IMPHAL, November 21: Deputy Chief Minister Gaikhangam today inaugurated the Manipur Sangai festival 2012 at Hapta Kangjeibung.
The inaugural function was also attended by Parliamentary Secretary, Tourism and YAS, Mairembam Prithiviraj Singh, Education and CAF & PD Minister M Okendro Singh, PHED and Labour Minister I Hemochandra Singh, Chief Secretary DS Poonia, Olympic bronze medalist MC Mary Kom, Minister Councillor (Comercial), Royal Thai Embassy, Tharadol Thongruang and other senior government officers.
Speaking at the inaugural function, Deputy Chief Minister Gaikhangam gave detailed information about the festival.
“The Manipur Sangai Festival is a State Level Festival organized by the Government of Manipur and spearheaded by the Tourism Department. The `Festival` was started under the name of Manipur Tourism Festival in 2008. It has been renamed as Manipur Sangai Festival since 2010 to popularize `Sangai`, the rare species of dear to be found in Manipur, which is also the State animal.”
“The beautiful dancing deer `Sangai` is on the verge of extinction and needs concerted efforts of one and all for its survival and existence. This `Festival`, a cultural extravaganza, started with the aim of showcasing Manipur at her best, is a fixed annual calendar feature beginning from 21st to 30th of November ever year. It brings to the world the best of what this North- Eastern State of India has to offer, be its cultural heritage, folk dances, indigenous cuisine & music, adventure sports and natural beauty.”
“In this festival, not only Indian States but foreign troupes also participate for various games and cultural activities. During the Festival, the rich culture and mystique dance of Manipur are showcased. Indigenous Fashion Show, Rock Show and Traditional-Musical Night are held at the Bhagyachandra Open Air Theatre (BOAT).”
“Indigenous games are held at Mapal Kangjeibung and Khuman Lampak Stadium. At Hapta Kangjeibung, the main venue of the festival, finest of handloom, handicrafts & fine arts indigenous cuisine products from the state of Manipur are displayed.”
“Conducted tours as well as adventure sports events are held simultaneously during these 10 days. The `Festival` has assumed great significance in recent years and the 2012 edition essential celebrates ethnic diversity of Manipur Society.”
“This event will be webcasted live, this year on the official website: `[email protected]`. Around 5 lakh people are likely to visit the festival during 21 to 30 November, 2012.”
Boxer Mary Kom said, “Our state is one of the most beautiful states in India. Let us make our state peaceful so that we may move ahead with any developmental works.”
Tourism commissioner Rajesh Kumar said, “We have received more than 10,000 feedbacks on the festival’s official website from all over the world.”
Thai Embassy Taradol Thongruang said he has been attending this festival every year since 2010. “We are so close in terms of culture and food habits, visiting Manipur is like visiting home.”
Education Minister Okendro said that he feels proud to have a platform to showcase the talents. “They say that Manipur is the called the second Switzerland, but Switzerland’s beauty is an artificial beauty whereas Manipur’s beauty is all natural and God gifted.”
“Manipur is infamous for frequent bandhs, blockade and long queues for anything. But now it is high time they we wake up to proceed towards development of the state and tourism is one way out,” the minister added.
Parliamentary Secretary Prithiviraj said, “The celebration of Sangai Festival began in the year 2008, later in the year 2010 it became a calendar festival of state tourism department, showcasing the beauty of the state to the rest of the world.”
The Parliamentary Secretary also informed that from next year the state tourism department will be inviting South East Asian countries to participate at the festival.
Saying that the festival is meant for all the communities of the state, he appealed to all the communities for participation.