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We started with a plan to visit Tawang, Thimpu/Paro (Bhutan), and Shillong from Guwahati, but ended up criss crossing the NE states like: places covered (pic courtsey Amar) So after few years of thinking, and few months of planning, we booked our flights to Guwahati, and the usual suspects: Amar, Anil, Manjesh, Sac,Shreedharana, Srivatasa and last but not the least, my wife Jyothi :P....
Backpacking across North-East India
April 8: Howrah Railway Station> Salt Lake City> Arjun and Joie and their kid, ArjoeBack to land of my forefathers | to the gracious and happy hosts | to Pom Pom, the dog | to the heat of the city of joy | to Vodka and talks on the terrace | Drunken Weed induced conversations | Ghosts of the tall trees | pranik healing | eunuch shamshans | the sanitary pad gimmick | motherhood | The Mill on the Floss | April 9 and 10: Salt Lake City, Calcutta It all started with two beers | And talks about the nobel gene and noir movies | We meet one of Arjoe's four girlfriends | Then we go fetch more Millers | Pinku comes by | We drive to his house to smoke a chillum | We have rum | He plays the keyboard | We rush back | Arjun plays the guitar | I make terrible sounds which I pretend is singing | Joie sings | Her sister and a friend joins in |We smoke up more grass |They got white rum |We gulp down more | Pinku gives me contacts for Shillong |I can't figure out how to type | Then Arjun forgets the number | Punjabi songs are played |Joie and Lillian dance like happy lambs for an hour | Arjun plays | Lillian passes out on the couch | Joie keeps staring at the painting on the wall till 6 in the morning | We miss the morning train | We leave for NJP in 10 minutes by bus | April 11: 7 PM | Bus to Siliguri After 18 hours of traffic-laced bus ride through the potholed roads of Bengal | On the way a policeman gets up to video record all the passengers and ask really inappropriate questions of couples in the sleeper berth | April 12: Midday | Shared Auto Rickshaw to New Jalpaiguri Railway Station April 12: 6:30 PM | Train to Guwahati (Second Seating | Kanchanjunga Express) After 10 hours of train travel | including an incident of a thief snatching a woman's bag | Lillian sleeping through | we reach the dusty Guwahati | April 13: Early Morning | Guwahati Only few designated hotels allow foreign tourists | Hotel Surya | 1680 INR | Inner line permit for Indian Citizens | Mizoram House + Nagaland House | Beer night | Fancy hotel room fridge | April 14: 8 Am | Connecting bus from Palton Bazaar (on the other side of the Guwahati Railway Station) to ISBT | Bus to Gohpur (Violina's village) | April 14- April 17: Gohpur | Evening During Bihu | kids in Meghala Chador | Bihu courtyard dance | ducks | goats | cows | catching fishes | drinking rice beers | visiting the tribes | the Bodo | the Mising |the Karbi | the bamboo and mud houses |ponds | Tejpur | temples | the mighty Brahmaputra | Guptkashi | Security checks | Sunset | old structures |walking through villages | And Emon, the kid obsessed with earth movers and my sleeping bag | April 17: 7:30 PM | Night bus to GuwahatiApril 18: morning | Guwahati | Shared Tata Sumo (Maxi Cab) to Shillong | 2 hours to Shillong April 18: Shillong | Police Bazaar | Marwari Basa Hotel | 600 INR No bar for ladies | smuggling beers into the hotel | drinking with precaution | feels like conjugal visit | very small room | very small beds | possible bed bugs in blankets | Meghalaya, the abode of clouds | bought a book of Khasi folklore | April 19: early morning | Maxi cab to Cherapunjee | traditional name: SohraTraffic jam | Khasi Procession |the rooster flag | fog | the driver says even the sun takes rest on a Sunday April 19: afternoon | main market to lower Sohra by Maruti 800 cab | By the Way Guest-house | 250 INR per personLost among clouds | rain | a heart towards the east | the Shire of IndiaApril 19: Sohra Walk to the Seven Sisters' Falls | through smoggy fumes of the open coal mines | Eco park: head of the Seven Sisters' Falls | green small rolling hills and pastures | meet two Indian backpackers travelling for the last 8 months across India and Bhutan | April 20: bus to Mawshamok village Arrive in fog | walk into the valley | 700 metres steep into the valley | innumerable stairs | Nongriat | the land of the living roots bridges | single bridge | skinny dipping in the river | double decker bridge | rice and 'little' sabzi | jumping into the waterfall pond | REST HOUSE near the bridge | no other guests | no running water | April 21: Nongriat Sweaty and challenging climb to the foggy village head April 21: market day | walk from lower Sohra to upper Sohra April 22: SohraWalk to Mawasmai Caves | strike called by Khasi Students Union against BJP president's upcoming visit to Shillong | no tickets at the gate | no light in the main caves | walk into the sacred forests of the Khasi | No internet | April 23: shared Maxi cab to Shillong Leaving an emotional and slightly drunk and love lorn Heprit, our host at "By the Way" April 23: Shillong Back to Marwari Basa Hotel | slightly bigger room | a sick German Sheppard | I buy 'Look Back in Anger' and 'Gitanjali' | smuggle in beer | April 24: Shillong Long walk to the Don Bosco Museum | 7 floors of tribal artefacts and informations | inaugurated by Smt....
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It took us 3 hours to reach the marvelous double decker bridge, spent some time in the chilled waterfall clicking photos and having fun. 3 hours return was quite tiring, slowly slowly we finally made it to our car and headed towards Seven sisters fall and Mawsmai caves which seemed to be less enterprising after the whole adventure, but Mawsmai caves is also an adventure of its kind....
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Lucky us,it rained heavily in the night.So,we enjoyed the rainy weather,but also it didn't hamper our trip.So,in morning with fresh mind but tired legs,we set off for Shillong sight seeing.There are numerous waterfalls,each with its own unique beauty.Theres also a cave named Mawsmai Cave,where you can explore the cave system in its natural form.Its a unique experience as well if you can complete the whole cave system,but keep in mind,there are quite a bit narrow crevices & be ready to get wet below your knee in few areas.But,if you are adventurous,you must do it.Then there are Nohkalikai falls,with a wonderful scenic beauty as well as,a tragic history behind its name....
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Trip to the hills, plains and the green cover of north east India
In Meghalaya we had to go Cherapunjee, dawki, and Mawlynnong.Cherapunjee was on one route and dawki and mawlynnong was on other so we planed to go to cherapunjee today.The places we went were 7 sister falls,Nohkalikai falls, Mawsmai caves and Ramkrishna mission school.The seven sister falls had no water but Nohkalikai was just majestic and it is the tallest plunge waterfall in india.The caves were well preserved and was also pretty good place to visit.The Ramkrishna mission was also a great place to visit it has a museum which shows different cultures and tradition of 7 sister states.The best part was the ride from the mountains, greens,adobe of clouds in cherapunjee with awesome climate and roads were add-ons.The best way to travel is by rent a bike....
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While discussing with a guy who had visited this place stated that he was exhausted and hence did the return journey after a night) Elephant Falls Mawphlang Sacred Forest (The Khasi Mythology is interesting and this place may provide some more details) Mawsmai Cave Ward’s Lake Air Force Museum (The mornings are a good time to visit as you could see the air planes, jets or helicopters do their drills) I like visiting places that are calm and serene, which brings you close to mother nature....