Inching closer to Mother nature, khublei Meghalaya :)

Tripoto
21st Oct 2017
Photo of Inching closer to Mother nature, khublei Meghalaya :) by Sayantani Maiti
Day 1

From the hustle bustle of the Kolkata city, we entered a greener and a quieter Guwahati. At 4 pm , the sun was about to set. My first impression of the city - wet, green and dark. Wet due to the recent depression and hence the unnecessary rains in Guwahati in October. We had already pre booked a cab from the start. The journey towards Kaziranga started at around 4:30 pm, we reached Kaziranga and checked in Aranya Lodge ( Assam tourism) at around 9:30 pm . With 1500/- for one night , it was perfect for 3 people.

Day 2

Next day early morning , we had booked an elephant safari at 6 am. It was a 15 min drive from Aranya Lodge which was at Kohora range to the Bagori range. First look at the elephant which was supposed to carry us and I felt it looked wary of all of us passengers. We boarded Laxmi Ram (hathi) and set for the ride . With the past few days of downpour, the forest was painted with a fresh colour of green. In between drizzles and early morning sunlight, we spotted the first one horned rhino eating away the tall elephant grass. Laxmi(bai) (as i had named him) moved closer to him. The rhino was least bothered. It gave us full 5 minutes of a glorious look, turned around and went into the forest. We meandered through the forest in between swamps , mud, elephant grasses(such a pun!) and trees. Sometimes, had to crane our necks to spot a rhino or a herd of deer and sometimes had to duck a few branches of the tree .

After the elephant safari , we booked a Jeep Safari which took us into the Kohora range. Because of the recent rains, the gates to the inside of the forest hadn't opened.

There it is. One horned rhino !

Photo of Guwahati, Assam, India by Sayantani Maiti

in the vast forest spread over 1000 acres

Photo of Guwahati, Assam, India by Sayantani Maiti

posing graciously

Photo of Guwahati, Assam, India by Sayantani Maiti

inside the kohora range

Photo of Guwahati, Assam, India by Sayantani Maiti

fellow elephant safaris in the bagori range

Photo of Guwahati, Assam, India by Sayantani Maiti

swampy

Photo of Guwahati, Assam, India by Sayantani Maiti

Spot on

Photo of Guwahati, Assam, India by Sayantani Maiti

Such a definite demarkation of the forest from the mountains and the sky

Photo of Guwahati, Assam, India by Sayantani Maiti

An oriental pied hornbill sits quietly

Photo of Guwahati, Assam, India by Sayantani Maiti

The Jeep

Photo of Guwahati, Assam, India by Sayantani Maiti

One of the first pointers we noted was the early sunset and limited movement thereafter. Hence, to reach to our next destination , Shillong, we left Kaziranga at around 12 pm. Had lunch (fresh fish from the river Brahmaputra) . Touched down at 6 pm , already pitch dark , the stars out in the sky all bright. I had booked a bed and breakfast at 'Bed and Breakfast' near the Polo tower , a very cosy room , little small for three people but, if you want to bunk up real close, this is the place to be. Plus , the owner, Eric, was real helpful in giving us some ideas about the places around Meghalaya. A traveller back in Baroda, had asked me not to miss the 'Dylan cafe' in Shillong and well , you can guess , where we went for dinner that night !

Thank you, Bob.

Photo of Shillong, Meghalaya, India by Sayantani Maiti

Little one

Photo of Shillong, Meghalaya, India by Sayantani Maiti
Photo of Shillong, Meghalaya, India by Sayantani Maiti
Photo of Shillong, Meghalaya, India by Sayantani Maiti

fried noodles and a book about all the songs Bob Dylan wrote

Photo of Shillong, Meghalaya, India by Sayantani Maiti

Chicken barbeque with onion rings and potato wedges.

Photo of Shillong, Meghalaya, India by Sayantani Maiti
Day 3

Day 3 was kept for roaming about in Shillong city and Umiam lake. We decided to explore the unusual places and kept the usual ones for the next day. From farms of cabbage, potatoes and cauliflower to green expanse of fields, to narrow lanes, to rocks to wooden houses in the middle of nowhere and clouds appearing and engulfing us, the city kept enthralling us all the time of the day.

spotted this balance beam in the green field and the travellers suddenly became gymnasts

Photo of Shillong, Meghalaya, India by Sayantani Maiti
Photo of Shillong, Meghalaya, India by Sayantani Maiti
Photo of Shillong, Meghalaya, India by Sayantani Maiti
Photo of Shillong, Meghalaya, India by Sayantani Maiti

pretty flowers

Photo of Shillong, Meghalaya, India by Sayantani Maiti
Photo of Shillong, Meghalaya, India by Sayantani Maiti
Photo of Shillong, Meghalaya, India by Sayantani Maiti
Photo of Shillong, Meghalaya, India by Sayantani Maiti

shillong market

Photo of Shillong, Meghalaya, India by Sayantani Maiti

After our lunch in a teeeny weeeny place all for only 60 Rs for one pork thali, we set for Umiam lake .

Photo of Inching closer to Mother nature, khublei Meghalaya :) by Sayantani Maiti
Photo of Inching closer to Mother nature, khublei Meghalaya :) by Sayantani Maiti
Photo of Inching closer to Mother nature, khublei Meghalaya :) by Sayantani Maiti
Photo of Inching closer to Mother nature, khublei Meghalaya :) by Sayantani Maiti
Photo of Inching closer to Mother nature, khublei Meghalaya :) by Sayantani Maiti
Photo of Inching closer to Mother nature, khublei Meghalaya :) by Sayantani Maiti
Day 4

Day 4 started with a our drive towards Cherrapunji . On the way , we saw the giant elephant falls . This was a three step waterfall , a short 15 min trek to its base. How often do you witness white waters falling in a bundle so close you could almost touch it.

Photo of Shillong, Meghalaya, India by Sayantani Maiti
Photo of Shillong, Meghalaya, India by Sayantani Maiti

Next we went to Shillong peak, in the Airforce area. The name might confuse you but it was basically a point from where the whole of Shillong could be seen with a 23X telescope perched on top of a building.

After that, we headed towards Cherrapunji. On the way lunch at Orange roots. Then we headed to Dainthlen falls around the corner. Unlike other falls, this spot is built at the origin of the falls. The vegetation here was different than Shillong and you could feel the presence of more rocks or Maw in Khasi language.

never ending hues of green

Photo of Cherrapunjee, Meghalaya, India by Sayantani Maiti

standalone bridge at Dainthelen falls

Photo of Cherrapunjee, Meghalaya, India by Sayantani Maiti

right at its origin

Photo of Cherrapunjee, Meghalaya, India by Sayantani Maiti
Photo of Cherrapunjee, Meghalaya, India by Sayantani Maiti
Day 1

We then headed towards the Arwah cave in a godforsaken hour of the day . We usually hate the crowd and it turned out that Arwah cave is not very famous yet. That was a bonus .

walking towards arwah cave

Photo of Guwahati, Assam, India by Sayantani Maiti

land of waterfalls

Photo of Guwahati, Assam, India by Sayantani Maiti
Photo of Guwahati, Assam, India by Sayantani Maiti
Photo of Guwahati, Assam, India by Sayantani Maiti

When we came out after an hour of exploration, it was almost sunset time, we hurried towards the famous Nohkilakai falls. The story behind the name of the falls is so tragic , you cant help feeling sad. However, the waterfall falling from a height of 335 metres , looks nothing short of gorgeous.

nohkilakai falls

Photo of Guwahati, Assam, India by Sayantani Maiti

At around 5:30 pm, we left for our homestay booked at Sohra. It was built in the middle of a field with a kitchen in the backyard . We were welcome to prepare our own meals. We , however, decided to home deliver the dinner. After a few glasses of port wine and hot dal chawal , we slept early as the next day was going to be the strenuous.

Day 5

We woke up early morning, went for a jog, saw the sun rise. Also cooked some breakfast . stuffed our bags with some biscuits, etc. We were going to do the Double decker living root bridge trek to Nongriat , some 20 kms away from Sohra. We started the trek at 10:30 am. We had to climb down 3200 steps and back on the same day . As we were climbing down, the knees started to reply with jerks and vibrations. We met a few trekkers who were coming up the steps all panting. Anyway , there was absolutely no time to think how tired we already were or we would be . We carried on.

double living root bridge

Photo of Nongriat, Meghalaya, India by Sayantani Maiti
Photo of Nongriat, Meghalaya, India by Sayantani Maiti
Photo of Nongriat, Meghalaya, India by Sayantani Maiti
Photo of Nongriat, Meghalaya, India by Sayantani Maiti

very enthralled

Photo of Nongriat, Meghalaya, India by Sayantani Maiti

The double decker living root bridge

Photo of Nongriat, Meghalaya, India by Sayantani Maiti

The sweat and the panting is worth, for, waiting down is this marvelous engineering of the Khasi villagers to decrease their pain each monsoon in creating bamboo bridges and it's astonishing how strong the roots were .

The lover of fresh waterfalls in me immediately dove into the pond . The continual tingling when tiny fishes nibbled on our feet and the fact nobody was actually bathing in the water could not prevent us from enjoying it every bit. Nature has given everything for us to survive. It's all around , only for us to explore.

The trek back was rather a painful one . Tested our stamina . However, after 2 hours, we climbed the last step and heaved a sigh of relief.

Photo of Inching closer to Mother nature, khublei Meghalaya :) by Sayantani Maiti

Started our drive towards the cleanest village of Asia. We didnt know what was awaiting us there.

Day 6

Mawlynnong was awarded the cleanest village of Asia as the village consisting of 97 families had decided to build toilets in every house since 1989. We reached the village at around 7 pm. You would realize why it was awarded the cleanest village as soon as you enter.

There was a Jingham (instructions in english) board right at the parking which told you what NOT to do here. We checked in a bamboo cottage booked by Airbnb. Reaching there I realized, we were being charged hefty for the small place just right enough to contain three people. The property was interestingly jointly owned by a 64 year old school teacher and a enterpreneur from Bombay who managed the bookings on Airbnb. After resting, we walked through the village till the Bangladesh viewpoint treehouse and the open farm in the opposite end. Till that night, I felt, I have almost covered the whole of Meghalaya since Jaintia hills is not much explorable. Well, i was proven wrong that night. After dinner , we happened to meet a Mawlynnong-er who was a guide by profession. That 45 minute long chat with him was the highlight of that night. He gave us insights to Jaintia hills and the offbeat treks that he organizes all the time. So, another trip will soon be planned ;)

Next morning , had the evergreen bread butter toast breakfast and left for what we were eagerly waiting for. Dawki lake. We drove past bamboo forests, and drove along the Bangladesh border with the BSF posts at regular intervals. You could feel the surge in temperature from the rest of Meghalaya. We could see Silhet, its markets, its farmers, its buffaloes when suddenly the greenery ended and emerged a emerald lake.

The first look of Dawki

Photo of Dawki, Meghalaya, India by Sayantani Maiti
Photo of Dawki, Meghalaya, India by Sayantani Maiti
Photo of Dawki, Meghalaya, India by Sayantani Maiti
Photo of Dawki, Meghalaya, India by Sayantani Maiti
Photo of Dawki, Meghalaya, India by Sayantani Maiti
Day 1

The water had to be so transparent to reflect the exact green of the forest overhead. I was prepared to take a dip in the fresh water. And who could stop me.

Photo of Guwahati, Assam, India by Sayantani Maiti

This trip introduced us to some really lovely people. Hajong, our driver was one. The caretaker at Sohra was another. The boat man in Dawki was the cutest of all. All of 18 age, his father had recently passed away and he was helping his mother with the monthly expenditure. His laugh was infectious. He kept telling us not to get in the middle of the lake since, it had some rapid. After bathing , we (literally, not kiddin') rowed to the rock separating Meghalaya and Silhet.

Photo of Inching closer to Mother nature, khublei Meghalaya :) by Sayantani Maiti
Photo of Inching closer to Mother nature, khublei Meghalaya :) by Sayantani Maiti
Photo of Inching closer to Mother nature, khublei Meghalaya :) by Sayantani Maiti

In dawki village we had our lunch . Typical bengali food and fresh fish from the river.

Photo of Inching closer to Mother nature, khublei Meghalaya :) by Sayantani Maiti
Photo of Inching closer to Mother nature, khublei Meghalaya :) by Sayantani Maiti

Sumptuous and delicious.

Photo of Inching closer to Mother nature, khublei Meghalaya :) by Sayantani Maiti

Leaderfield ( the guide we met in Mawlynnong) had told us that to enter Jaintia hills from Khasi hills, we would cross an old iron bridge built way back in the British rule era.

Why were we heading there ? We had to catch up with some music lovers from different parts of the country and abroad.

Thadlaskein lake and pinewood forest was our campsite for the next three nights. The temperature again dipped graciously and reminded us we were back in the hills.

Day 7
Photo of Thadlaskein Lake, Mukhla, Meghalaya, India by Sayantani Maiti
Photo of Thadlaskein Lake, Mukhla, Meghalaya, India by Sayantani Maiti
Photo of Thadlaskein Lake, Mukhla, Meghalaya, India by Sayantani Maiti
Photo of Thadlaskein Lake, Mukhla, Meghalaya, India by Sayantani Maiti
Photo of Thadlaskein Lake, Mukhla, Meghalaya, India by Sayantani Maiti
Day 1

I was thinking about the events we had witnessed in this single trip . From Diwali celebration with relatives to Bhai-phota to exploring Kaziranga national park to waterfalls to caves to living root bridges. The north east is also known for its music cult and the fashion statement. Giving us the opportunity to explore both at the same time and place was NH7 Bacardi Weekender fest, Meghalaya. The last two days could easily become one of my personal favourite memories with these two. From musicians unknown to the very famous ones, each had 20 -60 minutes to enchant the audience.

From dressing up , to running from one stage to the other , to collecting buckets and glasses and hearts(!) , to having naga meal and pork cooked in black sesame , the trip couldnt have ended on a better note .

Weekender !!!

Photo of Guwahati, Assam, India by Sayantani Maiti
Photo of Guwahati, Assam, India by Sayantani Maiti
Photo of Guwahati, Assam, India by Sayantani Maiti
Photo of Guwahati, Assam, India by Sayantani Maiti
Photo of Guwahati, Assam, India by Sayantani Maiti

Camp TInder

Photo of Guwahati, Assam, India by Sayantani Maiti
Photo of Guwahati, Assam, India by Sayantani Maiti
Day 8

Weekender fest Day 2.

Our flight was in the evening from Guwahati and we made a point to visit the famous Kamakhya temple.

Photo of Thadlaskein Lake, Mukhla, Meghalaya, India by Sayantani Maiti
Photo of Thadlaskein Lake, Mukhla, Meghalaya, India by Sayantani Maiti
Photo of Thadlaskein Lake, Mukhla, Meghalaya, India by Sayantani Maiti
Photo of Thadlaskein Lake, Mukhla, Meghalaya, India by Sayantani Maiti

Kamakhya temple

Photo of Thadlaskein Lake, Mukhla, Meghalaya, India by Sayantani Maiti
Photo of Thadlaskein Lake, Mukhla, Meghalaya, India by Sayantani Maiti
Day 1

And bid adieu to the land of falls, rocks, fashion , music, caves and most importantly , Happy wonderful people.

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