Henry holds up a squirrel he has shot with his slingshot. The state's extensive forests are home to the flying squirrel, the Malayan giant squirrel and the Himalayan squirrel.
Meghalaya – Been There

Magic, fire and beauty in Meghalaya

Photo by Timothy Allen

Meghalaya – Been There Magic, fire and beauty in Meghalaya

My first experience of Meghalaya – one of India's smallest states – is heartening.

Timothy Allen
Timothy Allen Travel Photographer

During our halfway stop at a roadside cafe, my co-travelers refuse to let me pay for my meal.

While chatting, I discover that most of them are from the Khasi tribe, the largest indigenous group in the state, numbering more than a million.

They share their tribal name with my ultimate destination on this trip, the East Khasi Hills.

In the East Khasi Hills, a local lad from Mawlynnong called Henry acted as my translator.

He was pretty good with a slingshot and frequently stopped suddenly to pick up a stone and attempt to hit something in a nearby tree. One day he actually hit a squirrel and decided to cook it over a fire that same night.

The light of the fire was delicate and beautiful; the smoke, being highlighted by the sunlight, was magical.

I'll always have these incredible photos to remind me of Mawlynnong. It's a wonderful, unique part of the world.

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