Regional Office in Shillong, Meghalaya
Indian Council for Cultural Relations, Shillong started functioning on 11th March 2009 with a grand concert by Vienna Chamber Orchestra in which H.E. the Governor of Meghalaya, Shri Ranjit Shekhar Mushahary was the Chief Guest along with various dignitaries of the state of Meghalaya. The ICCR Center is situated at Brookside Cottage where Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore stayed on his visit to North-East India for the first time. Ever since its establishment, ICCR Shillong has begun various activities such as the Horizon Programmes by promoting local ethnic dance and music, conducting folk festivals and, above all, by inviting foreign groups for performances in Meghalaya and in other North Eastern states.
Meghalaya also known as “the abode of clouds” has a rich cultural heritage. It comprises three tribes: Khasi, Jaintia & Garo. All the dance & music of this region is associated with certain seasonal festivals. Some of the famous festivals of this region are Wangala (Dance of Hundred Drums), Nongkrem Dance (thanksgiving to God for a good harvest) and Behdienkhlam (after the sowing period). Interestingly, certain communities are bestowed with the right to perform a particular dance which cannot be performed by any other community. ICCR Shillong promotes these local festivals as well in collaboration with the State Government.
Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya with its mesmerizing scenic beauty and vibrant culture, was the hub of all the North-East during the British period and continues to be so even today: many regional offices of the central government are in Shillong. It is the tourist-hub of North East India, has a pleasant climate and Cherapunji, the place with the heaviest rainfall in the world, is just 60 kms away from Shillong.
Many students from neighbouring countries such as Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Nepal opt to come to Shillong for their higher studies because of its reputed North East Hill University (NEHU), which has modern infrastructure and facilities as well as well-known colleges like St. Edmund’s, St. Anthony’s and St. Mary’s. These students frequent ICCR functions.
Further, Shillong is known as the Rock capital of India and world-famous Rock Bands such as Scorpions, White Lion, Fire House, Nazreth, Mr. Big etc. have visited this city. People here are greatly interested in western music and there are many western music scholars in this region. ICCR Shillong, with its potential for increasing cultural exposure, awareness and collaboration, would give a much-needed boost to the cultural activities of all of the North East.