Nongjrong, a village 50km drive away from Shillong on the Jongksha-Kharang road under Mawkynrew constituency, is leveraging its natural beauty, horticulture products like the Khasi mandarin, and music in an attempt to preserve culture and heritage and to be the next tourist destination of Meghalaya.
Of late, Nongjrong has become a go-to destination for thousands of tourists who flock there to witness the mesmerising sunrise over misty floating clouds rising up from its deep valley.
The village is also famous for its late ripening oranges, or the Khasi mandarin, which are in abundance until late March and early April.
There is also the ‘Ka Sur na Nongkyndong’, a folk based group from Jongksha village that plays songs of faith and peppy music echoing the culture of the hill people.
To leverage on what the village has to offer, especially the oranges whose trees lined up the road leading to Umngot River, the Mawkynrew Tourism Sociable Society (MTSS) will host the Orange Festival on February 9 and 10, 2024 on the banks of Umngot River.
According to the villagers, Nongjrong produces approximately 4,000 tonnes of oranges annually.
Pynshai Synjri, the Sordar of Nongjrong, said that orange cultivation is not done in a methodical way. “We still depend on mother nature. We depend on the manure that it gives,” Synjri said.
He also said that through this Orange Festival, the farmers can take up its cultivation in a serious way.
The Sordar said that as of now, the farmers sell their oranges directly to the market but there are other ways in which this fruit can be marketed through its by-products.
Synjri has also urged tourists coming into Nongjrong not to pick the oranges which are growing along the road since these are the livelihood of the farmers.
Meanwhile, local MLA and president of MTSS, Banteidor Lyngdoh, said that the festival, budgeted at Rs 15 lakh, is not only to promote the area’s oranges but also to support the people of Mawkynrew to showcase their various products.
Lyngdoh also said that at the festival, music groups echoing the culture of the people of the area will be given an opportunity to perform.