Why Travel Stories?
Well, I love travelling, visiting and revisiting places, exploring traditions and cultures, listening to people’s stories and mostly, trying new cuisines. Although I like taking photographs (and do not like much to pose for one!), I never thought of sharing my travel stories with others.
Now that I have started writing a blog, I thought why not share my travel stories with you all.
So, let’s begin our journey!
Mawphlang Sacred Grove, Meghalaya
Meghalaya is a neighbouring state of Assam in India. It is generally known as the Scotland of East in India for its exceptional natural beauty. Sacred groves are common in Meghalaya. These are forest areas protected by the village communities for their associations with the community’s history and religion.
Situated in the East Khasi Hills beside the Mawphlang village, the Mawphlang Sacred grove spreads out across an area of almost 192 acres. The local people consider this grove to be the abode of their local god known as Labasa. Their god is considered to protect them and their village. So, the villagers have preserved this forest for thousands of years.
How to Reach There?
You can hire cars and taxis from Police Bazar in Shillong to go to Mawphlang. Google Maps also help you if you wish to drive there yourself.
What to Do Once You Reach Mawphlang?
Once you reach Mawphlang, you will be offered with two choices of trips into the forest. There will be guides who will accompany you. The first choice does not cover the whole forest but costs less. The second choice is a full trip to the forest. Although it costs a bit more, I would strongly suggest you go for this. The forest is a delight to watch, observe and feel. Do not miss the full trek.
A vast grassland borders the forest. But you will be amazed to see that the forest only begins from a particular point in these grasslands. A sudden and stark contrast appears in these two kinds of vegetation.
Once you enter the forest, a deep sense of mystical beauty encompasses your being. The canopy of the thousand years old trees allows occasional sun rays to seep in. You will see the places where animal sacrifices were made to satisfy their god. This place has a sense of a profound past, and it touches you so much so that one of my friends actually felt as if he could still smell the blood dripping from those age-old sacrifice rituals! Such is the effect.
The forest floor spreads a colourful carpet of leaves for you to tread on. The chirping of the birds echoes through the forest and your soul.
A sparkling stream welcomes you in between. It is believed that if you follow this stream, you will reach Bangladesh.
Our guide Arnold kept us engrossed with his stories and myths. He was sweet enough to make me a headgear from wild ferns and flowers. When we were nearing the exit, he asked me to return that gear to the forest. It is believed that if you carry even a single twig from the forest with you, you will be cursed. Probably some truth in it? Or, a myth? But this practice has sustained the green forest for several years.
We drank some clear cool water from a small pond in the grove. Arnold told us that it was a wishing pond. We don’t know about our wishes getting fulfilled but it sure did quench our thirst after a long trek.
We left the forest feeling sad that the trek was over. At the same time, we also felt at peace that the forest offered us. You can feel the green air in your lungs. The forest humbles us in front of mighty nature and makes us realize how important it is to protect our trees. Mawphlang has its own myths surrounding nature’s protection. We can learn from this great example and try and save our trees and forests.
Mawphlang inspires us all – For some more greenery. For some more fresh air. For a better, healthy future. For more happiness.
Oh, do not forget to treat yourself to a relishing plate of Khasi food and sip a cup of tea at the ticket counter before you leave the place!
Have you visited Mawphlang? If you haven’t already, please do. But if you have, share your stories with me. Do you know of any other sacred forest, in or outside India? Tell me everything in the comment section below.