Manipur will celebrate its State Flower– Shirui Lily at the Shirui Lily Festival from May 16-20, 2017, in Ukhrul district. Dr. Sapam Ranjan Singh, Parliamentary Secretary (Tourism), Govt. of Manipur, explains why the flower is revered in the state.
Live music, cultural shows, beauty pageants, exhibits, folk songs, traditional dances and indigenous games and sports competitions like the Shirui Lily Grand Prix will be a part of the celebration this year. The festival is being sponsored by the Department of Tourism, Manipur, and organised by the Shirui Lily Festival Organising Committee. It is being will be organised at the state level for the first time under Manipur Tourism informs Dr. Sapam Ranjan Singh, Parliamentary Secretary (Tourism), Govt. of Manipur. “We recognise the importance of Shirui Lily as the State Flower of Manipur and the celebration is a part of our endeavour to develop and implement sustainable and responsible tourism in the State and save the endangered Shirui Lily. We are therefore concentrating on increasing the awareness levels of travellers through promotional campaigns targeted at specific markets.”
To promote the festival, the department is focusing its promotional activities on advertisements, dissemination of information about Ukhrul district supported by heightened public relations activities. Social media platforms are also being actively used to engage potential visitors to the festival. Manipur’s other annual events like the Manipur Sangai Festival attract a large number of visitors every year and a surge in tourist activities is observed every year during these celebrations. Commenting on the anticipated footfall Singh adds, “Looking forward, we expect the Shirui Lily Festival to be a huge success and pull a huge number of visitors from within and outside the state.”
Shirui Lily, also called ‘Siroy Lily’ or ‘Lilium Macklinae’ is a rare pinkish-white flower found only in the Shirui Hill range in the Ukhrul district of Manipur, approximately 83 kilometres away from Imphal. The flower was named after Jean Macklin, the wife of Dr. Frank Kingdon Ward who spotted the flower in 1946 while collecting botanical specimens. The Royal Horticultural Society, one of the world’s leading horticultural organisations, honoured the Shirui Lily with its prestigious merit award at its Flower Show in London in 1948. The Shirui Lily plant is about a foot tall and its flower resembles the shape of a bell. It blooms only during the months of April to June every year. The hills of Shirui commands a panoramic view of the district of Ukhrul and during flowering seasons the bright lilies cover the stretch of the Shirui Hill range. The scenic view of the hill range covered with lilies makes it a wonderful picture perfect location.