Legend of U-Thlen - ZorbaBooks

Legend of U-Thlen

Legend of U-Thlen – Stories of Meghalaya

The legend of U Thlen, the demon snake of Meghalaya


This legend U Thlen, will make your skin slither. The north eastern part of India is definitely shrouded in mystery. Not much has been documented about the region, and most of them are just hearsay. U Thlen in local language means “The Thlen” is one of the most worrying mythological creatures from the North Eastern States of Meghalaya. It is believed to be a malevolent and evil spirit that takes the form of huge man-eating snake. The myth could be an exaggerated offshoot of Boa the constrictor or python regularly found in the region.

Legend has it that back in the days, in the village of langhiang Kongkhen existed a market that was only accessible using a sacred bridge. In what is now today’s Cherrapunji there existed a sequence of caves that dates back to pre-historic times. In one of these deep caves was the den of Thlen. For the people to get to this market as well the bridge, they would inevitably have to cross these caves.


Imagine the fear that gripped the people when they had to negotiate this path?


It is obvious, the snake will be waiting for them. The strangest part is that as per legend “It would devour half of the people passing by”. After years of living together the villagers decided they had enough and enlisted the services of “U sidnoh” a fearless loner who didn’t really care about the dangers of messing with the Thlen. He came up with a plan and befriended the beast. He would regularly feed him goats and pigs. One day when the creature was comfortable enough to let its guard down U sidnoh shoved a red hot piece of iron down the giant snake’s throat. The creature thrashed around in pain until it could take no more and died. The villagers then celebrated with a giant feast. They cut up The Thlen and feasted on his flesh. According to legend an old woman saved a piece of meat for her son who could not attend the festival, but she forgot to serve the piece of meat to her son and threw it away. From this forgotten piece of flesh grew many more Thlen to infest the residents of Cherrapunji and its surrounding areas. This could also be related to the legend of the earth worm that could essentially regenerate lost parts of its body.


The second coming of The Thlen


As the days passed The Thlen was relegated to a powerful house spirit, able to be worshipped in return for untold riches. It is believed that the later version of The Thlen demanded human sacrifice. The people who reared The Thlen were known as Thlen keepers and were feared by the populace..

The family that housed the spirit would then hire ”nongshonoh” which can be translated to “the one who beats”. This man would then stalk his prey and incapacitate them when they were alone. The nonshonoh would then cut off of the tips of the hair and finger nails of the victim with silver scissors. These would then be offered to the Thlen who would then consume the victim’s soul through their hair and nails. In turn, the Thlen would bestow great riches on the people who fed it.

Another story says that the final throes of U Thlen are responsible for the earthquakes that created some of the more famous gorges in Meghalaya. The myth of U_Thlen could also be an exaggerated version of a snake like the boa

There is a mention of U-Thlen an evil mystical being in Khasi legends and recounted in Khasi folklore as an entity thirsty for human blood and never satisfied. He was however tricked and captured by the Khasi people but never ultimately destroyed.


Read a compelling story of The Mystical powers of the Garo tribe in Meghalaya, know how the Princess of Khasi tribe dared to confront and single handed saved her tribe and her children. Read the story of Anand & Judy who fled from the city to to the Khasi tribe save their life as destiny awaits them.

The Garo tribe had been waiting for him.

 A paperback published by Zorba Books available on Amazon.

“The Tribe” by Garry James

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Garry James