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Siang River Festival: Promoting ecotourism since its inception

22 Apr,2022 05:38 PM, by: Tanuel Nonang
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The state of Arunachal Pradesh is endowed with a huge vibrant diversity of flora and fauna that has been attracting the onlookers and nature enthusiasts across the globe. But as the time passed, the need for creating awareness on the prevention of exploitation of nature has become necessary. Since the tourists hotspots filled with the floral and faunal diversity are prone to be affected by the over exploitation of nature and its ill consequences, fostering a sense of responsibility in every citizen is a must. This is where the ecotourism plays its vital part.

According to the International Ecotourism Society (TIES 2015), ecotourism is defined as a “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment, sustains the well-being of the local people, and involves interpretation and education.” In the context of Arunachal Pradesh, many initiatives have been implemented to promote the same. One of these initiatives is the Siang River Festival that is celebrated with much enthusiasm in the state.

Celebrated annually in the month of December at different venues chosen each time, the festival gets its name from the mighty river Siang of Arunachal Pradesh. The river is an important part of the community civilisation in the state as it does not only support the basic needs of the local populace but also help in generating state revenue by providing opportunities for the adventurous tourists to participate in events like river rafting, angling and trekking. The festival is organised and observed in a very grand manner by the governing authorities as well as the concerned stakeholders. With a view to promote ecotourism in the state, various interesting events are held during the festival. Competitions themed on various issues and schemes related to rural development and environment conservation are organised. Various energetic events like water rafting, angling, trekking, paragliding, hot air balloons are also organised. But one of the most interesting happenings during the event is the cultural shows displaying various traditional folk dances with beautiful attires. This is complimented by the delicious traditional delicacies that are available for the attendees. Last year, exhibitions showcasing beautiful local handloom and handicrafts were also held at the event adding to the grandeur of the celebration.

Why events as such are important?

While the festival has its main focus on promoting the ecotourism and culture in the state, it also provides an ample opportunity to generate general awareness on the issues such as river cleaning, rejuvenation, rainwater harvesting, tourism development etc. Events like the Siang River festival create a bridge of communication between the general population and the indigenous cultures. The interaction open doors of possibilities for the local communities and help in getting the proper exposure in the mainstream media.

However, simply talking about it is vastly different from experiencing it personally altogether. These events help people get closer to nature, feel the wonders of it and realise the possible consequences if no proper attention is given towards the conservation of the same. As mentioned above, Arunachal Pradesh is a beautiful haven to numerous floral and faunal diversity and the local communities have been living in coexistence with nature since time immemorial. The events give a better glance into the world of the wild and its relationship with the human population. It nurtures a responsibility in people to conserve the flora and fauna of the region. Last but not the least, these events are often very colourful and alluring to the general masses that have been living far away from serene surroundings. While it gives them a chance to get their peace of minds, it also serves as a moving force to educate them more about the ecotourism and its positive impact on the world.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author's. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of The Critical Script or its editor.

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