Kongthong Whistling Village: A Musical Journey in Meghalaya
Imagine a village, far off in the mystical state of Meghalaya, where everyone can not only sing but also communicate with each other by singing! Sounds interesting, right? Well, we are talking about the famous Kongthong Village, also known as Singing Village or the Whistling Village – a must-visit during your Meghalaya Trip.
Located in the mystical state of Meghalaya, the Kongthong Whistling Village has made its mark on the world, with its unique tradition of calling each other with a melodic tune, which has been followed till today from a time unknown.
About the Kongthong Village Meghalaya
Nestled amidst the verdant East Khasi hill, the Kongthong village near Shillong is a true gem in the heart of Meghalaya. The route to reach the village itself is a scenic one with lush valleys and mist-covered mountain peaks.
While, the Kongthong Village near Shillong, may have made its mark on the world map as one of the most popular and unique villages in the world, what keeps the beauty of this village intact is its accessibility. It can be a little tricky to reach this village since it has no concrete roads. You will have to walk for a while from the main road to reach this village.
The sound of melodic whistles fills the air as you get near the Kongthong whistling village. Not only there is fresh air in the atmosphere of the Kongthong whistling village, but the overall setting of this village seems like another world.
The traditional Khasi houses made of bamboo, wood and dried leaves, the relaxing and peaceful vibe and the larger-than-life smile of the villagers here will truly mesmerize you. As you enter this Kongthong whistling village, the clean and spotless corners will capture you in its awe.
You will find the traditional Khasi House here, which is built on a wooden platform to avoid the entering of the insects and other reptiles that dwell here. There is also a small wooden platform outside each house, from where the villagers whistle.
What Makes The Kongthong Village Meghalaya So Unique?
As you must have known by now this village is called the Whistling Village which boasts a unique and fascinating tradition of the Kongthong Whistling Village. But you must be wondering what is so unique about this.
Well, let me tell you. Often referred to as the “Whistling Village,” Kongthong is renowned for its musical language.
Here, instead of calling each other by names, the villagers communicate using melodious tunes. Each person has a distinctive tune assigned at birth, and this harmonious method of communication has been passed down through generations. There are almost 700 people in this village and each villager has their own unique name – A short whistle and a long whistle. Yes, you heard it right!
The Short Whistle is used to call the person when they are nearby. The Long Whistle is used when the person is far away or when the villagers are working in the forests and farmlands. Not only this is a cultural practice, but this way of communication is also very effective in scientific ways.
As the Kongthong Whistling Village is set amidst the mountains and has a very fresh and clean atmosphere, these high-pitched tunes travel a longer distance in a short time without pressurizing the vocals.
In the hills, the sound and echo travel a long way, which makes it easier to get in touch with people even if they’re not around. You might not be able to hear the person’s name, but you’ll definitely hear the song.
Visitors to Kongthong have the extraordinary opportunity to witness this enchanting practice and immerse themselves in the rich cultural tapestry of Meghalaya.
Origin Of This Unique Practice Of Meghalaya
Nestled in the heart of Meghalaya, the Kongthong Whistling Village is a place where tradition sings its own unique tune. It’s a place where love and happiness become melodies, and mothers are the composers. So, now let me tell you more about this traditional practice.
The concept of calling each other by this melodic tune is called “Jingrwei Lawbei,” which translates to the “Song of the Clan’s First Woman” or simply, the “Mother’s Love Song”.
Each time a baby is born in this village, their mother composes a sweet melodic tune for her newborn. It’s not just any melody; it’s a tune that’s as distinct as the child it’s meant for. The composition of these sweet melodic tunes signifies the happiness that a mother feels when her newborn enters the world! Thus, the whistles made by them are a result of the mother’s love. Sounds, so beautiful!
The “Jingrwei Lawbei” is like a lullaby for the babies, that eventually becomes their identity. You see that lullabies are common to everyone, but these tunes composed by the mothers of the Kongthong Whistling Village are a tune that’s exclusively limited to their children. f someone has to call you, they will sing your tune, which will be unique to you only, unlike the 10 Shubham or Abhishek’s in your friend circle.
Also, when a person dies, their “Jingrwei Lawbei” their unique tune, their musical legacy, goes with them. This means, no tune is ever repeated again, symbolizing the profound connection between life, love, and the melodies of this remarkable village. So, no “Jingrwei lawbei” is ever heard again. It’s like a part of the village’s soul departs with them.
Mostly the melodic tunes composed are inspired by nature. It can be inspired by the chirping of the birds, rustling of the leaves, swaying of the trees, or the sound of the air breeze. Visitors visiting this village, often get confused between the chirping of the birds to the sweet “Jingrwei Lawbei” that fills the air here.
The Whistling Culture In Kongthong Village Meghalaya
One thing that’s crystal clear is that the women in this Kongthong Whistling Village are not just loving mothers but also talented singers. Their vocals are finely tuned with all the whistling. And with multiple children come multiple tunes, each as beautiful as the other.
What’s truly fascinating about this tradition is the creativity and innovation of the mothers. They’ve given birth to countless melodic tunes, each a testament to their love and affection for their children.
This ancient custom has been practiced since ancient times. Unfortunately, no one in the vicinity of the village could provide an explanation as to when this custom originated.
So, as you wander through the serene landscapes of Kongthong and listen to the melodious whistles, you’re not just hearing a tune; you’re hearing the echoes of a mother’s love, a tradition as old as time, and a unique and beautiful aspect of Meghalaya’s rich culture.
Why You Should Visit The Kongthong Village Meghalaya
The enchanting Kongthong Whistling Village in Meghalaya is not just any village; it’s a place that has earned the prestigious title of “best tourism village” by the United Nations. That’s a big deal, and here’s why.
Kongthong Whistling Village is a living testament to an extraordinary tradition that’s still very much alive. It’s a place where the nature, culture and melody together form a beautiful kaleidoscope in a way that’s both unique and heartwarming. Imagine being surrounded by tunes that are not just music but a language of love. These melodies fill the air and have a magical way of keeping everyone in the village happy.
With the growing modernity, it is difficult to keep the traditions alive, but the Kongthong Whistling Village stands as a shining example. It shows us that some traditions are not just worth preserving but celebrating. It’s a village where the old harmonizes beautifully with the new
So, if you’re looking for a travel experience that’s not just about seeing new places but immersing yourself in a culture that’s as unique as it is heart-touching, pack your bags and head to this extraordinary whistling village in Meghalaya. You’ll leave with not just memories but a heart full of beautiful melodies that will stay with you forever.
How To Reach Kongthong Village Meghalaya?
Getting to Kongthong Whistling Village in Meghalaya is easy, and you have a few options:
By Road: You can take a road trip to Kongthong Village, which is about 2-3 hours from Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya. The journey is filled with beautiful landscapes, and you can hire a taxi or use a private vehicle.
By Air: The nearest airport is Shillong Airport (Umroi Airport), which is well-connected to major cities like Kolkata and Guwahati. After landing, you can take a taxi or bus to reach Kongthong, which is around 75-80 kilometers away, taking about 2-3 hours.
By Rail: While Meghalaya doesn’t have its own railway station, you can reach Guwahati Railway Station in Assam, well-connected to major Indian cities. From Guwahati, take a train to Shillong and then follow the road to Kongthong Village.