Are you looking for a travel guide to Bamboo Trail Meghalaya? This article is a travelogue and trek guide to Mawryngkhang Trek in Wahkhen Village of Meghalaya.
Wanderlust is 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, on the 29th of September 2019, I travelled 16 hours from Duliajan to Wahkhen Whistling Village to witness the mind-blowing Bamboo trail. That’s right, Kongthong isn’t the only Whistling Village in India.
Bamboo Trail Meghalaya – The Mawryngkhang Trek
For me, the Mawryngkhang trek in Wahkhen Village of Meghalaya is unique in two ways-
- Culture and Folklore– About Mawryngkhang
- Nature’s gifted paradise – the hills and the bamboo trail.
Culture and Folklore – About Mawryngkhang
‘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 favourites. 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 was 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 folklore.
The Khasis of Meghalaya are true to 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 – The Hills & Bamboo Trail Trek
While the destination is important, the journey is where the magic 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) in Wahkhen Village.
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 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 face wash.
The river flow guided the direction of the trail. Stepping ahead on the tied bamboo, 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’s 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 a few more small waterfalls.
I could sense a tiny version of the waterfalls in Bali, Indonesia. There were about 2-3 waterfalls.
Crossing the waterfall area is a curved bridge of bamboo. This connects the two gorges with the trail to reach the last part of the trail.
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 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 enjoyed the rain at first but rushed as soon as it started pouring heavily.
“Dusk turning into night and the rain falling with all its might;
A bowl of Maggi and egg whites, as I glanced through the window of the hut,
The Hawaii Hills of Meghalaya imprinted a lasting impression on my heart.”
Ah! I hope every trek and trip enthuses the poet in me.
FAQs on Mawryngkhang Trek
Where is Mawryngkhang Trek or Bamboo Trail located?
Popularly known as the Bamboo Trail Trek, the Mawryngkhang trek is in Wahkhen Village of the East Khasi Hills district of Meghalaya in Northeast India.
How to reach Wahkhen for Mawryngkhang Trek from Shillong?
You can hire or rent a vehicle from Shillong to Wahkhen which is located at a distance of 48 km. 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?
During our visit homestays were under construction. As of 2023, you can book your accommodation at Riz’s Hut Homestay in Wahkhen village during Mawryngkhang Trek.
What is the starting point of the Bamboo trek?
The Bamboo Trek starts from Wahkhen Village of East Khasi Hills District in Meghalaya. Wahkhen is located about 48 km from Shillong town.
Is Mawryngkhang Trek Open?
The Mawryngkhang Trek is open since September 10, 2022, after repair. You can refer to this article by East Mojo.
Things to do in Wahkhen
1. Go for the Bamboo Trail Trek
2. Swim in the river
3. Visit Siengriti Wahkhen – the traditional school of Khasi Music in the village.
4. Visit the Living Root Bridge which is about 2 hour trek from the village.
5. Trek to the Suspension Bridge.
Things you may want to carry for the Mawryngkhang Trek
Is Mawryngkhang Trek Safe?
Yes, the Mawryngkhang trek is safe. Though people consider the Bamboo Trail as the scariest trek in Meghalaya, the local guides make sure that the trek is done safely.
Whom to Contact?
I went with This Travel Company which is based in Guwahati, Assam. For the Mawryngkhang Trek package, you may contact them. You can also contact me on social media.
How long is the Mawryngkhang Bamboo Trail Trek?
Mawryngkhang trek time in total is 4-5 hours. You can go up and come back to the Wahkhen Village within those 5 hours.
Have you added the Mawryngkhang trek to your bucket list yet? I hope this travel guide helps you to plan the Bamboo Trail Trek properly.
Here are 7 Reasons why you must trek the Bamboo Trail Meghalaya –
1. The entire Bamboo Trek involves trekking on a trail of Bamboo attached to the steep surface of beautiful gorges and a river stream below it.
2. Though people say that the Mawryngkhang trek is the scariest trek in Meghalaya, I recommend you to do this trek because you love adventure and challenging yourself.
3. 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.
4. The ‘HILLS’ resemble the ‘mountains of Hawaii’. I will be seeing them again; I mean, why not?
5. It is an off-beat destination and less crowded than other tourist places.
6. It is home to the National Award-Winning traditional musicians Komik Khongjirem and Rojet Buhphang.
7. 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.
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