Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Mawlynnong: God’s Own Garden!

‘God’s Own Garden!’ These words excite my senses in an unusual way. My eyes see images of colourful flowers and tall trees, my ears hear the sounds of birds singing their soft songs and my nose smells the sweet fragrance of wet mud.

Is God’s Own Garden any different from this description? Definitely not!

Mawlynnong is a small village located across the scenic Indo-Bangla Border. It is visited by tourists, both national and international, for its beautiful location; on the East Khasi Hills, overlooking the flat plains of Bangladesh.
What’s magical about this place is its serenity and an inexplicable sense of calm and peace. This is a result of the quiet ambience coupled with fresh air, mesmerizing views, steep climbs, flowing water and colourful flowers.

The people of Mawlynnong have taken the initiative to promote it as an eco-tourism destination and have left no stone unturned.

Mawlynnong’s locals, who belong to the Khasi tribe, ensure that their environment is clean and their way of living is sustainable to the environment.

The impeccably clean pathways of Mawlynnong greet the visitors with boulders of rocks at the sides and bamboo dust-bins at regular intervals.

Hence, Mawlynnong has earned the titles of ‘The Cleanest Village in India’ and ‘The Cleanest Village in Asia’.

But what captures everybody’s imagination are the meticulously and carefully constructed ‘Living Root Bridges’. These bridges are made of Bamboo and Rubber tree roots, which are intertwined by the Khasis over years. These bridges are mainly suspended above the numerous fresh water streams which lazily flow underneath.

Besides the bridges, there also are marvelous ‘Living Root Ladders’ which adjoin the steep cliff of Mawlynnong towards Bangladesh and provide a natural, accessible pathway for the Khasi people to the plains beneath.

One must also climb atop the “Sky View”; a tall bamboo tower which rises 60 odd feet above Mawlynnong and gives an exceptional view of Bangladesh below. The spectacular scene from the tower’s zenith is completely breath-taking! This viewing platform too is a consequence of the foresight and labour of the Khasis.

Natural wonders like this “balancing rock” and “shark’s jaw” also await travelers in Mawlynnong.

Another thing to look forward to is the Au Natural accommodation available in Mawlynnong. No fancy hotels and no pool resorts! Accommodation is offered by local villagers who are more than pleased to welcome guests to their houses.

But if you are willing to enjoy some alone time with the beautiful ambience around, there is a fascinating tree-house accommodation in Mawlynnong, made from Bamboo and Thatch. From one of its two houses, you also have a view of a small waterfall! You can sit in the verandah, sipping a hot cup of tea and enjoy the birds chirping and the trees swirling with the winds. You couldn’t have asked for more…

The sound of heavily pouring rain, the fast gushing river water coupled with the thicket of trees and the natural pathways cutting through the forest, makes it a perfect holiday destination; especially for people who want to escape the noise, hustle and bustle of big cities and towns.

This beautiful village is situated 90 kms away from capital city Shillong. Though the best time to visit Mawlynnong is from October to April, you can plan your trip in the monsoon season to enjoy the rains and the resulting greenery.

Other cities close to Mawlynnong are Cherrapunji and Guwahati. From here, you can book a jeep to carry you to your destination.

We recommend you hire a guide to take you to the most exotic cliffs, forests, pathways and people of Mawlynnong.

There’s so much more you can discover only by visiting the place. It is an abode of nature and truly, God’s Own Garden.

Do I need to say more? I’m positive that I don’t.

Mawlynnong is the best place for nature trails and casual swims. Escape into the lap of nature and bask in its beauty. We can bet that you’ll return with lots of happy memories!

Picture Courtesy: Timothy Allen

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