Updated on: 18/07/2022
BAMBOO TRAIL MEGHALAYA (MAWRYNGKHANG TREK)
Wanderlust is as such that having seen a photo on the internet, we can’t resist but visit the place; the charm and uniqueness draw us to it. Seen and heard enough, I travelled 16 hours from Duliajan till Wahkhen Whistling Village to witness the mind-blowing Bamboo trail. That’s right, Kongthong isn’t the only Whistling Village in India.
7 Reasons why you must trek the Bamboo Trail Meghalaya
- The entire Bamboo Trek inovles trekking on a trail of Bamboo attached to the steep surface of beautiful gorges and a river stream below it.
- Though people say that the Mawryngkhang trek is the scariest trek in India, I recommend you to do the Mawryngkhang trek because you love adventure and challenging yourself.
- The trail was built by the sole effort of the villagers. Thus, signifying their unique craft, engineering, and the ardent bond between their culture and natural surroundings.
- The ‘HILLS’ resemble the ‘mountains of Hawaii’. I will definitely be seeing them again; I mean, why not?
- Mawryngkhang trek is an off-beat destination and less crowded than other tourist places.
- It is home to the National Award-Winning traditional musicians Komik Khongjirem and Rojet Buhphang.
- Like the Kongthong Whistling Village, Wahkhen Villagers too have a definite tune dedicated to everyone through which they communicate. Whoa! Surprised? Read about Wahkhen’s Musical Legacy.
Why is the Bamboo Trail Meghalaya unique?
For me, the Mawryngkhang trek in Wahkhen Village of Meghalaya is unique in two ways-
- Culture and Folklore
- Nature’s gifted paradise
CULTURE AND FOLKLORE
‘U Mawryngkhang’, the humungous, cylindrical, shiny rock standing tall among its surrounding hills is known as the King of Stones. As the folklore goes, the two rocks Mawryngkhang and Mawpator battled for ‘Kthiang’ a damsel with whom both were in love. Though Mawpator had broken off the left hand of Mawrykhang, the latter emerged as the winner as he chopped off Mawpator’s head. The Mawpator rock can be seen in front of U Mawryngkhang on the other side of the stream. The curved scar of U Mawryngkhang is also visible.
Stories combined with nature and culture are my favourite. Above all, culture is what human’s way of survival is maintaining harmony with nature. Like the Living Root Bridges of Meghalaya, the bamboo trail of the Mawryngkhang trek signifies the rich cultural techniques of the Khasis’ balance with nature. However, the first was the cultural adaption to natural calamity (floods), and the latter is a collective effort of the village community to promote their way of life through tourism, making people aware of the pristine beauty of the place and their divine folklores.
The Khasis of Meghalaya are true nature lovers. In Wahkhen, the villagers have been the keepers of rich traditional Khasi music and folk instruments. The reason why it is the home to two National Award winners. Not only, they have been teaching folk music but also how to create traditional musical instruments for the younger generation.
NATURE’S GIFTED PARADISE- (MAWRYNGKHANG) BAMBOO TRAIL TREK
While the destination is important, the journey is where the magic actually happens. In the same way, my personal favourite was the 2 hours of hike to the U Mawryngkhang Rock.
Wahkhen is India’s own Hawaii in Meghalaya. The hilly terrain resembles the picturesque Hawaii Mountains. The hike starts from the parking spot beside a Bamboo Hut (also a shop). As we commenced the Mawryngkhang trek and descended towards the Umrew river, the range of hills to the right – their shapes and clouds embracing the peak brought peace to me. The beats of drums echoed in our ears accompanied by crickets welcoming us along the way. The beats were from the traditional music school at Wahkhen village, a community initiative to teach the youngsters to play and build folk instruments.
Reaching the river and crossing the first bamboo bridge is where the actual hiking starts to U Mawryngkhang. Dipping my face into the stream, I refreshed myself with nature’s own facewash, haha!
The river flow guided the direction of the trail. Stepping ahead on the tied bamboos, mini-waterfalls sliding down the vertical gorges and pretty violet flowers greeted us to our right. To the left and below was the stream progressing straight with more strength, while we gained height by climbing beyond.
Mawmoit viewpoint is where the legendary King of Stones ‘U Mawryngkhang’ reveals himself. Traversing through a cave passage, we eventually reached another curved bamboo bridge alongside few more small waterfalls. I could literally sense a tiny version of the waterfalls in Bali, Indonesia.
The penultimate vertical bamboo stairs are the most thrilling of all. Rejoicing the spectacular view of the ascent amidst the background of the hills, we reached our final destination – the peak of U Mawryngkhang. I sat, watched, and embraced, what was around me – the panoramic scenery, the exuberant river flowing by through the tiny natural pools, blue and clear down the U Mawryngkhang rock; the tranquil blue and green colours of nature. Ah! The gurgling of Umrew sounded like the chirpings of the birds composing a lullaby of the river stream.
On a distant hilltop lies Kongthong, the Whistling Village of Meghalaya, where people have their own distinct ‘melody tune’ instead of their names. I could literally visualize the mix of their tunes, kids playing up there, and the soothing river sounds below. Comforting right?
Back to Umrew river – the starting point of the hike, we jumped into the water, swam, splashed and whatnot. I even let myself be carried away by the flow. I felt free, alive and cuddled by mother nature.
Rain and Meghalaya are indeed the best of friends. Overcast clouds faded the Hawaii-like Mountains. We had enjoyed the rain at first but rushed as soon as it started pouring heavily.
Ah! I hope every trek and trip enthuse the poet in me.
MAWRYNGKHANG TREK GUIDE & FAQ
Where is Mawryngkhang Trek or Bamboo Trail located?
Popularly known as the Bamboo Trail Meghalaya, the Mawryngkhang trek is in Wahkhen Village of East Khasi Hills district of Meghalaya in Northeast India.
How to Reach Mawryngkhang trek point in Wahkhen?
The distance from Shillong to Mawryngkhang trek in Wahkhen of Meghalaya is 49 km. It can be reached by hiring a cab from Shillong or by driving your own car. Shared sumos are available only till Pomlum which is at a distance of 15 km from Wahkhen. The following Signboard directs you to the village-
Where to Stay in Wahkhen?
As of now, there is no accommodation in the village. However, they do arrange it for you on request, provided you are lucky. Homestays are under construction and will hopefully be available soon.
Things you may want to carry for the Mawryngkhang Trek
1. As Meghalaya and rain are best friends, carrying a poncho/raincoat will save you from the dilemma.
2. Water- bottle (Reusable) – Let us not pollute what we love.
3. Extra pair of clothes if you want to dive into the Umrew (also known as the Wahrew river)
Is Mawryngkhang trek Safe?
Yes, the Mawrykhang trek is safe. The local guides make sure that the trek is completed safely.
Is Mawryngkhang Trek Open?
Mawryngkhang trek is closed till August 2022. It is undergoing repair suffered during the heavy rain in the past few months. Read this article by the Shillong times to know more.
How long is Bamboo Trek in Meghalaya?
The entire Bamboo Trek in Meghalaya can be completed within 4 to 5 hours.
Whom to Contact?
This Travel Company has been my favourite adventure companion. Feel free to contact them. You can also contact me on my social media handles.
Have you added the Mawryngkhang trek (also known as Bamboo Trail Meghalaya) to your bucket list yet?
Updated Covid Protocols 2022
The state of Meghalaya in northeast India has reponed its doors for tourism from the 1st of September, 2021. Refer to the following for the latest update (February 17th, 2022) regarding covid-19 restrictions or SOPs from Meghalaya tourism.