The northeastern state of Sikkim, also known as the nature’s paradise, came alive with the Asar Rice Plantation festival, which marks the arrival of the monsoons and onset of the crop plantation season in the state.
The festival was celebrated with great zeal and enthusiasm at the saramsa fields in the outskirts of the state capital.
Bestowed with varied agro-climatic condition, Sikkim produces some of the major crops such as cardamom, ginger, turmeric, off-seasons vegetables, flowers, kiwi, paddy maize and millets etc.
The farmers in Sikkim are inclined towards rice cultivation.
The Asar Pandhra festival is very important to the farming communities of the state, as it marks the day farmers begin sowing paddy in their fields.
“We farmers of Sikkim do all kinds of cultivation but not in terms of commercial purposes, but for the livelihood and for the family itself. Sikkim farmers do rotation cultivation as well,” said Simon Subba, DIO, IPR, West Sikkim.
The farmers and locals from across the state actively took part in the rice plantation festival.
The day is also marked by the traditional custom of eating beaten rice “cheura” with yoghurt “dahi”.
The festival is celebrated with utmost gusto with the people from all walks of life gathering in the paddy field and playing with mud and water.
During the festival, the youth danced and sang to the tunes of the traditional Sikkimese songs.
Various cultural and sports activities were also organized during the festival.
The farmers ploughed the paddy fields using traditional methods.
“Organic farming, which is very much popular in Sikkim and of course, Sikkim is the first organic state in the country, such festival is a dedication to cultivation and the farmers of the state. Various cultural and sports activities are organized to mark the celebration bringing together the entire community. It is a very great experience. It was first organized by the ‘Sarvoday Samaj Lingchom’ last year,” said District Collector Aishvarya Singh.
The festival that is only celebrated in Geyzing West Sikkim, has given the state a unique identity. The tourists also actively joined the celebration.