Mawlynnong is nestled in the pristine Meghalaya hills of North East India , about 90 km from Shillong (capital of Meghalaya) along the Indo- Bangladesh border. A tiny village with just about 90 households, Mawlynnong is picture perfect.
Mawlynnong enjoys the title of being the cleanest in Asia. ( Travel magazine Discover India declared the village as the cleanest in Asia in 2003, and the cleanest in India in 2005).
Bamboo baskets outside every home and roadside complete the picture- perfect settings.
The centre of the village has a large parking lot to accommodate visiting cars and buses, a tea shop does brisk business and tourists clamber up Sky View, a tall, bamboo tower from where one can view the Bangladesh plains.
A short distance from Mawlynnong is the village of Riwai, home to the unique bridge that wasn’t built but grown. Strategically placed signboards guide you to the Living Root Bridge.
This natural bridge made up of knotted roots spans the stream from one end to the other. Meghalaya is known for its centuries- old tradition of living root bridges that are used to cross streams in remote mountainous areas.
The pliant roots of the Ficus elastica , the Indian rubber tree, are braided and entwined in a way that they grow into an elaborate lattice. Over time the bridge becomes so strong that it can be paved with stone. It is an unwritten rule that if any villager notices a new root, he has to weave it into the mesh.
The bridge across the river can endure the weight of nearly 50 people and is an example of bio and eco engineering at its best. No one knows how old the bridge is — perhaps 50 or even 100 years.Read the detailed travel article on Mawlynnong in print here