Monolith Fest off to a grand start

Richness of Khasi culture, tradition on display at Heritage Village

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KHADC CEM PN Syiem leads Union Tribal Affairs Minister V Kishore Chandra Deo during the inauguration of the Monolith Festival at Mawphlang here on Friday.

SHILLONG: Hundreds of people from various parts of the State including foreign tourists thronged to the two-day Monolith Festival showcasing the rich Khasi tradition which got underway at the Heritage Village at Mawphlang on Friday.
The first-of-its-kind Festival was inaugurated by Union Tribal Affairs Minister V Kishore Chandra Deo.
Various facets of the shifting fortunes of the Khasi community through the cultural mediums will be showcased during the two-day mega event, conceived by the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC).
Participants from at least 10 Himas (Khasi states) are displaying their lifestyle, tradition and culture before the visitors who can have an insight into the profundity and diversity of the Khasi culture.
Festivals in the past had failed to capture and project the traditional and culture of the indigenous people. The festivals which were earlier organised were more commercially driven as the focus was more on fashion shows and music concerts rather than attracting people with presentation of the culture and traditions of the indigenous people of the State.
The activities which are on display at the Monolith Festival includes cultural performances (dance and skit), indigenous musical performance, exhibition & sale of handloom and handicrafts, herbal massage, traditional games, Ka Shad Miet and ethnic costume show.
The objective of the festival is to showcase and highlight the distinct and unique cultural features of the Khasis, their way of life, their rich tradition and their close empathy with nature and environment.
The festival will introduce the world to the multifarious functions of the bamboo plant which was charted the course of destiny of the Khasis even in the present day.
Another unique thing about the festival is that the venue has been declared a no-plastic zone where food will be served on leaves.
The major attraction of the festival, an amphitheatre, which can accommodate nearly 1,500 people, has been constructed at the venue of the festival.
Earlier, while inaugurating the festival, Union Tribal Affairs Minister V Kishore Chandra Deo said that this festival brings together the diverse Khasi traditions at one venue facilitating the visitors to sample music, dance, food and pure tribal life.
“This is a classic example of convergence of the rich cultural Khasi traditions at this heritage village in the lap of the nature.
Needless to say this will also serve as an effective means for better understanding of the way of life of Khasis, their land and culture,” Deo said.
Stating that the country has a rich cultural heritage, the Union Minister said, “Our cultural traditions from the days of yore are, in fact, being preserved and nurtured mainly by the tribals.”
“It is the tribals who are repository of our traditional values and cultural heritage which need to be protected. A standing example is the Law Kyntang or the Sacred Grove,” he added.
Deo also said that it has been his endeavour to ensure that the rich traditional knowledge of art and craft, knowledge of medicinal herbs, which was passed on to the indigenous people by their ancestors, need to be acknowledged, preserved and protected.
Meanwhile, KHADC CEM Pynshngain N Syiem said that the KHADC hopes that through this festival, which will be turned into an annual event, will foster integrity and oneness of the Khasi race, enrich its culture, protect it against the onslaught of foreign cultures and will also attract domestic as well as foreign tourists to this Cultural portal.

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