The rainiest place in the world – Mawsynram village

Najbardziej deszczowe miejsce na świcie

Where on the planet do we record the highest rainfall? Most of us would probably point to the British Isles, the lush and tropical jungles or the vast monsoon areas of South Asia. Nothing could be further from the truth. The rainiest place in the world is a small village in India – Mawsynram. Every year, nature poses enormous challenges to this settlement, and the recent record-breaking downpour not only surprised with its intensity, but also served as a reminder of the unpredictable force that nature possesses. Mawsynram residents, who are accustomed to heavy rainfall, witnessed a historic moment.


Mawsynram is located in the state of Meghalaya, in northeastern India, and for years has invariably held the lowly honorable title of the rainiest place on Earth. The average annual rainfall here, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, is as high as 11,873 mm, a result of the region’s unique microclimate.

The name Mawsynram comes from words in the local Khasi language: maw means stone, and synram means cold. It is translated as a place of cold stones, a reference to the cool climate and numerous rock formations so characteristic of the region. The rainy season here lasts from June to September, bringing continuous heavy rainfall, which usually reaches surprisingly high levels. The most notable of these records was set in June 2022, when in one day as much as 1004 mm of rain, which far exceeded previous values. To understand the magnitude of this precipitation, it is worth noting that in Poland the average varies from 600 to 700 mm.

Causes of heavy rainfall

The high rainfall in Mawsynram is the result of specific geographic and climatic conditions that co-create an extremely wet environment.

  1. Geographic location: Mawsynram is located on the edge of the high Shillong Plateau, which acts as a barrier to the monsoon winds blowing in from the Bay of Bengal. When moist monsoon air masses arrive from the south, they are forced to rise up the slopes of the plateau. The increase in altitude causes air cooling, condensation and rainfall. Orographic, and therefore arising in the manner described above, precipitation is typical of this region
  2. Monsoons: the region experiences a very intense monsoon season, which usually lasts from June to September. The southwest monsoon brings huge amounts of moisture from the ocean, which is the main source of rainfall in Mawsynram.

The rainiest place in the world – what is daily life like here?

In the village of Mawsynram, life goes on to the rhythm of incessant rainfall. The village has adapted to its unique climatic conditions in a highly innovative way. Every year, residents make systematic and planned preparations before the rainy season arrives. They repair roofs that are covered with grass to muffle the deafening noise of falling drops. While these natural insulations are effective, heavy precipitation can displace and even snatch them, requiring frequent repairs. People also collect wood, which they use as fuel, but also as a source of light during frequent power outages. They also stockpile food, as shopping becomes a major challenge during the rainiest months, from May to July.

Special rain covers, called knups, play a significant role in everyday life. They are made of bamboo, plastic sheets and broom grass. These large handmade umbrellas resemble the shape of a turtle shell and protect not only the head, but also the rest of the body above the knees from the rain. It takes several hours to produce one such umbrella, which is an important occupation for women during the monsoon season.

The residents of Mawsynram, despite the difficult microclimatic conditions, approach their situation with cheerfulness. Adapting to life in the constant rain has become part of their daily routine. Schools and other institutions often suspend operations. The diet was adapted to the conditions – local delicacies such as tungtap, which is a chutney made from chilies, tomatoes and fermented fish, became a staple of sustenance, especially during the harshest months.

Wodne Sprawy 9 2024 1
pic. Utkarsh B/Unsplash

To minimize the negative effects of heavy rains, Mawsynram residents build living bridges from tree roots, which over time become strong enough to withstand extreme weather. These natural structures not only help people survive in harsh conditions, but also exemplify a sustainable approach to ecological engineering. Besides, the use of local building materials that are adapted to humid climates contributes to the resilience of the infrastructure.

Life in Mawsynram is not risk-free. Heavy precipitation leads to frequent landslides and flooding, which poses a serious threat, especially to the youngest residents. Limited access to potable water during periods of overflowing reservoirs is another challenge. Despite these difficulties, the community spirit and deep cultural roots mean that residents cannot imagine living anywhere else. Together they cope with the challenges of living in the wettest place on earth, highlighting their exceptional resilience and adaptability.

Photo. main: Rasheda Akter/Unsplash

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