David Scott’s Trail – Ladmawphlang to Mawphlang

David Scott.  British Administrator, political agent to the British Raj, and all around bad-boy left something behind that still exists in bits and pieces till this day. His operations and reach stretched about 29 years (1802-1832) in the Khasi Hills and the surrounding low-lying areas. These areas are now in Bangladesh and the Indian states of Meghalaya and Assam.

One of the few tangible remainders of the infamous David Scott, is the horse-cart trail that he built which stretched from Cherrapunjee, now properly called Sohra, to Bangladesh. This road caused a war between the Khasi people, led by U Tirot Singh, king of the Khadsawphra Syiemship and the British. The Khasi forces were finally defeated by British muskets, artillery and superior military strength but not before the bows, arrows and guile of the native people had given the English 4 years worth of guerrilla-warfare style grief. U Tirot Singh was ultimately captured and deported to Dhaka, now the capital of Bangladesh where he died on 17th July 1835.

The stretch between Ladmawphlang village to Mawphlang village is roughly 16 kms long and is a picturesque day hike. This was originally the horse-cart road that connected the plains of Slyhet (now in Bangladesh) to Assam. Winding around, descending and ascending a rough elevation of about 1400 m, the trail leads from sleepy little Ladmawphlang village to Mawphlang. Both villages which deserve their own chapters in the annals of Khasi history, culture and folklore, especially Mawphlang.

Khasi Children basking in the sun

The trail winds through low granite and sandstone cliffs scattered amid rolling hills. A clear stream runs parallel to the trail. Sleepy villages frozen in time and technology stand as silent sentinels to the north and south as one walks east. A valley widens out that looks like it has been covered with green felt. This makes an excellent place for an overnight camp. A short walk up the gentle slope lays out a wide panorama of the valley below enclosed within hills that morph into a vast undulating plateau.

Break time

Camp in the valley. White dot in the center is the tent. Mobile network only at this peak.

The Milky Way and stars from the valley

Suji the Awesome Dog at the village water reservoir

David Scott’s ancient horse trail. Lots of clear springs for safe drinking water – Isaac enjoys a cool drink.

Rapid at Wah Umiam (The Crying River), August 2010

Mawphlang’s Sacred Grove (Khlaw Kyntang) at river right of Wah Umiam

Rock garden at Wah Umiam, August 2010



  1. Hi, i saw your video of the rafting, very nice. I’m in Shillong, i want to kayak down from the headwaters of the Umiam river all the way down the valley to Umiam lake. Can you tell me is there road access to the river up there around Mawphlang? Also, if you know of a map for the David Scott Trail could you give me the link? thanks ianvincent.india@gmail.com

  2. Suzana Syiem

    I am quite happy with what u guys have compiled… 😀 Thanks its quite useful.

  3. Pingback: David Scott Trail, Meghalaya – Strange and Unfamiliar Pleasures in the Forest « Indian Wanderers

  4. Shumit Nath

    O lovely trip through the meadows, woods n greeneries…the entire track is loaded with extremely beautiful spots..a joint could make the beauties more beautiful…its a must experience for anyone visiting the beautiful state of Meghalaya..

    • srinivas narasimhamurthy

      i am going to Meghalaya next month…can you send me a map of the track? can’t find it anywhere.

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