Mawlynnong-Asia’s cleanest village Part-2

Continued from Part 1

Ten minutes from the living root bridge,we eventually reached our destination….and lo and behold….saw this imposing signboard which read..

maw11As soon as we entered the village,there was a feeling of calm,peace and tranquility.Only thing you noticed were the sights and sounds of nature.I immediately fell in love with the place.

At the parking,the signboard declared “Welcome to Mawlynnong – God’s own Garden”.And it surely looked like one beautiful Fairyland ,just out of a picture book.Mawlynnong in Khasi,incidentally stands for, a cavity on the Rock.

maw13The village has a Total of 94 households.The villagers make their livelihood out of agriculture and selling broomsticks,and most recently by tourism,which has flourished after the village received the status of the cleanest village in Asia.There is 100% literacy in the village.Though, the villagers have to travel for atleast two hours to get to the nearest market,they have their own school,church and a small grocery shop.The villagers have taken it upon themselves to keep the village absolutely spick and span.There is no litter to be found everywhere.In fact,I saw young girls weeding the grass in front of their homes.There were cone-shaped bamboo dustbins called Thapa in every nook and corner.

maw16maw15What added to the uniqueness of this already unique village was the fact that it was also blessed to have been richly endowed by Nature.The whole place was a riot of colours ,As far as one could see,there were trees,bushes and flowers.All well maintained,not growing wildly.

maw17maw28Although the village might be cut off from modern amenities with our mobile phones showing no signals at all,the residents were following all the modern methods advocated in a modern world to save the Earth.There were compost pits where all the garbage was dumped regularly and rain water harvesting was also being practised.

maw31 It was almost lunch time,but we wanted to see more before we could settle down for lunch.The locals directed us to the Sky view point and the Machaan.When we heard of these,we were not prepared for what we witnessed.

maw18Moving up,passing quaintly built bridges and gurgling water,we came to the Machaan which was an eating joint.

maw32Here we bought tickets worth Rs 10 each to go up this mesmerisingly built bamboo structure.It is the brain child of the locals and according to them ,not a single nail has been used in making this.Surprised?It has been tied up with cane ropes and has the support of five or six huge trees and is nearly 80 feet high.I was still meditating whether to go up the tree house or not when I saw Munch already half way up and had to go on.Perk was safely tucked in Papa’s arms.

Munch climbing up the tree house

Munch climbing up the tree house

maw36maw37I was quite out of breath and scared,so was able to take fewer pictures than would have liked to but the experience was amazing.By the time we reached the highest point we were all panting but excited to reach the top.But once you reach there,the view is just breathtakingly beautiful.It is even more special because one can see Bangladesh clearly in the distance .

On top of the tree house - Bangladesh beyond

On top of the tree house – Bangladesh beyond

This particular adventure further aroused our hunger and we settled down for lunch at one of the many households offering tea and lunch to the visitors,The menu was simple but tasty, rice,dal,chicken curry and a mixed vegetable served by a smiling hostess.She was also kind enough to ake chappatis for a finicky Munch who wouldn’t have rice.The food was clean and fresh.I requested if I could get a peek into the kitchen and was surprised to find that to be absolutely spic and span as well.

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Resting a while

Resting a while

After lunch,we were ready to leave as we had a long drive back to Shillong but not before witnessing another natural phenomenon just outside the village.A huge boulder balancing on a smaller rock.

maw26 maw25With this we came to the end of another of our immemorable trips to the North East.The images of this village will remain etched in my mind forever.

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Mawlynnong-Asia’s cleanest village-Part 1

As promised earlier,I am back with my diaries on our travels to North -East India.

This time it is a visit to a magical village situated in the state of Meghalaya,about 90 kms from Shillong,This village is special as it has the distinction of being declared the cleanest village in Asia in 2003 by Discover India magazine and again in 2005.This has been reinforced by the UNESCO and Natinal Geographic.Surprised?Yes,in India. in stark contrast to the fact that India is notorious for its unclean streets,garbage dumps on roads and unplanned cities.

Having heard about this unique and picturesque place ,we couldn’t miss out on the opportunity to visit when we were in Shillong.We started our journey from Shillong at around 8 and settled ourselves and the kids into our sturdy ,hired vehicle,The Hubby was driving, of course.The natural beauty on the route to this far-off ,nestled in a corner village has to be seen to be believed.

maw2The lush green mountains simply take your breath away.Unlike most hill stations,where you feel giddy,the drive was very pleasant as the roads, instead of being narrow and winding were broad and smooth.Although that lasted only for the first few kilometers.

mawWe stopped at many places asking for directions and stocking up on snacks and water for the kids,We came across two beautiful churches on our way..

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maw4 The route offers many surprises such as hidden waterfalls and lush green forests.We did not mind the fact that we had been driving for nearly three hours and still no closer to our destination. Until,we came upon a neighbouring village ,Riwai,where we witnessed another gorgeous natural sight.A living root bridge.We bought tickets for Rs 10 each at a small ticket counter and made our way down a stone pathway, barefoot.This bridge is around 500 years old and has been made by twisting the roots of the Indian rubber tree.It is the result of the joint effort of Nature and Man and takes years to be functional.pathway.The hubby had Perk in his lap while I held Munch’s hand.It was worth the trouble we took for what we saw in front of usĀ  was truly nature’s miracle.I felt deep sympathy for the people who gave up the idea of going down to see the bridge after seeing the steps.They have no idea what they missed. Soon we could here the sound of trickling water

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The bridge is literally suspended over the river and is used by the locals to commute between villages during the torrential rainy season that hit the state for most parts of the year.

maw6 maw7Doesn’t this look like a set straight out of a Hollywood film likeĀ  The Lord of The Rings or Avatar?

We went down the bridge and dipped our bare feet in the cool water,clicked innumerable memories to take back home.We spent so much time here that we almost forgot about our actual destination-Mawlynnong.

Munch on the bridge

Munch on the bridge

Munch with a Khasi lady

Munch with a Khasi lady

aa3After much admiration ,we finally made our way up the steep path and reminded ourselves about our actual destination.

aa4To quench our thirst,we bought pineapples which the locals cut,peel and serve on steel plates with some salt.maw10We our now on the last leg of our drive,15 minutes from Mawlynnong….

To be continued……