My trip to Mawlynnong combines my 3 day tour to Shillong, Meghalaya. We were a group of 7 and planned our stay in Shillong for the night. The next day we head on to Dawki (Blog coming up soon) the cleanest village by hiring a Taxi which took almost 3 hours from Police Bazaar.
Mawlynnong is a village in the East Khasi Hills district of the Meghalaya state, India,also referred as ‘God’s own garden’. It is famous for its cleanliness and natural attraction. Mawlynnong was awarded the prestigious tag of ‘Cleanest Village in Asia’ in 2003 by Discover India Magazine. The community has made collective effort to maintain the ambiance of a clean village. The village offers picturesque natural beauty, a trek to the living root bridge at a neighboring village Riwai. The village also offers a sight of natural balancing rock, a strange natural phenomenon of a boulder balancing on another rock.
The village is quite pretty, especially in the monsoons when there is lush greenery all around, with waterfalls paving the way to small streams and abundance of flowering orchids dangling from the trees and hedges add to the beauty of the village. The onus to keep the village clean lies with every person residing in the village. Local cleaning the roads, picking up leaves and throwing garbage in the bin is a very common sight. Bamboo garbage bins adorn every nook and corner of the village highlight the consciousness of cleanliness among the villagers. Cleanliness is an age old tradition and a way of life for all villagers.
Suprisingly, the village has hundred percent literacy and most of the villagers are conversant with the English language. The village offers a number of small tea shops, where you can relish a hot of cup of tea with some snacks.
Near to the village is a small place where you can dine in, the menu is already set from them and its all delicious veggie dishes. The feeling of homeliness can be felt on every bite of it.
We then headed onto the Living Root Bridge situated in Mawlynnong, Meghalaya’s double-decker and single-decker root bridges are unique in the world and are a sight to behold. The bridges are tangles of massive thick roots, which have been intermingled to form a bridge that can hold several people at a time. Khasi people have been trained to grow these bridges across the raised banks of streams to form a solid bridge, made from roots. The living bridges are made from the roots of the Ficus elastica tree, which produces a series of secondary roots that are perched atop huge boulders along the streams or the riverbanks to form bridges.
The root bridges, some of which are over a hundred feet long, take ten to fifteen years to become fully functional, but they’re extraordinarily strong – strong enough that some of them can support the weight of fifty or more people at a time. The bridges are alive and still growing and gain strength over time.
Mawlynnong offers one the opportunity to view natural beauty in abundance from the Sky Walk, a 80 feet high “machan’ or observatory. You can also visit the Living Root Bridge and Natural Balancing Rock. For nature lovers, one day trek offers living amidst nature in all its glory.
How to Reach Mawlynnong Village
Mawlynnong, located about 90 km from Shillong and 92 kms from Cherrapunjee can be reached by road The nearest airport is Shillong in Meghalaya. India Beacons Sojourn arranges transport for its guests from Guwahati, Shillong as well as Cherrapunjee.
There are few village home stays to stay at Mawlynnong with local families. Few of them are traditionally built hut, others are modern concrete built. The rooms are basic with western styled washrooms.