Shillong, Sep 9: The Union Ministry of Tourism has nominated Meghalayaâ€™s Kongthong, which is known as a â€œwhistling or singing villageâ€ for the World Tourism Organizationâ€™s â€œBest Tourism Villages” award along with two other villages in the country.
Kongthong village, situated around 56 km from State capital Shillong is located in the Khat-ar Shnong area on way to Sohra (Cherrapunji) in East Khasi Hills district and has 125 households with a population of around 650.
â€œMeghalaya’s whistling village Kongthong is selected for entry to the UNWTO World Tourism Organization â€˜Best Tourism Villageâ€™ along with 2 other villages in the country,” Chief Minister Conrad Sangma tweeted.
The two other villages that have been nominated for UNWTO ‘Best Tourism Villages’ award are Pochampally in Telangana and Ladhpura Khas in Madhya Pradesh.
What is unique about Kongthong village is that after a mother gives birth to a child, she composes a unique tune, locally called â€œjingrwai Ã¯awbeiâ€ (song in honour of the root ancestress) which is used to call the child till he or she grows up.
Though there are no records of when this unique cultural practice started, the elders of the village said that the practice has existed since time immemorial and has carved a distinctive cultural identity for the village and its residents through the practice of the unique â€œjingrwai Ã¯awbeiâ€.
Kongthong, like other regions in Meghalaya where Khasi people live, follows a matrilineal tradition where the children inherit the motherâ€™s family lineage and clan. This trait is the hallmark of the tribe.
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman congratulated Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma for the achievement.
â€œCongratulations Meghalaya on Kongthong being selected â€˜Best Tourism Villageâ€. @SangmaConrad. The village in which people compose a tune for calling a person in the place of names!â€ Sitharaman tweeted.
RSS ideologue and BJP Rajya Sabha member Rakesh Sinha, who adopted Kongthong village in 2019, also took to twitter to thank Prime Minister Narendra Modi for promoting village tourism and Chief Minister Sangma for his help.
â€œWhistling villageâ€ Kongthong, adopted by me in 2019 has been selected for entry to the United Nations World Tourism Organizationâ€™ category of â€˜Best Tourism Villageâ€™ in the world. Thanks to Honâ€™ble PM Sh @narendramodi ji for promoting village tourism. Thanks to @SangmaConrad for his help,â€ Sinha who had suggested the NDA government to ensure Kongthongâ€™s inclusion in the UNESCOâ€™s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage and also called for the creation of a Heritage Library to safeguard the practice.