is the exhibition of flowers and handicrafts, or activities like music, dance and sports, it is a lively environment.
An array of activities are organised across the three days to amuse and attract the assemblage. The rich cultural dances are a treat to the eyes and reflect a distinct feature of Mizo culture. Dances like Cheraw, Sarlamkai and Chheihlam enthral the audience with its rhythmic albeit lilt movements. On the music bandwagon, top artistes from the State and region are welcomed by ardent music lovers as their compositions and renditions enthral spectators, mostly country rock.
Lai, Mara, Chakma, Paihte and Bru communities also put on display their traditional handicraft, handlooms, etc. while another spread of flower exhibition promises to leave onlookers with awe. Amongst these showcases of flora, different hues of anthurium flowers forms the cynosure of the presentation, all cultivated in the State itself. The popular fashion shows are the cherry on the top, leaving the audience spellbound with the stunning draping and handiwork of Mizo weavers worn by the models on the ramp.
But not all is just for sight, as visitors could indulge in an array of activities that promises to keep their adrenaline rush on. Several traditional games and sports are available for people to enjoy. Activities like archery, fishing, rifle shooting, trekking, rock climbing, water rafting and many more are bound to feed the adventurous souls and give them something worth remembering.
Event to Remember
A lot happens in three days and it is no wonder that the gathering crowd has increased over the years. The Mizo community has a lot to offer and people are left satiated with experiences and memories of the festival. Not only does it perpetuate a sort of awareness about the State of Mizoram, but it also helps bring people together, uniting them with art and culture while also appreciating the scenic brilliance of the setting in which the entire event unfolds.