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..
As 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.
The 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.
What 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.
Although 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.
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.
Moving up,passing quaintly built bridges and gurgling water,we came to the Machaan which was an eating joint.
Here 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
I 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
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.
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.
With 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.