Traversing around the Cleanest Parts of India

My visit to north east India was surely one of my top trips in my motherland. I have always been so hooked to the jungles of India, that I never really explored our country beyond the national parks, hills of north India and beaches of Goa. North east India was something totally different – a new experience, a place like no other in the sub continent.

With a limited time of less than two weeks at hand, my hubby and I explored as much as we could – from the village of Mawphlang to the vast savannahs of Kaziranga, from the wettest place on earth, to the double decker bridges of Nongriat. We jam packed our itinerary with things to do, see, eat and explore.

Amazing long winding roads in Meghalaya

Amazing long winding roads in Meghalaya

One of these days, we decided to hire a car and check out the touristy stuff. As you know, I always love to mix off beat locales with what’s popular to get a flavor of all sorts of attractions. Keeping that in mind, we headed out from Mawphlang to explore the much sought after spots – Mawlynnong & Dawki.

Our Day trip to Mawlynnong and Dawki

Mawlynnong – The Cleanest Village of Asia

mawlynnong cleanest village of asia

Welcome sign board as soon as you enter Mawlynnong

Mawlynnong, also known as “God’s own Garden” is a small village in the East Khasi hills and renowned worldwide as the cleanest village of Asia. That’s quite a title I would say and I was really keen to see this. I wouldn’t image the cleanest village in Asia to be in India and I bet this spikes curiosity among many other travelers too – Mawlynnong was jam packed with tourists.

Cute cottages amidst greenery and clean paths

Cute cottages amidst greenery and clean paths

Major attractions around the village are the double decker living root bridge and the balancing rock. Located bang on the India – Bangladesh border, it offers spectacular aerial views of Bangladesh with several dedicated view points. Whilst the double decker bridge was pretty, the crowds made me wanna run away from there. That’s another reason I simply loved the triple decker bridge with just 2-3 people around, compared to hundreds at the double one, just because the later is more accessible.

The amazing double decker living root bridge

The amazing double decker living root bridge but could not get a single picture without tourists in the shot

Intricate detailing of the bridge

Intricate detailing of the bridge

The balancing rock was a surprise as there were practically zero visitors there. A huge rock balanced surprisingly on a rather tiny one – somehow this rock reminded me of how ants can carry 5000 times more than their body weight.

The balancing rock Mawlynnong

The balancing rock – natural wonder at Mawlynnong

The main village itself is covered with cute cottages and flowering orchids all around. With home cooked meals served everywhere, it was a foodie’s delight too. I did see a few papers/wrappers thrown here and there but that was expected when it is flocked with tourists.

Hibiscus flowers were in full bloom all around

Hibiscus flowers were in full bloom all around

My favorite part of the village was when we got lost. As soon as you enter, there is a pathway right into the jungles. My hubby and I kept walking for over an hour on the path, which led nowhere. We had to turn back and return as we still had another major tourist attraction lined up for the day. Surely would’ve been interesting to see where the path led…

Getting lost in lush green forests is always fun eh?

Getting lost in lush green forests is always fun eh?

Dawki – One of India’s cleanest Rivers

Our next stop was one of India’s cleanest rivers – Umngot river in Dawki, a small fishing village. Enroute to the river we could clearly see the marked Indo-Bangla border and later the river turns into a natural boundary. Once you reach there, you can literally swim/stand in Bangladesh. Not that it is of any craze to me, but I could see why that makes it such a big attraction.

A fisherman diligently rowing his boat

A fisherman diligently rowing his boat

The best part for me, and the prime reason I wanted to visit Dawki was the clear water. The water is so damn clear that the boats look as if they are floating on mid-air. Ofcourse I didn’t believe that and I thought all pictures I saw online were photo shopped but well, you can see for yourself in this pic I clicked – (It IS true)

A photo posted by Jyotsna Ramani (@wanderwithjo) on

Overall, both the places were beautiful but so busy that the crowds kind of killed the “Clean” aspect of it all. It was  hard to enjoy the beauty with so many people around. After looking at the pictures online, I had imagined a lovely, serene spot. Nevertheless, it was an experience in itself and taking these awesome floating boat shots was a lot of fun.

vantage point for dawki

I found a great vantage point to click pictures of Umngot river and the fishermen

Would I go back – probably not! Do I recommend these places – Yes, you need to visit these places at least once but try to go early morning to avoid the maddening rush!

Have you been to either or plan to go?

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  • Kathleen (Kat)

    Hi Jo, I love North East of India..visited Gangtok last year and was truly amazed by the cleanliness of the city! Which time of the year did you go to these places, was it during peak season?

    • Hey Kat, I visited one month ago so umm yeah it was the peak season (Start of it). I def wanna go back and see Arunachal..tripura.. and all those crazy awesome festivals!

  • I’ve never been to India and hope to some day. This place looks so peaceful. The balancing rock is so interesting and the crystal clear water really does make it look like that boat if floating!

  • Christine Tran

    I’ve never been to India but have been seeing a lot of great photos lately! It makes me want to go and your post makes me want to go even more! Your photos are awesome too!

    • Thanks Christine – glad the pics inspired you to visit. Go book ur tkts now 😉 and let me know when you do – we gotta catch up over coffee!

  • Beautiful! Somehow this is not what I picture when I think of India. But of course a big country like that, must have some wonderful nature. And what a gem! Thanks for sharing your findings and photography