Discovering Meghalaya: A trip to the cleanest town in Asia

It was a bright sunny day and our destination for the day was Mawlynnong, a paradise among the beautiful land of the Khasi hills. This place has also earned the status as the ‘cleanest village in Asia’ in 2003 by Discover India Magazine. Mawlynnong is a village in the East Khasi Hills district of the Meghalaya state, India. It is located 90 km from Shillong, along with the India-Bangladesh border. Our journey to this beautiful place began at 9 am in the morning from Shillong.

So as we move to our destination, passing through magnificent and mesmerizing picturesque hills and scenic valleys and streams, one could easily fall in love with its beauty. After one hour of traveling, we pass through the most breathtaking views and places as we see the hills, plateaus and the striking valleys of the Ri Khasi reflecting upon the warmth of the mother earth.

A glimpse of the views around us

The picturesque valley is surrounded by undulating hills. Khasi Hills Then our journey continues until we reach a place known as Pynursla where we had a break and to our surprise, it was a local market day. So, we quickly  explored the market and bought some fresh seasonal fruit known as Sophie. 

Then we continued our journey, and after two hours we finally reached our destination, Mawlynnong. It was a scorching day, and every one of us was relieved that finally , we had reached our destination.

Jiengkiengri or Root bridge

As soon as we reached our destination, we could see the purity and serenity of the place and  one could also feel the dapperness of the place, and  it looks amazing and beautiful. Soon after that, we had a little break to relieved, and enjoyed the view mother nature had install for us and admiring the serene beauty of the place. Being in that place we also went and see the famous root bridge or the ‘Jingkiengjri’ as the Khasi said. This splendid root bridge is formed by the roots entwining with each other and this process takes years and years to developed but only  with the help of mother nature and the locals who had been training these roots for years and preserving them to progress and developed into their magnificent bridge .

After that tour, we went back to the village of Mawlynnong, where we had our lunch and we had to prepare for the next tour. The balancing rock is another exciting feature in the village. After that, we went for a sky view which is also near the village, where we have to climb a treehouse, and from there we could see the  neighboring Bangladesh. It was one of the most majestic views where we could see the plains of Bangladesh, and with it one could see the sky and it seems as the sky touched the land. As it was noontime, we could see the sun sets down, and kiss the earth one last time before it leaves for the night, a perfect ending to this exquisite and life-changing trip.

So our journey to this beautiful paradise ended as we boarded our cars, we feel at peace with ourselves, there was an atmosphere of tranquility in the car as if the world has stopped ,everyone refreshed and renewed spiritually and mentally. After spending almost a day in this holistic paradise and learning how to maintained and preserved our mother earth, so that our future generations can also experience and cherished such amazing splendor of mother nature and it’s a gift it has for us.

Thus our experience in this paradise was absolutely pleasant  and we would love to revisit this place again maybe in the near future or so. Thank you Mawlynnong, and in your footsteps, we must follow in whatever way we can as the saying goes: “Cleanliness is next to godliness.”

KWAI: A humble and traditional bridge of hospitality in Meghalaya.

The act of serving kwai is one of the traditional offerings served out to the guests, family members, friends, and even strangers which form a bond and bridges people between the rich and the poor in the Khasi matrilineal society of Meghalaya without any discrimination.

kwai is being consumed or offered whether it is in happiness or sorrow. It is served both in celebrations or funeral, and so the Khasi people never run out of it. It is considered one of the important necessity in every Khasi household and a customary offering of the indigenous people of the state.

kwai has a history of its own, as per the Khasi folktale, there exists a friendship between a rich man and a poor one, the latter being heartbroken and ashamed on not having any food to served his beloved childhood friend committed suicide along with his wife. The friend knowing the act of sacrifice prompted him to take his own life as well, the Gods on seeing this blessed the people of the state with an abundance of areca nut and betel leaf as a way for the poorest people of the state to offer something to their guest visiting their homes without disintegrating their honor and respect,and thus kwai paved a way of social equality for the tribal people of the state.

kwai: A common item in a Khasi household

Offering kwai to someone is an act of lending out a hand of friendship between two strangers, some believed that chewing kwai on your own when you travel alone keeps you accompanied as the chewing of kwai raises your blood circulation and also act as a blessing for the cold winters in the state.

kwai is such an integral part of the Khasi society that they even relate it with death and describe people who are no longer here in this world as “Bam Kwai Ha Dwar U Blei”( maybe translated as they are blissfully and peacefully chewing kwai in the house of God).

So if you’re in any part of Meghalaya, do try kwai and enjoy it.