Kongthong among three entries for UNWTO 'Best Village Contest': Sangma
Meghalaya's whistling village Kongthong in East Khasi Hills district has been selected as one of three Indian entries for the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) "Best Tourism Village" contest, Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma said. Kongthong, a small village nestled in the Khat-ar Shnong area about 60 km to the south of Shillong, is famous for its panoramic view, unique culture, and beauty.
Aim is to identify villages that harness power of tourism
"#Meghalaya's whistling village Kongthong is selected for entry to the @UNWTO 'Best Tourism Village' along with two other villages in the country," the chief minister tweeted. The UNWTO is looking for the best examples of rural villages which harness the power of tourism to safeguard communities, local traditions, and heritage, an official said.
UNWTO wants to identify villages taking innovative approaches to tourism
UNWTO wants to identify villages taking innovative and transformative approaches to tourism in rural areas in line with Sustainable Development Goals, he said. "Best Tourism Villages by UNWTO" aims to maximize the contribution of the sector in reducing regional inequalities and fighting against rural depopulation.
Kongthong has unique practice of assigning tune to an infant
It also seeks to advance the role of tourism in valuing and safeguarding rural villages along with their associated landscapes, knowledge systems, biological and cultural diversity, local values, and activities, including gastronomy, he added. Kongthong, one of the 12 "shnong" (villages) has a unique practice of assigning a tune to a baby at birth.
The tune remains with the baby until his death
The tune remains with the baby until his death and this practice is gaining popularity now, Rothel Khongsit, a youth leader from Kongthong said. Although Kongthong is now popularly known as whistling village, a term coined by few reporters, Khongsit said it does not depict the real practice which is called rwai sur iaw-bei.
The tradition is in no way associated with whistling: Official
Meghalaya Rural Tourism Forum chairman Alan West said the tradition is in no way associated with whistling. While appreciating the Government of India for proposing Kongthong village as the best tourism village before the UNWTO, I would urge the Meghalaya government to correct the mistake of calling Kongthong a whistling village.