Alien to the cacophony of buzzing towns and cities attributed to choking pollution, hooting and honking of city horns, dusty lanes, haphazard traffic rules, irresponsible civic sense, breathes this small little hamlet of Mawlynnong in Meghalaya that proudly wears its title of being the cleanest village in Asia since 2003.
Around 100km from Shillong, this place is a paradise that not only exemplifies cleaner living but also higher thinking.
Coil your hands around a warm cup of tea as we stroll through the heart of this tiny village which is make believe for the people in the city counterparts.
This naturally blessed hamlet is majorly inhabited by Khasi tribal people.
Cobbled streets laced with thatched Khasi huts amidst lush green fields abundant in flowers and orchids. No, it’s not the frame of a movie.
To keep the village clean, villagers make conical bamboo baskets to install outside every house while the onus to maintain the cleanliness lies with every person residing in the village. The place is regularly cleaned in intervals by volunteers. Plastic is banned and strictly adhered to.
Embor Klamet, a tour guide from Mawlynnong, tells, “Kids are given the task of keeping the area around the house clean as soon as they reach Grade 1 or Grade 2 in school; if they don’t do it, they don’t get food.”
Unknown to many, Mawlynnong is famous for being a rare matrilineal society, where property and wealth are passed on from the mother to her youngest daughter and children take their mother’s surname.
With all the pathways bordered with flowers nodding gently with the burbling waterfalls in the background. Undeniably, you are going to be spellbound.
Mawlynnong’s heightened concern for hygiene stems from a 130 years old outbreak of cholera. With no medical amenities at their disposal, cleanliness was the only affordable remedy.
LIVING ROOT BRIDGE
You’ll be stumped at the beauty of living root bridge which is a quintessential man-made wonder here. Aerial roots of the banyan tree are trained to grow over a period of years to form an intertwined mesh which is used as bridges to cross streams. rivers etc. Bucket-list the most captivating sight here!
An 85 feet high viewing tower made of bamboo serves as the vantage point of this landscape as well as the neighbouring, Bangladesh.
THE INFLUX OF TOURISTS
Mawlynnong, which once used to be an obscure community of about 500 people, devoid of roads and other amenities is witnessing tourists swarming the village, resulting the population to soar to a 50% high.
The fame, however, does not come sans its consequences. Tourists have not only interfered with the serenity of the place but also disturbed their culture. There is noise pollution; they recklessly litter around the streets.
“Sometimes we pick up plastic when tourists throw them and point out that there are several dust-bins. While some appreciate it, others who come here without any knowledge of the place don’t care.”
“There’s no more privacy. A woman is washing her clothes, she’s being photographed,” says Deepak Laloo.
A LESSON TO TAKE HOME
It is rather disgraceful how the in the rut of our sophisticated lifestyles, our cities seem nondescript in front of this village.
Mawlynnong richly deserves the adage ” Neighbours envy, owners pride”, as the distinction of being one of the cleanest villages in Asia is a moment of pride for every villager while other villages envy it.
It’s a heart-warming lesson that we take home from these small communities who have left no stone unturned to bring parity between their thinking and living.
Watch the enchanting God’s own Garden here:
Image Credits: Google