If you take a holiday to Shillong, you cannot miss visiting Mawlynnong, the cleanest village of Asia. Read this article to know more. Mawlynnong Village is located in the East Khasi Hills of Meghalaya, about 85 kms from Shillong. It is referred as 'God's own garden' and this is very true. Because it was judged as the Cleanest Village in Asia in 2003 and in India in 2005. A few kms away from this peaceful and serene village is the living root bridge in the village of Riwai. This place also has many beautiful waterfalls and lovely rain forests around it.
About the village
Now let me tell you about Mawlynnong Village and its people. The place is extremely beautiful and green, every house has a fenced garden and the people are very welcoming. When we went around the village, we found children playing in groups and enjoying themselves. What else is so special about this village and how do the villagers manage to keep the village clean? The cleanliness comes from community based eco-tourism initiative. The villagers collectively put in effort to maintain the ambiance in the village and give it a picturesque look. Since we visited this place in the monsoons, we enjoyed the beauty of the pretty lush greenery with flowering orchids and palm sized colourful butterflies flittering around on the flowers. The green trees and the hedges around the houses add to the beauty of the village.
The responsibility to keep the village clean lies with every person residing in the village. For the villagers, all ages from the senior citizens to the children, cleanliness is a way of life. Garbage is collected at selected places in bamboo containers. It is quite common to see local villagers cleaning the roads, picking up dry leaves, and throwing garbage in the bins placed at every nook and corner in the village roads and bylanes of the village. These bamboo bins highlight the consciousness of the cleanliness among the villagers. You may not believe it, but cleanliness has been a very old tradition and a way of life in Mawlynnong. The village boasts of hundred percent literacy and most of the villagers are conversant with the English language.
What to do
You can enjoy tea and snacks in tea shops lined around the parking area. Tourists usually take long walks in the village and enjoy the cleanliness culture. You can walk along one of the walkaways and come to a viewpoint which offers a breathtaking view of the Bangladesh plains. Mawlynnong village has set an example for others that the clean culture needs to be replicated in other villages.
On the outskirts of the village is a spectacle of natural balancing rock, a weird natural phenomenon of a boulder balancing on another rock. It is called Nature's balancing rock or Maw Ryngkew Sharatia in Khasi language. The strange balance sure raises a question for the science freaks: how such a large rock can balance on a every small rock. A family from the village has enclosed it inside a fence. The boulder has remained intact from the storms and cyclones for ages. Around the fence is a bamboo plantation and you need to pay a small entry fee to enter this place. The villagers use the fee to maintain the place.
What we carried back from this attraction: clean culture, smiles of the villager and the clean environment. The village will be ingrained in our hearts and as much in the photos attached with this article. So while on the holiday to Shillong do visit God's own garden and get captivated by its beauty and sereneness.