Sunday, June 5, 2016

Willong Khullen, India's very own Stonehenge!


Who knew a small village in Manipur, a rarely visited North Eastern State, could hold such a significant wonder that is on the same lines as the Stonehenge. This exceptionally intriguing monument is sadly not known by the locals of Manipur apart from those living in the villages around Willong. We were left in awe to see massive blocks of rocks many towering over 10 feet and a few over 1 meter wide. There are a total of approx 135 pillars here.


Looking at these monoliths there were tons of questions floating in our minds. The biggest were how did they manage to do this centuries ago and most importantly why? What was significance or meaning behind carrying out such a hard, time consuming and challenging task. Were they funeral stones or used for some religious ceremony or sacred stones? The massive stone blocks did not seem to be available in the vicinity so where did they procure these from? Apart from the local tales there is no documentation or script that can provide answers to the questions we had. We guess the answers would remain lost with time.


If the local tales are to be believed, the stones talk to each other at night and each stone has a name. According to them, only a man with great strength and power can think of erecting a stone. Before erecting a stone, he has to fast the whole night and perform a ritual of offering wine to the stone. He would have to venture out to far off places to find the perfect stone and the villagers would assist him if required to bring it to Willong. They also believe that it is not possible to count the stones as their placement is so confusing that you tend to miss the count, they believe a spirit confuses you from counting.


The locals don't seem to be aware of this place or the monoliths. Sadly, such an iconic site is left in ruins and the Government has taken zero steps to promote such a monumental site. It was disheartening to see sheds constructed to store construction material right in front of this monument. Tiny homes have started to encroach the land around. In a matter of time this entire monument would go invisible.



Reaching this wonder in 'Willong' could be tough as there is absolutely no public transportation available. The only way to reach is to hire a vehicle either from Imphal or Kohima and do it as a day trip. Also, there are no places to stay or eat here. Willong is equidistant from both State Capitals. One should head to Maram village in Senapati district and from there take the road that goes to Peren. 40 km on this road is Willong Khullen. As soon as you reach Willong, to your left is the Stonehenge of India. The distance from Imphal to Willong took us 3 hours one way in private taxi and for the total journey we were charged Rs.3500.

24 comments:

  1. This is really interesting. The North East holds a lot of such treasures; we are yet to discover them. It's weird though that even the locals don't know of this local Stonehenge. How did you get to know about it? (The real Stonehenge in UK can only be accessed from a distance. Here one can go right inside. Haha. India -1, UK -0)

    www.antarikanwesan.com

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    1. Very true Antarik, NE India is a treasure trove waiting to be explored. While researching we stumbled upon a picture of the monoliths but no other info was available. During our 12 days stay in Manipur we enquired about Willong and drew a blank even at the official tourism office. Google maps helped us with identifying Willong Village and we crossed our fingers and headed out in search and got lucky :)

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  2. Its surprising and shocking to see people unaware about this place!
    What a wonderful discovery Ram!

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    1. Thanks Arun, true there is a lot that travelers and tourism dept could do to boost responsible tourism.

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  3. Beautiful pics Ram and Reshma. Thanks for sharing the info.

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    1. Thanks Sims, glad you liked the post.

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  4. Hello Ram and Reshma,

    Very nice and well written post, Amazing photographs. Enjoyed It. :) Love to travel around Mumbai.


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  5. Your Blogs r Interesting to read , Ur sense of Describing seems good . Try to do more blogs . Thanks for sharing : etltraininginchennai.in

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    1. Thanks Jones, glad you liked the post.

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  6. Very interesting. I read about similar stones in Himalayan region that now falls in Pakistan in Alice Albinia's book - Empires of the Indus http://www.anureviews.com/empires-of-the-indus-by-alice-albinia/

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    1. Thanks Anuradha, Wow! Book seems to be a good read. Indian subcontinent is a place of many mysteries.

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  7. "The locals don't seem to be aware of this place or the monoliths. " erm.. sorry to burst the bubble but everyone (The locals) knows about it and places like this are considered sacred and there are are alot of places kinda similar to this in every villages across Manipur and Nagaland (not neccesarily stonehenge ), its just that the rest of india dont know about it.

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    1. From our experience, asking locals around in Imphal did not help us. The agents and drivers at the bus & taxi stand also were not aware of this place. Even our hotel's travel desk was not able to give us any information. The Manipur Tourism Department that had put up their stall in Sangai Festival could also not give us any leads. Our local cab driver too had no clue about this place.

      North East is definitely treasured part of India, it would be great if you could name a few other such hidden treasures and provide pics? Also, we were not really sure as to why these monoliths were erected. It would help if you could throw some light.

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    2. My bad i thought you asked the locals at Mao Gate or at Maram, Pretty sure most of them there will know willong btw you could actually hire a taxi from Maram. The concept of tourism is non existent and moreover the Government doesn't really care for anything which doesn't involve the Imphal Valley( Thats another story) which is why even the tourism office had no idea. i'll mail you some pics from my village..

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  8. Dear Ram & Reshma, appreciate your travelling spirits. And heartening to read about your discovery of India's Stonehenge at Willong Khullen. Would appreciate if you can suggest ways of promoting it especially for those coming from outside the northeast of India. Thank you. Peter

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    1. Thanks for the kind words Peter. Word of mouth is the best means to promote tourism, strike conversations with travelers and educate them about such wonders. Social media could help in reaching out to people interested in traveling to this part. For our part, we would try and promote by writing about North East India extensively.

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  9. What A Beautiful & Wonderful Place We Had Ever Found!
    It's Really Nice;
    Keep Some More Hygiene.
    By H. D. J. Luikang Philip Of Hangnamei.

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    1. Thanks Philip, the place is a wonder.

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  10. Ram and Reshma your exploration reaches the edges of Manipur. yet you guys need to revisit again.. local guide and help will be extended to further upgrade the old and new unique spot that will surprise you.

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    1. Indeed Mr Hindh, local input and help is very valuable.

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  11. The very wonder of India's monoliths found at Willong Khullen must be well-protected..

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    1. Indeed this ancient wonder needs to be protected and promoted responsibly.

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  12. This is a incredible wonderful stone structure so sad that the locals did not know the exact reason behind these monolith, it should be well protected and study carefully. There are stone structures around the world which are similar to these stone and they have intresting information/ ancient myth.
    The local people say that this stone possess spirit and they can communicate with each other but that's not true maybe the ancient people erect the stone to study the movement of the sun or other stars this could be a vast astronomical treasure house if we could really dig out reality. The interesting part about this stone structure is that it's very confusing to read the numbers of stone 'This could resemble /compared to the cluster of stars at night maybe the olden people used as a calender to count date,time, month,years century etc.
    Where do they collect this huge pile of stone? How many labour hard work and tears and blood were shed? this really interest me .

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