Mawlynnong: Unravelling the cleanest village

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Mawlynnong, also called “God’s own Garden”, was our next stop with an overnight stay. Hence we drove from the falls towards the Cleanest Village in Asia. But I was visiting another Living root bridge before entering the village. 

Mawlynnong: Unravelling the cleanest village

Jing Kieng Jri

Locally, the Living Root Bridges are called Jing Kieng Jri. Although the exact date or year of their origin is unknown, they have been around for over 180 years. Moreover, floods used to swipe the bamboo bridges; hence a robust solution was discovered by the ingenious tribes, the living root bridges. And this art of building has been passed from generation to generation. Therefore the earliest date is unknown, according to the first chronicle 1800s was the period.

Mawlynnong: Unravelling the cleanest village
Living Bridge

I was thankful for the clear weather today, with fluffy clouds in the clear blue sky. Most of the time, the clouds have floated around our route, making visibility nil. The bridge is located in Nohwet village, at a distance of 2 km from the main Mawlynnong village. It was almost 2.15 pm when I took a small hike to the Living Root Bridge of Mawlynnong.

Mawlynnong: Unravelling the cleanest village
Rubber tree

We walked down the long natural stairs made by the roots of trees; it took us down to the river. On the way, there are multiple resting points inform of bamboo benches. The hike to the living root bridge would be a maximum of a kilometre long, approximately 180-200 steps.

Mawlynnong: Unravelling the cleanest village
Steps to the bridge

Upon reaching, I stood right in front of the living bridge gazing at it with wonderment. A bridge was as strong as a metal bridge, wide enough to hold at least five people side by side and 30m long. Jump, run or dance on the firm grounds. I walked around the naturally artistic and beautiful bridge. There was a rustic charm about the entangled tree trunks, the hanging root hair, and the vast open gaps to see the lovely stream flowing below.

Mawlynnong: Unravelling the cleanest village
Jing Kieng Jri.

Once I was done with the living bridge, I walked back to the village to spend some time walking around. Seeing the simple and natural way of life of people was refreshing. I did indulge in bamboo curios shopping which was made within the village.

Banboo products

Further, I walked to see a unique balancing rock with a small entrance fee of INR 10. It’s nothing fascinating but the stories that have been around for years. It is believed with the help of Man’s knowledge; a natural bridge was grown! In today’s modern world, we are hunting for eco-friendly and sustainable development; here is something that has existed for years. It shows that some things may be slow but sturdy and sustainable for life!

Balancing Rock

After enough adventure, I finally drove towards the village. This village was awarded the ‘Cleanest Village of Asia’ title in the year 2003 by Discover India magazine. Despite human habitation, the essence of Nature and cleanliness is provided by the nook and corners of the place. There is a checkpoint as we enter, and villagers give us a ticket. I took my passport and entered the village as I had an overnight stay.

Cleanest Village

We 4 pm by the time I reached, checking in my homestay. There were many eateries & souvenir shops inside the village. Since my hunger pangs were high, I walked to one of the nearest eateries to try local cuisine. I ordered Jadoh and requested to cook in chicken since I m not a pork lover. And pork is the stable meat used in Meghalaya

Mawlynnong: Unravelling the cleanest village

I requested to watch the cooking, & the lady happily allowed me. A mixture of green chillies, onions, ginger, turmeric, black pepper and pieces of chicken, fish or pork are added. Post that, it’s fried, following which the red rice is added and cooked off. Interestingly adding turmeric gives the rice a rich yellow colour and an aroma. It looked Delicious! Most interestingly, the food is prepared from organic homegrown vegetables. I even asked for Kyat- a fermented rice beer. I was feeling lucky to be eating alone. At least I could try the local cuisine and feel a touch of their culture. 

Mawlynnong: Unravelling the cleanest village
Kyat- Rice beer

I ended my lunch with Pukhlein, a sweet dish. It is powdered rice combined with jaggery. It was just mouth-watering; I was complete till the brim hence decided to take a walk.


Strolling through the streets, I realised Mawlynnong is not an illusion. I observed exceptional detailing to maintain the cleanliness of the surroundings, like an eco-friendly bin made out of bamboo outside each house.

Mawlynnong: Unravelling the cleanest village
Cleanest Ecofriendly Village

From solar panels to waste management, this hamlet is a piece of human-inhabited yet pure Nature. It is the place to give my lungs the oxygen and eyes the greenery you deserve. Mawlynnong is where the “colours of the wind” materialise in front of you.

Mawlynnong: Unravelling the cleanest village
Beautiful Hamlet

 I was even impressed with the primary literacy rate of the villagers. And women empowerment. All essential works are supervised mainly by women. Interestingly the Khasi tribe inherits the surname of their mothers. Also, the wealth gets inherited from the mother to the family’s youngest daughter.

Church of Epiphany

It was established by Welsh Christian Missionaries, a 100 years old church. It still holds the antique aura in the charming surrounding. My orange trees surrounded the church; it was gentle walking in the pristine serene environment.

Mawlynnong: Unravelling the cleanest village
Church of Epiphany

Bamboo Watch Tower

It was almost dark, but I still climbed the top of “Machan”, as called in the local language. It’s around 80 feet high; it was a task climbing the tower. But the view was splendid. A beautiful sunset in the valley was dazzling.


Exhausted, I returned to my room and freshened up. Later I sat on the porch, sipping a hot cup of tea & enjoying the view of the full moon in a clear sky with twinkling stars. It was a lovely day, and I feel happy travelling to Mawlynnong- a soulful offering of a simple, minimalist and cleanest place.

The dinner was earlier in the village and was served in our room. I drifted to sleep and hit my bed after dinner. Tomorrow was another early day.

By Air: 

The nearest airport to Guwahati is about 195 km from Dawki. You can book a cab outside the airport to reach Shillong. From Shillong, you need to change the cab for Mawlynnong.

By Rail: 

Guwahati Junction railway station is well connected with most of the cities of India. Upon reaching, one can book a cab to Shillong; as from Shillong, a different cab has to be taken for Mawlynnong.

 By Road:

Private cabs or shared taxis of Guwahati regularly ply to Shillong. One has to change the cab in Shillong to reach the destination in Meghalaya. You cannot drive since a private vehicle is not allowed.



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