An interesting article from the Maharaja of Tripura’s on-line magazine TNT The Northeast Today.
The “Seng Khasi” is a religious socio cultural organization of the indigenous Khasi belonging to the Niam Khasi/Khasi Religion. It’s aim is to protect, preserve and promote the customs and tradition of the Khasi populace because for the Khasi, religion and culture are but two faces of the same coin, which also distinguishes them as a race different from any other race in the world.
The annual indigenous tribal pilgrimage to the Sacred U Lum Sohpetbneng is held on the first Sunday of February. This pilgrimage, which is an annual event organised by the Seng Khasi (Kmie) is taken part by many devotees of our indigenous faith (Niam Khasi Niam Tre) from different places of “Ka Bri U Hynniew Trep Hynniaw Wasa.”
U Lum Sohpetbneng, popularly known as “umbilical heavenly peak” or “Navel of the earth”, is situated by the scenic Umiam Lake (Barapani), atop the 1,344-metre high peak, 17 km north of state capital Shillong of Meghalaya.
Here are some lesser known facts:-
# As an organisation, the “Seng Khasi” was declared the oldest organisation in India and rumours has it, the tag stands true in the whole world. The symbol used by the Seng Khasi, the ‘Rooster’ signifies harbinger of ‘Light and Enlightenment’.
# According to a tribal legend, the sub tribes of Khasi race, Khynriam, Pnar, Bhoi, War, Maram, Lyngngam and the now-extinct Diko of Meghalaya, collectively known as Ki Hynniewtrep, which literally means ‘Seven Huts’ referring to the seven families, are the first settlers on earth.
# U Lum Sohpetbneng symbolizes the deep rooted spiritual belief of the Hynniewtrep (people from the Seven Huts) who belong to the divine family of the Sixteen Huts and Nests, traversing through a Golden Bridge, linking heaven and earth from a top the sacred umbilical heavenly peak. They have left imprints that can be seen today in the rocks, in the vicinity of the summit.
# The Golden Ladder (U Lum Sohpet Bneng) is believed to be a spiritual history and U ‘Lei Shylong’ is a political history, for it was him who established governance in ancient Khasi land and believed to be the spiritual ancestor of the Kings/chieftains of the Hima/Kingdoms like U Syiem Khyriem and Syiem Mylliem.
# The interesting belief about the Golden Ladder is that the seven tribes who were left on earth after the ladder broke are like the seven continents and the nine tribes in heaven are like the nine planets.