Wednesday, 3 January 2007

Various Meghalayan Pictures plus Hunting for Christmas Decorations

As should be evident by now we spent a lot of time driving around Meghalaya seeing lots of organized and more random things on the way. Here is a little collection of some of things and landscapes that were just there and worth taking a picture of. A lot of those things, we also found worth picking as you will see below.

This was an idyllic place. A bright red tree in front of a small meadow filled with white flowers.

And here a very different kind of Meghalaya landscape. Large rolling hills, much more barren than what you would expect in the world's wettest state. But as I explained earlier this could have something to do with the ferocious rains washing away the most fertile top soil every year.

An old Welsh church - about 130-140 years old. You see many churches around Meghalaya and it is a Christian majority state. Before being colonialised the area was dominated by different nature religions and small parts of the population still engage in such practices as serpent worship.

A local woman - probably a so called ethnic Khasi - with a traditional basket on her back.

Sand as white as chalk freshly dug up from the Meghalaya ground.

An amazing view of hills, a river, a lake and a road twisting its way through the landscape. This area is normally closed off to visitors as it houses a dam and supplies water to many people. It is thus vulnerable to terrorism. However after promising that we would behave, Mark managed to get us in via his contacts.

A small, nearby waterfall. I know I have shown many waterfalls already and that this is not so spectacular in comparison with those - but notice how pure and clear the water is. It is virtually 100% transparent.

Talking to a puppy by the dam at the bottom of the valley.

But the top of the hill is where our hunt for Christmas Decorations began. Here you see Susanna plucking pine cones at the top of a hill.


Susanna and Mark picking more pine and pine cones with a stunning backdrop.

Here some wonderful red berries that are perfect for Christmas decorations If you buy these in markets they are quite expensive, so we decided to pick some. Only one problem...

...they were hanging on a tree behind a barbed wire fence. Here you see our attempted solution to that problem. After a long effort of trying to cut off one branch while trying to keep my balance I finally managed to reach and cut one single branch.

Then down I go to collect it....

Unfortunately it fell well out of reach within the fenced off area. Various sticks and tools were taken into use to reach it...

...and finally: TRIUMPH. I got it after 20 minutes of intense labour.

15 comments:

B.M. said...

Hi Esben,

Came across your blog and I wanted to raise an issue about the comments of serpent worshipping by the Khasis. I am a Khasi and I do not know where you got this info from but it is completely wrong. I would suggest you verify the facts before you make any such kind of comments in your blog. We Khasis have a unique culture and religion and our religion taught us to know man and god, to earn righteousness in the world and to respect nature.

You should try to look up "Khasi culture" in Google. Also look at this article: http://trumpeter.athabascau.ca/index.php/trumpet/rt/printerFriendly/357/560

And one by Mark Tully on Khasi Culture: http://outlookindia.com/diary.asp?fodname=20070806&authorname=Mark+Tully&subsubsecname=Cherrapunjee

Ban (New Delhi)

Esben said...

bm, I specifically wrote that we were taking about a small group, and I never wrote that these people were necessarily Khasi. Not aware of their etnicity. But this is the information, which was given to me by locals in Meghalaya.

B.M. said...

Hi Esben,

I am afraid that you have been misguided. I was born and brought up there and I know for a fact that there is no ethnic religion in the region that is into serpent worship.

Ban

Sun Tzu's disciple said...

Banteilang,

Thlen worship was once common practice among Khasis. Even today it is said to be clandestinely followed by a small group of not just Seng Khasis, but also converted Christian ones.

Google 'Thlen'

B. M. said...

Thlen is a great legend passed on from generation to generation. It is mystical folklore and no one can state for a fact if the thlen exists or not.

Keep the flames alive.

Cheers

Ban

Sun Tzu's disciple said...

Ban,

Esben never said the Thlen is a literal serpent;The question is whether it was/is worshipped & the answer is YES.
Depending on your religion,Jesus/Yahweh/Allah/Ram etc can be proclaimed as legends--it does not prove that they were not worshipped!

B. M. said...

The 'YES' is in your mind. I don't deny that.

Cheers

Ban

Sun Tzu's disciple said...

Ban,

does this also look like its in my mind?

somebody is in denial.

My blog.....Dr L.Lubna Al Idrus said...

SubhanAllah...so beautiful.
Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala is great !

B. M. said...

@SunTzu

No denying the legend and the folklore. Like I said keep the flames alive.

Cheers

Ban

Sun Tzu's disciple said...

ban,

you said " I know for a fact that there is no ethnic religion in the region that is into serpent worship.

..and when I prove the *exact opposite* of what you said you try to wriggle out by trying to give misleading answers.I have no interest in humiliating you. I dont think you lied knowingly.Lets just say you were not fully informed? :)

B. M. said...

I stand by these words. Thlen is different from serpent worship. We have a term in Khasi for a person who keeps the Thlen which is 'Men ri Thlen'. This is different from serpent worship. You need to be a Khasi or delve deeper into this subject in order to fully understand this.

Cheers

Ban

Sun Tzu's disciple said...

ya..so you fall back to the defense of the indefensible " you need to be a Khasi to understand..." ;very funny.The worship of Thlen required Human sacrifice--a practice that brought the Khasi in conflict with the British.I suggest you read up a little bit:)

B. M. said...

Looks like it is you who will need to do the careful reading. I said 'need to be a Khasi OR delve deeper...'.

Cheers

Lyndem

Sun Tzu's disciple said...

yes yes Ban,

if that makes you happy so be it..:-)

I like the lovely Khasi girls anyway cheers:)