Mawphanlur – Meghalaya’s Tiny Little Secret

It was a Sunday and I woke up to a bright and beautiful day. An ideal day in Spring. “No wonder I love Spring,” I thought to myself. Such kind of days are rare and special in my hometown, Shillong, where rain clouds are always lurking around the corner.

A Sunday like this must inadvertently be associated with countryside long drives. And so it was! As always, Brother-in-Law (BIL) and I set out on our tiny little adventure. Both of us are perfect partners in crime and totally in sync when it comes to exploring nature.

BIL picked me up and we set out without any particular plan or destination. Very soon we realized that the city was left behind and we still hadn’t decided the plan for the day. BIL didn’t waste time in expressing his wish of driving towards West Khasi Hills. The perfectly tarred roads of the National Highway connecting Shillong-Nongstoin-Tura is one of BIL’s favourite long-drive destinations.

Not surprising as the undulating road winds through green hills dotted with Pine trees, the Kynshi River appears in some places, tiny colorful houses of the sporadic pretty villages add to the overall eye-catching surroundings. The ride serves for a relaxing and soothing experience.

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Pic 1: The National Highway connecting Shillong-Nongstoin-Tura. (PC A.D. Roye)

We had heard about a village called Mawphanlur, located somewhere around West Khasi Hills that boasts of seven lakes tucked away in gorgeous green valleys. Decision taken and Mawphanlur it was! The place was sealed and closed.

Located around 95 Km. away from Shillong Mawphanlur is little known amongst the tourists that throng Meghalaya. In fact, West Khasi Hills does not fall in the usual tourist circuit and that made it just perfect for us. The drive through the highway, as expected, was a pleasure to the senses – perfectly complemented but the warm sun and blue skies. The sparkling tarred road snaked through the gorgeous surroundings as BIL maneuvered his car rather skillfully.

I was totally lost in the surroundings when I suddenly realized the road was going uphill and was much narrower – well we had left the National Highway and was on the road to the village. The narrow road was perfectly tarred and that was an unexpected but pleasant surprise.

After a while we were treated to verdant rolling hills, quaint cottages, narrow lanes and several water bodies. We had arrived at Mawphanlur. Clouds had gathered by now and there was a nip in the air. I made sure to take my jacket with me as I alighted from the car.

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Pic 2: As we arrived at Mawphanlur Village

I would describe Mawphanlur as utterly refreshing, not only because of the greenery but because of the complete lack of usual tourists and all the associated paraphernalia of shops, hawkers, etc. There were a few locals though who had come over to explore the place just as we did.

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Pic 3: One of the many lakes
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Pic 4: Another lake
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Pic 5: Large rocks on the hilltop

The Traveller’s Nest guest house with its three cottages was a complete surprise for us. Had we known that Mawphanlur has a guest house, we could have planned to stay back and would have had more time to explore Mawphanlur and its idyllic surroundings. We spent close to an hour enjoying the serene surroundings before heading back. On the way back we had a late lunch at a local eatery – in a Kong Shop.

What is a Kong Shop?

Kong Shop translates as Sister’s Shop. These are small one room eating joints found all over Meghalaya. They are super clean, serve fresh, hot, and tasty food that’s dirt cheap. You might not find a lot of variety in the menu but the food is light on spices and is like home cooked food. Most importantly, you’ll be treated with a lot of love and care. When in Meghalaya, spotting a signboard that reads “Hangne Die Sha and Ja” would mean you are at a Kong Shop. This Khasi phrase translates as “Rice and Tea found here”.

Author: neelstoria

Traveling, Gardening, Trekking, Hiking, Storytelling, Writing, Nature, Outdoors, Yoga, DIY

30 thoughts on “Mawphanlur – Meghalaya’s Tiny Little Secret”

  1. Here you go again! You are an expert in penning down the events of the day, the fun we had together, so beautifully ! Its always a pleasure to wander around with you, to see places and it was no different this time too!

    Hope we make it again soon Neelam😊

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lovely travelogue, Neelanjana! Had seen some of the pictures on insta, and now they’re complete. You explained to me the concept of Kong Shops and I found it quite interesting. Could you please narrate a few of your memorable experiences at such places? Would love to hear more about them in your words.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Narendra, for reading and following my stories on Meghalaya. I do have several stories pending from the visit this time as well as from the previous time. I will keep writing about them. Thanks so much, once again!
      Kong Shop is indeed unique to Meghalaya. The funny thing is that it’s so much part of me, I never thought it was something different till I suddenly realised it last time I came here 😀
      You can read another unique story of Meghalaya here, think you’ll like it:
      https://neelstoria.wordpress.com/2017/06/15/meghalaya-kwai-culture/

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks, I recollect having read about your kwai paan story, but would love to revisit it.
    You know, like your Kong Shop for example, there are so many things that are a trivial part of our routine since childhood that we treat it as just that
    – commonplace. But if you start sharing such events, routines and places with the world it could well end up as a treasure trove of knowledge and joy for readers like me! Another example is that simple yet fascinating “spider’s web” with oranges that you shared. So, please keep sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are absolutely right. There are so many things that we have done/do that maybe routine for us but unique to others. And, so many of these is associated with the culture and way of life from the parts of the country or the world we come from. This is something that fascinates me a lot.
      My apologies for the late response. Been caught up these days. Next month onwards it will be better 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Such a beautiful place. As mentioned earlier, I never expected this good highway in those parts of the country. Travelers who have been to NE complains about the highway.
    Your pictures are crisp and beautiful. Thanks for sharing this story.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is a newly built highway, Arvind. Just about a year old. It is indeed a lovely highway. You wouldn’t remember possibly but I had written another post sometime back about a long drive in this highway and you had appreciated the roads even then. Thank you for reading. And, my apologies for the late response. Been a little caught up.

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  5. Another enjoyable drive for you along the new national highway. The road is turning out to be quite a gateway to adventures. I think, slowly poking the places along it, you should gradually head over to Tura.😄 I’ve heard it’s quite a place too, and now more accessible from Shillong because of this road. A lot of oranges are grown in the Garo Hills there too, just like in the Khasi Hills, though taste-wise, they may be more on the sourer side. I love oranges. Maybe you too. 😋😊

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  6. Thanks for taking us to some unexplored areas of Shillong.Village Mawphanlur looks so beautiful. All snaps are very nice. We did not come across any Kong eatery during our trip to Shillong. Its really a great news to tourists.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kong shops are scattered all across Meghalaya, you wouldn’t have noticed as they are tiny shops with no frill and fancy. Tourists wouldn’t know, many may not prefer to eat in such nondescript small places.

      Like

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