Meghalaya is one of the most beautiful states of India. In Sanskrit, Meghalaya translates into the 'abode of clouds' and is rightly called so. Hence it was itself a reason for me to plan a trip to Meghalaya. But there is much more to Meghalaya than clouds.
It is situated in North-east part of the India and surrounded by neighboring state Assam. It has so much to offer in unimaginable ways starting from mesmerizing waterfalls to calm and peaceful lakes and rivers with crystal clear water, mysterious caves and living root bridges with natural landscapes and some small beautiful villages keeping their culture and traditions alive. The culture is so different and unlike any parts of India that it makes it a true joy to visit and explore. It is a state filled with great landscapes and gives an experience of the unspoilt natural beauty which leaves every visitor with fond memories. In short its literary a hidden gem for those who admire nature and its wonders.
We had an amazing 5 days trip to Meghalaya during my Birthday week to celebrate in the lap of nature. We visited in the month of August which was a monsoon time but during this time few people told us not to go there as it would be slippery and rainy and you wont be able to visit many places but we had the best time of our lives as Meghalaya is magical during the monsoon months. The waterfalls come to life and the forests blossom as the rain water touches them gives an awesome sight to behold.
Here are the places which you must visit when in Meghalaya. I'll also put our itinerary in this article to help you better in planning your trip.
How to reach:
Guwahati is the nearest airport and railway station. From Guwahati, you can reach Shillong by taking shared cabs or private taxis which are easily available near the airport and railway station.
Day 1 of the trip:
Because we had an early morning flight , we reached Guwahati airport in the morning around 9 AM and then proceeded to Shillong which is the capital city of Meghalaya. We stopped at a nice restaurant to have breakfast while on the way to Shillong. Afterwards we stopped at the Umium lake on the way.
Umium lake is a vast and beautiful lake surrounded by the hills of Meghalaya and thus gives a beautiful sight to behold. It is on the way To Shillong from Guwahati. Once can indulge in speed boat ride or just take a stroll along th side of the lake which is as refreshing as ever and once can forget all their tiredness.After spending some time at the Umium lake we proceeded straight to our hotel , Hotel Ladybird. After checking into our room, we relaxed for a while and later went on to take a stroll to nearby market to have some snacks at a good cafe. After having a hearty snacks, we roamed around and later returned to our hotel for light dinner before retiring to the bed.
Day2 of the Trip:
Today we planned to visit Umngot river at Dawki, the living root bridge and then finally the Mawlynnong – the cleanest village of Asia. After we got ready, we proceeded to visit Dawki first.
Dawki and Umngot river:
Umngot river at Dawki is known as the river with crystal clear and green emerald water as one can see the bottom of the lake from the boat. It has the plains of Bangladesh at one side and the other side is the road having many natural waterfalls on the way. Finally we got into the Umngot river in Dawki and did a boat ride and also passed below the bridge built over this which is a tourist attraction . Soon we were passing through canyons and narrow cliffs. The clear reflection of passing boat was a great sight. It was an experience of a kind which will sooth your soul indeed.
Living Root bridge:
After Visiting Dawki, we stopped at Living root bridge in Mawlynnong. From the parking lot to the living root bridge there is a small trek of around 10-15 mins. The way to reach there is through a small village along with few stairs to walk down. There are several small pit-shops for some refreshments on the way with some fresh cut fruits, packaged juice and snack items. The trek was as exciting and thrilling as setting foot on the natures wonder, the living root bridge, though you are not allowed to stand on the root bridge so just keep walking and cross the bridge. At the end of the bridge, you can walk down a little to see a stream of clear water flowing down the living root bridge. This is must visit place as its a unique creation of nature phenomena. Although we would have loved to have done the double decker root bridge but we were short on time and stamina as we were visiting with our parents and they were advised not to do that since it is a 1 hour trek one side. But if your stamina allows you, can surely do the double decker bridge over single root bridge.
After exploring Living root bridge , our next stop was Mawlynnong which is just 2 kms away from the it.This is a small village situated at East Khasi Hills District of Meghalaya known for its cleanliness. It is renowned as the cleanest village of Asia and it stands true for all the right reasons.There are bamboo dustbin all over the village , plastic bags are banned and smoking is prohibited. The rules are strictly followed and defaulters are charged heavily.Apart from cleanliness, the village has also achieved 100% literacy rate with strong women empowerment scenario. During monsoon the village and its surrounding become extremely lush and makes it absolute picturesque. We had our lunch here as there is no place for lunch after this point unless you take the highway back.
Day3 of the Trip:
So after having scrupulous breakfast and bags packed with a surprise, We started off lil early this morning around 8 AM from Shillong and I was really very very excited for this day. Today's destination was "Cherrapunji" which used to be the wettest place on the earth and has some amazing scenic spots on the way. On the way, at one of the beautiful spot, I received one of best surprise of my life, a Banana Pudding Cake on my birthday by the finest Chef in the town. It was indeed felt like a fairy tale to celebrate my birthday far away from restaurants and fancy pubs at an offbeat location .Yayyyy!!! couldn't be more happier....
There is a saying that destination doesn't matter, it's the journey that matters and what better place to prove that right!.
So our first stop was at the Elephant falls which is in Shillong. I love waterfalls and visiting one in monsoon season is extremely beautiful as the current is in full flow. This is a cascade waterfall coming from hills and then to the valley. There are some other smaller waterfalls joining the Elephants falls. You have to walk down a few stairs to reach at the bottom of the waterfall to witness the beauty of the natural wonder.
As we gained further into the journey to Cherrapunji. with Clouds chasing us and I could literally feel, why is this known as the abode of clouds?. It was extremely gorgeous weather for a long drive to this beautiful place. I must say driving in the mystic hills of Meghalaya is one of the best road trip experience.
We stopped at another waterfall which is Wakaba falls. There was a long trek to reach to this waterfall, and we started walking down in that beautiful weather but we felt it is way too long to go down so we decided not to go till the bottom and explored the surroundings which seemed a green paradise for nature lovers. We were mesmerized by its beauty and suddenly, I turned around to see MY BIRTHDAY CAKE a banana pudding actually here in the lap pf nature. This was one heck of a birthday I'll always remember. With all Birthday Greet and Meet,We cut the cake and took some pictures, and after a few minutes rain started pouring again. So we head back to the restaurant and ordered tea while enjoying the gorgeous weather and captivating view.
Withing 15 minutes or so, the rain stopped and we took leave from there and proceeded towards Mawsmai caves in cherrapunji. It is basically a limestone cave forming various structures inside. It is fully lighted and simple enough to navigate and manage without a guide. It was an adventurous experience to explore a cave from inside and amazing to see impressive formation of large passages and chambers. A few cave walls are too narrow for 2 persons to walk together so go one after one.There is water flowing on the floor inside cave so its difficult to trek on the watery rocks with your shoes on so its best to submit your shoes at the entrance .The surrounding area is also green and one can take a walk around there.
Seven Sister Waterfalls:
So, after wrapping up a grueling session of Mawsmai caves adventure, we were all hungry and hence we decided to go to the nearest decent restaurant. After our tummy were full, we stopped at the point to have a glimpse of seven sister falls.We were lucky enough to get a view of Seven Sisters fall as during rainy day it is normally foggy and has zero visibility. So after absorbing a much scenic view, we went ahead on the other side of the highway to another stream marching its way down the little rocks. We went downstairs, all the way to river bed and dipped our ImpulsiveFeet in cold water to calm our soul and mind.
It is a park situated on the platue situated on top of Seven Sister falls in Cherrapunji. You can see the point of origin of seven sister falls and enjoy the lovely view of green canyons. Walk past the crossover bridge to reach at its end for admiring the nice views. The views from here are simply breathtaking much like a Painting made in Heaven with hills of Cherrapunji in the background and the end of Indian Border. Seemed like the world map ended there. The park has a calm and peaceful atmosphere with the soft breeze flowing. This park also has few rides for kids like swings and other play areas to keep then entertained. There are not much activities to be done here except to just stay lost in nature and enjoy a wonderful evening. This was a perfect place to end our day as we went back to our hotel to have a birthday dinner.
Day4 of the trip:
Today, after checking out from our Hotel in Shillong, we left for our remaining half of the journey that is Assam, covering Don Bosco museum and Umium lake on the way .
Don Bosco Museum:
As we had time in our hand so we went to visit Don Bosco museum as it is one of the major tourist spot in Shillong. The Don Bosco Museum of Indigenous Cultures at DBCIC (Don Bosco Center for Indigenous Cultures) is the Asia's largest Museum of Indigenous Cultures of its kind. This museum is the house of the beautiful culture and tradition of north India and showcases the artifacts, paintings, clothing, ornaments and figures significant to the northeastern culture. It is a hexagonal shaped seven-storey building brimming with art & culture. It is known for housing various galleries under the same roof. There is a unique fenced observation roof at the top of the museum known as Sky walk from where you can get the 360° view of the beautiful city Shillong. When we went to the observation roof, we were awestruck by the view of town from there. The visit to museum then seemed all worth it.
Once again we visited the Umium lake on the way and now at this time we stopped at different point which had a park and a garden facing the umium lake. As it was afternoon, and we just had our lunch, the place seemed perfect to relax for a while amidst the scenery of a beautiful lake and surroundings. We clicked a few pictures here and later started our journey to the beautiful state Assam. We reached our hotel around 3 PM and slept for some time. Later in the evening we went to take stroll by the nearby place and had some local food (our fav Puchka and some bhel). From there we booked the cab to drop us at the Cruise point so that we can take the sunset cruise and enjoy the heavenly view while cruising along the mighty river Brahmaputra. The boat was clean and offered various food options. The cruise lasted for around 2 hours and we had a really great time.
Day5 of the trip:
Today, as we had to catch flight back to home and we were not in mood to leave the city, so we thought to utilize our time and visit the very famous Kamakhya devi temple in the morning. So Post breakfast, we got ready and went to seek the blessings of the Goddess Kamakhya Devi. We got a bit late and there were already long queues, so with the help of a Priest, we took a shortcut and had the blessings of Kamakhya devi. We took some pictures of the temple, visited the Kund inside the temple premises and decided to return.
Just a friendly advice, if you are planning to visit Kamakhya temple start your day as early as possible to avoid long queues and scorching Sun.
On reaching our hotel, we packed our bags and left for the Guwahati airport . When the flight took off, we said goodbye to the hills and clouds of Meghalaya with some extremely fond memories in our heart. We are extremely Thankful to the Meghalaya Tourism Board for keeping the state clean and green.
All in all it was one of the most memorable trip of our lifetime which we will cherish always.
Hope it helps in planning your trip to this very beautiful state.
For any queries, leave us your comments.
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Stay tuned for the next blog. Till then keep travelling.