Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Lost civilization


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Shynna Lyngdoh Mawphlang on the legend that is Rangjyrteh

 RANGJYRTEH REMAINS a ‘silent isolated lily’. Once a village where civilization existed more than 100 years ago, it is a place believed by the Khasis to be inherited by the Hynniewtrep Hynniewskum. Many legends are associated with it like the famous Nohkalikai Falls; the story about the woman who committed suicide by falling from the cliff was from this ancient place Rangjyrteh. The legendary tale of the famous Dainthlen Falls that follows the story of the giant serpent Thlen killed by the people of Rangjyrteh

     One has to take the curvy roads passing through hills and valleys to reach Rangjyrteh, the roads also leading to Laitduh village where the famous Dainthlen Falls is situated. Likely, Rangjyrteh existed on top of  the cliffs from where the Dainthlen Falls can be seen clearly with its magnificent waters smashing down on the rocks beneath, roaring with great pride, its echoes heard all over Rangjyrteh. The place is at its best during the rainy season when the sky is clear.

     It is a place with historical treasures and ethnic beauty that can still be witnessed today. Monoliths of different forms, tall and short and each having its own meaning, talk of a civilization past. Under these monoliths are bronze or earthen pots with ashes of our ancestors; there are a few silver shells too. The place is characterized by some form of marking around each area surrounded by well-constructed rocks. The stone foundation used to cremate the dead and the place where they used to hold meetings or the ‘dorbar’ are visible too.

      There is also a belief that this village was once fortified with well-constructed walls made from iron and rocks. The people used a gateway called ‘Ka Khyrdop’ to go in and out of the village for trade or other purposes. There is also a belief that a battle between Rangjyrteh and a nearby village had taken place. The battle claimed the life of the Doloi or headman, and the place where he died is known as Ka Pom-Doloi. The monoliths on the spot are in remembrance of those who fought in that battle.

     It was in this village that the finest iron was made. We can still see rocks shaped like a basin where water was kept to cool the iron after melting. These irons were exported to Bangladesh, earlier known as Shilot. The people use to trek down to sell these irons, the pathways still noticeable from Rangjyrteh through Dainthlen, Mawpun and on to Nohkalikai Falls connecting Mawmluh village and finally to the plains of Bangladesh.

     Rangjyrteh falls under the estate of Syiem of Sohra and it is being looked after by the headman of Laitduh village. The place offers a breathtaking view of Riwar, Shella, Mawlong, Tyrna and Bangladesh.

     Surprisingly, no one knows how this ancient civilization ended. Some attribute it to famine, some to battle and others to migration of its inhabitants to some other place. The foundation stone of Rangjyrteh that reads ‘Laitduh Eco-Conservation Park’ has remained a showpiece since 2005. The place has also been at the mercy of vandals.

     Tourists from all over the world have invariably fallen in love with Rangjyrteh. Locals are passionate about the place but have ruined its ambience by chopping off most of the trees around. There is a need to protect and promote this ‘silent isolated lily’ or we will lose a part of our past.


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