Day 1: Soibum fest draws huge crowd

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Thousands thronged to the Kwatha Festival held today at the small village of Chandel district, namely Kwatha. The two day festival held for the first time to promote the indigenous business of bamboo shoot commenced today.

The remote location of the Kwatha village which lies along the Asian Highway 1 and just about 8 kilometres from reaching Moreh border town was filled with visitors and the turn out exceeded expatiations. As widely publicised in the social media, the organizers had prepared the fooding and lodgings for a thousand strong but, at late evening , there was still a beeline of cars heading to the village. In short, the Kwatha festival has been a major success. It drew a large number of crowd who came mostly by their own convenience and many pitched tents on the helipad of Kwatha village for the stay overnight. It may be mentioned that this is the first festival in a remote area where a visitor has been given the necessary logistics to be completely in a festive mood, lodging free of cost, public transportation managed, conducted tours, angling competition, photo competition, sightseeing , entertainment and musical programme till late evening. The cost of the ticket for the festival, just Rs 30.

It is speculated that the second day will draw in a much larger crowd then the first day which has undeniably jampacked the border village. The main events of the Kwatha fest will be to organize conducted tours, fishing trips and a visit to a small waterfall completed with a small juice bar and eatables suited to local taste. The later part of the day will witness a rock show by popular bands of the state.

The organizers have stated that they are holding the festival just to promote Kwatha village in the tourism map and for sustainable development .

We are a like minded group coming together from all walks of life, we do not take, but we give and promote, this is our agenda, Prithivi Senjam, the main organizer told IFP. He added that the Assam Rifles post at Kwatha and other concerned officers of Tengnoupal have also done yeoman service in making the event a success. We have had much logistical support from the Assam rifles, the donors, the sponsors and the general public. We plan to install a packaging plant for

Soibum (bamboo shoot) and also to construct a market shed along the Asian Highway 1, that way the villagers can benefit the maximum, he said.

The two day festival has been deemed successful in the first day itself and many stalls have reported sold out status by early evening.

The villagers have voiced approval that the sleepy town has been transformed overnight to a major tourist destination.

Source: Imphal Free Press

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