Saturday, 14 April 2018

M is for Mawphlang: of sacred groves, monoliths and promises. #AtoZChallenge

My apologies in advance for sharing an older post (written in November of 2017)in this challenge today.
My weekend has brought with it some unexpected plans which means that the time I'd assigned for writing the M post has been reduced to just ten minutes or so.
So, instead of marking an absence, I thought I'd continue with Meghalaya and share some more magic with you:)
Here goes...
But before you enter the sacred grove,
Take off the cloak, the mask, the camouflage.
Bring in the real you--
bare and brilliant
single and sufficient
older than time
younger than the last breath
no body
no mind
no iffs
no buts
no good
no bad
no likes
no dislikes
no memories
no plans
no past
no future
no family
no friends
no ties
no loose ends
no laughter
no sadness
no highs
no lows

a drop in the ocean
an ocean within a drop

Like a ripple seeking its shore

Come ...

meet your shore

He's been waiting for you all his life too.
More than four weeks ago, I found myself in this sacred grove: 
an old and protected forest in the East Khasi Hills district of Meghalaya, 
standing guard to the village of Mawphlang--
maw means stone, maw phlang: grassy stone.
A village, like many in this region, named after monoliths.
"Our Ancestors promised the Guarding Spirits of this land that we'd never build any houses near this forest, that we'd never take anything from the forest, that this piece of land is for the Spirits to roam and live. This is the promise our Elders made and we keep."
Basha, our guide, our soft spoken Khasi guide tells us.  
"This is where everything is prepared for the coronation.
Only the King and the Elders go on to the coronation from here.
The rest of the people wait here.
If the Elders forget to take anything they need for the coronation, they can not come back to fetch it. This is the place they must prepare before they carry on."
Basha continues.

I feel like I've stepped into the world of the Round Table and any minute now, King Arthur will appear.
This is where the coronation takes plays, says Basha, our guide with soulful eyes.
He speaks so softly, I have to still my thoughts to hear his words.
His pools of honey eyes gaze upon the trees, the moss, the mushrooms, the branches and the stones
like this is the first time he's stepped inside this scared place.

The lime tree with his regal spikes
And its fruit that the birds ate...

Basha seems to know every inch of this almost 80 hectares of forest --
a sacred place: you take NOTHING from this forest
and even when you enter, you enter with good intentions.
No trees are cut, no branches felled, no fruit is picked, nothing is taken
but somehow the forest gives and gives.

There's a presence in this grove:
Ancient and Wise--
like a portal,
He beckons you
to step into the forest
and leave the jungle behind,
move towards a stillness
and cast the mad rush aside.
Basha, like many Khasi youth, is always there to show you around the Sacred Grove.
This symbiosis of man and earth:
of promises made and kept--
protected trees
 and sacred souls--
makes me wonder
why the rest of the us can't be more like the people of Mawphlang?

Step into this reminder of what we were really meant to be,
and how far away we have wandered.
Are we lost?
Is it time to head home?
Let's take the first step.
To be home.
To be.
Have a beautiful weekend.


  1. Wow Arti, each time i hear you describe any new place, i simply feel like joining you in those journeys, retiring temporarily from all my commitments to family, work & just live by myself for a few days!
    ...and each time i see those brilliant clicks from your lens, a tune rings in my ear, “yeh kaun chitrakar hain? Hain yeh kaun chitrakar?”
    On a serious note, is it really possible to live like nature in its purest form, staying as vibrant and strong? Feeling as complete like a mothers love for her kids?
    Without taking out anything, this forest teaches us to live and let live, to let go and let things be... as is. Simply wow .... as brilliant as always. Thanks for sharing. - Vidya Shenoy

    1. Thank you Vidya for your words and thoughts. xx

  2. Thank you, Arti for leading into sacred space this day. Just what I needed. I am travelling uneven ground toward an uncertain destination these past weeks as my husband's health has come into question. Deep gratitude for your steadying words. Hugs xx

    1. Hi April. Hope your husband's health is improving. Keeping you and him in my prayers today. hugs. xx

  3. Arti....this was worth the wait! What a wonderful word-picture you have created! And those amazing photos just add the scenery....beautiful piece, beautiful images. Especially the photo with the blue mushrooms, or some wild growth, is fascinating.

    The reader automatically enters this magic world from the word go. You have seemingly effortlessly conveyed a very fundamental message without being preachy....of preserving what the nature has provided. Bravo!

    Keep travelling and keep writing :-)

    1. Thank you dear Ruchita. And as long as I can move, I'll do everything in my power to travel and write and share:) You know me--right?

  4. Such wonderful words. Your writing and pictures always equally inspire me. Thank you for taking us to such eternal places.

    1. So glad you came along on this trip Pinkz. Meghalaya is magical. I didn't have to do much--just stood and stared:)

  5. magnificent! Thanks for sharing!

  6. Arti, this is so beautiful! Every time I visit you here, my breath is taken away by your words & images. Also, i loved the music video at the end. There's something magical about the music of India. I hope you've been well, dear friend. Happy New Year! I'll be sending you an email soon. xo

  7. Hi Pauline. Thank you for visiting:) I have been away from blogging (no idea why!) I guess a mix of super busy periods followed by super lazy ones:) I do hope to get down to some regular writing soon. Hope to visit your blog and bask in your words too. Happy New year my dear friend. xx

  8. Hari OM it wrong of me to be grateful you only had ten minutes and thus 'forced' to reshare??? &*> YAM xx

    1. Not at all Yamini. You will know today why I had just ten minutes (after reading the N post). All I could muster on Saturday was this re-share because I had to visit this place to settle myself:)

  9. Oh Arti - I believe the universe was conspiring with you and your schedule today just to gift me with this exactly-perfectly-what-I-need-post! To visit such a sacred space through your eyes, you camera lens and your words is precious, and I'm filling my heart and my soul. Thank you.

    1. WoW! I love it when the universe works through me:) Makes me feel so worthy and can you hear the Ego smirking in the background??? Ha! HA! Cheers Deborah. Hugs. xx

  10. For me also Arti, a deep gratitude to be reading this today, thank you so much! Absolutely magical and real. As mother nature is, in her vibrancy and life ...

    1. Thank you for visiting Susan.
      This place was like I said in the post a time machine of sorts--felt like I'd stepped back in human history.

  11. Oh my this is so so gorgeous; the pictures and the text that followed. All of it seemed so divine and right! I envy your trip to this piece of heaven Arti and thank you for sharing it with us. Indeed why cant we all be more like the people of Mawphlang?

  12. OMG! This is such a beautiful and a gorgeous place. Loved the background stories shared by Basha. Your pictures are awe-inspiring. How I wish to visit this place, like RIGHT NOW!! Thanks for the virtual tour, Arti!
    PS : Have sent you an email. Pls check. Thanks :)

  13. My God I am so relaxed reading this post and watching such amazing pics and lovely video, reminded me of my trip to meghalaya two years ago... I just loved the experience, thanks for sharing:)

  14. What an incredible place and description, Arti!

    Emily In Ecuador

  15. Wish the rest of the world could take a leaf from these gentle folks .
    Thanks for touching upon a topic in such a beautiful manner.

    1. Reading your comment now Sharmila (after 7 months!). Yes, I wish for the same too.

  16. The place is so divine and the writing keeps to the sanctity the place deserves. I almost feel like trespassing in this space reserved for few. Love. Love and love.

    1. Thank you Sindhu. There is magic in those groves.

  17. What an interesting bit of serendipity that we each had the Khasi Hills in our posts. The forest is a sacred place, like all places could be if we let them.

    1. I wish we had more of these scared spots too Jade.

  18. Why can't the rest of us be like them. They may be as educated and literate as we are. But they know how to respect what must be respected. "you take NOTHING from this forest
    and even when you enter, you enter with good intentions.
    No trees are cut, no branches felled, no fruit is picked, nothing is taken
    but somehow the forest gives and gives." It's amazing. Such respect, such deference. The divinity and sacredness of this place is in absolute contrast to the rest of the world where trees are felled for the simple reason that their leaves are creating too much of a mess.

    1. You said it Shweta.
      You know, I'm not just saying this but our 'education' actually turns us into fools. My grandfather didn't have a college degree but he was the wisest man I know. And the people of Khasi have the same age old wisdom. Who needs to read the vedas or Shakespeare when each breath the forest takes is in sync with yours?


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