Monday, September 6, 2010

Dainthlen Falls, Cherrapunji

A lot of people have asked us about the waterfall we seem ready to jump into in the picture at the top of the blog. It is the Dainthlen falls, the last stop on our patented Cherrapunji tour and the subject of the next edition of the Cherrapunji diary. This magnificent waterfall is reminiscent of the great Niagara, in that, it is shaped in a semi-circle. It is my theory that many hundreds of years ago, the whole semicircle would have had water gushing over it, though today, there is water only right in the centre. As with all waterfalls in Meghalaya, at different seasons, the flow is different. And as with all places of importance in the visitors manual to Meghalaya, the Dain-Thlen Falls too has a story associated with it.

In the very olden time (remember, I have to keep with the traditions of story-telling!), there was a great snake-like monster called the Thlen that troubled the people of Meghalaya. As is the case of all monsters in any self-respecting fairy tale, this foul fiend was possessed of more strength as well as cunning than any other creature on the face of the earth and beset the people of the land until they were at their wits end. There was a path the Thlen lived near and if ever two people walked that path together, one of them was eaten by the Thlen. (This monster wanted to give everyone a chance, you see. So if you didn't want to be eaten, be brave and walk the path alone...... Is there a moral already?!!). This would be the time for the afore-mentioned, self-respecting fairy tale to introduce the 2 main protagonists of the story - the brave hero of lowly station (cowherd, shepherd, ogre, etc.) who would save the lovely princess from this monster.....

Sorry, but the connoisseurs of fairy tales are going to be disappointed this time. Before the princess could be captured so that the hero could save her, the people decided to prevent this eventuality by launching a preemptive strike. They all got together and drove the Thlen from his cave down to the Dain-Thlen Falls, where they cast him to his death (or should I say it's death.... sorry, but the intricacies of fairy-tale writing elude me...). The local people say that the imprint of his tail can still be seen in the rocks over the waterfall. (I do not side with the local people on this one..)




There is an interesting post script to the story of the Thlen. After his death, there was great rejoicing in the village. The people decided to have a feast, and what better to feast on than the Thlen itself. So the Thlen was cut up into many pieces and cooked in the inimitable Khasi style. There was a huge celebration which went on well into the night. One old woman had a son who was sick and as the body of the Thlen was known to have healing properties, she smuggled a piece with her to take back to her son. But when she went home. he was asleep, so she decided not to wake him and give it to him in the morning. But during the night, the Thlen regrew. And escaped to haunt the people again. So now, whenever anyone feels weak, or melancholic. it is because the Thlen is haunting him. We often get patients in the OPD whose chief complaint is that the Thlen has got him or her. And most interestingly, there are even a few doctors who believe that patients who fail to recover with the medicines we give them have been haunted by the Thlen......

5 comments:

  1. this is such a nice blog u are maintaining.. i have been to meghalaya once.. right up to sohra n a little further n its one amazing state.. i like ur blog a lot.. i will be a regular reader now.. n whats better, u post regularly.. i am a passionate traveler too from kolkata and a waterfall enthusiast amongst everything else..
    came across ur blog while researching on the same.. waterfalls.. wonderful post.. keep traveling n keep writing.. best wishes :)

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  2. there is one question that's haunting me.. the driver of my car was a bad guide.. all the info i collected on the trip was my own research but i am still unaware of one thing.. internet doesnt have much info n pics about meghalaya, the official tourism website has many errors..
    there is this wakhaba view point on NH40.. i saw a fall there, the view of the fall from there was bad (i have a picture though)coz the view point was badly made.. or maybe there was a different view point n i didnt know..
    that looked a very tall fall.. i just want to ask if u know the name of that fall?? is it the kynrem falls?? have u been the mawsmai? there is another beautiful fall there..

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  3. Thanks for your kind words. The falls that you saw on the way back were not the Kynrem falls for sure, as that waterfall is located inside the Thngkarang Park. It is an amazing fall and you can see a picture of it at http://www.flickr.com/photos/skinnylatte/234008887/sizes/l/

    I saw the picture you posted on your blog and I know the one you are talking about - will find out the name next time I go there. There is a better view as you thought, from further down the road - will put up a picture soon. And yes, a post on the Mawsmai falls is also coming up. Take care.

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  4. I visited Dainthlen falls this month and it is amazingly beautiful

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  5. Thanks for sharing !
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