Responsible Tourism in Meghalaya
Mawlynnong, a village inhabited by the Khasi peoples, is situated midst pristine forested foothills overlooking the plains of Bangladesh. The village is regarded by many as the cleanest village in Asia. But keeping the village clean requires hard work and motivation. Dustbins made out of bamboo is found everywhere in the village, and the villagers make it a point to not litter anywhere else. The organic waste collected is used as manure. Use of plastic has also been banned. The village, which has a literacy rate of a hundred percent, is now spreading the message of conservation and protection of the forests to other nearby villages. Trees are regularly planted to ensure that the virgin forest remains replenished.
To further motivate themselves, the village has in the past few years opened its door to responsible tourism. A few homestays have been started by the families along with a community guesthouse. Visitors to the village get to learn about the Khasi culture, indulge in their simple ethnic cuisine, explore forest trails and nearby villages, swim in numerous waterfalls and marvel at the living root bridges.
The income generated is directly benefits the local economy and helps in forestation. But more than the money, the balanced small scale tourism has acted as a source of inspiration for the villagers encouraging them to further conserve and keep the environment clean.
Along with our itineraries, Greener Pastures also supports the village through educational longer duration visits or volunteer based activities. On our numerous persona visits, we have also made good friends with the enthusiastic people of the village.