The other side of Sangai Festival


By Adim Marangmei


This tourism festival was name as Sangai festival since the 2010 edition onward. The main “theme” being to showcase the unique Sangai deer which is found only in Manipur at the floating National park, Keibul Lamjao. Secondly to promote Manipur as a world class tourism destination.

However as an individual, organisation or the govt. are we working to make this theme of the festival a reality? Comparing to last year festival there were few new things which can be seen as well as there are some laps and no continuity. This year yes indeed the govt. try to make a different showcase of the community by constructing indigenous hut/ Morung, traditional dwelling hut, which was to a great extend very successful, and also the effort to sell only indigenous and local product in the main venue stall, though it was not a real successful one, we can’t oversee their efforts, and we as a Manipuri we do have certain duty and responsibility when the Government is doing so much of efforts.

When we look to the other side of the festival, this year Sangai festival seems to be happening only in the main venue. The light or other decorative elements in the heart of the city seem to be half hazard/ chaos, with the exception of the newly inaugurated Sanjenthong Bridge. Where everyone is interested in taking a glimpsed of the bridge in their mobile phone. This is the only periods out of 365 days where the city Imphal seem to be well decorated and cared, however this elements was not clearly visible in this edition of Sangai festival. There was no or less festival hoarding in an around the city, and surrounding towns Sinjamei, Thoubal, Lilong, Moirang, Andro to name a few. And there was hardly any banner or hoarding welcoming the tourist, yet it is said to be a tourism festival. What we could see was the airtel 4G banner with a look alike Sangai deer.

The items which were sold inside the event were more or less the price tag of a three or five start hotel, or an international airport, it doesn’t seem like a tourism festival aiming to promote tourism rather a some kind of international shopping mall. As compared, the Hornbill festival which is happening jus 130km from us seem very indigenous and the goods and food stall which are inside the events are very cheap, u can have unlimited local dish for just Rs 250 per plate, and there was something for everyone to take back home as a souvenirs of the festival from Rs 30 to Rs 2000 and that too all local products.

This year I invited some of my college and schooling mates from Nagaland for the fest, and along with them came some European tourist who were there in Kohima for Hornbill fest. Evening time I took them around the city to have the festive mood, but as I have mention earlier there is nothing much to be seen except for the bridge. They thought there might be a decorative deer around the city or a Hoarding that explain the festival, as we reach the venue they were taken back with so much chaos and unorganised entry, as compared there are no queue at all to enter the venue Kisama Hornbill fest. Unlike the school van and auto we didn’t had the VVIP or VIP pass, so we had to be in the queue. The next day I took them to Korengei as there was some powered paragliding activities going on, as we reach the entrance of the venue there was all pot hole a full kacha (mud) way, I wish the organiser at least repair that, which might be just 15m length, there was so much hype about that but sadly there was only one machine I thought there might have been at least 3-4 opps! On 29/11/2015 I ride them down to Moirang to see the great Loktak Lake our pride, and as per the programme there have to be a water sport going on in Takmu water sport complex, but as we reach there was no such activities going on what we could see was only some pole of colourful flag, so again an oppsss! (Seem like only in paper) anyway we drive to Sandra where they love the picturesque view of the Loktak lake, at the classic cafe as we scroll the menu there was no local dish I could offer them, so we order coffee and on the way back home we bought fish from Ningthoukhong canal (they love the canal with all greenish and clear water nice place!) and at home I cook for them the Manipuri style Nga Atoiba, they just love it except for one friend all of them tasted it for the first time.

Later in the evening we drive down to Andro, where they love the place and enjoy the hospitality of the people, they tasted the local brew and local dish there. Like the event which we had on the world tourism day, if the govt. or any organisation had organised an activities as part of the Sangai festival that would have been more interesting but sadly there were none. Apart from the fest they were fascinated more by the landscape and natural beauty of Manipur.

As the saying goes “Better late than Never” hope we can see more changes and activities in the 2016 edition of the Sangai festival. With many event management firm (both local and non) participating not only the Government agencies (Tourism Dept.) and making this place a real tourism destination. (Kangleipak)


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