Mawlynnong is the cleanest village in Asia. The village is located around 90 kms from Shillong and is a community based eco-tourism initiative. The road leading up to Mawlynnong has some of the most panoramic and breathtaking views in the country. The community has made collective effort to maintain the ambience of a clean village. The village offers picturesque natural beauty, a trek to the living root bridge at a neighboring village Riwai. The village also offers a sight of natural balancing rock, a strange natural phenomenon of a boulder balancing on another rock.
Nestled in the pristine East Khasi Hills of Meghalaya, the residents of this picturesque village along the Indo-Bangla border have learnt to live at harmony with Mother Nature and might very well become an example that urban folk should emulate.
For a long time, this village was practically unknown to tourists until Discover India magazine accorded it the cleanest village status in 2005. As one walks around the narrow unwinding paths of the village, one is astounded by the clean well maintained black tarmac and the spotless front-yards and sidewalks of the bamboo stilt houses. There are stylish bamboo dustbins everywhere and separate compost pits in various pockets of the village for organic and inorganic wastes. Polythene use is completely banned and so is smoking.
Just outside the village on the passing river is situated the amazing living roots bridge which speaks out for the ingenuity of the people. It is over 200 years old and was constructed by tying the roots of two banyan trees and maneuvering them to get entangled in such a way as to create a passage over the stream. The Sky-view tower on the eastern side of the village is a tall structure built on the support of a tree with bamboos and gives a wonderful view of the Bangladesh plains.
For the discerning traveler there are many unmapped trails that one can explore around the village full of little waterfalls and sacred forests abounding in flora and fauna. The guest houses in the village are basic tree houses built on top of stilts that almost jut out into the adjacent forest. Staying in them is an experience in itself.
The village has won accolade for being the cleanest village in Asia in 2003 as well as the Cleanest Village in India in 2005. The village also offers breathtaking view of Bangladesh plains as it is located on the Indo-Bangla border.
The onus to keep the village clean lies with every person residing in the village. Local cleaning the roads, picking up leaves and throwing garbage in the bin is a very common sight. Bamboo garbage bins adorn every nook and corner of the village highlight the consciousness of cleanliness among the villagers. Cleanliness is an age old tradition and a way of life for all villagers.
There are public toilets which the villagers themselves maintain and everyone takes part in the ritual weeding, sweeping and cleaning of the gardens and roads which happens every evening. Even the children are taught from an early age to keep their surroundings clean and they don’t hesitate to pick up the odd piece of garbage on the road and put it in the bin. The village is well supplied with an efficient localized water supply and sanitation system.
Suprisingly, the village has hundred percent literacy and most of the villagers are conversant with the English language. The village offers a number of small tea shops, where you can relish a hot of cup of tea with some snacks. No wonder they say- “cleanliness is the first step to education”.
Mawlynnong can be reached by road and it is roughly a three hour drive from Shillong. The nearest airport is Guwahati, in Assam, which is around three hours from Shillong and is well connected with major metros.