We desperately needed a break- from work, routine, and all things mundane. That's how the trip to North East happened, a destination that both - AK & I - had somehow been planning & postponing for some reason or the other for a while now.
Shillong. We reached Shillong after a 2.5-3 hour flight from Delhi and a 5 hour road trip from Guwahati. The city in itself is painfully unimpressive, and so our itinerary took us to the city outskirts. While we also enjoyed the typically touristy destinations like the Elephant Falls and Shillong view point (Okay, that is not true. No one sane can enjoy the silly view point), what I'd really recommend are Mawphlang Sacred Forest and Laitlum Canyons. Word of caution- do your research well on how to reach there as very few locals know about these hidden jewels of nature.
We were forced to hire a guide at the Sacred Forest, as the locals are mighty scared after a foreigner lost his way in the forest a while back. Truth to tell, I would not mind losing my way in that forest. The guide kept us entertained with creepy stories about how the forest was once used to sacrifice red bulls for war and allied crap reasons. Totally loved the greens, weird stories, and chatting with the guide on the way of life in the Khasi land! The Canyon is.. umm.. not technically a Canyon but what the hell! The views from this place can not been described by words or pictures. One simply HAS to visit this place if one as much as touches Shillong!
Cherrapunjee, or Sohra as they call it in the native tongue. OMG!! What fun this place was!! We stayed at a resort owned and run by a family- cozy rooms, homey feel, awesome food, root tree bridges, crazy trekking options, limestone caves, helpful locals and lovely hosts.. in a nutshell, simply LOVED it all!!!
If I had to pick one highlight of the Sohra trip, I would say it was the 12 km trek that AK & I did through the forests- with a medium tough terrain, no fellow travelers in sight to offer help, a hand sketched map given by the resort hosts as a rough guide, exhaustion slowing our pace but not letting us stop as we were nearing sunset, almost losing our way out and going with the gut feel in the extreme last leg. There is a crazy thrill in pushing your boundaries, right? Oh please!! All these words sound scholarly in hindsight, but truth to tell, at the time I was very sure I would break a leg or two in that no man's land.
Sohra was clearly the highlight of our trip. So much so, that we really felt bad saying goodbyes to our hosts. At the end, we were packed off by our hosts with goodies, box of chocolates and memories of a lifetime!
Till the next vacation!