Khasi tribals climb 1,344-metre peak as part of rituals

Thousands of Khasi tribals today climbed a 1,344-metre high peak, referred to as 'navel of heaven', to offer their obeisance to God as part of ritual.

The indigenous Khasis, a major tribe in Meghalaya, believed that heaven and earth is connected by a navel and the two are even linked with a metaphorical umbilical cord, a golden ladder symbolized by a tree atop the Sohpetbneng peak where they believe the navel lies.

These indigenous Khasi tribals undertake this annual pilgrimage every year on the first Sunday of February in what they call the 'Kiew eh-rngiew' which means the ascent for good luck and good fortune in the coming days of the year.

The Khasi sub-tribes- Khynriam, Pnar, Bhoi, War, Maram, Lyngngam 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 legend.

As part of the annual pilgrimage, traditional rituals and rites, dances and songs were also performed atop the peak besides the Seng Khasi elders distributing rice and water for good luck.