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 of India.
For me, Mawryngkhang trek in Wahkhen Village of Meghalaya is unique in two ways-
‘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 with. 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 Mawryngkhang trek signifies the rich cultural techniques of the Khasis’ balance with nature. However, the first was the cultural adaption to natural calamity (floods), 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 the 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 music instruments to the younger generation.
While the destination being 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 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 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, embraced, what was around me – the panoramic scenery, the exuberant river flowed 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.
In a distant hill top 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 what not. 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.
Popularly known as the Bamboo Trail Meghalaya, the Mawryngkhang trek is in Wahkhen Village of East Khasi Hills district of Meghalaya in Northeast India.
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-
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.
Have you added Mawryngkhang trek (also known as Bamboo Trail Meghalaya) in your bucket list yet?
This Travel Company has been my favourite adventure companion. Feel free to contact.
The most recent update from the Chief Minister of Meghalaya. From the 23rd of April, 2021, no tourists are welcomed from outside the state.
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