Mawphlang Sacred Forest is one of the most unconventional beauty in Meghalaya that most tourists often skip due to lack of information.
If you are planning for a complete Meghalaya trip, or even if you are looking to explore the Shillong-Cherrapunji regions, I suggest don’t skip Mawphlang Sacred Forest; it’s one of the truly a must-visit places in Meghalaya, especially if you love to explore the diversified nature. Shillong is closer to Mawphlang, so you may choose to stay in Shillong before night.
As I mentioned, many travelers often miss this beautiful place, and directly head towards Cherrapunji from Shillong, mainly due to incomplete knowledge. Notably, local tour operators also out-list this place in general, probably because they have to drive off-road after leaving the Shillong-Cherrapunji high-road.
Anyway, it’s a great pleasure for me to share my personal experience in Mawphlang. Hope this will help you to make a perfect tour plan for your upcoming trip.
Where Mawphlang is situated?
Brief demography of Mawphlang is pretty important because this will help you to understand how and when you can manage to visit there.
Mawphlang is a small village, situated in the East Khasi Hills district of Meghalaya state. Hope you already know, Meghalaya is located in north-eastern India. The main spot in Mawphlang is 27 km away from Shillong on the way to Cherrapunji. However, Cherrapunji is a little far away from Mawphlang that is almost about 47 km. The scared forest is situated in a location that is 11 km away from Shillong-Cherrapunji main road, which means you have to drive through an off-road (11 km) to reach Mawphlang.
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Brief history of the Mawphlang Sacred forest?
Mawphlang is considered to be the hub of the ancient Khasi culture. The word Mawphlang is the summation of two different words, Maw and Phlang, and as a whole, it means “grassy stone”.
Local people believe, many years ago ancient tribes in that region used to pray in front of a big rock inside Mawphlang sacred forest, and sacrifice in front of the god was a part of their ritual. This is the probable reason behind the addition of “sacred forest” in its name.
Let’s explore Mawphlang
To be honest, so far I have visited many mountains and trails, but the lush green hilly landscape of Meghalaya is something different. The greenery all around really stun you, I bet. considering your trip to Maphlang Sacred Forest, the real beauty bursts once you leave the main road to reach Mawphlang village.
After you reach the spot, you’ll see a huge valley in front of you. You are lucky if it is not a rainy day. But even if it’s raining when you reach, don’t panic; generally, in this part of Meghalaya rain is not very stable, rather it’s pretty frequent. Some parts of Cherrapunji, Mawsinram, and Shilong are really very wet throughout the year. But Mawphlang is relatively dry compared to others.
So, let’s forget about the rain and explore the picture of a sunny day (we were lucky enough).
The valley is a bit breezy and cool, even during summer, because it is open over a long long area. However, spending a little time sitting on the carpet-like green grass in the sunny and breezy environment is a fine experience. A pitch road passes through the valley. If you love to explore new species of plants, Mawphlang is definitely a great place for you. You can discover many unconventional natural plants, some of those are very tiny but pretty beautiful.
On either side of the road, you can see a gate. Just enter the place to explore a statue and a small stadium (very old but modified by the government). The place is fully empty, so you can have some snaps there to keep the memories alive.
If you are hungry take your tiffin or lunch at the small stalls just beside the road. You’ll mainly get rice, chicken, egg, and noodles there. But, don’t expect good tastes, the local Khasi people can not cook tasty foods that you prefer. So, you take food at Mawphlang only if you are hungry and you are traveling with no food, otherwise, you may leave it.
Getting into Mawphlang Sacred forest
Well, after spending some lazy time enjoying the valley, the cool breeze, and the sunny weather, and also taking some cool snaps, let’s move to the forest end of the valley, towards the entrance of the sacred forest.
Three stones are decorated there with a stone bench in front of the forest entrance. It is just another photo shooting point.
I’d suggest you book a guide for your sacred forest trip, for mainly 3 reasons:
- You may be lost there, though a clear mud road is visible inside.
- The guides may not allow you to go inside without their assistance; after all, it’s their business.
- The guides tell you the old stories, help you to learn about the plants, and help you snapping group photos inside the forest.
They take a minimum rate for the jungle trip. There are two different rates for a long and short hike. It depends on your choice. The rent also depends on the number of people in your group (average: INR 100 per head for a group of 5).
After entering the forest, you’ll feel amazing inside. Initially, it is not much dense, but as you move inside the density of big trees increases. You can see several plant species there which you never knew before. A botanist must be very happy to visit is Mawphlang Sacred Forest. I am introducing a few of them below.
I located a Yew tree there, in the Sacred forest. Are you familiar with the name Yew tree?
Taxol, which is the most efficient medicine for the treatment of cancer (ovarian, prostate, breast, lung, cervical, and pancreatic cancer), was isolated from the bark of the Yew tree. Actually, I didn’t expect a yew tree in this climate. But I saw, it’s surviving here pretty well!
The old stone-god is still there in the place, and also the sacrifice points. The local people or guides suggest, not to take anything away from the sacred forest that may cause bad health.
You may not believe these stories, still, it is better not to pick anything because of scientific reasons. In such a forest many unknown species stay in peace, you never know which one is perfect to damage your health.
After 45 minutes of forest trip and lots of photo shooting, we got back from the forest. The guides were very friendly and can speak in pure English. They explained everything about the forest including scientific explanations!
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How to reach Mawphlang
Mawphlang is 27 km away from Shillong. So, it is better to book a car from Shillong to visit Mawphlang. The road is very good, and it takes slightly more than 1 hour to reach Mawphlang from Shillong if you don’t stop in between.
After reaching the Mawphlang valley, generally, people spend at least 2 hours there on a sunny day. It is a nice place to feel relaxed. So, I’d suggest you plan accordingly.
Related Article: 19 Best Places to Visit in Shillong
The right time to visit Mawphlang
There is no best time to visit Mawphlang. Meghalaya is famous for its rainy climate. So, keep in mind rain can destroy your tour plan at any time. However, there is nothing to lose because many people visit Meghalaya mainly to enjoy the greenery with the rain.
I would suggest do not visit during the season of heavy monsoon, that is from June to early September. Winter remains most dry (still, rain falls); however, Autumn and Spring are good to visit Mawphlang.
As per the general rules of rain in Meghalaya, I’d say late September to the middle of May is the best time to visit Meghalaya as well as Mawphlang, while November to April is the most favorable season.
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Where to stay for a trip to Mawphlang Sacred Forest?
Shillong is the closed place from where you can visit Mawphlang Sacred Forest easily. So, I’d suggest staying the before-night a Shillong. You may check the following link to choose among the best hotels/resorts/homestays at Shillong.
Alternatively, Cherrapunji may be the second option for you stay, which is a bit away. However, you may plan the Mawaphlang trip on your return way from Cherrapunji to Shillong.
It’s time to make a plan
So, I explained all my experiences in Mawphlang Sacred Forest. It’s your time to make a plan for your upcoming trip.
Are you still having some queries? Just leave your question in the comment box below. I’ll get back soon with all of your answers.
Thank you very much for visiting here.