The road from Shillong to Mawlynnong passes through such unpredictable terrains that it takes time to reconcile with the fact that you are still in the same state. Finding Mawlynnong might not be everyone’s cup of tea. Hence, it is a good idea to be accompanied by someone who has a good idea about its location. With the gradual increase of visitors, you would believe that there are abundant signages but that is not the case. Another glitch is the fact that, Meghalaya, unlike its sister state of Assam is mostly deserted beyond the city contours. It is a good idea to hire a local guide with some knowledge of the terrain. This will make the journey much more pleasant, as you will only be appreciating the abundant beauty around without having to constantly check your GPS.

THINGS TO SEE AND DO

Walk About

In 2003, when Discover India declared Mawlynnong as the Cleanest Village in India, it suddenly moved to the top of travellers’ holiday destinations. Even though the state of Meghalaya is blessed with unprecedented beauty, this fairy-tale village will raise the bars higher.

Anwesha Madhukalya
Treehouse, Mawlynnong
Treehouse, Mawlynnong

As you enter the village, you will notice a church with a huge field laying adjacent to it. You might be required to park your vehicle in the field. Do not miss the treehouse located within the field. This seemingly unstable but charming treehouse boasts the best view of Bangladesh. It must be mentioned here that it will take extreme agility and light-footedness to climb the three bamboos standing as a pathway from the ground to the top of the tree. The concrete road will take you past small wooden houses with colourful gardens unravelling why Discover India bestowed that title on this small village. There are bamboo baskets tied to trees intermittently all over the village to prevent people from littering. All waste is collected in a pit and is later used as manure. There are currently around 82 agrarian households, most of which have embarked on a mission to ban plastic. Environment conscious and with a literacy rate of 100 per cent, the villagers are endeavouring to protect the forest around.

Anwesha Madhukalya
Breathtaking landscape en route to Mawlynnong, Meghalaya
Breathtaking landscape en route to Mawlynnong, Meghalaya

The concrete road is punctuated by a concrete clearing, which is surrounded on all sides by small houses and an eatery. Serving the most flavourful rice thaali (platter), the thatched sitting area looks out to the round clearing. If you are famished, this basic preparation might just appear to be one of the best meals you have ever had. After a hearty meal, resume your walk, which will take you past numerous spots from where Bangladesh can be viewed.

TIP Carry your camera around because you are unlikely to come across another village quite like this

Living Roots Bridge

This phenomena is unique to the state of Meghalaya. There are numerous living roots bridges scattered all over the state, most of which require a long trek. The most easily accessible is the living roots bridge, located in the neighbouring village of Riwai. A couple of minutes away from the village, most of the hustle bustle in this hamlet can be credited to this bridge. A small clearing, which serves as the parking lot is surrounded by small eateries selling local dishes and small shops selling refreshments. A paved way, flanked with more such small shops selling refreshments will lead you to the man who sells tickets.

Anwesha Madhukalya
The unique living root bridge of Mawlynnong
The unique living root bridge of Mawlynnong

A steep decline over rocks and stones will take you to this unique formation. Made by the Khasi villagers to make their commute easier, this bridge was created by weaving the roots of the giant rubber tree. The rest of the process is completed by the tree, as the roots gradually grow and intertwine to make the bridge. You could move down to the stream below and take a dip in the cool waters.

Entry ₹10

Timings Sunrise-Sunset

WHERE TO STAY AND EAT

The only place to stay here is Mawlynnong Guest House (Tel: 0364-2502420; Tariff: 3,000), an eco-friendly resort that offers accommodation in Khasi-style huts.

When to go Any time of the year, especially the monsoons Location In the southern part of the state near the India-Bangladesh border, in the East Khasi Hills District of the state Air Nearest airport: Shillong Rail Nearest rail: Guwahati

THE INFORMATION

Tourist/ Wildlife Offices

ASSAM

Directorate of Tourism

Assam Tourism

Station Road, Guwahati

Tel: 0361-2547102, 2544475

W assamtourism.gov.in

Tourist Information Office

B-1, Baba Kharak Singh Marg

New Delhi

Tel: 011-23345894

Nameri National Park

Range Officer

Potasali Village, Nameri NP

District Sonitpur

Cell: 08474067329

Tourist Information Office

Tezpur

Tel: 03712-221016, Cell: 09854334080

STD code 03712

Majuli

Tourist Information Office

MG Road, Jorhat

Tel: 0376-2321579

SDO (Civil Admin)

Garhmur, Majuli

Tel: 03775-274424

STD code 03775

MEGHALAYA

Directorate of Tourism

3rd Secretariate, Nokrek Building

Lower Lachumere, Shillong

Tel: 0364-2226054, 2502166

Cell: 09863021744

W megtourism.gov.in