Friday, 2 June 2017

Visiting The Living Root Bridges And The Cleanest Village in Asia

This is actually Day 2. But, on our day 2, we visited three places. So I have decided to split the day into two parts. Here's the first part. Hope you will enjoy it as much as I did.

PS: Since Google and Bing give you all the historical and tidbits about these places, I have tried to tell you only about whatever I have felt through the posts.

Karthi and I are late....
Late by around half an hour.
" Oh, That's all?"
" Yeah"
But "that's all" doesn't work in the North East. We were supposed to be ready by 6 AM and start our journey to the eastern most region of India. More than that we were excited to see Bangladesh and maybe to cross that epic bridge if get a chance. But before reaching there, we had so much to cover.
Our Shakadam for the day
But, we are late. We woke up late because the almost-close-to-minus temperature of Shillong had hit our spines badly on the previous day. Sri, the perfectionist, and Chetna, the smartie were up and almost ready. We had no other choice than to get ready, pack the bags and get into the car.

We had hired a Maruti 800 for the day. This was arranged by the people at Traveller's Nest and Vicky, the driver was already present before we packed our bags. After all the initial hiccups, we started our journey by 6.30 AM.
From Bridges to Root Bridges

Bidding goodbye to Shillong, we passed the meandering hills and beautiful valleys to our first destination, Riwai. Riwai is home to one of the most beautiful natural root bridges in the world. Riwai village is located at 82 kilometres from Shillong and 8 Kilometres from Mawlyngong.
I am sure that the word Mawlyngong rings in your mind that epic Google image of cleanliness and serenity. Your guess is almost right. Mawlyngong is described as the cleanest village in Asia.

We were just near those gigantic root bridges in Riwai village by around 9.30 AM.
I don't know why he's doing so!!!

"Strong Roots Never Break." That's how philosophically it can be described. As we reached the grand entrance of Riwai village towards the living root bridges, we had no clue of what's going to be in store. As we walked through the small rocks and stones, we saw the living root bridges in the distance. Enough has been said and discussed this place in Google and blogs. But, one thing I can assure you. It looked like a place straight out of a fairytale. Meandering streams, tiny rivulets, beautiful cascades and then the living root bridges appeared right in front of us.
The living root bridges in Riwai
The root bridges are very much like the normal bridge that you see everywhere. Wait. There is a difference. The similarity lies in only the structure. It is made from the aerial roots of rubber trees using hands by the Khasi people. Even though we had read so many blogs about it, seeing them and touching and feeling the bridge was a different experience. We first crossed the root bridges and then climbed up. Our destination was the viewpoint situated in the village.

We walked through the mud roads of Riwai village. The villagers were least bothered about most of the tourists since it was a regular thing for them most of the days. Since it was Christmas day, there was a mad rush of people from all parts of the country.

The unending trails
 As we walked through the village towards the viewpoint, we couldn't help but notice the people and the place they stay in. Kids were staring at us, while men and women were busy in their household chores. And we walked almost one to two kilometres to reach the viewpoint. The pathway to the viewpoint was made of bamboos and we, including Shashank enjoyed that.Spending some time there, we decided to go back to living root bridges.
Towards View point
 It was marathon photo session for all of us as some of us in the team thought that they'll never pay a visit anytime sooner to this region of India. ( Not everyone thought the same - SIC) Shashank had some masti in the stream nearby. Now it was time for us to go to our next destination on the same day.
Aerial View of Root Bridges

Clean, cleaner, cleanest

Mawlyngong- The Cleanest Village In Asia
 It was a Christmas day and Meghalaya being a Christian-dominated State were busy with carols, prayers and so much of other activities. It was noon and we had to finish our lunch before visiting the cleanest village in Asia. There were not a single hotel that was opened in Mawlyngong on that day. And needless to say, after all the trekking and photo posing, we were super hungry. To our luck, a small place near the entrance to Mawlyngong village was serving food. It was crowded, but we managed to find a place. After a wholesome North East meal, we then took a stroll through the cleanest village in Asia.

That epic stroll
 It was indeed one of the most memorable experiences of our life time. Reading about Mawlyngong in blogs always make us think about its sublimity. I had always thought that how these people are protecting and preserving it. While walking through the village, which has 94 houses in total, I was thinking how these people are coping up with so many tourists(travellers!!!) every day. Imagine when you wake up there are some hundreds of people right in front of you and staring at you for so long. But Mawlyngong people are so used to it. They handle everything at their own pace. The significant thing about Meghalaya and especially Mawlyngong is its matrilineal society. Here, wealth and property are transferred from mothers to the younger daughters and she will also keep her mother's surname. That means Padmaja Vasudevan (mother) will transfer all her wealth to Yamini Padmaja and she will live happily ever after! ;) What an idea Madamjee!
Even the garbage bins were so clean!

We spent time till 2 PM there looking at various houses and the people and then decided to go to our last destination for the day. Our last stop for the day was to the eastern most part of India, just near to Bangladesh. From not even seeing a State border until the early 20s of my life, seeing another country even from a small distance is like 'Awww'. 
More on that experience in the next post.

Distance covered
  • Shillong To Living root bridges: 80 kilometres
  • Root Bridges to Mawlyngong - 3 kilometres

Must try
  • Standing on the Living root bridges and pose for that epic DP or a Selfie. 
  • Stroll through Mawlyngong Village without intruding the families