Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The living-roots bridge

You must have seen bridge made of wood, bridge made of steel and cement but wait a minute, have you ever seen a bridge made of roots of the trees and that too without using any nails? Yes, it is one of the wonders of the nature, it is a bridge made by weaving the roots of two banyan trees across the river. I think the bridge was made with human intervention by entwining the roots of the two trees in such away that it becomes a bridge that connect the two villages. I think it must have taken the villagers many decades to make the bridge as it is. The two trees standing across the river looks like they are joining their hands to make the bridge with their living roots.
The living-roots bridge is not in Mawlynnong village itself, but it is in a village near Mawlynnong and the bridge is about 400 meteres away from the road to Mawlynnong. Ifact if one travels to Malynnong one will pass through this villages first and then reach Mawlynnong, but it is advisable that one visit Mawlynnong first and then visit the root-bridge on the way to Shillong or Jowai.
This is not the only living-roots bridge, there are many other root-bridge in the Padu area and even in Nongtalang I remember when I was a boy we use to walk on a root-bridge to my grandmother’s orange orchard. The Unitarian Jowai Church Jowai has two Sunday Schools and this particular Sunday School meet in the Jowai Church while the other group meet in the Kurimai School, Dongmihsngi Ladthalaboh which is on the other side of Jowai town every sunday. It is obvious that the living-roots bridge is the start attraction from the mere fact that the Children spend most of their time on the spot. 46 persons including the children and their teachers guide went on the trip.
On our way back to Jowai via Dawki, we went to see another nature wonder a water fall on the way to Dawki. This Water fall is also beautiful and because our visit is during the dry spell of winter, there was not much water on the fall. The fall is beautiful beyond comparison and the walk to the fall is also an adventure in itself. The path is not paved and I don’t think it is advisable to visit the fall during summer not because it is slippery but because of the leeches.
Well we all enjoy the trip, but the trip was never intended to be a fun trip only. I owe this idea to the UU congregation which organised a simmilar trip for its young member but the goal is what I call CRP. I know CRP is a dreaded acronym in Meghalaya. But in this case C stands for word CONNECT, R stands for RESPECT and P stands for PROTECT. It is only when young people connect with the nature that they will learn to respect nature and then fight to protect the mother nature.

Sunday School Jowai Trip to Mawlynnong the cleanest village

The Unitarian Church Jowai Sunday School on the 19 of February went for a trip to Mawlynnong village in the East Khasi Hills District of Meghalaya. Mawlynnong is to the south of Shillong on the India-Bangladesh border and in between Dawki/Dauki and Pynursla.

Mawlynnong a village of about 80 families with a population of a little more than 500 people is now a new tourist destination in Meghalaya. Mawlynnong’s Unique Selling point (USP) is that it is the cleanest village in the state if not in the entire country and I can only say that the village lives to its reputation. But add to that the village in also adjacent to two nature wonders, the famous living roots bridge and the fall. But before we go that far in the village it self there is so much to see, a walk down towards the border will take one to next village from where one can see a view of Bangladesh. Then there is a skywalk, a bridge made out of bamboo joining several big trees where one can climb up to see the village skyline and Bangladesh on a clear sky.
We start from Jowai at 7 in the morning and travel via Amlarem and Dawki and cross the famous river Umngot to see the Bangladesh which is just a stone throw away. Then we proceed towards Mawlynnong on the National Highway 40 which connects Dawki with Shillong. Mawlynnong is may be about 20 KM from Dawki and Dawki is 50 KM away from Jowai. A drive to Mawlynnong is a feast for the eye, the entire surrounding is green even in February which is the driest part of the year in Meghalaya and it is like they clean and green. Mawlynnong is unlike any other village, apart from its cleanness, the village looks calm and peaceful. The Episcopalian Church (Church of North India) which was built in the year 1901 is so beautiful. The most important thing is the villagers, the people of Mawlynnong are friendly and unlike in the many villages where children will run away from strangers, the children in Mawlynnong will talk to you if you want to start a conversation but if you wish to be on your own too, they will walk their way.

Monday, February 21, 2011

New School Building of a small Unitarian Fellowship

The Unitarian fellowship in Ksehrynchang village was started in the year 2004, the founder of the fellowship Mr. Gladliness Shylla started a school in the year 2005. Initially the school was started in  Gladliness  own residence, but now they have their own building. Rev. Gail Seavey from Tennessee, her husband Jim and Rev. Lindy Latham from Bristol UK visited the School on the 14th of February 2011. 
Ksenrynchang is a village on the way from Jowai to Khanduli which connects Assam with Meghalaya. Ksehrynchang is also near Nartiang the vaillage famous for the Monolithich park where we have the larges collection of monoliths in the state of Meghalaya. The village of Nartiang is also famous for the Durga temple which is belived to be one of the oldest and owes it origin to the myth in the Ramayana. It is also believed that the earswhile King of Jaintia use to perform human sacrifice in the temple.

There are more than 70 children in the school with 3 teachers. The two teachers are being paid by the Government from the Sarva Siksha Abhyan (SSA) scheme and another teacher is being paid from the fund of the Unitarian Union.
The new school building was sponsored by the Governement of India Centrally sponsored scheme called the SSA or the Universalisation of Education. Gladliness is a physically challenge man, he converted to Unitarian church from a Presbyterian Church and his wife wad from a Traditional Indegineous religion. 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Centenary of Unitarian Church, Padu and 111 Annual Conference of the UUNEI

The yearlong centenary Celebration of the Unitarian Church, Padu came to a close Saturday last and the celebration which culminated with the Annual conference of the Unitarian Union North East India was held on the February 5 and 6 of 2011 at Padu village in the Amlarem sub division of Jaintia Hills. Unitarian Church, Padu was first started by Ksi Lyngdoh Mukhim and Kat Pohshna in the year 1911. Throughout these hundred long years, the church has grown in leaps and bounds.

Speaking on the occasion Lahkmen Rymbui Parliamentary Secretary in charge Border areas lauded the church for its service not only to the members of its congregation but to the community at large. The church not only run school to cater to the need of the children of the village but recently as a part of the centenary celebration, the church in collaboration with the office of the NHRM and the DM and HO of Jaintia hills has conducted a free health camp in commemoration of the hundredth anniversary of the church in which Rymbui was the Chief guest. Rymbui also called on those gathered to shed all our differences that we have as we are all children of One God. Rymbui also urge the liberal church like the Unitarian to take up the issue of preserving and protecting the environment as the church’s agenda as this is the need of the hour.

The Chief Executive Member of Jaintia Hills Autonomous District Council (JHADC) L.B. Sumer also spoke on the occasion and released the souvenir to commemorate the solemn occasion. Others whos spoke on the occasion were Stephen Mukhim local MDC, and Rev. Eva Cameron from the Unitarian Universalist Church in Iowa and Rev. Gail Seavy from a church in the state of Tennessee conveyed the greetings from their respective churches and from the Unitarian Universalist Association USA.

On the 6th faithful of the church from different parts of the state include those from Karbi Anglong joined in the 111 annual conference of the Unitarian Union. The main preachers at the conference are Rev. P.G. Marbaniang and Rev. S. Laloo. Both the preachers dwelled profoundly on the theme “bringing the kingdom of heaven on earth.” We are also lucky to have with us Rev. Eva Cameron and Rev. Gail Seavey both of them preached.