Thousands throng Khasi pilgrimage

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Shillong, Feb 6 (PTI) Thousands of devotees, visitorsand tourists today thronged the U Lum Sohpetbneng peak, about25 km from Shillong, and took part in rituals and ritesinvoking the creator''s blessings for peace, prosperity andwell-being of one and all.

The ''umbilical heavenly peak'', about 1434 mts abovesea level and endowed with a fa�ade of the masonry art worksof the ancients, is believed to have linked heaven and earththrough a ''Golden Bridge'', according to local legends.

The pilgrimage to the peak starts every year on thefirst Sunday of February, adhering to the indigenous tribalfaith make a pilgrimage to the ''navel of heaven'' to offertheir obeisance to God.

The annual obeisance at Lum Sohpetbneng was paid todayby thousands of Khasi faithfuls with traditional rituals andrites, dances and songs. Sanctified rice grain and water wasdistributed on the occasion to gain spiritual contentment andgood health.

"Khasis believe that in the days when righteousnessprevailed there was a tree which served as ladder to theoriginal sixteen families for their communication betweenheaven and earth. This tree formed the golden bridge ensuringphysical contact between man and God till the time whentransgression became the order of the day and this bridge gaveway destroying the communication link between heaven andearth," narrates a Khasi elder.

Mythology relates that the Khasi race descended fromKi Hynriew Trep Khyndai Skum or the seven huts on earth andnine huts in heaven which are connected to the creator by agolden ladder on "U Sohpetbneng" (mount of the heavenlyumbilical cord).

This golden ladder (Jingkieng Ksiar) was severed whensin crept into Earth. Nine families remained in the celestialabode and seven settled on earth and multiplied.

The Khasis, Jaintias, Bhois, Wars and Lyngngams ofMeghalaya, are collectively known as Ki Hynniew Trep, whichliterally means ''Seven Huts'' referring to the seven families,the first settlers on earth according to a popular legend. PTIRTJ AMD

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