Kongthong, the enchanting whistling village nestled in the East Khasi Hills of Meghalaya, has been honored with the prestigious 'Best Tourism Village (Bronze)' award at the National Tourism Awards 2023 by Ministry of Tourism, Government of India. This remarkable recognition was bestowed upon Kongthong by the Government of India, at a glittering ceremony held at Bharat Mandapam, Pragati Maidan, New Delhi.
Among dignitaries, Shri. Ajay Bhatt, Minister of State of Tourism and Defence; Ms. V. Vidhyavathi, Secretary (Tourism); Ms. Leena Nandan, Secretary Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and Shri. Rakesh Kumar Verma, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Tourism were present at the occasion.
Speaking on the achievement Conrad K Sangma, Honourable Chief Minister of Meghalaya, said “I am immensely proud to announce that Kongthong, our enchanting whistling village, has been honored with the prestigious 'Best Tourism Village (Bronze)' award for 2023 by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India. This recognition is a testament to the rich cultural heritage and natural beauty that Meghalaya has to offer. Kongthong's melodious whistles echo the harmony of our diverse traditions and the serenity of our landscapes. The second large scale employment generator for our State is the Tourism sector. Our goal is to transform Meghalaya into India’s most preferred tourist destination. We now have one of the most attractive Homestay Schemes in the country, providing a subsidy of up to 7 lakh rupees per homestay. About 300 homestays were sanctioned in the last year. We target to build another 2,000 homestays in the next five years. The luxury vehicles scheme is another success and is being diversified to include mini- buses and caravans. The Government will also build new infrastructure like large accommodation units, experiential centres, amusement parks and viewing galleries in about 100 new villages to expand tourism beyond the established clusters.”
Dr. Vijay Kumar, Commissioner & Secretary, Tourism Department, remarked "Kongthong, the whistling village in Meghalaya, stands as a harmonious testament to the rich cultural tapestry of our nation. This 'Best Tourism Village' award for 2023, is a resounding tribute to the enduring traditions and breathtaking landscapes that define our country. We are constantly working towards improving the tourism landscape in our state through various innovative programme and schemes like PRIME Tourism Vehicles, Homestay Scheme, Tourist Villa Scheme, Caravan etc”
The Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, has long been committed to promoting sustainable and culturally enriching tourism experiences across the country. In line with the G20 New Delhi Leaders' Declaration and the Goa Roadmap for Tourism, the ministry unveiled the Travel for LiFE program on World Tourism Day 2023. The global launch of this initiative witnessed virtual participation from G20 countries, international organizations, and various Indian states, highlighting the importance of responsible and immersive tourism.
Kongthong, often referred to as the Whistling Village, boasts a unique cultural heritage that has captivated the hearts of travelers worldwide. With a population of approximately 750 inhabitants, this Meghalayan gem has preserved a tradition known as "Jingrwai Iawbei," which translates loosely to the "song of the first clan lady." This tradition assigns a unique tune to each child upon their birth, a melody that they carry with them throughout their lives. This cherished practice has been upheld by the people of Kongthong since time immemorial.