Journey from the Unexplored to the Explored; Dawki –Mawlynnong
There is one special rule, above all others, for being an adventurer. Whatever comes, face it on your feet and travel the world.
I have lived in the mountains my entire life, still I love to get in to the mountains and its beauty never tires me out. There is such a place which has been on my radar for quite some time. As I always do a descent research before making my mind up of visiting a place, so was the case with this place as well. Around 85km from Shillong there is a magical place – Dawki – the last town in Meghalaya which is on the border with Bangladesh. It is on a hill and we can see plains of Bangladesh all along the route to Dawki.
We started our journey at 8:00 am in the morning with a call from our driver Mr. Suman waking us up at 7:30 am, the scheduled time of departure. Wangkhon and I hurriedly had ourselves freshened up till we waited for one of our friend and started our journey without much delay. As it was my maiden visit to Meghalaya, it had so much more to offer and I couldn’t wait to see the majestic of it. With just a couple of minutes since we hit the road my friend Bicky started puking. I wouldn’t blame the curvy roads as he himself was a native to the place. We stopped for a while till he recovered and we moved on.
Most hills on the way were connected by the road with small bridges and it was a great feeling when we realised that we were crossing from one hill to the other. The plain area was very beautiful and had many curves on the road. Hills were covered by the pine trees and the scenic beauty of that area was next to nothing in the entire journey.
Image Source: Google
The road to Dawki was curvy and topsy turvy. However the roads are well maintained primarily because the road is very crucial for Indo-Bangla trade. Not far from Dawki we reached a place in the hills where we can see the Bangladeshi plains. Not much sort of waow factor in seeing the plains but it was more of an achievement in seeing a different country not far from where you stand. As closer we were getting to Dawki, just before the Dawki Bridge you could see the crystal clear water of Umngot River. I had seen some pictures of the river in social media and that had motivated me to reach out to this place. I swear the beauty of it was cherry on the cake and a treat for eyes. It was amazingly beautiful. There also lied the Dawki Bridge on the way adding more beauty to it. It was constructed by the Britishers. We reached the border at around 11:00 am. We took a lot of pictures in and around the border. There were children’s playing in the no man’s land. The Border Security Force (BSF) did not bother about them. The security forces were very humble and they also let us inside Bangladesh about 5 meters. Friends and I were overjoyed in crossing the Radcliffe Line and setting the foot on both the sides of the country. It was first of its kind experience.
Image Source: Google
We then went back to Dawki town and rented the boat for Rs. 400. The angler promised us to take us to the bank of the river and told us that we could spend some time in the bank if we pay him Rs. 100 extra. We agreed and sat on the boat. And here the never forgetting journey begins. The river was so clear that we could literally see the pebbles inside the river and few fishes jumping over the river. It was a nostalgic feeling when you are overwhelmed by its beauty. We couldn’t stop ourselves taking videos and pictures and boating right through the Dawki Bridge was mesmerising. While on our way back to the bank, a fisherman on his boat started whistling. Though it was a careless whistling but I could feel he was communicating with the sound of wind, dancing and writing beautiful poetry across the skies. With the ride almost coming to an end, I had a mixed feeling of not letting the moment go but also had it in my mind that I would definitely make another visit with more people, to share your story to the world.
Soon after our boat ride, we had tea and snacks in a small stall. By this time we were literally hungry but we kept our stomach tight until we reach our next destination to have an authentic Meghalaya food. We then decided to bid adieu from an unexplored Dawki to the explored Mawlynnong Village.
Mawlynnong is a small village with about 80 households, in lash-green East Khasi Hills in Meghalaya. It has also won the award for being the cleanest village in Asia. We reached the village about 45 minutes drive from Dawki and were amazed by the beauty of the place. There were beautiful gardens in all the houses with various varieties of flowers. The road was very clean and every bit of the road was all-weather. All the inner roads inside the village were made of concrete. In front of every house and shop, there were beautiful bamboo baskets as dust-bins.
Photo by: shalaran
We saw the “Balancing Stone”; it was indeed a marvel. You could see the big rock balancing over a small stone. We took some pictures there and headed for our next treat – “The Living Root Bridge”, to which I was waiting the entire day to have a glimpse of it. We took the small road which went down through rocky stairs. Only 60 steps below laid a beautiful living root bridge perhaps 250-400 years old. We were astounded to see the bridge. There were two trees which had their roots over a small stream passing by in such a way that people could travel over the roots to the other bank. We started posing for pictures almost through all angles of the bridge but with many tourists flooded in the sight; we could hardly get our singles. Nevertheless, we did manage to get few of our singles. We then climbed up the 60 steps back; it was so much tiring when you are on a run since morning. On our way back, there laid a sky view, an 85 feet high viewing tower that’s made of bamboo where you could see the entire village. We went to the top of the staircase to the platform and saw the bird’s eye view of the entire village. The stairs were made of bamboo and were tied to a tree. We were delighted by the prospect of the bridge and platform made of bamboo.
Photo Source: Google
After our authentic Meghalaya lunch, it was time for us to say goodbye. This small trip and the first trip of the year 2016 have offered me so much. I will always cherish and have a special place in my heart. Mawlynnong, a small village has set an example for us that need to be replicated in our villages/towns/cities as well. Keep calm and keep your cities clean.