In the ancient and sacred land of Meghalaya, there is a forest that many people have visited before – Mawphlang Sacred Forest. A few years ago, after local elders found a vast area of trees in this forest had been burned by fire, they looked to understand what might have happened.
It was found that the fire started on one side of the forest and was extinguished by something on the other side. This could only mean that something supernatural had happened and caused the fire to cease. In this article, we’ll explore ancient Meghalaya – the home of the gods and the home of storytelling. Locals say “do not even take a leaf back from the forest, as we don’t want to upset the Gods..it’s bad luck” they say..
Mawphlang Sacred Forest is located in the East Khasi Hills district of Meghalaya, India. It is about 25 kilometers from Shillong, the capital city of Meghalaya.
The word ‘maw’ means stone and ‘plang’ stands for grass; literally translating it as ‘Grassystone’ and is one of the many settlements in the Khasi hills named after the monoliths.
The forest covers an area of about 42 square kilometers, and is one of the most important forests in Meghalaya. It is believed to be the home of the Gods and is a very popular tourist destination.
The forest is home to many ancient trees, including the sacred fig tree. These trees are believed to be more than 2,000 years old and are considered sacred by locals. It is a sacred site for the Khasi people and is a very important part of Meghalayan culture and history.
Mawphlang Wildlife Sanctuary is home to a large number of mammals such as elephant, gaur, sambar deer, hog deer, leopard cat and the langur monkey.
The sanctuary also has a great number of birds including the white-winged wood duck, red junglefowl, black-faced spoonbill and several more.
Mawphlang Sacred Forest is a very popular tourist destination. There are many things to do in this forest, including hiking, camping, and bird watching.
Here are just a few of the things you can do while visiting:
1. Walk through the forest trails and the ancient tea gardens of Mawphlang, where you’ll find aromatic bushes with long, white petals and bright red berries.
2. Spot some of the 29 different bird species that live in and around the forest.
3. Marvel at the stunningly colorful waterfalls that dot the landscape.
4. Learn about the unique community and culture of the indigenous people of the Khasi tribe that call this place home.
5. Monoliths and its rich history.
If you’re planning a trip to Mawphlang Sacred Forest, you’ll want to know the best time to visit. The good news is that there’s no bad time to visit this forest—it’s beautiful all year round.
However, if you’re looking for optimal conditions, there are some times when it tends to be a little less crowded and easier to enjoy the flora and fauna of the area. Here’s what we recommend:
Spring: This is when the flowers are in bloom and the air is warm (but not too hot), so bring your camera! You can also expect fewer tourists than at other times of year, which means more privacy and an overall more peaceful experience.
Summer: Summer is prime time for trekking through Mawphlang Sacred Forest, because you’ll want to beat the heat while enjoying all that nature has to offer. If you prefer cooler temperatures, take advantage of those long summer nights by camping out under the stars in Mawphlang Sacred Forest!
Monsoon: The monsoon months experiences a lot of rainfall throughout July and August. The rainforests look lush green and fresh, and the beauty of these forests after a shower is a sight to behold.
Autumn: Autumn is another great time for visiting Mawphlang Sacred Forest—the weather is still pretty warm but not scorching hot yet, so it won’t feel like you’re baking yourself alive while exploring all these beautiful paths through nature.
Winter: The winter months is one of the best time to visit Mawphlang as the weather is quite pleasant during the day, which makes it an ideal time to explore the region.
Mawphlang Sacred Forest can be reached from Guwahati and Shillong. From Shillong, it is about 27 km and only takes about 1 hour to reach, via Mawsynram-Shillong Rd.
You can hire a private cab from either Shillong or Guwahati, or drive yourself to reach this place.
The History of Mawphlang Sacred Forests:
The forest is believed to be the home of Gods and spirits, and is full of stories and legends. It is a place of great spiritual importance and is forbidden to be disturbed in any way.
The forest is also said to be the site of numerous miracles, and it is not uncommon for people to make pilgrimages to the forest in hopes of receiving a blessing from the Gods.
1. One of the most popular is the legend of U Sohpetbneng, the “Supreme God” of the Khasi people. U Sohpetbneng is said to live in a tree in the forest, and his wife and children are also said to live there.
The Khasi people believe that the Gods and spirits help them to protect the forest and its animals.
2. The forest is home to the deity Labasa, who is considered to be all-powerful and able to protect the people from illness and bad luck.
Villagers regularly sacrifice roosters or goats to please the deity, and also burn their dead inside the forest. This practice is believed to keep the village safe and prosperous.
3. The Mawphlang Sacred Forest is also home to many monoliths, which are large stones that have been carved into shapes. These monoliths are used by the local people for religious rituals and ceremonies.
During the annual Monolith Festival, the forest comes alive with music and dance as the community celebrates their heritage.
Visiting the Mawphlang Sacred Forest is a unique experience that will give you a glimpse into the fascinating culture of the Khasi people.
Mawphlang Sacred Forest is open from 8 am to 6 pm from April to November. The entrance fee is Rs 50 for visitors above the age of six years, while children below twelve years are charged at half rate You can also pay for a guided tour through the forest.
Mawphlang Wildlife Sanctuary has two entry points – via Gangpat and via Tambaram at Kilpauk.
The sanctuary is open between 10 am and 5 pm from last Friday of the month to Sunday midnight. Tourists can enjoy a one day picnic in it as well . You can also set up camp here.
For centuries, the Mawphlang Sacred Forest in Meghalaya has been the place where Gods and Goddesses reside.
Legends speak of a time when the earth was divided into four regions: Upper India, Lower India, Tibet, and Meghalaya.
The Mawphlang Sacred Forest was placed in charge of guarding Upper India, while the Shillong Hills were assigned to guard Lower India.
The Tibetan region was given to the Gods and Goddesses who lived there, while Meghalaya was left to humans.
According to legend, it is from this sacred forest that all things originate – including human beings themselves.