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The exquisite 4th edition of four-day Shirui Lily Festival is being celebrated in Manipur with dancing, traditional cuisines, music, traditional games, and much pomp. The Directorate of Tourism, Manipur government hosts this gala event, which has evolved into a platform that promotes harmony and unity among the inhabitants of the hills and valley. This festival is based on the stunning Shirui Lily which is a one-of-a-kind ground lily found exclusively in Manipur.

Ukhrul District in Manipur

Ukhrul is located in the scenic highland town of Manipur, 83 kms from capital Imphal, and is home to the Tangkhul tribe . The festival is split into three main areas: the Bakshi and TNL grounds, which have ShiRock and cultural events; the meadows of Jorcheng, Phangrei, which host adventure competitions; and the slopes of the Shirui Kashong peak, which host the primary trekking events. Hundreds of neighborhood impromptu stalls with plastic sheets and bamboo walls sell the best barbeques, likely filling the Ukhrul forest air with celebratory and joyous aroma.

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Story of Shirui Lily Flower

The 4-day long Shirui Lily festival in Manipur rests its roots from the beautiful Shirui Lily, also known as “Lilium Mackliniae” which is only found in the highest reaches of the Shirui Kashong peak in Manipur. Shirui Hills is roughly 18 kms from Ukhrul’s district headquarters in Manipur and is the home to the Tangkhul Naga tribe. It can’t be found or transplanted anywhere else on the planet. This pinkish-white bloom with a bell shape was first introduced to the globe at the 1948 Royal Horticultural Society flower exhibition in London by English botanist Kingdon F Ward. He named the flower as Lilieum Macklinae Sealy after his wife Jean Macklin. That year, it won the renowned merit medal. The Shirui Lily was designated as the official flower of Manipur in 1989, however it is now considered endangered due to increased tourist activity and the intrusion of an invasive species of bamboo.

Highlights of The Shirui Lily Festival 

The Shirui Lily Festival is being celebrated in Manipur’s Ukhrul district, and the town is bustling with visitors from across the nation. The annual state festival, which raises awareness about the endangered state flower -Shirui Lily, attracts over a lakh visitors. However, forest fires and climate change are reducing the number of Shirui Lilies in the state. This festival is organized in the month of April or May to correspond with the flower’s blooming season. In the past editions of this festival, the celebrations spanned five days and featured a wide range of traditional and cultural events, from local games and folk dances to international rock artists. Outdoor camping is one of the most popular pastimes among visitors who prefer the open countryside than living in hotels. Over the years, this festival has welcomed iconic rock bands such as Extreme, Nazareth, Queensryche, and Steel Heart, all of whom are heavy metal bands from the United States. 

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Shirui Lily Festival 2022

The Shirui Lily Festival in Manipur has returned after a two-year break owing to the COVID-19 virus. This year is the 4th-edition of the festival and is scheduled from May 25 to May 28 in Ukhrul District. Manipur Governor La Ganesan, accompanied by the Chief Minister N. Biren Singh, officially inaugurated the four-day showpiece event. Besides Shirui village, the cultural feast will also take place at Bakshi Ground in Dungrei, wherein musical artists throughout the country will compete in the ‘Shirock’ singing competition which is the highlight of the festival. During this event, visitors will be able to see the picturesque beauty of Shirui village and will be able to experience local cuisines, games, and can buy local products such as Longpi ceramics, fruits, and chilies, to name a few. The festival’s headliners, Monuments, from the United Kingdom, were brought home this year by the organizers. Monuments, a renowned metal band from the United Kingdom will be wrapping up this amazing festival by performing on the last day of the festival.

Objectives of Celebrating Shirui Lily Festival 

  • To make society aware about the Shirui Lily flower which is now getting extinct.
  • To make tourists experience traditional cuisines, music, games and folk dances.
  • To promote local products like Longpi ceramics, famous Manipur chillies, fruits, etc. 
  • This festival promotes the adoption of the distinctive Tangkhul dog breed and also promotes the raising of Mithun, both of which are extremely important to the people of Ukhrul.
  • This festival aims to significantly impact the growth of cultural tourism in local communities.
  • Local communities benefit economically and socially from this festival.

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Conclusion of Shirui Lily Festival

The Shirui Lily Celebration has evolved into more than just a festival throughout the years, but also an occasion that draws the inhabitants of the hills and valley closer together than ever before. This festival seeks to spread awareness of the vulnerable Shirui Lily, which is only found in Shirui village’s Kashong Hills, as well as recognise continuous efforts to promote sustainable and responsible tourism. The event honors Manipur’s diverse biodiversity and rich cultural legacy by educating visitors about the Tangkhul Naga tribe of Ukhrul. Don’t miss the opportunity to witness this amazing festival !

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What makes the Shirui Lily unique?

It is unique since it is found only in the Shirui Hills of Manipur, and it can’t be found or reproduced elsewhere on the planet

Where is Ukhrul district located?

Ukhrul district is located 83 kms from Imphal and is a home to the Tangkhul tribe.

Who introduced the Shirui Lily and when?

Shirui lily came into picture in Royal Horticultural Society flower exhibition 1948 in London by English botanist Kingdon F Ward.

After whom was the Lilieum Macklinae Sealy named?

It was named after English botanist Kingdon F Ward’s wife’s name Jean Macklin.

When is the Shirui Lily Festival 2022?

The 4th-edition of traditional Shirui Lily Festival of Manipur 2022 is scheduled from 25th May to 28th May.