The little Khasi village of Mawlynnong, not that far from the Meghalaya-Bangladesh border, suddenly became famous a few years ago. The cleanliness and management of the village is still touted to be a model of development for other villages. It is not exactly sure when it all began but sometime in the last decade it started getting a lot of media coverage as the “cleanest village in Asia”. Now, I am not exactly sure if there is an objective way of measuring cleanliness but it did seem like a destination worth experiencing. I have already told you about the living root bridge and the butterflies. So, let us now get to the business end.
Mawlynnong Travel Guide:
How to Reach Mawlynnong?
Mawlynnong is 90 KMs southwards of Shillong. You can hire cabs at Shillong or opt for a guided tour. From Shillong the road goes southwards till it bifurcates, one going towards Charrapunji and other towards Dawki-Tamabil, the Bangladesh border crossing point. You have to take the Dawki road. Road condition is decent accept for a few stretches. The final stretch is a diversion from the main road through dense forests. Buses should not cost more than INR 250 and tourist cabs should be around INR 500 per head for a day.
Best Time to Visit Mawlynnong
You can visit Mawlynnong throughout the year. But rainy season is recommended as this region is known for rainfall.
Homestays at Mawlynnong
There are several homestays operated by locals at Mawlynnong. They charge around 1500-2000 for a room, which is somewhat expensive compared to some other places in the state. Otherwise, you can return on the same day to Shillong for more options. Foor should also be provided by the homestays and there are a couple of restaurants too. However, be careful in planning your trip. One Sundays, the shops as well as public transport may be unavailable, as everyone goes to the church. So, avoid travelling on sundays.
What to do at Mawlynnong?
As discussed earlier, you can visit the living root bridges in Riwai Village, adjacent to Mawlynnong to have a view of this unique bio-engineering achievement of the Khasis. Otherwise you can just laze around and enjoy the rustic idyll.
Apart from that you can climb up the bamboo watchtowers and have a bird’s eye view of the region. Bamboo is an important part of local economy in any part of the North East. These “sky views” are further affirmations of the same. Probably the trend was started by one of the local entrepreneurs but everyone else has started imitating and several towers can now be seen around both Riwai and Mawlynnong. Basically you pay a small fee and climb up these 80-85 feet towers to have a good view of Bangladesh plains. View of the village also is good from the top.
Is there any other places to see the Living Root Bridge?
Yes, the entire Khasi Hills are full of living root bridges of various shapes and sizes. The most famous one is the double-decker living root bridge of Nongriat, which is a short trek near Cherrapunjee. The road to Cherrapunjee is a diversion from the road towards Mawlynnong.