Mawryngkhang trek – A trek to the legendary King of Stones in Wahkhen village of Meghalaya.
‘Wah’ means ‘river’ and ‘Khen’ means ‘to flow’.
The Mawryngkhang trek involves walking on bamboo bridges over broom stick farms and deep gorges.
Sounds exciting and unique?
Where is Mawryngkhang?
U Mawryngkhang is a legendary stone who is also known as the King of Stones.
The U Mawryngkhang Stone is in Wahkhen Village and trek is known as U Mawryngkhang trek / Bamboo Bridge trek of East Khasi Hills or as I like to call it – A Trek of Faith!! More on that in the coming paragraphs.
Distance from Shillong: Wahkhen village is located in the Pynursla Tehsil of East Khasi Hills district in Meghalaya, India. Wahkhen is 54km from state capital Shillong on the National highway Shilong-Dawki road.
Public Transport – Shared cabs or public buses can be taken from Shillong (Bada Bazaar) till Pomlum Village (will cost you around Rs 90). Wahkhen is 15 kms from Pomlum.
If you are hiring a cab and the name ‘Wahkhen’ does not ring a bell, tell the driver you need to go to the bamboo bridge of the East Khasi hills.
The road from this point onwards is not good but not so uncomfortable either.
It is best to hire a personal cab to this point.
What is Mawryngkhang Trek?
U Mawryngkhang is a legendary stone and its stories have passed through generations.
While, U is a mark of respect and is something similar to “Mr” in English or “Shri” in Hindi, Mawryngkhang means the King of Stones.
The LEGEND says that U Mawryngkhang won all the wars with other stones and was thus crowned the King of Stones!
But what is a king without a queen!?
As destiny would have it, U Mawryngkhang fell in love with a beautiful stone from another kingdom. The name of this maiden was Ms Kthiang which means ”tall, slim and beautiful lady’.
What is a love story without a villain!
U Mawpator another huge Stone (Mountain), was also in love with Ms Kthiang.
Left with no option, U Mawryngkhang and U Mawpator entered into a combat. During the fight, U Mawpator broke U Mawryngkhang’s left arm.
Not one to be defeated, the king of stones hit U Mawpator with such immense force that Mawpator’s head fell off in the deep gorge below.
U Mawryngkhang won his love interest Kthiang who even today stands behind him with solid rock force!!
From the top of U Mawryngkhang, one can see the “Head” of U Mawpator in the deep gorge.
Why do Mawryngkhang Trek?
Be ready to be ‘Swept Away’ – both literally and figuratively.
While the Wahkhen trek starts with a bamboo bridge over broomstick farm, it gradually takes you over beautiful blue water natural pools and eventually you find yourself on the bridge which is perched on the side of huge solid rock with deep valley down below.
Around 98% of the population of Wahkhen practices Niam Tynrai.
The natives are dependant on broomsticks and orange cultivation. The village is also attempting to preserve it’s culture through a One-Room school in a traditional Khasi Hut which offers training of indigenous tribal music.
With the hope of bringing in tourism and increasing livelihood of the indigenous people, the Tourism Trekking Team (TTT) developed the Bamboo bridge in 2017 and is hoping that the Government will help promote this place.
The sturdy and eco-friendly bamboo bridges have been constructed using bamboo and are tied with cane ropes. At very few places one finds that nails have been used for fixing.
It’s a marvel to see how the local engineers have mastered the art of making bamboo bridges over such deep gorge.
The only support to the bridge being the steep, smooth edge of the rock alongside which the bridge runs. That is why I call this trek – The Trek of Faith – as you walk on the bamboo bridge having complete faith in the indigenous engineering of the indigenous people of Wahkhen.
Time Taken for completing the Trek:
2 to 3 hours depending upon your physical fitness and the number of breaks you take en route. The youngest child on this family trek of ours was 10 years old and the oldest was 13. I should add here that the kids were at all points ahead of us while we followed huffing and puffing.
We were told that the locals can easily finish this trek in 4o minutes.
Mawryngkhang trek in Photos
More than 50 shades of Green SWEPT us OFF!!
The Mawryngkhang trek starts with a a very narrow bamboo bridge over a broom stick farm.
We were here in End May and that was the start of Rains in Meghalaya.
As we started the trek it started to drizzle. Light weight ponchos that we were carrying came in handy.
Slight drizzle, pleasant wind and a sight to behold, this trek started like a surreal experience.
Where the Bamboo bridge ended, began a muddy step downwards. The steps were made with well laid bamboo sticks.
This muddy path leads to river Wahrew, one of the cleanest river in Khasi Jaintia Hills. Wahrew flows to Bangladesh.
Three bridges help you cross over to the other side of the river.
There wasn’t much water in the river at the time of our visit.
As one proceeds, the path gets trickier here after.
At many places bamboo railing for side support has been made.
And at many places there isnt’ any support.
The entire path has intermittent bamboo bridges and muddy path.
After we crossed the river, the path was all uphill.
Rain can make stones slippery so be firm footed.
Soon we found ourselves walking alongside the moutain ridge. The bamboo bridge is supported by bamboo sticks which take support of the mountains.
Deep gorge underneath.
Look at the mountain face on which the bamboo bridge is supported.
A small gate has been made midway to stop trespassers from reaching Mawrynnkhang.
Post this little gate starts the route to the first mountain called Mowmoit.
“Mowmoit” is a title given to a lady.
The trek becomes tougher here onwards.
Be ready to duck your head..
and crawl through narrow spaces…
The scariest being the steepest one …
The Tourism Promoters Trekking Society, Wahkhen has constructed bamboo ladder to reach to the top of the Stone which is about 100 meter tall. The Skywalk made of bamboo is 150 metre long and the bamboo bridge along the Mawryngkhang rock is 70 metre deep.
which ultimately takes you atop Mawryngkhang.
On our way back we refreshed in the natural pools of river wahrew.
EcoTourism : Contact Details
You may contact the above given numbers for guide and more details on the trek.
I am thankful to Mr. Dmuising Khongjirem, Secretary Tourism Promoters Trekking Society, Wahkhen for giving valuable input.
He can be reached at +91 9863473572 / Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mawryngkhang Trek Tips
- Wear comfortable shoes (not necessarily trekking shoes). Even running (sports) shoes will work well.
- Wear quick dry T-shirts as it does become humid during rains.
- Keep water + light snack as there is no provision for the same. You can refill your bottles on your way back in river Wahrew.
- During rains keep a light weight poncho and during winters keep a light weight wind cheater in your day backpack.
- This trek is not recommended for those who are physically unfit.
- Leave the trail clean. There are dustbins made of bamboo in the trekking path.
- On the other side of the village Wahkhen, about one hour by foot, there is a long suspension living root bridge at a place called Kynroh, under Shyngngi River. This living root bridge has two parts. The first one is the mother bridge (main) and the other one is a small bridge. The root living bridge is about 37 meters long and the smaller one is about 8 meters long.
Hope Lighttravelaction’s extensive Guide to the Mawrynkhang trek helps you plan better. If you have any questions or suggestions for us (or not) we would like to hear from you in the comments.