Here’s What Makes Mawlynnong India\'s Sustainable, Clean and Eco-Friendly Village

Living in the city might be a challenging affair! The never-ending traffic jams, noisy irksome crowds, dreary concrete structures sprouting out of the ground, and amidst all the chaos and confusion of an exploding world population, we find ourselves trying to survive. 


Slowly this lifestyle is spreading onto remote areas like villages. However, some of them continue to resist such changes to prevent the evils of pollution from plaguing the village. 


Mawlynnong is a village in the East Khasi Hills district of the Meghalaya state in North East India. The cleanliness of this quaint and vibrant little village is well-known. Agriculture is the primary source of income for the locals. It is an age-old tradition to keep the surroundings clean. 


Living in concrete 


Raw and still fairly untouched by the ways of cities, the areas around the village promise some good treks. In 2003, the village was named the cleanest in Asia by Discover India magazine. The eco-tourism location is viewed as a respite from the hustle and bustle of daily life, where you may relax and absorb the full scope of the experience. A guided walking tour is also the best way to discover the sights and stories of little Mawlynnong, home to about 95 families. 


The once cobble-stoned routes are being replaced with concrete ones; women of the village break the stone, while men pave little pathways leading to a few remaining traditional bamboo houses and the plenteous, sturdier wooden ones. 


Concrete houses are very few and the people of Mawlynnong plan to keep it that way. Cement houses look ugly, the villagers say that they want to keep traditions alive and tourists also advise us to do so. Despite the revenue from tourism, the traditional occupation of cultivating betel nut, broomcorn, black pepper, berries, bay leaf and delicious fruits like oranges, lemon, pineapple and the local soshang fruit is still alive.


Natural bridges 


Ever heard of the living root bridges? They are the man made wonders of Meghalaya. The short drive (2 km) to Riwai village and short trek to the bridges will transport you to a place from Lord of the Rings. Aerial roots of the banyan tree are trained to grow on a length of bamboo that is secured across the river to another hill. 


Over several years they climb like wines to form these majestic bridges. Mud and stones are inserted in gaps to make the bridges sturdy, but you can still thrill in the slight swing in the arms of the banyan. Made in a similar fashion, the living root ladders look interesting in pictures. 


High literacy rates 


The village also boasts a cent per cent literacy rate and is on a mission to ban plastic and conserve the forest, making it one of the country’s hubs of environment-conscious souls. 


Walking around the village, one can see many people at work, especially women. This helps us understand that this cleanliness is not a gimmick as the homes of the Khasi people who live here also abide by this practice.


The people use the waste as manure for cultivation in the village through which they maintain their ambiance as a ‘litter-free’ village. The dwellers of the village take the onus of keeping the place clean, and activities like picking up leaves and throwing garbage in the bamboo garbage bin is a very common sight.


Roshini Muthukumar

Roshini Muthukumar, a native of Chennai, started her career as a content writer but made a switch to journalism to pursue her passion. She has experience writing about human interest stories, innovative technology, entrepreneurs, research blogs, and more. Previously, Roshini has done internships with The Hindu, Metroplus and worked as a correspondent with The Better India.