A little piece of Paradise has been carved out and hidden away from the rest of the world, only to be revealed to a special few who wish to bask in nature’s bounty and delve in legends of the past. Mawlongbna is a classic example of a place that has been truly blessed by Mother Nature, visited by legends and inhabited by people that are a model of a community that is totally in sync with its environment.
The drive from Mawsynram is as scenic as one could wish for with waterfalls that are viewed perched on the edge of a cliff, landscapes that could literally take your breath away and vibrant forests with an array of flora and fauna endemic to the area. The reward at the end of the drive, on arrival at the Mawlongbna Traveller’s Nest, is the spectacular view of the plains of Bangladesh from the comfort of the dining lounge.
The Mawlongbna Traveller’s Nest sits atop a hill, a little distance away from the village, nestled away into the Protected Community Forest, to give you the peace and quiet that you have travelled here for. Two double bedded cottages, constructed entirely by the local community and using locally available material are available for the discerning traveller here. The kitchen prepares home style meals and allows visitors to savour local cuisine at the dining lounge that has no rivals for the views it presents.
Among the secrets that Mawlongbna houses, embedded in the rocks of a picturesque plateau, are fossils of sea-creatures that are remnants of an era when the entire area was covered by the expanse of the seas. Just getting to this plateau is an experience in itself as it involves a short trek through the Community Forest where little streams and brooks surprise you at many places. We must admit that the bottom of the waterfall en-route to the plateau is extremely inviting for a short dip and we’ve never been able to resist it. A short walk to the west of the area where the fossils are found, takes you unsuspectingly into a land where legend and folklore come alive: along a snaking rivulet are the grounds of a fabled Animal market place – Ka Iew Luri Lura, where the rock formations resemble the footprints of animals. According to local legend, these “footprints” are a record of a meeting in time when animals could still talk and this was the site where they would have their weekly markets.
Umkhakoi is the water reservoir located further south of the fossil area and was created by the community by building a small dam that allowed water to be stored between massive boulders on each side for about half a kilometre. A variety of fish species are found here and it is a perfect place for a lazy day of fishing. However, with so much water available, we just had to put in a few recreational kayaks to give you something extra to experience. It’s an idyllic place to spend time splashing away in the water and felling alive.
An evening at the village is a wonderful experience because its people are friendly and welcoming, all too eager to swap stories with visitors and indulge in a conversation about local legends and folktales. The night market at the village, held once a week, will entice you with the kind of fresh local produce that you cannot resist. The colours, sights and aromas that fill the night market will make you feel like you have stepped back in time, attending market in the age of legends.
Mawlongbna is a keeper of many secrets and a birthplace of legends. We could never reveal all its secrets lodged in its protected forest, plateaus, caves, rivers and streams. They could however, be experienced on every visit.
Sample over Night Package Itinerary:
8:00 am – Depart for Mawlyngbna Village from Shillong.
11:00 am – Arrive at Mawlyngbna. Check in at the Traveller’s Nest where light refreshments will be served followed by lunch after you settle in.
12:30 pm – Hike to the Fossil Park and the mythical “Iew Luri Lura” Plateau. Trained guides will take you on a tour of the area. Fossils are abundantly seen in the area and are believed to belong to the era when the area was under the ocean. The “Iew Luri Lura” is an area believed in local legend to hold footprints of animals and humans at a time when they could interact with each other. The area is believed to be the market place during such times.
5:00 pm – Evening tea will be served.
5:30 pm – Visit the local museum showcasing local artefacts and items locally produced. Head down to the village andexperience local flavours at the unique market place. Walk to the Mih-Um-Spring or the village spring.
6:00 pm – Evening walk to the viewpoint where one can have aglimpse of the entire village as well as the distant lights in neighbouring Bangladesh.
8:30 pm – Dinner will be served. Meals will be served in local styles.
Bonfire and Overnight stay.
8:00 am – Breakfast will be served.
9:00 am – Mountain Biking through the Village trails.
12:00 pm – Arrive at Umkhakoi Reservoir, a 600 metre water reservoir where lunch will be served. Guests can then spend their time Kayaking or trying their hand at Angling for the various species of fish that thrive there. Lunch will be served at the lake.
4:30 pm – Checkout and depart for Shillong.