India’s Cleanest Village Mawlynnong : Too Many Tourists in Cleanest Village in Asia

In the tiny village of Mawlynnong in India’s far north east, plastic is banned and spotless paths are lined with flowers – but its reputation as Asia’s cleanest village has proved a mixed blessing. Bamboo dustbins stand at every corner of Mawlynnong, volunteers sweep the streets regularly and large signs order visitors to throw away plastic packaging.

India’s Cleanest Village which is located close to Indo – Bangladesh border in east Khasi Hills district of Meghalaya. 500 inhabitants has been visited by tourists in the high mountains of Meghalaya state. Home to the Khasi tribal people, Mawlynnong is famous for being a rare matrilineal society, where property and wealth are passed on from the mother to her youngest daughter and children take their mother’s surname.

Food Production in Village
Food Production in Village

In recent years the village has become known for another reason – its exceptional cleanliness, far removed from the noise and dirt of India’s big cities. Indian Khasi tribal villagers walk past a bamboo dustbin placed beside a road in Mawlynnong.

Indian Khasi tribal villagers walk past a bamboo dustbin placed beside a road in Mawlynnong. Bamboo dustbins stand at every corner, volunteers sweep the streets at regular intervals and large signs order visitors to throw away plastic packaging: littering is sternly frowned upon.

Mawlynnong, 'India's cleanest village'
Mawlynnong, ‘India’s cleanest village’
India's Cleanest Village
India’s Cleanest Village

They clean every day because their grandparents and their ancestors have taught them how to clean the village and the surrounding area, because it’s good for the health. After the village built its first road 12 years ago, a journalist from Discover India travel magazine wrote a now – infamous article naming it the cleanest village in Asia.

The trickle of tourists became a flood, with visitors now reaching 250 a day in high season, swelling the village’s population by 50 percent. But the tributes have brought several downsides. Now there is noise pollution.

They had talked to the village council which has written to the government to build a new parking lot further away. Deepak Laloo, a former official of the Meghalaya Tourism Development Forum, advised the village in the early stages of its tourism development but fears for the impact of the visitor arrival.

There’s no more privacy. A woman is washing her clothes, she’s being photographed. That social bond which binds the village together is disintegrating.


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