By Our Reporter
SHILLONG: Thousands of Khasi-Jaintia people who adhere to the indigenous tribal faith-Seng Khasi thronged the sacred ‘U Lum Sohpetbneng’ (Navel of the earth) atop the 1,344-metre high peak, about 16 km from Shillong, to offer their obeisance to god with traditional rituals and rites, dances and songs.
Like every year on the first Sunday of February, despite the bitter weather and exhaustion, the Seng Khasi believers trekked for almost an hour and a half to reach this navel of the earth where they believed once lay the ‘Golden Stairs’ known as Ka ‘Jingkieng Ksiar’ which connected heaven and earth.
Even though, the road leading to the destination has been completed and good to go, yet people prefer walk all their way to the top of the peak, accompanied with the beating of the traditional drums and songs.
There is deep-rooted belief of the Khasi people that they belong to the sixteen huts dear to God the creator. The inhabitants of these huts descended and ascended from their heavenly abode to the earth and back to the heavens through a golden bridge, atop the sacred peak. However, the golden ladder was broken when sin crept into earth.
According to legends, the sub tribes of Khasi race, Khynriam, Pnar, Bhoi, War, Maram, Lyngngam and the now-extinct Diko of Meghalaya, are collectively known as Ki Hynniewtrep, which literally means Seven Huts’ referring to the seven families, the first settlers on earth.
“According to the ancient Khasi faith, you can approach god only through a golden heart full of virtue and humility. God is like a mother with whom her children are linked through the umbilical cord which is symbolized by the golden ladder atop Lum Sohpetbneng,” explained Kynpham King Nongkynrih, poet and author of several books on the Khasis.
“Every year, thousands of people from all over the Khasi-Jaintia make a pilgrimage to this sacred peak to witness the rituals being performed and leaving aside the exhaustion from the climb, they look afresh when they reach the top of the peak”, a Lyngdoh of the Seng Khasi said.
This sacred peak is said to be a repository of ancient wisdom and the fountain head of religious philosophy which is shrouded in sacredness and sanctity.