Mawlynnong Village, Meghalaya: Mawlynnong, a tiny village in Meghalaya, has a toilet in every house. There are bamboo waste baskets on each road to ensure that there is no littering. Children as young as four learn at school to keep their surroundings clean.
Cleanliness as a way of life came to Mawlynnong, a village of 503, long before Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced his Swachh Bharat or clean India campaign. The village cherishes the title of "Asia's cleanest village" given to it by India Discovery Magazine in 2003.
By 2007, the village had eradicated the practice of open defecation, with toilets built for each of its 91 households under the Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan.
"This village is clean from my childhood. We heard it was so even during our grandmother's days. Keeping it clean is the responsibility of each and every one," says Remdor Khongphosrem, a resident.
Littering even by the very young is frowned upon and if any among the 200-odd tourists who visit the village every day are found to throw things on the streets, they are issued stern warnings. The number of tourists that visit Mawlynnong has gone up after the India Discovery report.
Another resident Sumar says proudly, "All over the world people know us as the cleanest village so people come here."
One of them, Karlin from Germany, has been camping in the village for the last 11 weeks. She is here on a photography assignment after discovering Mawlynnong on the internet.
"I have met lots of friends in Mawlynnong. I have seen so many Indian villages, but compared to others, it is very clean and the gardens are unique. Everyone takes care of nature, that is the main thing about Mawlynnong. It is a paradise for me," Karlin says.
The villagers are confident that Mawlynnong will continue to live up to its pristine reputation. In the village's three schools, the next generation is already learning how to keep it in the record books for the right reasons.