Mawphlang Sacred Grove, Meghalaya: Where faith meets nature

 In Adventure, Meghalaya, Places To Visit, Travel

If exploring deep and unknown forests like in the movies “Jumanji” and “Godzilla”, then you must visit the Mawphlang Sacred Forest with the Meghalaya Holiday Packages. Blessed with several natural wonders like cascading waterfalls, living root bridges, meandering rivers, rolling hills, and valleys, Meghalaya is a true paradise for nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts.

One such natural gem in Meghalaya is the Mawphlang Sacred Grove. There are several Sacred Forest covers in Meghalaya. These are just like the protected forest areas like National Parks or Wildlife sanctuaries. The only difference is that these Sacred Forests are marked as protected areas due to high cultural values or places of high spiritual values.

The Mawphlang Sacred Grove is one such ancient protected forest area woven with the threads of cultural heritage, biodiversity, and spiritual reverence. In this blog, we will uncover the secrets of Mawphlang that envelop this land and add a touch of mystery.

About Mawphlang Sacred Forest


The Mawphlang Sacred Grove is cradled perfectly in the East Khasi hills. Located approximately 30 km southwest of Shillong – the capital of Meghalaya, this lush forest is protected by the people of Mawphlang village which majorly belongs to the Khasi tribe.

This verdant haven is not just a forest; it’s a living example of the deep-rooted faith and commitment to conservation. The entrance of Mawphlang is marked by monoliths, standing like silent guardians.

The Mawphlang Sacred Grove is segregated into three distinct zones, each pulsating with its charm. Visitors can only enter the outer-most zone if they wish to explore the natural beauty of the Mawphlang forest. 

If you are an adventure enthusiast, then you can explore the buffer zone as you will start walking on the David Scott Trail – one of the most thrilling treks around Shillong that passes through Mawphlang. The innermost zone is strictly off-limits for outsiders as it is believed to be the abode of the protector of Mawphlang – Labasa.

As you step inside the Mawphlang Sacred Forest, you will first pass through a green tunnel formed naturally by the canopy of trees. As you walk further inside, you will be enveloped in the mystic charm of the forest where the roots cover the ground, stones wrapped in moss, and the centuries-old towering trees that once witnessed the rituals carried out in the forests.

Listen to the symphony of rustling leaves, and the sweet chirping of birds and immerse in the mystical vibes. The forest floor, cushioned by a layer of decomposing leaves (humus), is crisscrossed by numerous streams, adding to the charm.

Also Read: Krem Puri: World’s Longest Sandstone Cave In Meghalaya

Legends Of Mawphlang Sacred Forest


The Mawphlang Sacred Grove is shrouded in captivating legends passed down through generations. The Khasi people believe that this forest is home to their protector Labasa – a local deity who guards the forests of Meghalaya. 

The Khasi people believe the forest is a haven for spirits and deities. The people of Mawphlang village offer regular prayers to their forest deity by performing various rituals. It is believed that these sacred rituals were practiced exactly at places where monoliths are installed like at the entrance. 

While performing the rituals, if a leopard appears from the forest then it is a sign of a good omen. But, if a snake appears, then it is a sign of destruction. According to the Khasi beliefs, their deity Labasa takes the form of a leopard or a serpent as a sign of prosperity or destruction.

The visitors of Mawphlang Sacred Grove are not allowed to take back a single thing from the forest, be it a leaf, a twig, fruit, etc. The people in Mawphlang village ensure the same as the one who does so will face the wrath of Labasa.

Several popular folktales recount the misfortune that befell those who dared to disrespect the forest’s sanctity. It’s a constant reminder of the importance of preserving this natural treasure. The reverence for the forest is so deep-rooted that even today, locals refrain from disturbing its tranquility.

As you visit the Mawphlang Sacred Forest, listen to the whispers of ancient rituals and sacrifices performed to appease the forest guardian, Labasa, echo through the ages. It’s a place where faith and nature intertwine, creating a sacred space.

Also Read: Wari Chora Meghalaya Guide: Offbeat Adventure In Garo Hills

Things To Do In Mawphlang Sacred Forest


Exploring Mawphlang Sacred Grove is an adventure waiting to happen! Here’s what you can do to make the most of your visit:

  1. Walk through the Forest: Take a leisurely stroll through the ancient trees and sacred grounds. Your guide will show you the spots where rituals were practiced and share fascinating stories about the forest’s history and significance.
  2. Bird Watching: Keep your eyes peeled for the vibrant birdlife that calls Mawphlang home. Look out for species like the Oriental Magpie Robin, Scarlet Minivet, and the majestic Great Hornbill flitting among the trees.
  3. Wildlife Spotting: While exploring, you might encounter some of the forest’s elusive inhabitants. Keep an eye out for creatures like the barking deer, wild boar, and if you’re lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of the elusive clouded leopard.
  4. Understand Trees and Plants: Take the opportunity to learn about the diverse flora thriving in this sacred grove. Your guide can introduce you to unique species like the sacred Khasi pine, ancient ferns, and medicinal plants that have been used by locals for generations.
  5. Click Postcard Pictures: Capture the beauty of Mawphlang Sacred Grove with your camera or phone. From the moss-covered trees to the serene ambiance, every corner of this forest is picture-perfect.
  6. Interact with Locals: Engage with the friendly locals in the Mawphlang village. They can offer insights into their traditions, beliefs, and the importance of preserving this sacred forest for future generations.

With so much to see and experience, a visit to Mawphlang Sacred Grove promises to be a memorable journey into the heart of Meghalaya’s rich cultural and natural heritage.

Also Read: Kyllang Rock Meghalaya: Discover The Natural And Cultural Marvel

How To Reach Mawphlang Sacred Grove?


To visit the Mawphlang Sacred Grove, you will have to first reach the Mawphlang village, nestled in the enchanting state of Meghalaya. Here’s how you can reach Mawphlang from various parts of India:

  • By Airways: The nearest airport is Shillong Airport (also known as Umroi Airport), located approximately 55 kilometers away from Mawphlang. However many travelers prefer to travel to Guwahati airport (130 km away from Mawphlang) as it has better connectivity from major Indian cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, etc. From the airport, you can hire a taxi or take a bus to reach Mawphlang village.
  • By Railways: The nearest major railway station is Guwahati Railway Station in Assam, which is well-connected to major cities across India. From Guwahati, you can either hire a taxi or take a bus to reach Shillong, which is around 30 kilometers away from Mawphlang. From Shillong, you can further hire a taxi or take a bus to reach Mawphlang village.
  • By Roadways: Mawphlang is well-connected by roadways to major cities and towns in Meghalaya. You can either drive to Mawphlang or take a bus from nearby towns like Shillong, which is around 25 kilometers away. If you’re coming from other states, you can reach Guwahati first and then take a bus or taxi to Mawphlang.

No matter which mode of transportation you choose, the journey to Mawphlang Sacred Grove promises to be a scenic and memorable one, offering glimpses of Meghalaya’s breathtaking landscapes along the way.

Also Read: Mawryngkhang Bamboo Trek Guide: Even The Bravest Give Up

Things To Remember While Visiting The Mawphlang Sacred Forest

Things To Remember While Visiting The Mawphlang Sacred Forest

Here are a few travel tips to visit Meghalaya’s Mawphlang Sacred Grove:

  • Stay Options Nearby: While there are limited stay options directly in Mawphlang village, you can find accommodations in nearby towns like Shillong. There are guesthouses, resorts, and hotels available to suit various budgets and preferences.
  • Timings: The Mawphlang Sacred Grove is usually open to visitors from morning until evening. It’s advisable to check the timings beforehand to plan your visit accordingly.
  • Entry Fees: There is a nominal entry fee of ₹50 per person to visit the sacred grove.  Make sure to carry some cash with you for the entry fee.
  • Best Time To Visit: The best time to visit Mawphlang Sacred Grove is during October to April when the weather is pleasant and conducive for exploring the forest.
  • Do Not Litter: Help preserve the beauty of the sacred grove by not littering. Carry a small bag to collect any trash and dispose of it properly in designated bins.
  • Do Not Take Anything Back: It’s important to respect the sanctity of the forest by not taking anything back with you. Leave everything as you find it to maintain the ecological balance of the area.
  • Guide Is Compulsory: To fully appreciate the significance of the Mawphlang Sacred Grove and learn about its history and rituals, it’s compulsory to hire a guide. Guides are knowledgeable about the forest and can enhance your experience with their insights. Without a guide, tourists are not allowed to enter the forest. The guide charges a very nominal fee of ₹300.

By keeping these pointers in mind, you can ensure a responsible and memorable visit to the Mawphlang Sacred Grove, immersing yourself in its natural beauty and cultural heritage.

What is the area of Mawphlang?

The area of Mawphlang Sacred Forest is approximately 190 acres. The forest spread is home to dense vegetation, ancient trees, and sacred sites. Visitors can explore various trails and pathways within the forest to immerse themselves in its beauty and spirituality.

How far is the secret forest from Shillong?

The sacred forest is located approximately 28 kilometers from Shillong, the capital city of Meghalaya. It takes around an hour to reach Mawphlang village, where the sacred forest is situated, from Shillong by road.

Is Mawphlang Sacred Forest worth visiting?

Absolutely! Mawphlang Sacred Forest offers a unique and enriching experience for visitors. It’s not just a natural wonder but also a cultural heritage site where you can learn about the traditions and beliefs of the local community. The serene ambiance, lush greenery, and mystical atmosphere make it a must-visit destination for nature lovers and cultural enthusiasts alike.

What is the story of the Mawphlang sacred forest?

Mawphlang Sacred Forest holds deep spiritual significance for the local Khasi community. It is believed to be a place where ancient rituals and ceremonies were conducted to appease the deities and spirits of the forest. The forest has been preserved for generations as a sacred site, serving as a living testament to the traditional beliefs and practices of the Khasi people.

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