Beyond Shillong

Mawlynnong

Mawlynnong Village has earned the distinction of being the cleanest village in India. It is situated 90 kms. from Shillong and besides the picturesque village, offers many interesting sights such as the living root bridge and another strange natural phenomenon of a boulder balancing on another rock.

Mawlynnong nestled in the pristine hill state of Meghalaya, is along the Indo-Bangla border. This cute and colourful little village is known for its cleanliness. The main occupation of the villagers is agriculture. They mostly grow betel nut. About 82 households live in Mawlynnong. Keeping the surrounding environment clean is an age old tradition. Discover India magazine declared the village as the cleanest in Asia in 2003.

A dustbin made out of bamboo is found all along the village. Every one makes it a point that dirt and waste are not thrown everywhere. All the waste from the dustbin is collected and kept in a pit, which the villagers use as manure. The villagers are now on a mission to ban plastic. The village with cent per cent literacy is conscious and they are spreading the message of conservation and protection of the forest. Locals plant trees to ensure that the virgin forest is kept intact and also replenished.

Mawlynnong’s fame is now drawing an endless stream of guests from across the country and abroad. Although residential facilities are still scarce and are in the process of being developed, the existing one constructed from bamboo and thatch is quite hospitable and restful. Mawlynnong is an artist’s delight and the sort of getaway that would titillate creative writers and poets.

 

Mawlyngbna-The Edge of India

Mawlyngbna, a village a few scenic kilometres south of Mawsynram, is located on a hilltop that it shares with three others. From atop the hill, one witnesses the dramatic sequence of the rolling Khasi hills merging into the Bangladeshi plains. This rain-blessed village, with its warm and friendly people is on the tourist map for its diverse natural features.

Within the village are several natural springs that supply clean fresh water year-round and also provide a place for refreshing recreation. On its outskirts is a large broadleaf forest filled with different flora and fauna, the most famous being the endangered predaceous pitcher plant unique to this area. Following a trail north under jungle canopy, through streams and brooks, there is a plateau of rock and grass that extends endlessly towards open blue skies. Here, embedded in the boulders are the fossils that have put this village on the geological map. Following the trail further west takes one unsuspectingly into a land where folklore is alive: along a snaking rivulet are the grounds of a fabled animal market place –Ka Iew Luri-Lura. Here are impressions in the rocks that resemble animal footprints which, according to legend, are a record of a meeting in a time when they could still talk. The many streaming waters that are found here form cascades both small and large, the most notable being the Um Diengkain and Ar Phalat waterfalls which are also fertile breeding grounds for different types of fish.

In order to showcase its culture the community holds local dances, displays their handicrafts like handlooms, baskets and implements at the village museum. They have also preserved ancient rest-areas along the village pathways.

The Mawlyngbna Traveller’s Nest (which will be opened to travellers in October 2013) is built, owned and managed by Mawlyngbna Multipurpose Cooperative Society Limited comprising of enterprising youth from the village who view Village and adeventure tourism as an alternate livelihood option for them and for other youth of the area.

Mawlyngbna remains lodged in the clouds like the huts the Khasis traditionally descended from – a birthplace of legends.

 

Dawki

Travelling from Shillong to the International trade route border town of Dawki is a splendid drive of 95 kilometres passing through deep gorges and ravines, which is certainly a thrilling experience. On approaching Dawki is the Umngot river, the venue of the annual boat race held during March - April at Umsyiem. The Umngot river is the natural boundary between Ri Pnar or Jaintia Hills with Hima Khyrim of Khasi hills over which is a single span suspension bridge was constructed. This is the gateway to Bangladesh where major export and import transactions take place

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