Bagpacking through Assam, Meghalaya, Arunachal, Sikkim and Kolkata for 12 days

Tripoto
4th Jan 2019
Photo of Bagpacking through Assam, Meghalaya, Arunachal, Sikkim and Kolkata for 12 days by Savpril Salwan

North east has always fascinated me with their culture, colorful dresses, music and cute kids. It was time to experience all that for the first time. I landed in Guwahati on 20th Dec, 2018 and stayed in a Lodge near Paltan Bazaar. I strolled through the streets and visited a lake nearby. The first thing that I realized was the sunset that came way too early than I’ve ever experienced. The sky was dark by 5 PM and I was wandering, as if what could be done now. The market was open till 10 Pm and I experienced the hustle bustle of the city till the time everything closed.

I woke up early morning next day to visit Kamakhya Devi temple. The temple is one of the major shrines of Hindu religion and is paid visit by thousands of pilgrims every day. It usually takes 3-4 hours for you to cover in the normal queue. However, if you get a ticket of INR 500/-, you can complete the visit within 1 hour.

After visiting the temple, I took a shared sumo for INR 180/- from Guwahati Paltan Bazar bus stop to Shillong. It took 3 hours for me to reach the city and the road was breath-taking. In Shillong, I visited Café Shillong and Tango, where I got an experience of live music and great food.

In the morning, I took a shared Sumo to Dawki from Anjali Cinema. I reached a point from where I could get the boat. The first look of the river made me fall in love with it. No lies, no extravaganza, but the water was pristine, clear as if crystal clear. I could see the stones at the rock bottom clearly. I met AJ, who rode me through the river and took beautiful shots of the scenery around. Having done with the boat ride, I visited the border of Bangladesh and then the village.

I took a shared sumo till Phuntong, a place that leads to Mawlynnong (Cleanest village) and did my first ever hitch hiking till the village. The village was beautifully decorated with flowers. The place also has a living single root bridge nearby which can’t afford to miss. It was 1 o’clock and I wasn’t aware of the shared sumo timings from the village. I had to wait for another 2 hours to get a vehicle that dropped me Phuntong village.

I reached back Shillong by the night. I started my journey to Cherrapunji next day where I met a newly married travel couple visiting Meghalaya. We reached the town by afternoon and looked for options to stay. We met Hagrid, owner of ‘By the way’ hostel, to ask for his home to stay. We were skeptical about the place to stay without even looking at it. However, Hagrid refused to show that for even once. He reminded me the meaning of bagpacker, that they don’t care about the luxury, and all they seek if bare minimum. Somehow, it gave us confidence to go for the deal even without looking at the place. To our surprise, the place was amazingly beautiful, with an open area front of the cottage and books inside, it was dreamy and cozy.

Early morning next day, I started for Tyrna and reached in about 40 minutes by a shared taxi. I started the trek at around 7:15 am and with every twist and turn, I was shocked with the beauty of place and clear waters. After trekking for almost an hour, I reached the first crystal clear water body and couldn’t stop myself to jump in that. It was refreshing, and I felt like a free animal. It gave me a sense of achievement and happiness, a sense of satisfaction and feeling of experiencing the nature at its best. Even with the feeling of not leaving the place, I had to start my journey. I reached Nongriat village and had a cup of tea to refresh the body.

I reached Double decker living root bridge early morning, which was again like a dreamy land. It appeared like a place from different world altogether. Similar to what I can imagine in heaven (if there is any) or a fantasy movie.

The next part of my journey was to discover the Rainbow falls and unfortunately, I missed the turn that lead to the rainbow falls and continued my trek for Nohkalikai falls. Having trekked for almost 3 hours, I realized that it’s a wrong path. So, I had to return back to confirm and that and found the actual way then. I could not visit the falls but heard a lot from the people coming back. I managed to take dip in the El waterfall which was again refreshing. I started my journey back to Tyrna village from where I got a lift till Cherrapunji. Somehow, I managed to get a shared taxi till Shillong and then a luckily again till Guwahati.

I started early morning from Paltan Bazar to Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh, by shared sumo. It starts from the stand at 5:30 am and reaches by 8:00 pm. I swear, the road is beautiful, and I couldn’t miss even a single view after we crossed Bomdila. But, to my surprise, I visited Bhutan on our way. The petrol is cheaper in Bhutan and vehicles can visit Bhutan for refilling. Though for a brief duration and 100 metres, I kissed the land of Druk. Sela Pass was best to experience snow and see snow clad mountains, trees and lakes. It was already 5 pm and full moon was up above our heads, appeared like a white sheet spread over the whole area with dim lights shining bright in the through those.

Early morning next day, I visited Buddha statue, Tawang Monastery and Ani Gompa. Of all these, I loved my expedition to Ani Gompa, all nun monastery, which was through off-beat route and snowy stairs that went up and down the mountain. Experienced the butter tea served with biscuits and a great conversation with the nuns serving there. Totally made my visit worth an effort.

Next day started back for Guwahati through the same route and reached at around 8 PM. I got a train from there to reach Siliguri which got delayed by 4 hours. From Siliguri, I took an SNT bus and reached Gangtok at 5:30 PM. The MG Road was lit due rush of visitors for New year week. The same day, northern region got heavy snow and all roads got blocked which restricted me to stay only in Gangtok and visit nearby areas. Next day, I visited local sites and enjoyed cozy sunshine during the day and ended the day with a live music performance at Gangtok Groove.

Next day, I visited Ranka monastery, Rumtek monastery and Bhanjakhri waterfalls. Most of my time while in the city went for shopping the local souvenirs and things made out of Turquoise. I got a lot of those stones and some more of other stuff.

After having a nice breakfast next morning, I started for Siliguri and reached New Jalpaiguri station. My New Year Eve was at that station and experienced the crowd cheering with happiness and wishes for each other. The train got delayed by 5 hours and I reached Kolkata at 11 am.

I still managed to experience the boat ride, walk over the Howrah bridge, watching a live match for the first time in Eden Gardens, Park street, a glimpse of Victoria Memorial, local snacks, a scary walk to a ghat and deserted streets of the city. I reached the airport by 1 Pm for my return flight to Chennai.

For all of my journey, I tried all the local cuisines of the states, experienced the culture, talked to locals and got to know them. It was an amazing experience for my first visit to the north east. I covered 5 states and wish to visit the rest of them as soon as possible, because you can’t resist yourself to be there once you’ve gotten an experience of the nature there.

For more pictures of the region and any queries, please visit my insta handle: @savpril.salwan

Happy Travels!

Guwahati

Photo of Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Savpril Salwan

Kamakhya Devi Temple

Photo of Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Savpril Salwan

Dawki

Photo of Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Savpril Salwan

Dawki

Photo of Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Savpril Salwan

Dawki

Photo of Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Savpril Salwan

Mawlynnong

Photo of Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Savpril Salwan

Mawlynnong

Photo of Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Savpril Salwan

Mawlynnong

Photo of Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Savpril Salwan

Cherrapunji

Photo of Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Savpril Salwan

Cherrapunji

Photo of Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Savpril Salwan

Tyrna

Photo of Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Savpril Salwan

Tyrna

Photo of Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Savpril Salwan

Nongriat

Photo of Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Savpril Salwan

Tyrna

Photo of Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Savpril Salwan

Nongriat

Photo of Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Savpril Salwan

Double Decker Living Roots Bridge

Photo of Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Savpril Salwan

Bhutan

Photo of Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Savpril Salwan

Sela Pass

Photo of Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Savpril Salwan

Tawang street

Photo of Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Savpril Salwan

Buddha Statue

Photo of Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Savpril Salwan

Buddha Statue

Photo of Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Savpril Salwan

Tawang Monastery

Photo of Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Savpril Salwan

Tawang Monastery

Photo of Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Savpril Salwan

Tawang Monastery

Photo of Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Savpril Salwan

Tawang Monastery

Photo of Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Savpril Salwan

Tawang

Photo of Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Savpril Salwan

Ani Gompa

Photo of Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Savpril Salwan

Tawang

Photo of Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Savpril Salwan

Sela Pass

Photo of Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Savpril Salwan

Sela Pass

Photo of Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Savpril Salwan

Sela Pass

Photo of Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Savpril Salwan

Sela Lake

Photo of Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Savpril Salwan

Bhanjakhri Waterfalls

Photo of Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Savpril Salwan

MG Road, Gangtok

Photo of Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Savpril Salwan

Ranka Monastery

Photo of Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Savpril Salwan

Sikkim

Photo of Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Savpril Salwan

Kolkata

Photo of Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Savpril Salwan

Kolkata

Photo of Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Savpril Salwan

Eden Gardens

Photo of Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Savpril Salwan

Park Street

Photo of Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Savpril Salwan

Howrah Bridge

Photo of Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Savpril Salwan

Kolkata

Photo of Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Savpril Salwan
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