If you’re someone from Shillong or even if you are planning a trip here, I’m pretty sure the name Sohra or Cherrapunji must have come up somewhere or the other… like on this blog for example 😀 To be honest, for the longest time, that name has been synonymous with Meghalaya tourism. That and Mawlynnong, the cleanest village in Asia, which I may or may not write about. There is more to this place however than travel brochures can provide. The southern part of the state is not always seen as the best choice primarily because of the vast expanses of coal mines and heavy vehicles plying the road, making it unsafe and loud. It was on this road that we set upon to find the fabled kingdom of Nongkrem, with deep gorges that rivaled that of Sohra and open grasslands??? Heaven it seems can be found on the road to hell.
There’s no such thing as a quiet rumor in a small town/city and one that has gained strength and fervor today is the impending earthquake, prophesied to destroy this city tonight at midnight. People flocked in uneasy numbers to religious gatherings be it in hallowed halls or football fields. Fear tonight is no lonely soul.
It’s the 12th of June 1897 and an earthquake of the magnitude of 8.1 Mw has left Meghalaya and Assam in ruins. It is the memory of this incident, fresh in the minds of the older generations that grips the city in a quiet discomfort. These are a few images of an old Shillong, before and after the quake.
Shillong Town before the Earthquake
Shillong Town after the Earthquake
It’s a Saturday afternoon and I’m out to meet some new and interesting people… Imti, Jonathan and Jason. I’ve known Jason for a while now and he’s the front man of a band called Pip Of the Fourth Mother. Imti is the lead guitarist and Jonathan the drummer of a very popular metal band called Dwar. We were meeting up to talk about the music scene in Shillong and take a crack at categorizing the different bands into genres, prominent bands and debate on the fore fathers, as it were, of each genre. This was going to be an interesting night. What started as few and far between names called out at random, slowly and steadily overflowed the seams of the paper, with genres as varied as Metal, Blues, Folk and Fusion. This, was getting to be no simple task.
Previously, we talked about how the two clans – Sohkhia and Marbuh were replaced by Nongtariang and Ngap Kynta clans respectively. The Khar Ngap Kynta clan is a smaller clan that falls under one main clan The Khar Sawkpoh or Khar Sawkmie. Literally translated, that would mean ‘the clan of Four Stomachs or Four Mothers. Four clans were formed from the Four Mothers and they are the 1. Sawian 2. Phanbuh 3. Ngapkynta and 4. Kharsyntiew. So, without further adieu… let me tell you a story, about the Sawkpoh clan and how it all began.