INTRO: The ‘flower show’, popular among locals as well as tourists now, was earlier one of the few events that Gangtokians looked forward to. Even now, despite other distractions around, it still remains a popular annual feature and will open again this year on 17 March. Forester and Chairman of the Flower Show Committee, ST LACHUNGPA gives a short backgrounder on the show...
The first flower-show was held in the Loop Garden in North Sikkim during 1963 and inaugurated by the then Gyalmo Hope Namgyal. After 1963 the flower show has seen considerable developments. From a temporary set up it now has a permanent Flower Exhibition Centre. It interestingly receives a lot of tourists and has become a centre of education and recreation. It gladdens ones heart to see school children carrying notebooks and writing down names of plants that are displayed at the show. The Flower Exhibition has seen some of the greatest personality of India visit and genuinely lavished praise on the amazing display of plants.
Initially the Flower Show was taken up with great enthusiasm by former Chief Secretary, K.C. Pradhan. The other active member included Late Yap Tseten Tashi (former Private Secretary to Chogyal); Late D.N. Pradhan (former Police Officer); Late N.K.Rai (then DFO), J.B.Pradhan (former member of Sikkim Legislative Assembly), H.C. Mukhia (retired DFO popularly known as Mukhia Bau) and Baccha (presently supervisor of Parks and Garden). In the beginning the venue for flower show was at the White House. Subsequently the venue was shifted to Ridge park wherein temporary sheds were made of chitra (bamboo mats) covered with mosses. There used to be a special competition of IKEBANA (flower arrangement), collection of local species, local wild flowers, landscaping by students etc. Under the chairmanship of K.C. Pradhan, the first prime-minster who inaugurated the flower show was Mr. V.P. Singh. Thereon there was no looking back, it is now a year long event and is the only annual orchid show in South Asia held in the months of March and April.
Ticketing system was introduced during the year 1997. The then Government grant was reduced and then finally stopped at 2005. In following years, it was supported by the Nayuma Family of Namchi at the rate of Rs 2 lakh per annum till 2010. As a result of which, today the Flower show is now self-sustainable using the revenue generated out of the sale of tickets. Currently it is being run by 7 temporary staff at various levels.
This year as usual the “Orchid Show” is being organized on the 17 March with attractive prizes and we are hoping to witness many more varieties introduced by local hobbyists and Sikkim Horticulture Department. The committee hopes that Orchid Lovers of Sikkim will participate actively. On the opening day limited number of students around Gangtok will be given free pass and snacks to sensitize and make aware of the Green Policy of the Government. We welcome all to witness this grand event