Having visited most of the part of India(thanks to my parents), I always wanted to explore the north eastern part , so I thought it's high time I stop dreaming and actually visit it.
Airplane: Mumbai to Guwahati(halt at Kolkata)
We started very early in the morning and reached Guwahati around afternoon. We took a share cab from Guwahati to Shillong(Rs.500). It's a 3hour journey, so make sure you eat well before or ask the driver if he will make a halt in between.
After leaving a few miles from Guwahati, we realised the sudden change in temperature, the scorching heat waves suddenly turned cool and we had reached Nongpeh. Since we had skipped lunch near airport, we took a halt at a hotel here - Jiva Veg .
As the day was slowly coming to an end, we could find our cab entering into the roads covered with trees and we knew we had reached Shillong. We reached the hotel we had booked online and spent the day at leisure as it was too late when we reached Shillong. Hotel : OYO 4740, White Orchid, Lachumiere
We had breakfast and started early the next day. Since we already booked a cab for the entire week, we discussed our plans and he suggested a few which together made the trip so memorable.
We started the day with Airforce Museum which depicted the history of Indian Air force along with the tour of museum covering the culture of northeast India. Outside the museum, you can find a stall serving hot maggi and great coffee, but photography is not allowed outside the museum (be cautious since they are very strict about the rules here)
Next we went to Elephanta Falls - since it's a popular tourist destination, you will find it crowded most of the times. It has 3 points mentioned along with directions - out of which last is from where you can actually watch the falls at a closer distance.
Having heard about the sacred forests around, I really wanted to explore it and know more about the rituals and practices. Although this place is a bit off road, you should visit it atleast once. There are guides you need to hire (Rs 300) who are usually locals who tell you everything about the forest - the history, festivals celebrated and even the treks around. There's a saying that you cannot take anything from the forest when you leave else bad things will follow. There's also a famous David Scott trail which you can try out, incase you're more into trekking activities.
On the opposite side of the forest, there's a village artificially created for tourists just to know more about their way of culture and living. and know about the .
We next started our journey towards Cherrapunjee which was undoubtedly very scenic and captivating.
By the time we reached Cherrapunjee, it was afternoon and more foggy all around, hence the driver suggested another waterfall Since they would be covered with fog which was surprisingly not in our list. Be careful to carry jackets and clothes to protect yourself as it's too windy and cold out there. The waterfall is at a 10 minute walk from the parking place. There is a small place which you have to cross the falls and it's a bit exhilarating because you're right on top of a waterfall(unlike the usual ones which you look from beneath). These are one of those falls you can see from closer, and its sound takes you to a place which is somewhere out of the world. We spent some time wandering around, but since not many people visit here, be careful.
As we were about to leave, it started raining and since there were no signs of it stopping we decided to call it an end and went directly to our homestay - Nalgre Homestay.
Nohkalikai falls (Its supposedly the tallest plunge waterfall of India) has a story which is quite scary and doesn't justify the beauty of the falls. And though it was at a far distance, we could still hear the sound of the falls and hence can imagine its force. You can also trek to the top of the Nohkalikai falls with the help of locals.
We started the day a bit early since we wanted to go trekking today to the Living root bridges.
Along the way we stopped at the Ramkrishna Mission - since it was school hours, we quickly had a tour of the various traditions and cultures depicted in the form of models and various other stories.
The road towards the cave is bit rough and the driver mentioned that the caves were just discovered a few years back and hence not everyone is aware about it. The route towards the cave was truly scenic and mesmerising. You need to hire a guide otherwise it's difficult to explore the cave on your own. The caves give such a surreal look - dim lit, with water along with dark alleys and instructions written at places where there were stalactites or fossils. Its definitely not a place for claustrophobic people. There was a small cave-like region which we explored by walking on bended knees with only the torchlight to guide us - which was definitely the highlight of the cave since it really gives an experience of caving activity and makes you aware of the risks associated with it. When we came out of the cave- the pathway was covered with fog which made it perfect ending to the expedition.
We then stopped over the restaurant Orange Roots which offers a great pleasant view and delicious vegetarian food After having quick snacks around 12, we quickly went to the way for Living bridges trek and ended the day.
We had planned to reach Mawlynnong and on the way visit all the places in Cherrapunjee.
The falls are so called because you can find seven falls flowing together which is very unique and pretty.
This is a popular cave especially open for tourists since it is well lit and properly taken care of. Unlike the previous one, you enter via one side and leave through another, although a few places you need to be careful since it's slippery.
More like a relaxation place or a place for chilling around with play area for kids. You can see the tip of the seven sister waterfalls here, which is very calm unlike the waterfalls!
This is a nice place which has various spots like falls and stone structures.
This is the first view point when you enter Cherrapunjee.
On the way towards Mawlynnong, the roads were very scenic and the scenery was too mesmerising.
We reached Mawlynnong by evening, we had already booked the Sky View Resorts, which was in the outskirts of the actual village, which felt like living in a forest. We roamed around and had early dinner and ended the day.
We reached Shillong by the end of the day after travelling through the Jaintia Hills.
Since we lived in the same resort, we went to the view point in the morning hours.
This bridge unlike the other fort bridges is more wider and less risky(filled with visitors, visit it during early morning or late evening)
It was close during morning hours, but you can visit it.
We took a different route for Dawki, where we could see the Bangladesh plains and fields along with some great waterfalls on the way.
Our next stop for the day was Dawki. The whole visit along with the boating was a different experience altogether. Though the water is more clearer during winters and you can even camp around the waters.
This day was reserved for Shillong Sightseeing which included the usual tourists spots along with Laithlum Canyons.
You can have a picnic with morning to do ground but rest and enjoy the scenic view.
We ended the day after visiting the museum of Shillong and called it a day off. The next day we left around morning for Guwahati from where we had booked a plane. Thus ended the beautiful journey on a pleasant note.