The historical remains include the royal bathing pool used by the Jaintia kings and queens, scenic spots including waterfalls, limestone caves and an old temple, which are in ruins because of government negligence.
The villagers feel that the hamlet with its unique flora and fauna, besides folklore, can be a centre of attraction to folklorists, tourists and researchers.
However, lack of attention on the part of the government stands in the way of tapping many a potential of the hamlet.
The rectangular swimming pool, known as Rupasor bathing ghat or Ka Mahadei swimming pool, is hewn out of a big rock, which forms part of the Rupasor stream bed.
At present the pool has dirty water and the surroundings are not clean, as thick vegetation has grown all over.
It is said Luh Laskor Lamare, an architect of the Jaintia king, had created the pool following his orders.
According to the survey report of the area carried out by the archaeology branch of the state department of arts and culture, the replica of an elephant was also carved out of the big rock, which forms part of the pool, to serve as a platform for the bathing royals to rest.
“The water was drawn into the pool from the nearby crystal-clear stream and was directed by means of a canal and looked as if an elephant was feeding the water into the pool from its trunk,” the report said.
Another site in the village adjacent to the swimming pool is the Royal Hill Resort, which is also in ruins.
Locally known as Ruin Royal Hill Resort, the site served as the resting place of the Jaintia kings.
The kings had also built stone bridges in the village nearly 500 years ago and the Rupasor megalithic bridge is one of them.
The dilapidated bridge made of stone slabs over the Rupasor stream was constructed for connecting the highway between Jaintiapur (now in Bangladesh), the main capital of the kingdom and Nartiang, the summer capital in Jaintia Hills.
Sibil Tariang, assistant secretary of Syndai Kmaishnong village, said the government has also neglected another heritage site of the Mahadei temple, made of burnt bricks.
The cause of concern is that wild trees have grown on top of the small temple, which is gradually bringing down the bricks of the temple.
The Jaintia kings, who embraced Hinduism, had used it as a place of worship.
Syntai Synkor, headman of Syndai Lyngkot, showed a rock carving of Ganesh below the Mahadei temple and the figure of the deity carved out on the surface of a rock, highlighting the mature craftsmanship of the bygone era.
According to Synkor, it is high time that the government intervened and protected these heritage sites.
The Syndai cave, which is a destination for pilgrims and tourists alike is in a shambles, as there is no proper maintenance.
The Jaintia kings used to hide their family members in the caves of Syndai centuries ago, during times of war.
The villagers said there was a power generator set, installed at the entrance to light up the cave, but several of its parts were taken away by the goons in 2009. Now the villagers have to go with torches into Syndai cave.
A portion of the cave has been used as a place of worship for more than 100 years.
However, the cave-explorers in Shillong do not like the idea of lighting up natural caves in a haphazard way.
Brian Daly Kharpran, the general secretary of Meghalaya Adventures’ Association, said, “Though it is a bad idea to light up the caves with artificial lights, which will diminish the beauty of the limestone wonders, lights can be used aesthetically in a way that they do not destroy the roof of the caves. Hammering cables and lights haphazardly on the caves will only spoil them.”
He said 10 years ago, the association had offered to assist the tourism department in cleaning up the caves at Syndai, but there was no response from the department.
Another cause for concern is the presence of soot because of the religious worship at the cave.
According to Kharpran, there is no harm in carrying out religious worship, which has been going on for nearly a century. But he added that the place could be kept clean after the worship.
Kharpran, who leads foreign tourists every year to various caves in Jaintia Hills, also said as the caves attract both the domestic and foreign tourists, they should be manned properly.
When contacted, commissioner and secretary Rebecca Suchiang said there is a proposal from the 13th Finance Commission to renovate Syndai cave. She said the state government would also make efforts by releasing funds to beautify and protect the royal swimming pool at Syndai.
The deputy chief minister in charge arts and culture, Bindo Lanong, said he would take up the matter with his department to see that the heritage sites in Syndai are protected. Lanong, who also holds the mining and geology portfolio, said enough measures would also be taken to protect the caves from damage.
Source: Telegraph India