It was a pleasant, overcast day. We’d taken hints from the slightly clueless locals and driven off road down a beautiful valley. We soon found the wind mills we were looking for but there was no visible road in sight to get there. Getting off the car, we leisurely walked through a field and across a steady flowing stream before we reached an entrance of sorts. The wind mill now loomed right over us and a beautiful farm house stretched in front.
We were in Mawphlang, a village in Meghalaya that lies at a distance of about 26 kilometre from the capital city, Shillong. We had heard enough great things about James Perry’s property to make our way there ourselves. Built from scratch by the host Mr. James himself, with wind mills and a solar grid to generate power, it is a perfect hideout from the hustle bustle of the city. There are rolling fields and farms surrounding it, while a serene forest and the hills lie only a short trek away. If you’re not distracted by the stunning natural surroundings, you could spend your time snuggled up with a book in the loft of their wooden cabins or indulge in their home cooked delicacies.
Tearing ourselves away from the property, we made our way to the Sacred Grove next. Spread across an area of 78.6 hectares , with 400 species of trees and a number of monoliths, the forest holds cultural relevance and serves as a religious symbol to the local Khasi tribe. As we began our walk, our guide, Sanborlang, informed us of the sarcifices that are offered at regular intervals to seek divine blessings for victory, good harvest season and the betterment of society. A chief is elected from the Lyngdoh community and the four communities -Blah, Kharsiang, Khaunai and Sohliya – serve and protect the grove by electing a minister each.
Walking through the still forest – its stillness interrupted only by our hushed conversations with Sanborlang and the occsaional chirruping of birds from a distance – is a surreal experience. Since you can’t pluck, break or take anything out of the forest, fallen timber trees have taken beautiful moss-laden forms on the ground, and other than the narrow concrete pathway, the rest of the forest floor is beautiful shades of orange-brown-green.
It began to rain while we were there and we had to retire back sooner than we’d liked, but somehow, the experience left us tranquil for the rest of the day. Nature tends to have astounding effects on us, and sometimes, it leaves me at a loss for words.
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About the Traveller: Born and raised in Assam, Sarita Santoshini has been travelling around India and penning down her experiences over the past year. You can read more of her travelogues in her blog- http://crumbsfromyourtale.wordpress.com .