Visiting Magical Mawlynnong That Was Once Asia’s Cleanest Village

Welcome to Mawlynnong
Welcome to Mawlynnong

About 90 kms south of Shillong (in Meghalaya) lies a small village that not many knew about before it was awarded the status of Asia’s cleanest village in 2003 by Discover India. Yes, we are talking about Mawlynnong. It has been years since this village climbed up the popularity charts and today, people visit this place in hordes, attracted by its natural beauty and cleanliness. If you are already eager to step into this place, here are some facts that will help you plan better.

Reaching Mawlynnong

Those taking the air route will have to reach the nearest airport of Shillong. From there, take a taxi to reach Bara Bazaar market’s Khasi Hills Sumo stand. You can board a car (shared or booked just for your own) from here to reach Mawlynnong. You may even book cars from Shillong or Cherapunji to reach here. Another way is to book a Meghalaya travel package that includes a stopover at this pretty little village in East Khasi Hills District.

Accommodation

Most people visit this place as part of their day trip but if you need to soak in the natural beauty at your own slow pace, there are a few homestays where you can stay. Expect to get the basic amenities and fresh, delicious dishes prepared from organic food, in addition to marveling at the simple lifestyle of the villagers.

Serene beauty of Mawlynnong
Serene beauty of Mawlynnong

What’s in store for you?

The moment you arrive here and walk down the cobbled paths, bordered on both sides by Khasi huts, the one thing that will strike you is the beauty and cleanliness of this place. Almost every house has a garden in the front, where colorful flowers and bushes would attract your gaze – as if the riot of colors on a tapestry is welcoming you. Since we visited the place during the monsoons, perhaps we were lucky to find such variety in the gardens. Though the rain Gods didn’t play spoilsport during our little hiatus here, you never know when the skies would open up and give the village a quick bath since weather here can change in an instant. Don’t miss spotting the solar lights – another way of living green that we can learn from these villagers.

Magical Mawlynnong — by Dhiman Kumar Bose
Magical Mawlynnong — by Dhiman Kumar Bose

Since it’s a small village, you can easily walk around to see the effort these villagers put in to keep the place beautiful and clean. With adequate waste bins lined up in and around the central square (the wide point of entry to the village) along with cane and rope baskets placed at every lane and street corner, the locals make a lot of effort to ensure this place isn’t littered with waste. Around the central square, there are several eateries to sample some local cuisine. An interesting part is the women empowerment that was evident in most of these eateries since we found the local women handling everything – from taking your orders to serving and billing.

While touring the village, don’t miss climbing up the Sky Watch to view the Bangladesh plains. In case your legs aren’t up for the job, don’t worry because you can get a glimpse of these plains even from certain points of the village itself. Don’t miss checking on the Balancing Rock (a large boulder balanced on a small rock) just before you enter the central square.

Last but not the least, make sure to visit the living root bridge in the neighboring village of Riwai.