French Ambassador visits Heritage Village Mawphlang

Shillong, May 10, 2024: The Ambassador of France to India, H.E. Thierry Mathou in his maiden visit to Meghalaya, visited sacred groves, monoliths, and heritage village of Mawphlang, East Khasi Hills.


The Ambassador trekked for more than 3 kms and visited Mawphlang Sacred Grove in its entirety, where he was guided by the head of Lyngdoh clan of Hima Mawphlang, Tambor Lyngdoh Mawphlang. The Ambassador was very enthusiastic about learning the ethnographic (flora) composition of the sacred grove. The clan head explained, that the forest (Mawphlang sacred grove) is sanctified by deities who are the custodians who safeguard the forests, therefore any immoral activities are not allowed to be carried out. The sacred groves also consists of ceremonial sites where rituals were carried out by ancient Khasi kings and the practice continues till date particularly on special occasions. The Sacred Groves have also attracted tourists and researchers alike, who come to explore and study the unique ecosystem in the groves.


During the visit, the Ambassador Thierry Mathou said, “I had the pleasure to visit the sacred forests. We have to learn from you, on how to protect the environment and biodiversity. This first visit is to better understand the state and see your needs and how we are going to interact.”


The Mawphlang Sacred Groves, have been revered and protected by the Khasi community for centuries, offering a unique glimpse into the harmonious relationship with the environment and the natural world. State government has implemented multiple initiatives in Mawphlang like development of heritage village, tourism infrastructures and organising festivals like Monolith Festival. The rise in tourist footfall to this destination has not only enriched the local economy but has also provided sustainable livelihood opportunities for the communities.


In the second tier of the visit, Mathou visited the Mawphlang Dam accompanied by Public Health Engineering (PHE) officials, who informed the Ambassador how Meghalaya’s rural water supply implementation has reached 77.15% in household connectivity.


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