We welcome you to the Cleanest Village of Asia ~ Mawlynnong, Meghalaya.

Asia's Cleanest Village, Kaziranga National Park, Mawlynnong Village, Mawlynnong Homestays
God’s own garden and the Cleanest Village in Asia at Mawlynnong ~ Mawlynnong Village ~ Meghalaya ~ India

Mawlynnong is a small village located in the East Khasi Hills district of Meghalaya with a total population of around 95 households. Mawlynnong Village serves as an ideal stopover after your journey back from the Border of India and Bangladesh at Dawki. The Riwai Living Root Bridge at Mawlynnong is a popular tourist destination here and during tourist season, this place witnesses a heavy influx of tourists upto 1000 per day.

Mawlynnong is located 90 km from Shillong city along the India-Bangladesh border. Mawlynnong offers a majestic view of the plains of Bangladesh. Often referred to as the Cleanest Village in Asia, this prestigious tag was awarded to this place by Discover India Magazine in 2003. The people of Mawlynnong are very concerned about cleanliness and ensure all possible steps are taken to keep this village free of any garbage. Dustbins are found at regular intervals which in turn are directed to pits and later used as manure. Use of polythene bags is banned in Mawlynnong village and rain water harvesting is encouraged in this village.​ Often referred to as God’s own Garen, this tinsel village is an ecotourism initiative by the Khasi folks of Meghalaya in order to help visitors explore this village in a clean and serene environment. Mawlynnong earned the distinction of being the Cleanest Village in Asia in the year 2003 and the Cleanest in India by Discover India Magazine in 2005. The Honorable Prime Minister of India, Mr. Narendra Modi made a mention of the village in his speech during the launch of the Swaach Bharat Abhayan Campaign in October 2014. The reputation among visitors to Mawlynnong has been growing since then. Here at Mawlynnong, visitors are not allowed to litter around and garbage disposal is strictly meant to be done at the dustbins kept at regular intervals in the village premises. The entire village contributes in keeping the premises of Mawlynnong clean and green. The elderly folks of the village along with the children start their day as early as 6.30 am in the morning and walk around the village with a broom stick in their hand and start their work towards the beautification of the village of Mawlynnong. They get to sweeping the streets, picking up garbage and dead leaves and discarding them responsibly on hand woven, cane baskets. It is interesting to note that even in a small village like Mawlynnong, the people know to separate the organic waste from the thrash that needs to be burnt. While leaves and other biodegradable waste are usually buried to be eventually used as fertilizers, the other thrash is taken at a far off location and burnt. 

Mawlynnong village is a pretty sight in the monsoons with the lush greenery around the village and all the streams and waterfalls around the village gushing around and flowering orchids start dangling from across the tall trees of the village. Locals of the village greet every visitor with a warm smile and take pride in showing then around the village. It is interesting to state that even though Mawlynnong is a small village it has almost 100% literacy and every person known to speak in English. This small village is indeed an example for the other villages in the country.

Located in the virgin wilderness of the East Khasi Hills and overlooking the plains of Bangladesh, Mawlynnong Village is located at around 90 km from the capital city of Shillong.

The village of Mawlynnong is a small Khasi tribal village with around 100 households predominantly of the Khasi tribes. Mawlynnong Village proves as an ideal stopover for refreshments and lunch on your way back from Dawki. At Mawlynnong, it is best to experience the rural life of the Khasi tribes of Meghalaya at one of their homestays where you get to experience their culture and also learn how to cook delightful Khasi cuisine and savor it alongside the family in their local kitchen. At Mawlynnong, cleanliness is an age old tradition and a way of life of the villagers dubbing Mawlynnong as the cleanest village in Asia. Although it might known as a rural village but Mawlynnong boasts of a 100% literacy rate and this can be observed as most of the villagers can speak English fluently.

Asia's Cleanest Village, Kaziranga National Park, Mawlynnong Village, Mawlynnong Homestays
Riwai Living Root Bridge at the Cleanest Village in Asia at Mawlynnong ~ Mawlynnong Village ~ Meghalaya ~ India

Places of Interest at Mawlynnong ~ 

1| Riwai Single Decker Living Root Bridge ~ Mawlynnong

The Living Root Bridge at Mawlynnong Village is a Single Decker Living Root Bridge. Unlike the Living Root Bridges at Cherrapunji, the Root Bridge at Mawlynnong is easily accessible with only a few stairs to climb down and up. This is what makes it a favorite destination among the visitors who do not need a day’s time to access Engineering marvels of the Khasi Tribes. The Root Bridge at Mawlynnong has a broader pavement compared to the others making it easier for visitors to cross the Bridge and reach on to the other side where a small tea shop offers the much needed refreshment.

The most popular with tourists among all the Living Root Bridges of Meghalaya, the Living Root Bridge of Riwai is located very close to the Cleanest Village of Asia at Mawlynnong. The ease of accessibility has made this site very popular and hundreds of visitors can be spotted here every day. During tourist season, this place sees upto a 1000 visitors every day. The Mawlynnong Living Root Bridge is comparatively newer to the other Living Root Bridges of Meghalaya. The Root Bridge is also much broader and firm than the ones at Cherrapunji which allows a person to easily cross from one end of the Bridge to the other. Local Khasi people of Meghalaya can be spotted at the vicinity of the Root Bridge carrying out their daily household chores.

2| Balancing Rocks ~ Mawlynnong

Asia's Cleanest Village, Kaziranga National Park, Mawlynnong Village, Mawlynnong Homestays
Balancing Rocks at the Cleanest Village in Asia at Mawlynnong ~ Mawlynnong Village ~ Meghalaya ~ India

The Balancing Rocks at Mawlynnong are an amazing phenomenon to be witnessed. Here, we see a huge boulder stone resting on top of a much smaller stone and has remained like this since ages. No storm at Mawlynnong has been able to disturb this formation. Though not proven but some elderly of the village say that this spot was the place where in order to please the deity human sacrifices were performed.

Just before arriving at the Mawlynnong village lies a a nature’s wonder known as the balancing rock. These rocks are within a wired fence, the spot has two stones, a huge boulder resting on a smaller stone. The structure has remained like that for ages and no cyclone or storm has been able to disturb the formation. The place is called Nature’s Balancing Rock or Maw Ryngkew Sharatia, locally by the Khasi people of Mawlynnong.

While some elderly locals say that this was the spot where human sacrifices were made 1000 years back to appease the presiding deity of the area, the locals say that it was an ancient shrine of the Khasi tribes that was no longer used after the advent of Christianity in Mawlynnong Village and Riwai. A must see for all travellers to Mawlynnong.

3| Holy Cathedral ~ Mawlynnong

Asia's Cleanest Village, Kaziranga National Park, Mawlynnong Village, Mawlynnong Homestays
Holy Cathedral at the Cleanest Village in Asia at Mawlynnong ~ Mawlynnong Village ~ Meghalaya ~ India

Established as a small church about 100 years ago, the Mawlynnong Cathedral is a quaint place in the Village. Built of stone in the shape of bricks, this cathedral is a must visit place especially on a Sunday when the sermons are narrated. Narrow stone paths with plants bearing orange flowers reach out to the Church, which is a black and white structure exuding an old-world charm. There are no houses that rise above the Church spire.

The People of the State of Meghalaya practice Christianity as their religion. This is evident once you travel around the State and see majestic Cathedrals and Churches here. Many of the Churches in Meghalaya are over 100 years old and host a charm of the British Era in India. The people of Mawlynnong Village too are devout Christians. Surrounded by orange and palm trees, stands a 100-year-old church in the village called ‘Church of the Epiphany’. Narrow stone paths with plants bearing orange flowers reach out to the Church, which is a black and white structure exuding an old-world charm. There are no houses that rise above the Church spire.

4| Mawlynnong Homestays, Tribes & Ecotourism ~ Mawlynnong

Asia's Cleanest Village, Kaziranga National Park, Mawlynnong Village, Mawlynnong Homestays
Dining at local kitchen of Homestay with foreign visitors at the Cleanest Village in Asia at Mawlynnong ~ Mawlynnong Village ~ Meghalaya ~ India

The Khasi tribes of Mawlynnong are loving and cheerful people who have opened their homes to visitors who choose to halt for a night or two at Mawlynnong. At Mawlynnong, there are several trek routes and many unexplored destinations. If you are a traveller who chooses to go the offbeat path and explore the unexplored then halting at Mawlynnong at one of a the Khasi Homestays is surely a rewarding experience. Not only do you get to see these unexplored places of beauty but also you get to experience a rural Khasi life. You may choose to visit their kitchen and prepare a local delicacy along with the owner of the homestay. Also, get an opportunity to dine with them at their local kitchen when you choose to halt at a homestay in Mawlynnong Village.

The people of Mawlynnong primarily are the Khasi Tribes of Meghalaya. They practice Christianity as their faith. The Khasis are welcoming people and offer visitors to experience their rich culture and heritage by opening their homes to their visitors. There are quite a few Homestay options at Mawlynnong where one gets to experience the Khasi way of life by staying, cooking and dining with them.

Mawlyynong Village is perhaps one of the best Ecotourism destinations in India, where you get to experience the heritage of the Khasi Tribes of Meghalaya. An Eco-tourist at Mawlynnong gets a chance to explore the unadulterated natural surroundings, spot the wonders of nature at the Living Root Bridges, spot numerous flora and avi-fauna species, living with the locals and learning their way of life, learn their art of cooking, dining and also staying with them.

5| Asia’s Cleanest Village of Mawlynnong ~

Meghalaya, Meghalaya Tours, Shillong, Shillong Hotels, Cherrapunji Hotels, Mawlynnong, Dawki
Asia’s Cleanest Village Mawlynnong ~ Mawlynnong ~ Meghalaya ~ India

There is a status of the Mawlynnong village which the proud residents are keeping up to, the status of being Asia’s Cleanest Village awarded by the travel magazine ‘Discover India’ in the year 2003. The effort and the way of living of the households is commendable, locals cleaning the roads, picking up leaves and throwing garbage in the bin is a very common sight. Cleanliness is an age old tradition and a way of life for all villagers. To keep the village clean there is bamboo baskets outside every house. The village is surrounded with traditional thatched Khasi houses, cobbled streets to walk on and colorful flower gardens to pass by. The village is quite pretty, especially in the monsoons when there is lush greenery all around, with waterfalls paving the way to small streams and abundance of flowering orchids dangling from the trees and hedges add to the beauty of the village.

6| Bangladesh Plains View from Mawlynnong ~

Meghalaya, Meghalaya Tours, Shillong, Shillong Hotels, Cherrapunji Hotels, Mawlynnong, Dawki
The Tree View at Mawlyynong to see the plains of Bangladesh ~ Mawlynnong ~ Meghalaya ~ India

Mawlynnong Village is located at close proximity to the Border of India and Bangladesh. This allows us to catch a view of the plains of Bangladesh from any of the various tree point views that have been constructed near Mawlynnong.

How to reach Mawlynnong from Kaziranga National Park –

By Road – Mawlynnong is located at a distance of around 325 kilometers from Kaziranga National Park. It takes around 9 hours by road to reach Mawlynnong from Kaziranga. Private Taxi operators ply from Kaziranga National Park to Mawlynnong. We operate our Taxi Service to Mawlynnong from Kaziranga National Park. Our well maintained fleet makes your journey from Kaziranga National Park to Mawlynnong a comfortable one.

By Air – Mawlynnong is well connected to the Guwahati Airport by road. You can choose to fly to the Guwahati Airport. We operate taxi service from Guwahati Airport to Mawlynnong.

By Train – Mawlynnong can be reached from Guwahati Railway Station. We operate taxi service from Guwahati Railway Station to Mawlynnong.

Sample Itinerary for your visit to Mawlynnong Village ~

Day 1 ~ The Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary ~ Home to the Highest Population density of One Horned Indian Rhinoceros

Arrive at Guwahati Airport. On arrival you will be received by our representative at the airport offering a warm welcome in traditional Assamese style. From the Airport drive to the Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary to spot the One Horned Rhinoceros of Assam, an endangered Rhino breed indigenous to Assam. The Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary has the highest population density of One Horned Rhinoceros anywhere in the World. Also, visit the Mayong Museum. Mayong is the famous land of black magic in India. Although black magic is no longer practiced, you will find relics in the museum showcasing these practices that were prevalent earlier.

Night Stay: Maibong Eco Resort at Pobitora or similar (1 Deluxe Cottage)

Meals Included: NA

Day 2 ~ Pobitora & Cherrapunji ~ Umiam Lake, Nohkalikai Falls, Mawsmai Caves, Seven Sister Falls

Early morning go for a thrilling Jeep Safari/Elephant Safari into the Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary. Spend your time near the Eco Resort and spot some rare Bird species at Pobitora. After Breakfast, depart to Cherrapunji. The roads are good, so enjoy the lovely drive through the lush green hills. Upon arrival at Meghalaya visit the Umiam Lake. The largest artificial water reservoir of North East India, the Umiam Lake is scenic because of its pristine clear and blue waters. Arrive at Cherrapunji and visit the Nohkalikai Falls ~ India’s Tallest Plunge Waterfall. If time and weather conditions permit, visit the Mawsmai Caves and the Seven Sister Falls ~ India’s Second Tallest Plunge Waterfall.

Night Stay: Saimika Resort/Sohra Plaza at Cherrapunji (1 Deluxe Cottage)

Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 3 ~ Cherrapunji ~ Double Decker Living Root Bridge (Trek Duration ~ 5 – 6 HRS)

Today after breakfast, we kick start the Double Decker Living Root Bridge Trek at Nongriat Village near Cherrapunji. Duration of trek is 5 – 6 hours. We will also spot the Single Decker Living Root Bridge at Cherrapunji.

Highlights of the Trek:

  • These Living Root Bridges (Single and Double Decker) are one of the most unique bridges in the world. They are grown by the ancient tribes of the Khasi hills
  • Pools with pristine blue water
  • Cross Hanging Bridge
  • Picturesque Views

After the trek we’ll have lunch at the Local Market at Cherrapunji and savor Ethnic Khasi Delicacies and Cuisine. Later visit the Dainthlen Falls and wrap up for the day.

Night Stay: Saimika Resort/Sohra Plaza at Cherrapunji (1 Deluxe Cottage)

Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 4 ~ Pynursla ~ Longest Living Root Bridge (Trek Duration ~ 2 HRS)

Today after breakfast, we’ll drive to Pynursla. From there we kick start our trek to the Longest Living Root Bridge accessible in the East Khasi Hills at Pynursla (Organised by Jungleideas only).

Highlights of the Trek:

  • Longest Living Root Bridge
  • Virgin Wilderness
  • Picturesque Views
  • Jungle Hike

Arrive a Mawlynnong ~ the Cleanest Village in Asia. At Mawlynnong, visit the village and take a view of the Country of Bangladesh from a Watch Tower. Evening get a glimpse of a traditional Khasi Tribes way of life including their cooking traditions. Savor traditional Khasi cuisine with the Khasi Tribes of Mawlynnong.

Night Stay: Harud Wahduid (Brookside) Homestay at Mawlynnong

Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 5 ~ Mawlynnong & Dawki (Border of India and Bangladesh)

Today, our day starts in the beautiful village of Mawlynnong, settled in the wilderness of East Khasi Hills. Morning after breakfast we visit the Living Root Bridge of Mawlynnong. You spend the day simply enjoying the nature of the place. Get your camera out, make notes of the place, read a book or anything that unwinds you.

For Sightseeing, Options are:

  • Asia’s cleanest village
  • Balancing Rock
  • Village Walks

We get back to our base for lunch. Take your time for yourself, making notes, checking the picture or getting some more sleep. Then we‘ll go out for Dawki site seeing.

Dawki Sight Seeing Options:

  • Clear Water Boating on the Umngot River at Dawki
  • Bangaldesh Border at Tamabil

Night Stay: Harud Wahduid (Brookside) Homestay at Mawlynnong

Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 6 ~ Mawphlang (Khasi Hills Sacred Groves) and Guwahati

Depart from Mawlynnong Village to the Khasi Hills Sacred Groves at Mawphlang. Breakfast on the way at Pynursla at a Restaurant overlooking the lush green Hills of Meghalaya overlooking the plains of Bangladesh. Arrive at Mawphlang. The word ‘maw’ means ‘stone’, ‘maw phlang’ means ‘grassy stone’, and is one of many settlements in the Khasi hills named after Monoliths. Mawphlang is the site of one of the Khasi Hills sacred groves. Khasi Heritage Village- located at the Mawphlang is considered to be the hub of Khasi culture and host to the Monolith Festival of Mawphlang every year in March.Visit the Sacred Groves at Mawphlang. Depart to Guwahati.

Night Stay: Hotel Bhargav Grand at Guwahati

Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 7 ~ Umananda Island, Treasured Wheels Museum and Chandubi Lake

After an early Breakfast we will visit the Umananda River Island in Guwahati. Umananda is the smallest inhabited River Island in the World famous for its population of the highly endangered primate species of the Golden Langur to be found anywhere in the World. Later we will visit the Treasured Wheels Museum at Sonapur near Guwahati. This museum has on display many Vintage Cars, Motorcycles and other artifacts from the Era of the World War II. After lunch we will depart to the Chandubi Lake near Guwahati. This Lake is a prime tourist attraction near Guwahati and was formed during the earthquake of 1897 in Assam. On your way spot the exotic Tea Gardens of Assam and the rural life of the villages in Assam. At Chandubi spend an evening with the Rabha Tribes of Assam learning their way of life and savoring traditional tribal cuisine.

Night Stay:  Tents at the Chandubi Jungle Camp

Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 8 ~ Chandubi Lake and Depart from Guwahati Airport

Morning take an adventurous Boat ride on the Chandubi Lake. Enjoy a tour of Bedazzled Birdwatching near the Chandubi Lake. A prime water reservoir for Migratory Birds during winter, don’t forget to capture images of exotic bird species here. We will take you on a tour of Tea Gardens near Chandubi and you will experience the art of Tea Plucking here. Later we will drop you at the Guwahati Airport for your onward destination. Tour Ends. Bid Adieu!

Meals Included: Breakfast

To plan your Visit to Mawlynnong Village from Kaziranga National Park please fill the form

Asia's Cleanest Village, Kaziranga National Park, Mawlynnong Village, Mawlynnong Homestays
Dining at local kitchen of Homestay with foreign visitors at the Cleanest Village in Asia at Mawlynnong ~ Mawlynnong Village ~ Meghalaya ~ India
Asia's Cleanest Village, Kaziranga National Park, Mawlynnong Village, Mawlynnong Homestays
Clean initiatives at the Cleanest Village in Asia at Mawlynnong ~ Mawlynnong Village ~ Meghalaya ~ India
Asia's Cleanest Village, Kaziranga National Park, Mawlynnong Village, Mawlynnong Homestays
Riwai Root Bridge at the Cleanest Village in Asia at Mawlynnong ~ Mawlynnong Village ~ Meghalaya ~ India
Asia's Cleanest Village, Kaziranga National Park, Mawlynnong Village, Mawlynnong Homestays
Ha La Rympei Homestay at the Cleanest Village in Asia at Mawlynnong ~ Mawlynnong Village ~ Meghalaya ~ India
Asia's Cleanest Village, Kaziranga National Park, Mawlynnong Village, Mawlynnong Homestays
View point at the Cleanest Village in Asia at Mawlynnong ~ Mawlynnong Village ~ Meghalaya ~ India
Asia's Cleanest Village, Kaziranga National Park, Mawlynnong Village, Mawlynnong Homestays
Local Khasi Homes at the Cleanest Village in Asia at Mawlynnong ~ Mawlynnong Village ~ Meghalaya ~ India
Asia's Cleanest Village, Kaziranga National Park, Mawlynnong Village, Mawlynnong Homestays
Local Khasi traditional Homes at the Cleanest Village in Asia at Mawlynnong ~ Mawlynnong Village ~ Meghalaya ~ India
Asia's Cleanest Village, Kaziranga National Park, Mawlynnong Village, Mawlynnong Homestays
Posing for Pictures with local Khasi Ladies at the Cleanest Village in Asia at Mawlynnong ~ Mawlynnong Village ~ Meghalaya ~ India
Asia's Cleanest Village, Kaziranga National Park, Mawlynnong Village, Mawlynnong Homestays
Hala Tyngkong Homestay at the Cleanest Village in Asia at Mawlynnong ~ Mawlynnong Village ~ Meghalaya ~ India
Asia's Cleanest Village, Kaziranga National Park, Mawlynnong Village, Mawlynnong Homestays
Pictures with local Khasi Ladies at the Cleanest Village in Asia at Mawlynnong ~ Mawlynnong Village ~ Meghalaya ~ India
Asia's Cleanest Village, Kaziranga National Park, Mawlynnong Village, Mawlynnong Homestays
Khasi Local boys at the Cleanest Village in Asia at Mawlynnong ~ Mawlynnong Village ~ Meghalaya ~ India
Asia's Cleanest Village, Kaziranga National Park, Mawlynnong Village, Mawlynnong Homestays
Cathedral tower at the Cleanest Village in Asia at Mawlynnong ~ Mawlynnong Village ~ Meghalaya ~ India
Asia's Cleanest Village, Kaziranga National Park, Mawlynnong Village, Mawlynnong Homestays
Living Root Bridge at the Cleanest Village in Asia at Mawlynnong ~ Mawlynnong Village ~ Meghalaya ~ India
Asia's Cleanest Village, Kaziranga National Park, Mawlynnong Village, Mawlynnong Homestays
Nohwet view point at the Cleanest Village in Asia at Mawlynnong ~ Mawlynnong Village ~ Meghalaya ~ India
Asia's Cleanest Village, Kaziranga National Park, Mawlynnong Village, Mawlynnong Homestays
Pitcher plants at a Homestay at the Cleanest Village in Asia at Mawlynnong ~ Mawlynnong Village ~ Meghalaya ~ India
Asia's Cleanest Village, Kaziranga National Park, Mawlynnong Village, Mawlynnong Homestays
Local Shops at the Cleanest Village in Asia at Mawlynnong ~ Mawlynnong Village ~ Meghalaya ~ India
Asia's Cleanest Village, Kaziranga National Park, Mawlynnong Village, Mawlynnong Homestays
Inside the Homestay at the Cleanest Village in Asia at Mawlynnong ~ Mawlynnong Village ~ Meghalaya ~ India
Asia's Cleanest Village, Kaziranga National Park, Mawlynnong Village, Mawlynnong Homestays
Balancing Rocks at the Cleanest Village in Asia at Mawlynnong ~ Mawlynnong Village ~ Meghalaya ~ India
Asia's Cleanest Village, Kaziranga National Park, Mawlynnong Village, Mawlynnong Homestays
Our team at a local friend at the Cleanest Village in Asia at Mawlynnong ~ Mawlynnong Village ~ Meghalaya ~ India
Asia's Cleanest Village, Kaziranga National Park, Mawlynnong Village, Mawlynnong Homestays
Harud Wahduid Homestay at the Cleanest Village in Asia at Mawlynnong ~ Mawlynnong Village ~ Meghalaya ~ India
Asia's Cleanest Village, Kaziranga National Park, Mawlynnong Village, Mawlynnong Homestays
Our team with a local friend at the Cleanest Village in Asia at Mawlynnong ~ Mawlynnong Village ~ Meghalaya ~ India
Asia's Cleanest Village, Kaziranga National Park, Mawlynnong Village, Mawlynnong Homestays
Balancing Rocks at the Cleanest Village in Asia at Mawlynnong ~ Mawlynnong Village ~ Meghalaya ~ India
Asia's Cleanest Village, Kaziranga National Park, Mawlynnong Village, Mawlynnong Homestays
Bangladesh view point at the Cleanest Village in Asia at Mawlynnong ~ Mawlynnong Village ~ Meghalaya ~ India
Asia's Cleanest Village, Kaziranga National Park, Mawlynnong Village, Mawlynnong Homestays
Traditional Khasi Bamboo Huts at the Cleanest Village in Asia at Mawlynnong ~ Mawlynnong Village ~ Meghalaya ~ India
Asia's Cleanest Village, Kaziranga National Park, Mawlynnong Village, Mawlynnong Homestays
A local Homestay at the Cleanest Village in Asia at Mawlynnong ~ Mawlynnong Village ~ Meghalaya ~ India
Asia's Cleanest Village, Kaziranga National Park, Mawlynnong Village, Mawlynnong Homestays
Walking towards the Cleanest Village in Asia at Mawlynnong ~ Mawlynnong Village ~ Meghalaya ~ India
Asia's Cleanest Village, Kaziranga National Park, Mawlynnong Village, Mawlynnong Homestays
Passageway to the Cleanest Village in Asia at Mawlynnong ~ Mawlynnong Village ~ Meghalaya ~ India
Asia's Cleanest Village, Kaziranga National Park, Mawlynnong Village, Mawlynnong Homestays
Local Khasi Homes at the Cleanest Village in Asia at Mawlynnong ~ Mawlynnong Village ~ Meghalaya ~ India
Asia's Cleanest Village, Kaziranga National Park, Mawlynnong Village, Mawlynnong Homestays
The Village Garden at the Cleanest Village in Asia at Mawlynnong ~ Mawlynnong Village ~ Meghalaya ~ India
Asia's Cleanest Village, Kaziranga National Park, Mawlynnong Village, Mawlynnong Homestays
Click pictures in local Khasi attire at the Cleanest Village in Asia at Mawlynnong ~ Mawlynnong Village ~ Meghalaya ~ India
Asia's Cleanest Village, Kaziranga National Park, Mawlynnong Village, Mawlynnong Homestays
Interacting with Khasi locals at the Cleanest Village in Asia at Mawlynnong ~ Mawlynnong Village ~ Meghalaya ~ India
Asia's Cleanest Village, Kaziranga National Park, Mawlynnong Village, Mawlynnong Homestays
The Local School at the Cleanest Village in Asia at Mawlynnong ~ Mawlynnong Village ~ Meghalaya ~ India

A Day at Mawlynnong ~ Asia’s Cleanest Village

We were executing a tour for our visitor from Czech Republic and touring the State of Meghalaya after our visit to the Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary and Cherrapunji. Our jungle safari into Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary was done on Day 2 of our tour and on Day 3 we completed the Double Decker Living Root Bridge trek from Cherrapunji to Nongriat village and back. Our day at Mawlynnong was scheduled on Day 4 and Day 5 of our trip. We started our day early from Cherrapunji where we settled our bill with the pleasant manager of the Saimika Resort Mr. Atanu and after a cup of black tea Mr. Michael and the two of us who were showing him around started our car and we headed on our journey to the first destination of the day – the Longest Living Root Bridge at Pynursla.

The roads across Meghalaya are good and very scenic and we along with our visitor were enjoying the view along our way. After about an hour we halted to grab some breakfast on a small roadside shop. It was in the month of November and we could feel the cool breeze blowing across our face once we stopped. The small shop served us warm tea and some fresh roti and potato sabzi. Although the rotis were cooked just a few minutes ago, the chilly weather plays its part quite well and the rotis were already cold giving us a feel that it might have been cooked days ago. We were all quite hungry keeping in mind the flight of 3500 stairs we had climbed the previous day so we didn’t complain and finished our breakfast. After this we continued on our drive to reach the market area of Pynursla. It was here that we were supposed to meet our local guide from Mawlynnong Mr. Ricky who would take us to the Longest Living Root Bridge at Pynursla and then to Mawlynnong. We took a right from the main road and a small road took us to village where we stopped our car to start on our trek to the Longest Living Root Bridge. We were greeted there by another local guy and the four of us started on our trek.

Kaziranga National Park, Pynursla, Mawlynnong, Mawlynnong Homestay, Root Bridge Mawlynnong
The Longest Living Root Bridge at Pynursla ~ Mawlynnong ~ Meghalaya ~ India

This trek is not as challenging as the double decker root bridge trek but the only challenge is that there is no proper laid out path like the trek to Nongriat and we had to find our way to reach the longest living root bridge. There are no proper boundaries along the pathway and a small mistake could lead us to fall along the edges of the path. We did not mind the challenge as this was an exciting experience to view one of the most interesting living root bridge of Meghalaya. We continued on our path guided by the extremely quick local guides and we had to remind them that we are not men from the jungle and asked them to tread slowly. After about 45 minutes we reached the site of the Longest Root Bridge and all of us were thrilled with the sight of this amazing man made wonder. The Living Root Bridge of Pynursla is the longest and one of its kind in the World and a sheer delight to the eyes of any visitor. Just adjacent to it is another living root bridge. While my friend and I took a chance to walk along the second root bridge, Ricky and the other guide quickly climbed on to the longest root bridge and crossed it and returned back. After our pictures here we decided to trek back to the village and head on to our journey at the Cleanest Village in Asia – Mawlynnong.

It was already afternoon and we got hungry after our trek so just before reaching the road that takes a right to head to Mawlynnong we decided to have our lunch at a small, cozy and a neat place. We were served with chicken fried rice and two plates of chicken fry. After our meal we headed to Mawlynnong. It took us another hours time to reach Mawlynnong. On arrival we first decided to put out luggage at the Homestay here. After checking in we went around the village at first to sight the Holy Cathedral at Mawlynnong. This cathedral has an amazing architecture and it was built around 100 years ago. We took a stroll around the garden of the cathedral and got company from the local kids who were playing football on the nearby ground. After a while we went ahead to visit the balancing rocks at Mawlynnong. An amazing structure, these balancing rocks have held grounds for many years at Mawlynnong and is a structure where there is a huge stone resting on top of another small stone boulder. Our visitor was enthralled with the site of this structure. After this we continued to the Nohwet Village where we would take a walk along the Nohwet Sky View which is basically a bamboo made watchtower from where we can view the plains of Bangladesh and the green mountains of Meghalaya. It was later we decided to trek on a different route that would take us deeper into the virgin forests of Mawlynnong and we would arrive back to the village after crossing the Single Decker Living Root Bridge of Riwai. While Ricky and Michael embarked on this trek, my friend and I decided to drive back to Mawlynnong. We all got back together at Mawlynnong village and it was already evening. We decided to take a walk around the village and see the various shops that sell locally made handicrafts items. It is so peaceful and calm here in the evening when the army of tourists disappear after having their lunch at the local restaurants of Mawlynnong. We got to see solace on the calm and cold winter evening here.

Kaziranga National Park, Pynursla, Mawlynnong, Mawlynnong Homestay, Root Bridge Mawlynnong
The Tree House at Nohwet Village ~ Mawlynnong ~ Meghalaya ~ India

We asked Ricky to arrange for a local traditional dinner at his Uncle’s home which was also the homestay where our guest was halting. At around 8 in the evening we were taken into their local kitchen where Ricky’s Aunt had prepared an ethnic Khasi tribal cuisine. We sat down on the floor of the kitchen to have our dinner and we were served with an absolute local delight! The meal had rice, dal, chicken, pork, tomato salad, local herbs and the stem of the banana tree cooked into a delicious curry. Must tell this was one of the tastiest food we all had in our hundreds of visits to Meghalaya. Our guest simple loved the simple yet exquisite traditional meal. We thanked them and continued to bed to begin our journey to Dawki the next day bidding goodbye to Asia’s Cleanest Village of Mawlynnong.

Note: Ricky is no longer with us and he passed away on August 2017. He was one of the most enthusiastic and lively person we met on our journey to the magical land of Meghalaya. This note is our tribute and our way of saying thank you for guiding many tourists across Meghalaya. Although he is no longer with us we pray for his departed soul and thank him for all the memories. RIP Ricky!

Further reading on Mawlynnong ~ the Cleanest Village in Asia

Kaziranga National Park, Pynursla, Mawlynnong, Mawlynnong Homestay, Root Bridge Mawlynnong
Welcome to Mawlynnong – the Cleanest village in Asia ~ Mawlynnong ~ Meghalaya ~ India

Mawlynnong is a small village in the mystical state of Meghalaya- the abode of clouds around 90 kms from Shillong. Rather than a village Mawlynnong seems to be a magical paradise located in the East Khasi Hills, the village also offers breathtaking view of Bangladesh plains as it is located on the Indo-Bangla border. Mawlynnong is a small village of 95 households with traditional thatched Khasi houses, cobbled streets to walk on and colorful flower gardens to pass by. The village is quite pretty, especially in the monsoons when there is lush greenery all around, with waterfalls paving the way to small streams and abundance of flowering orchids dangling from the trees and hedges add to the beauty of the village. There is a status of the Mawlynnong village which the proud residents are keeping up to, the status of being Asia’s Cleanest Village awarded by the travel magazine ‘Discover India’ in the year 2003. The effort and the way of living of the households is commendable, locals cleaning the roads, picking up leaves and throwing garbage in the bin is a very common sight. Cleanliness is an age old tradition and a way of life for all villagers. To keep the village clean there is bamboo baskets outside every house. Mawlynnong village has 100 % (hundred percent) literacy and most of the villagers are conversant with the English language.  The village offers a number of small tea shops, where you can relish a hot of cup of tea with some snacks. The village offers picturesque natural beauty, a trek to the living root bridge at a neighboring village Riwai. Mawlynnong  village also offers a sight of natural balancing rock, a strange natural phenomenon of a boulder balancing on another rock. Another interesting feature not to be missed is the “Sky Watch”. This 85 feet high bamboo structure created with bamboo and natural ropes offers a lovely view of the Bangladesh plains.

Living Root Bridge Mawlynnong ~

Shillong, Kaziranga National Park, Shillong Tour, Shillong Taxi, Shillong Kaziranga
The Riwai Single Decker Living Root Bridge at Mawlynnong ~ Mawlynnong ~ Meghalaya ~ India

Living root bridges are ancient handmade bridges made from the roots of Banyan trees. This is a type of tree shaping which was done by War Khasi and War Jaintia people belonging to the southern area of the Plateau of Shillong. These bridges are most commonly found in East Khasi Hills district in and around Cherrapunji (One of the wettest place on earth).

A few minutes’ walk from Mawlynnong is what considered being the most beautiful of all the bridges in the East Khasi Hills, namely the bridge at Wahthyllong. There are still 11 functional root bridges in this area, situated around two and a half hours drive from Shillong. The longest living root bridge is over 50 m in length and located near the small Khasi town of Pynursla these bridges have been quite helpful for crossing the rivers and streams in Meghalaya. Sensationally, even here the versatile banyan tree can weave its brilliance by way of the ladders and suspended walkways that the Khasi have built in order to be able to scale these sheer faces.

These bridges are made by naturally growing the roots of the banyan trees and it takes about 15 years for the bridge to be completely ready. It might be surprising for you to know that the life span of these bridges is about 500-600 years and they strengthen as then grow old.

The Riwai Living Root Bridge at Mawlynnong Village is one of the most easy ones to access among all the living root bridges in Meghalaya. Unlike the Double Decker Living Root Bridge at Nongriat that takes almost 5 hours to trek to and come back, this Living Root Bridge can be reached after a short 15-minute walk from the village. Most of the Living Root Bridges in Meghalaya can be reached only by hiking through dense cover of forest for several hours while the Mawlynnong Living Root Bridge is across the pathway of a simple village at Riwai. Once you have trekked the distance you will come face to face with one of the most spectacular natural bridges in the World. This Living Root Bridge at Mawlynnong has been made by twisting the roots of the gigantic rubber trees. The Rubber tree roots make a pathway across a stream, making it easy for villagers to commute and cross various waterways that separate their villages from the mainland. Unique to the State of Meghalaya the hardy roots slowly grow to form a cantilevered and intertwined mesh that is later used as a bridge over waterways.

Tribes & Ecotourism at Mawlynnong ~

Kaziranga National Park, Pynursla, Mawlynnong, Mawlynnong Homestay, Root Bridge Mawlynnong
Staying with the Khasi people at one of their Homestays ~ Mawlynnong ~ Meghalaya ~ India

Ecotourism is a conscious and responsible travel to natural areas in order to enjoy and appreciate nature that promotes conservation, has a low visitor impact and provides for a beneficially active social-economic involvement of local people. Ecotourism involves travelling to relatively undisturbed natural areas with the specific object of studying admiring and enjoying the scenery and its wild plants and animals, as well as enjoying the exciting cultural aspects (both of the past and present) found in the areas of ecotourism. The concept of ecotourism is booming up as the fastest growing sector in international tourism.

Mawlynnong Village is perhaps one of the best Ecotourism destinations in India, where you get to experience the heritage of the Khasi Tribes of Meghalaya. An Eco-tourist at Mawlynnong gets a chance to explore the unadulterated natural surroundings, spot the wonders of nature at the Living Root Bridges, spot numerous flora and avi-fauna species, living with the locals and learning their way of life, learn their art of cooking, dining and also staying with them.

Mawlynnong Homestays ~ 

The Khasi folks of Mawlynnong Village are always welcoming and they offer their home to visitors who choose to stay at Mawlynnong and admire the scenic beauty and natural wonders of the village. Mawlynnong Village might not have any Five (5) Star properties at its vicinity, but the warm hospitality offered by the village folks are sure to cover the luxuries available in any modern Hotel.

Mawlyynong Village is perhaps one of the best Ecotourism destinations in India, where you get to experience the heritage of the Khasi Tribes of Meghalaya. An Eco-tourist at Mawlynnong gets a chance to explore the unadulterated natural surroundings, spot the wonders of nature at the Living Root Bridges, spot numerous flora and avi-fauna species, living with the locals and learning their way of life, learn their art of cooking, dining and also staying with them.

The Homestays at Mawlynnong are clean and well maintained by the family members of a household and all are located within the premises of the Village. Get an opportunity to experience the coziness of sleeping inside mosquito nets and wake up to the sweet chirping of the birds of Mawlyynong.

Balancing Rocks Mawlynnong ~

Kaziranga National Park, Pynursla, Mawlynnong, Mawlynnong Homestay, Root Bridge Mawlynnong
The Balancing Rocks at Mawlynnong Village ~ Mawlynnong ~ Meghalaya ~ India

On the outskirts of the Mawlynnong village lies a balancing rock, a nature’s wonder. The rocks are within a wired fence, the spot has two stones, a huge boulder resting on a smaller stone. The structure has remained like that for ages and no cyclone or storm has been able to disturb the formation. The place, which is surrounded by bamboo plantations, is called Nature’s Balancing Rock or Maw Ryngkew Sharatia, locally by the people of Mawlynnong Village.

While some elderly locals say that this was the spot where human sacrifices were made 1000 years back to appease the presiding deity of the area, the locals say that it was an ancient shrine of the Khasi tribes that was no longer used after the advent of Christianity in Mawlynnong Village and Riwai. A must see for enthusiasts.

Holy Cathedral Mawlynnong ~ 

Kaziranga National Park, Pynursla, Mawlynnong, Mawlynnong Homestay, Root Bridge Mawlynnong
The Holy Cathedral at Mawlynnong Village ~ Mawlynnong ~ Meghalaya ~ India

The People of the State of Meghalaya practice Christianity as their religion. This is evident once you travel around the State and see majestic Cathedrals and Churches here. Many of the Churches in Meghalaya are over 100 years old and host a charm of the British Era in India. The people of Mawlynnong Village too are devout Christians. Surrounded by orange and palm trees, stands a 100-year-old church in the village called ‘Church of the Epiphany’. Narrow stone paths with plants bearing orange flowers reach out to the Church, which is a black and white structure exuding an old-world charm. There are no houses that rise above the Church spire.

According to history, Welsh Christian missionaries came to Mawlynnong Village in the 19th century from Bangladesh and since then, Mawlynnong village has been following a strong tradition of Christianity. Mawlynnong, meaning a Cluster of Stones, was derived from the fact that there are numerous rocks in the village that have craters in them. Interestingly, villagers link the tradition of cleanliness to Christianity. They say it is the missionaries that changed their lives and taught them ways to reach God through cleanliness.

Dawki ~ the Border of India and Bangladesh

Shillong, Kaziranga National Park, Shillong Tour, Shillong Taxi, Shillong Kaziranga
Clear water boating on the Umngot river at Dawki ~ Meghalaya ~ India

About an hours drive from Mawlynnong Village across the Lush Green Hills and plantations of the tall Betel nut trees of Meghalaya will reach you to Dawki. Also known as Tamabil, Dawki is the border of the Countries of India and Bangladesh and an important trade route.

Patrolled by the Jawans of the Border Security Force (BSF) of India on one side and the Security forces of Bangladesh on the other, Dawki gives you an opportunity to cross the International Border of India and reach the famous Pillar numbered 1275 that marks the International Border. Located in the Jaintia Hills, the Dawki-Tamabil border crossing between India and Bangladesh is now used to ferry across both passenger and cargo.

Dawki is a small village and its main attraction is the Umngot River that marks the natural separation between the Khasi and the Jaintia Hills. The river can be forded by a suspension bridge which was built in 1932 by the British. The Umngot is the site for a boat race that is held in March-April, but even otherwise, seeing this large emerald-green serpent threading its way through the hills, with fishermen’s boats dotting its surface, right into the plains of Bangladesh, is a sight whose majesty echoes long after you leave it. The Umngot River has water so clear and pristine that on viewing from a distance creates a mirage as if the boats are floating on water.

Dawki is also popular among tourists for its Waterfalls and other scenic attractions. Adventure junkies can visit Dawki to enjoy sporting activities like Scuba diving, trekking, river rafting, cliff jumping, zip-lining, caving, rock climbing, canyoning, kayaking and camping.

Alternate Itinerary for your visit to Mawlynnong ~

Day 1: Guwahati – Jowai

Arrive at the Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi airport at Guwahati in the morning and upon arrival you will be received by our representative offering you a warm welcome in traditional Assamese style. We board our Innova vehicles and from the airport we will head to the Nilachal Hills in Guwahati that is the site of the holy temple shrine of the Maa Kamakhya temple. Known to be among the 51 Shakti Peethas across the Indian Subcontinent, the Kamakhya temple shrine is the holiest temple shrine in Assam and North East India and everyday hundreds of devotees come here to seek Darshan of the Goddess. Known as the temple of the bleeding Goddess, it is believed that Goddess Sati’s womb fell at the Nilachal Hills and every year the Kamakhya temple celebrates a special festival called as the Ambubachi Mela for three days when it is believed that the Goddess menstruates and the doors of the temple are closed for devotees. On the fourth day the temple doors are opened for devotees and people from across the World and the Holy Sadhus from across the country throng the Kamakhya temple to offer their worship here. The temple shrine is revered mostly as it is known to be the place where various tantrics practiced tantric practices and w0orshipped the cult of Shakti.

The black magic powers of these tantrics had immense powers and involved rituals as brutal as human sacrifice along with animal sacrifice and though these acts have now been abolished (animal sacrifice continues to be practiced mostly goats) people still believe in the powers of the magic at the Kamakhya temple. At the Kamakhya temple we will be welcomed by a temple priest who will take us to the top of the hill where the main temple shrine is located and we begin our Darshan of the Kamakhya temple by at first cleaning our hands and feet at the temple pond here. We will be visiting on a VIP entry ticket and hence we will not take much time to enter the inner sanctum of the Kamakhya temple shrine. At the inner sanctum there will be a queue of devotees and we will await our turn to go down to the shrine where there is stone and an underground stream that feds water continuously to this stone and touching the holy waters along with the sprinkling of it on the head and taking the holy cloth that is dipped in the waters here. Our Darshan will get over and we hit the road again to drive towards Jowai – the district headquarters of the West Jaintia Hills in Meghalaya and home of the Jaintia people of Meghalaya.

We cross Assam at the Jorabat border and later drive towards Nongpoh where we break for lunch at the very attractive Excellencia dhaba that is a nice and hygienic place to have food at Nongpoh. After our early lunch we start on our drive again towards Jowai. We reach Barapani area where we get to see the pristine Umiam lake of Meghalaya – the largest artificial water reservoir in North East India and we will not make a stop at this time but will do so on our drive from Shillong to Kaziranga National Park. We head straight from Barapani towards Umroi and further towards the West Jaintia hills. This road connects the Barrack Valley in Assam with Meghalaya and the road continues further towards Aizwal in Mizoram and Agartala in Tripura. We approach the West Jaintia hills and we are welcomed at a huge Gate entrance and we head towards the Nartiang Monoliths near Jowai. Monoliths are the sacred stones that the people of Meghalaya revere and often various worship rituals are conducted at these sacred monolith sites. The Nartiang Monoliths near Jowai are considered to be the tallest in the World and it was erected to commemorate the reign of the Jaintia Kings. These monoliths were erected in the period from 1500s to 1800s and the tallest one that is eight metres long is considered to be erected by a Jaintia General to commorate his victory in a battle.

We admire the wonderful structure of the Nartiang Monoliths and later head towards the Jowai local market where we get to see some of the very fresh organic foods that are available here. Like the Khasi people of Meghalaya, the Jaintia people too follow the system of matrilineal society where the head of the household is a lady and the family lineage is taken from the mother’s side. Hence you can see that most of the shops and business establishments at the market are run by the women folks from vegetable shops to meat shops. We get to witness the local delicacies of the Jaintia people here at the local market and later we head to our place of halt for the night at the Heaven’s Cove resort at Jowai. One of the very beautiful campuses to stay in Meghalaya the Heaven’s Cove Resort at Jowai is located along a stretch of paddy fields and a beautiful mountain range behind it and a clear water steam from the mountain flowing across the place. Powered by solar lighting this is a very unique place to halt at Jowai and it has a fish pool along with space for bonfire, pool and ATB ground as well. The room on top is a suite that has a living room and a balcony as well while the room downstairs is a bedroom only. In the evening we spend our time at the resort area riding the ATBs and walking across the campus.

Night Halt: Heaven’s Cove Resort at Jowai

Meals Included: NA

Day 2: Jowai – Dawki – Mawlynnong

After breakfast we leave Jowai to travel to Dawki and on the way we will stop at the most favourite tourist attraction near Jowai – the Krang Shuri falls that is a crystal clear waterfall and visitors get the opportunity to bathe in the clean waters here. After an hour’s drive we reach the Krang Shuri falls at Jowai and we head down to the waters here to admire the beauty of the waterfall. After spending an hour at the Krang Shuri falls we head to Dawki – the border of India and Bangladesh and home to the crystal clear waters of the Umngot River. At first we head to the International border of India and Bangladesh and here we seek permission from the BSF soldiers to cross the Indian side of the border to reach the no man’s land at pillar 1275. We click our pictures at the border and later head on to the boating point at Dawki where we get go for an hour long boat ride on the clear waters of the Umngot river. The Umngot River had waters so clear that it appears as though the bao0ts are floating on the air and not just plying on the waters.

After our boat ride we head on our drive to Mawlynnong from Dawki. We will drive along the border of India and Bangladesh and along the way we will sight tow more beautiful waterfalls as well. We reach Mawlynnong by afternoon and we head to have our lunch at one of the local restaurants here and we will savour some traditional Khasi cuisine like chicken with sesame seeds, banana flower cooked with rice powder, papaya salad, etc. We check into our homestay at Mawlynnong and this will provide us an opportunity to live with the Khasi tribes of Meghalaya and learn about their culture and way of living here as well. We will take time exploring the Cleanest Village in Asia and learn how the villagers have worked over the years to achieve this coveted title. There is an old cathedral present at the village and we take time admiring the grandeur of the construction of this cathedral that is over a 100 years old.

Later we travel to visit the balancing rocks at Mawlynnong village that is a very interesting phenomenon to sight where there is a huge boulder that rests on a much smaller rock and the big boulder seems to balance itself on the top of the small rock and this structure has been standing here since quite many years. The earlier Khasi people of Meghalaya considered this spot to be unique and sacred phenomenon and in the olden times they used to perform various rituals at this site of the balancing rocks as the people of Meghalaya have a unique association with rocks as you have seen at the Monoliths. They call the ‘rock’ as ‘Maw’ meaning stone and various places in Meghalaya have the word ‘Maw’ prefixed to it like Mawlynnong, Mawphlang, Mawsynram, Mawlai, etc. After admiring these unique balancing rocks we head back to the village where we see the visitors of the day have left to their places of stay at Cherrapunji or Shillong and some chose to stay back at the various homestays here in Mawlynnong. We get to witness how the village folks get together in the evening and start cleaning the premises of Mawlynnong village by collecting the waste and segregating them. We return to our homestay at Mawlynnong to relax and later we visit the restaurant and get to see the kitchen area and understand how our food is being prepared in a neat and clean environment. We enjoy our dinner and return back to our homestay for the night.

Night Halt: Homestay at Mawlynnong

Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 3: Mawlynnong

Today we are set to explore Mawlynnong and the various sites of attraction around the village where we will visit the Riwai Single Decker Living Root Bridge and hike from the place to reach Nohwet village across the verdant landscapes of Mawlynnong where we will visit the oldest Khasi hut at Nohwet village and come back to visit a cave area at Mawlynnong. We also climb a bamboo tree house and admire the view of the plains of Bangladesh here at Mawlynnong as well and we spend the day exploring the village and interacting with the members of the Mawlynnong village and learn about their efforts in making this place the Cleanest village in Asia. We start after breakfast and we travel to the parking spot of the Riwai Living Root Bridge at Mawlynnong and the vehicle drops is and it proceeds to the Nohwet village where it will await to pick us up.

From the parking area we need to take a short hike for about 10 minutes to reach the spot of the Riwai Single Decker Living Root Bridge at Mawlynnong and we will purchase our entry tickets here and head on to the Root Bridge. A wonderful Bioengineering marvel greets us here and we get to see how a person’s imagination can help to build something so unique with nature. These Living Root Bridges are grown from the roots of the rubber trees and these young roots are trained to grow in a particular direction by using hollowed out areca nut tree trunks that allow the root to grow in a direction mostly over the perennial streams. As there are numerous small villages inside the forest pockets and numerous stream crossings to reach these villages, the Khasi and Jaintia people of Meghalaya came up with this unique idea of growing bridges instead of building them. Building bridges is also not feasible because these villages are in very remote locations and carrying the materials to such places would incur heavy costs and metal bridges won’t last long because of the intense rainfall that happen here and these would lead to quick rusting of these iron bridges. So the best option was to use tree roots to grow bridges that would instead grow stronger with more rains.

Once a root bridge is fully grown it lasts for almost 500 years and this is enough to survive several lifetimes and this proved as a wonderful idea and now in Meghalaya one can find several such Root Bridges including the famed Double Decker Living Root Bridge at Nongriat village and the Longest Living Root Bridge at Pynursla village. We walk across the Riwai Living Root Bridge and go down to the stream area that flows underneath this bridge. We hike further across the pristine forest cover to reach the Nohwet village and this too is a very clean and neat village and we head to visit the oldest Khasi hut at Nohwet village that has stayed here since many years and we get to witness this unique hut architecture and how it is built with mud and a thatch roof. Inside the hut one can view a typical village house environment like in the earlier days with everything in one room from the kitchen to the living room. We admire this very old hut and later walk to the Nohwet Sky Viewpoint that is a tall watch tower built with bamboo and it overlooks the plains of Bangladesh. This is a unique construction and the entire tower is built using bamboo speaking of how versatile the bamboo plant is and strong as well.

We wind up our visit at the Nohwet village after exploring the village for a while and later travel back on our drive to the Mawlynnong village. We will have a late lunch today and now we head to explore the cave at Mawlynnong that is an old cave structure discovered in the recent years and now it is open for expedition for the tourists. We will be accompanied by a local guide who will equip us with the necessary gear and we walk into the cave mouth and explore the cave. In case you are claustrophobic a visit to this cave in Mawlynnong is not advised and instead we will explore the caves at Cherrapunji tomorrow that are much wide in width and can be easily accessed and explored. After our caving expedition here at Mawlynnong we head for lunch and later in the evening we will be at leisure to unwind by the stream that flows alongside the Mawlynnong village.

Night Halt: Homestay at Mawlynnong

Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 4: Mawlynnong – Pynursla – Cherrapunji

Today we will start our day early after breakfast and we will drive to the Pynursla town where we take a left diversion to travel to a village that is home to the longest Living Root Bridge in the World spanning over 50m and is a less frequented tourist spot as not many tourists are aware of this place and do not come here. It is a hike down a steep stairway and it is not as gruelling as the trek to the Nongriat village from Tyrna and can be achieved with a little effort. A local person from the village will guide us to the site of the longest root bridge and we will witness the grandeur of the Pynursla Living Root Bridge that spans across 50m in length. Visitors are not allowed to walk on this bridge but you can view it from another root bridge that is parallel to it. We hike back to the village and continue on our drive to Cherrapunji admiring the pristine landscapes and valley views of Meghalaya here. We will take a shorter route and arrive at Cherrapunji by early noon and we break for lunch at the Orange Roots restaurant at the entrance of Cherrapunji that is a beautiful and hygienic place that serves vegetarian food and specializes in South Indian cuisine and the special thali meal as well.

After lunch we head to visit the sightseeing destinations at Cherrapunji and at first we head to visit the beauty of the tallest plunge waterfall in India – the Nohkalikai falls. The drive towards the hill top where the Nohkalikai falls is situated is one of the very pristine landscapes in Meghalaya and when it drizzles and it gets slightly fogy you get a feel of a drive across the highlands of Scotland. We reach the parking spot of the Nohkalikai falls and the sounds of the gushing waters are a treat to the eyes and the cloud cover hovering across the Nohkalikai falls with the occasional view of the majestic waterfalls gives a person a feel of heaven. We admire the locality of the Nohkalikai falls at Cherrapunji and explore the area across the place. Various locals setup shop here at the area near the Nohkalikai falls and they sell some uniquely sourced products from the forest area around Cherrapunji and one thing to look out for is the cinnamon sticks and the cinnamon from Cherrapunji is arguably the most aromatic ones you find across the World and the bark of this tree is considered to be a medicinal one as well. There is also some fresh grounded turmeric to be found along with the whole ones as well and the turmeric found in Meghalaya is also considered to be the best in the World based on its curcumin content.

Homemade pickles of chillies, Bhut Jolokia, chicken, small fish, carrots, etc. are to be found as well and even if you do not buy any of these things ensure to take the opportunity to savour some fresh cut pineapples that are sold by the vendors here and it is one of the sweetest and tastiest pineapples you will taste. The fruits and vegetables that grow here are so fresh because they grow in the natural environment and with the tropical climate of Meghalaya they receive the adequate rainfall and have whatever you eat here is rest assured to be fresh and organic. Next we head to visit the Mawsmai caves in Cherrapunji that is a prehistoric cave and for the ones who missed on the caving opportunity yesterday this will help you to get a chance to witness a caving experience. A well-lit cave, you can travel inside the Mawsmai cave without any gear and still admire the various fossils, stalagmites and stalactites here. We admire the natural wonder of the Mawsmai caves at Cherrapunji and visit our final sightseeing destination of the day at the Seven Sister Falls. Considered as the fourth tallest waterfall in India, the height of the waterfall stands at 332m about 8m short of the Nohkalikai Falls.

There are seven small waterfalls that fall down from the height of 332m and it looks absolutely beautiful and grand during the monsoon season. From the viewpoint here we get to witness the vast valleys of Meghalaya as well as the plains of Bangladesh and the view is absolutely stunning! With this we wind up our exploration of the day and head to our place of stay at Cherrapunji at the Sohra Plaza homestay. Located near the Orange Roots restaurant the Sohra Plaza Homestay is mostly a guest house with six rooms and it is an isolated property where you get the see beautiful valleys of Cherrapunji. They also have a full-fledged restaurant here that serves delicious Indian, Chinese and local Khasi cuisine as well.

Night Halt: Sohra Plaza Homestay at Cherrapunji

Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 5: Cherrapunji – Shillong

Today after breakfast we wind up our visits at Cherrapunji and travel to Shillong – the Scotland of the East. We start our day by exploring the Wei Sadong falls in Cherrapunji that is located behind the area of our place of stay and this is another beautiful waterfall in Cherrapunji that is a layered waterfall with water coming from top and settling on the layers of this waterfall before falling down again. We get the opportunity to walk down to the base of the Wei Sadong falls and we admire the pristine natural beauty of the place. Next up we visit the Dainthlen falls at Cherrapunji that is another spectacular waterfall filled with an area of vast pristine beauty and landscape. A unique legend is also associated with the Dainthlen falls of a knight slaying a demon with his own hands to protect the community from the atrocities of the demon. We wind up our visit here and proceed to our final destination in Cherrapunji from sightseeing at the Arwah caves.

We drive to the parking spot of the Arwah cave that is located atop a mountain and we start our 500m hike to the cave entrance. A pre-historic cave, the Arwah cave is a very wonderful cave to explore in Meghalaya that is well lit and quite broad as well with a stream flowing across the cave. We will take about an hour’s time to visit inside the Arwah cave and we get to witness various fossils and stalactites and stalagmites here. With this we bid farewell to Cherrapunji and proceed on our drive to the capital of Meghalaya at Shillong – the Scotland of the East. On the way we will stop at the Mawkdok viewpoint that is a valley area and we get to witness the immense natural beauty of Meghalaya here. There is an option of Zip lining here as well but we will skip this in the interest of time. We drive towards Shillong and by early afternoon we stop at the Shillong Peak area in Upper Shillong. Known to be the highest point in the East Khasi hills of Meghalaya, the Shillong peak offers a panoramic view of Shillong city. This is an Air Force area as well so strict security protocols have to be followed before we start our exploration of the Shillong peak. There is a telescope here as well that gives viewers a close up view from the Shillong peak.

Next up we proceed to the Elephant falls in Upper Shillong that is a three layered waterfall and a grand one to view in Shillong. This three tiered waterfall with one on top and the two layers at the middle and bottom respectively. Named by the British as the Elephant falls after they discovered a rock here shaped in the form of an Elephant (that was however destroyed in the earthquake of 1897) it is a very pristine waterfall to view on the Shillong area and we admire the beauty of the Elephant falls. Next up we travel to the ML05 Café in Upper Shillong to have our lunch and after lunch we proceed on our drive to Shillong city where we will explore the Police Bazar area, the Ward’s lake and visit the India’s only Glass Museum in Shillong before we wind up for the day.

We reach Shillong city and we will be greeted with traffic and we head on our drive towards the Police Bazar area in Shillong that is a vibrant market area that illustrates the traditional and modern markets of Shillong. Here we get to witness the unique betting game of Shillong Teer that is popular across Meghalaya where the participants bid on certain numbers of the day and the winning number is decided by the archers who shoot at a dashboard at the Polo Grounds and the number that receives the most number of arrow sticks is declared as the winner and the winner gets a big amount as the win money. We explore the Police Bazar and get to witness the various traditional shops here along with the emporiums of Handicrafts and Handlooms that have on display and purchase various traditional bamboo handicrafts and exquisite handlooms from across Meghalaya. Later we visit the Ward’s Lake in Shillong that is a prime tourist attraction in the city and hundreds of visitors come here every day.

Dug out by the prisoners of the Central Jail in Shillong during the times of the British Raj, the Ward’s lake has come a long way today and it serves as a prime tourist attraction in Shillong as visitors who come to the city take the opportunity to spend their time in calm boating on the waters of the Ward’s lake. The place surrounding is very beautiful with the cherry blossom trees all around and the entire stretch of the place is green as well. Along with boating facilities, the Ward’s lake has a walking track and a restaurant and coffee bar at its premises as well and once you are hungry after a walk across the lake you can cherish some nice snacks and a cup of coffee as well to rejuvenate. Next up we head to the Laban area near Shillong where our guest house is present and we will wind up our visit of the day after a visit at the Madina Masjid – India’s only Glass mosque at Laban. A majority of the population of Meghalaya are Christians and the minority of the population also practice Hinduism and Islam and the Muslim community in Shillong came up with a unique idea to build a beautiful mosque to offer their prayers and they came up with the idea to build this mosque entirely with glass. In the evening the mosque building is illuminated in green lights and the entire mosque looks quite grand. We stop to admire the grandeur of this mosque and later travel to check into our guest house where we retire for the evening after a long day.

Night Halt: Sunrise Guest House at Shillong

Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 6: Shillong – Kaziranga National Park

Today we leave Shillong to travel back to Assam at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Kaziranga National Park famed for its population of the Indian One Horned Rhinoceros after we visit two more places of interest at Shillong – the Mary’s Help of Christians Cathedral and the Don Bosco Museum. We will leave the guest house after breakfast and we visit the Cathedral at Shillong that is a beautiful prayer place and the walls of the Cathedral are painted in a soulful light blue colour that fills your soul in peace. A huge green lawn is present here at the Cathedral and we explore the place for a while and later we head out of Shillong towards the Don Bosco Museum here. A very large campus building spread across seven floors, the Don Bosco Museum at Shillong illustrates the life, traditions and culture of the various indigenous people of North East India. Being home to over 200 tribes, North East India is a perfect place to explore the life and traditions of the indigenous people who had migrated to the region from various parts of Asia and South East Asia and they settles themselves here along the river banks to practice agriculture as their profession.

They spread out later across the region and they came to be called under various tribes and their sub-tribes. Though they have adopted ways of the aspects of the modern life many still preserve their ancient cultures and traditions and this are to be seen mostly across their traditional festivals that revolve around the harvest season and visitors get the unique opportunity to celebrate and dine with them. It is during this time of the year that they adorn themselves in their traditional attires and jewellery and they enact their traditional songs and dance and also prepare traditional food and rice beer. The Don Bosco Museum highlights the various facets of these indigenous people and there are models that depict these people with their face cuts and adorned in their traditional attires and jewellery here. At the ground floor when you walk in there are pictures of the various tribes hung along the walls and there is also a souvenir section here where you can buy a memoir of your visit to Shillong and Meghalaya and later start exploring the museum staring from each floor travelling to the top floor.

Each display room at the Don Bosco Museum has a section dedicated to a certain state and the indigenous people of that state and their way of living. There people rely on agriculture as their primary occupation and as they stay close to the river banks they have fertile soil and hence they grow various crops and for farming they use certain tools and these are put on display here. Weaving of handicrafts with bamboo and cane is also an important occupation along with handloom weaving and this can be witnessed here at the Don Bosco Museum. We spend about an hour’s time here at the museum and later head out to continue on our drive to Kaziranga National Park. We will break for tea at Nongpoh and continue on our drive to Jorabat and enter back to Assam and continue to drive towards Raha crossing Sonapur and Jagiroad. At Raha we will stop at a local shop to admire the various handicrafts made out of bamboo and cane and you can also purchase certain mementos of your visit to Assam here. We will stop for lunch at the Punjabi Dhaba at Raha that is a nice place that serves delicious Punjabi and Indian cuisine and we will savour our lunch here and later continue on our drive to Kaziranga National Park crossing Nagaon, Koliabor and Jakhlanbandha.

We gradually approach the forest reserves of Kaziranga National Park and the lush green tea gardens of Assam welcome us on one side and the paddy fields and the green mountains of Karbi Anglong on the other side of the road. We will be welcomed by various signage’s welcoming us to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Kaziranga National Park along with signage’s that remind us to keep a limit on our vehicle speed as this being an animal corridor could be seen. We will first arrive at the Burapahar range of Kaziranga National Park that is a popular range for an early morning Jeep Safari ride in the interiors of Kaziranga National Park but due to lack of good accommodation options here, visitors often do not prefer to stay here and instead opt to halt at the Kohora area of Kaziranga National Park that has renowned Hotels, Resorts, Homestays and Guest Houses along with the luxurious IORA – the Retreat, Borgos Resort, Diphlu River Lodge and the Assam Govt. operated tourist lodges as well. After crossing the Burapahar range we will come to a viewpoint area from where we can spot various rhinoceros, Asiatic water buffaloes, Hog deer and domesticated elephant’s along with various species of birds. We halt here for a while and take the opportunity to view the animals with binoculars on rent and later proceed to the Kohora range of Kaziranga National Park after crossing the Bagori range area. We finally reach the central point of Kaziranga at Kohora and we check into our resort here at Kaziranga National Park and retire for the evening.

Night Halt: Bon Habi resort at Kaziranga National Park or Similar

Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 7: Kaziranga National Park

Today is our safari day at Kaziranga National Park and we undertake three safaris today along with a visit to the Kaziranga Orchid Park. Early in the morning we wake up to get ready for our Elephant Safari ride at the Bagori range (for Indian Nationals) and at Kohora range for Foreign Nationals. Elephant Safari rides at Kaziranga National park are conducted at two slots at 5 AM and 6.30 AM respectively. We will try to schedule our Elephant safari ride at 6.30 AM in case we do not find the 6.30 AM slot we will need to get up early and go for the 5 AM slot. We visit the respective range and go for an hour long elephant back ride sighting the various wildlife and avifauna of Kaziranga National Park and later come back to our place of stay for breakfast post which we will go for a jeep safari ride at the Kohora range of Kaziranga National Park. The jeep ride will last for about an hour and thirty minutes and we get to spot animals more closely.

The Jeep Safari covers more grounds inside the forest reserves of Kaziranga National Park as it takes you deeper into the forest reserves and your chances of sighting animals are more including the likes of the Asiatic Elephants, Royal Bengal tigers, Leopards, etc. We complete an hour and half long jeep ride and come back to the Kohora area and the jeep will drop us at the entrance of the Kaziranga Orchid Park – the Largest Orchid Park in India and we will take an hours’ time to explore the place. A beautiful park that illustrates the various indigenous orchid species of North East India on display and at the green house of the Kaziranga Orchid Park one can get to witness these various orchid species along with the local and scientific names. Guest groups are welcomes by local guides who take us across the area of the green house of the Kaziranga Orchid Park and explain to us about the various orchids here along with names and where these species are exactly found. We spend some time at the green house looking at the orchid species and we come out to witness the handicrafts and handloom section here that illustrates the rich crafts of the artists of Assam and the handlooms of the female weavers.

This section will provide us with the opportunity to witness handloom making in action as there are three traditional looms here that are built with wood and iron and the female weavers can be see sitting on these loom and weaving out the exquisite handmade fabrics. The local weavers of Assam are very adept at weaving and they do everything from scratch from collection the cotton to weave out the yarn, dyeing of the fabric and finally weaving out the final cloth. Assam is known for the silk varieties and the silk Mekhela Chadors of Assam follow as similar process with the beginning of the extraction of the silk from the silk worms. We admire the handloom products and later head to visit the rice museum that depicts the indigenous food of the people of North East India viz. rice. Rice can be called as an emotion of the people of North East India as no meal is complete without rice here. In the rural areas of Assam, the folks eat rice almost three meals a day for breakfast, lunch and dinner and that too in generous quantities. No wonder various rice varieties are grown here and we get to witness these varieties at the rice museum at the Kaziranga Orchid Park.

We walk across the park and finally take our seats to witness the cultural dance performances at the stage area of the Kaziranga Orchid Park. Dance performance of the Bihu dance and the bamboo dance of Assam are performed here and it is indeed a colourful display of these performances. We later visit the restaurant at the Kaziranga Orchid Park for a sumptuous lunch thali here that is one of the best across Assam and you get to witness a taste of the rich cuisine of Assam cooked with various local herbs and vegetables and a choice of meat or fish. The thali served at the restaurant of the Kaziranga Orchid Park is a humungous one and there are almost around twenty different offerings to eat from fried vegetables, mashed potatoes and brinjal, salad, dal, rice, curry, etc. After the sumptuous thali here at the Kaziranga Orchid park the jeeps arrive and we board the jeep to travel to the Eastern Range of Kaziranga National Park at Agoratoli to undertake another round of jeep safari experience here. The eastern range of Kaziranga National Park viz. the Agoratoli range is known to be the home of the Royal Bengal Tigers and various experiences of sighting these tigers in the wild have been recorded where visitors get the opportunity of sighting these tigers crossing the roads on their jeep safari ride. In addition this range is also a good place to sight the primate species of Kaziranga National Park viz. Assamese macaques, Capped langurs and the Hoolock Gibbons.

During the winter season, the Eastern range becomes a haven for bird watching as various migratory bird species travel to Assam from far off countries and you can get to witness them at the trees and the water bodies catching their meals. We take a nice jeep ride in the early afternoon at this beautiful range of Kaziranga National Park and later return back to our place of stay at Kaziranga National Park.

Night Halt: Bon Habi Resort at Kaziranga National Park or Similar

Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 8: Kaziranga National Park – Guwahati Airport

Today we bid farewell to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Kaziranga National Park to hit the road again and begin our drive to the Guwahati airport (5 hours drive) and we will arrive at Guwahati by early afternoon to drop you at the Guwahati airport for your later afternoon flight to your onward destination/home. Tour Ends. Bid Adieu!

Night Halt: NA

Meals Included: Breakfast