Meghalaya - A week in Paradise #northeastitinerary

Tripoto

Having visited most of the part of India(thanks to my parents), I always wanted to explore the north eastern part , so I thought it's high time I stop dreaming and actually visit it.

Airplane: Mumbai to Guwahati(halt at Kolkata)

We started very early in the morning and reached Guwahati around afternoon. We took a share cab from Guwahati to Shillong(Rs.500). It's a 3hour journey, so make sure you eat well before or ask the driver if he will make a halt in between.

Day 171

After leaving a few miles from Guwahati, we realised the sudden change in temperature, the scorching heat waves suddenly turned cool and we had reached Nongpeh. Since we had skipped lunch near airport, we took a halt at a hotel here - Jiva Veg .

Hote Jiva Veg - delicious meals with quirky interiors

Photo of Nongpoh, Meghalaya, India by Bhakti Prabhu

As the day was slowly coming to an end, we could find our cab entering into the roads covered with trees and we knew we had reached Shillong. We reached the hotel we had booked online and spent the day at leisure as it was too late when we reached Shillong. Hotel : OYO 4740, White Orchid, Lachumiere

Day 172

We had breakfast and started early the next day. Since we already booked a cab for the entire week, we discussed our plans and he suggested a few which together made the trip so memorable.

We started the day with Airforce Museum which depicted the history of Indian Air force along with the tour of museum covering the culture of northeast India. Outside the museum, you can find a stall serving hot maggi and great coffee, but photography is not allowed outside the museum (be cautious since they are very strict about the rules here)

Memoirs collected from the shop outside museum

Photo of Air Force Museum, Shillong, Meghalaya, India by Bhakti Prabhu

Different kinds of musical instruments used

Photo of Air Force Museum, Shillong, Meghalaya, India by Bhakti Prabhu

Airplane models kept for display

Photo of Air Force Museum, Shillong, Meghalaya, India by Bhakti Prabhu

Next we went to Elephanta Falls - since it's a popular tourist destination, you will find it crowded most of the times. It has 3 points mentioned along with directions - out of which last is from where you can actually watch the falls at a closer distance.

There's a signboard explaining why it was named so, although the Khasi name makes more sense.

Photo of Elephant Falls, Shillong, Meghalaya, India by Bhakti Prabhu

One of the falls nearby

Photo of Elephant Falls, Shillong, Meghalaya, India by Bhakti Prabhu

Elephant falls - the popular tourist spot

Photo of Elephant Falls, Shillong, Meghalaya, India by Bhakti Prabhu

Having heard about the sacred forests around, I really wanted to explore it and know more about the rituals and practices. Although this place is a bit off road, you should visit it atleast once. There are guides you need to hire (Rs 300) who are usually locals who tell you everything about the forest - the history, festivals celebrated and even the treks around. There's a saying that you cannot take anything from the forest when you leave else bad things will follow. There's also a famous David Scott trail which you can try out, incase you're more into trekking activities.

Poisonous plant

Photo of Mawphlang Sacred Grove, Nongrum, Meghalaya, India by Bhakti Prabhu

Pine tree - different kind

Photo of Mawphlang Sacred Grove, Nongrum, Meghalaya, India by Bhakti Prabhu

Rudraksh tree

Photo of Mawphlang Sacred Grove, Nongrum, Meghalaya, India by Bhakti Prabhu

Entrance to the forest trail

Photo of Mawphlang Sacred Grove, Nongrum, Meghalaya, India by Bhakti Prabhu

Stones used for sacrifices and religious purposes

Photo of Mawphlang Sacred Grove, Nongrum, Meghalaya, India by Bhakti Prabhu

Stones with traditional significance

Photo of Mawphlang Sacred Grove, Nongrum, Meghalaya, India by Bhakti Prabhu

On the opposite side of the forest, there's a village artificially created for tourists just to know more about their way of culture and living.  and know about the .

Khasi Heritage Village entrance

Photo of Khasi Heritage Village, Synrang Kaban, Meghalaya, India by Bhakti Prabhu

Traditional Khasi House

Photo of Khasi Heritage Village, Synrang Kaban, Meghalaya, India by Bhakti Prabhu

Different houses with various architecture

Photo of Khasi Heritage Village, Synrang Kaban, Meghalaya, India by Bhakti Prabhu

Open ground where different functions are held during the festivals

Photo of Khasi Heritage Village, Synrang Kaban, Meghalaya, India by Bhakti Prabhu

Area for functions and plays

Photo of Khasi Heritage Village, Synrang Kaban, Meghalaya, India by Bhakti Prabhu

We next started our journey towards Cherrapunjee which was undoubtedly very scenic and captivating.

Rice terrains found during the journey

Photo of Cherrapunjee, Meghalaya, India by Bhakti Prabhu

By the time we reached Cherrapunjee, it was afternoon and more foggy all around, hence the driver suggested another waterfall  Since they would be covered with fog which was surprisingly not in our list. Be careful to carry jackets and clothes to protect yourself as it's too windy and cold out there. The waterfall is at a 10 minute walk from the parking place. There is a small place which you have to cross the falls and it's a bit exhilarating because you're right on top of a waterfall(unlike the usual ones which you look from beneath). These are one of those falls you can see from closer, and its sound takes you to a place which is somewhere out of the world. We spent some time wandering around, but since not many people visit here, be careful.

On the way you can see the rock structures

Photo of Daiñthlen Falls, Cherrapunjee, Meghalaya, India by Bhakti Prabhu

Walking on the top of the Dainthlen waterfall

Photo of Daiñthlen Falls, Cherrapunjee, Meghalaya, India by Bhakti Prabhu

Colored structured rocks seen on the way

Photo of Daiñthlen Falls, Cherrapunjee, Meghalaya, India by Bhakti Prabhu

As we were about to leave, it started raining and since there were no signs of it  stopping we decided to call it an end and went directly to our homestay - Nalgre Homestay.

Nalgre Homestay

Photo of Meghalaya - A week in Paradise #northeastitinerary by Bhakti Prabhu

Delicious maggi served with rains

Photo of Meghalaya - A week in Paradise #northeastitinerary by Bhakti Prabhu
Day 173

Nohkalikai falls (Its supposedly the tallest plunge waterfall of India) has a story which is quite scary and doesn't justify the beauty of the falls. And though it was at a far distance, we could still hear the sound of the falls and hence can imagine its force. You can also trek to the top of the Nohkalikai falls with the help of locals.

Nohkalikai waterfalls

Photo of NohKaLikai Falls, Meghalaya by Bhakti Prabhu

Clouds gathering over the falls

Photo of NohKaLikai Falls, Meghalaya by Bhakti Prabhu

The falls , clouds and valleys all in one frame!

Photo of NohKaLikai Falls, Meghalaya by Bhakti Prabhu

We started the day a bit early since we wanted to go trekking today to the Living root bridges.

Along the way we stopped at the Ramkrishna Mission - since it was school hours, we quickly had a tour of the various traditions and cultures depicted in the form of models and various other stories.

The road towards the cave is bit rough and the driver mentioned that the caves were just discovered a few years back and hence not everyone is aware about it. The route towards the cave was truly scenic and mesmerising. You need to hire a guide otherwise it's difficult to explore the cave on your own. The caves give such a surreal look - dim lit, with water along with dark alleys and instructions written at places where there were stalactites or fossils. Its definitely not a place for claustrophobic people. There was a small cave-like region which we explored by walking on bended knees with only the torchlight to guide us - which was definitely the highlight of the cave since it really gives an experience of caving activity and makes you aware of the risks associated with it. When we came out of the cave- the pathway was covered with fog which made it perfect ending to the expedition.

The perfect pathway towards the cave

Photo of Arwah Lumshynna Cave, Cherrapunjee, Meghalaya, India by Bhakti Prabhu

Entrance of the cave(from inside)

Photo of Arwah Lumshynna Cave, Cherrapunjee, Meghalaya, India by Bhakti Prabhu

Instructions guiding you to fossils and stalactites

Photo of Arwah Lumshynna Cave, Cherrapunjee, Meghalaya, India by Bhakti Prabhu

The smaller cave which you can explore with the help of the guide

Photo of Arwah Lumshynna Cave, Cherrapunjee, Meghalaya, India by Bhakti Prabhu

Fossils of shells and other waterbodies

Photo of Arwah Lumshynna Cave, Cherrapunjee, Meghalaya, India by Bhakti Prabhu

Foggy surroundings

Photo of Arwah Lumshynna Cave, Cherrapunjee, Meghalaya, India by Bhakti Prabhu

Pathway surrounded by fog

Photo of Arwah Lumshynna Cave, Cherrapunjee, Meghalaya, India by Bhakti Prabhu

We then stopped over the restaurant Orange Roots which offers a great pleasant view and delicious vegetarian food  After having quick snacks around 12, we quickly went to the way for Living bridges trek and ended the day.

Orange roots Hotel (outside)

Photo of Orange Roots, Cherrapunjee, Meghalaya, India by Bhakti Prabhu

Unique feature : mostly run by women

Photo of Orange Roots, Cherrapunjee, Meghalaya, India by Bhakti Prabhu
Day 174

We had planned to reach Mawlynnong and on the way visit all the places in Cherrapunjee.

The falls are so called because you can find seven falls flowing together which is very unique and pretty.

Seven sisters fall - the flow was not that good since it wasn't raining

Photo of Seven Sisters Falls, Cherrapunjee, Nongkalikhai, Cherrapunjee, Meghalaya, India by Bhakti Prabhu

This is a popular cave especially open for tourists since it is well lit and properly taken care of. Unlike the previous one, you enter via one side and leave through another, although a few places you need to be careful since it's slippery.

Entrance of the Mawsmai caves

Photo of Mawsmai Cave, Cherrapunjee, Meghalaya, India by Bhakti Prabhu

Various structures formed at the caves

Photo of Mawsmai Cave, Cherrapunjee, Meghalaya, India by Bhakti Prabhu

Small area where the natural light enters

Photo of Mawsmai Cave, Cherrapunjee, Meghalaya, India by Bhakti Prabhu

More like a relaxation place or a place for chilling around with play area for kids. You can see the tip of the seven sister waterfalls here, which is very calm unlike the waterfalls!

Viewpoint : Base of the Seven Sister waterfalls

Photo of Eco Park, Cherrapunjee, Meghalaya, India by Bhakti Prabhu

Pretty structures at the park surrounded by clouds

Photo of Eco Park, Cherrapunjee, Meghalaya, India by Bhakti Prabhu

The park is spread across a wide area and is mainly for relaxation

Photo of Eco Park, Cherrapunjee, Meghalaya, India by Bhakti Prabhu

This is a nice place which has various spots like falls and stone structures.

Photo of Garden Of Caves, Laitryngew-War, Laitmawsiang, Meghalaya, India by Bhakti Prabhu

Heart shaped structure

Photo of Garden Of Caves, Laitryngew-War, Laitmawsiang, Meghalaya, India by Bhakti Prabhu

Watching the waterfall from a different perspective

Photo of Garden Of Caves, Laitryngew-War, Laitmawsiang, Meghalaya, India by Bhakti Prabhu
Photo of Garden Of Caves, Laitryngew-War, Laitmawsiang, Meghalaya, India by Bhakti Prabhu

This is the first view point when you enter Cherrapunjee.  

Scenic valleys with greenery.

Photo of Mawkdok Dympep Valley View Point, Cherrapunjee, Meghalaya, India by Bhakti Prabhu

On the way towards Mawlynnong, the roads were very scenic and the scenery was too mesmerising.

Scenic landscapes

Photo of Meghalaya - A week in Paradise #northeastitinerary by Bhakti Prabhu

One more viewpoint on the way with a beautiful view!

Photo of Meghalaya - A week in Paradise #northeastitinerary by Bhakti Prabhu

Pretty pathways

Photo of Meghalaya - A week in Paradise #northeastitinerary by Bhakti Prabhu

We reached Mawlynnong by evening, we had already booked the Sky View Resorts, which was in the outskirts of the actual village, which felt like living in a forest. We roamed around and had early dinner and ended the day.

Small streams before entering Mawlynnong village

Photo of Mawlynnong, Meghalaya, India by Bhakti Prabhu

Natural pools with clear water

Photo of Mawlynnong, Meghalaya, India by Bhakti Prabhu

Resort in the outskirts of Mawlynnomg village

Photo of Mawlynnong, Meghalaya, India by Bhakti Prabhu

Treehouses - A common sight in Mawlynnong

Photo of Mawlynnong, Meghalaya, India by Bhakti Prabhu

Asia's cleanest village with cutest people

Photo of Mawlynnong, Meghalaya, India by Bhakti Prabhu

Mawlynnong Church

Photo of Mawlynnong, Meghalaya, India by Bhakti Prabhu
Day 175

We reached Shillong by the end of the day after travelling through the Jaintia Hills.

Since we lived in the same resort, we went to the view point in the morning hours.

Climbing up the bamboo stairs to reach the treehouse

Photo of Sky View Bangladesh Viewpoint, Mawlynnong, Meghalaya, India by Bhakti Prabhu

In the absence of fog, you can view the plains of Bangladesh

Photo of Sky View Bangladesh Viewpoint, Mawlynnong, Meghalaya, India by Bhakti Prabhu

The resort we stayed

Photo of Sky View Bangladesh Viewpoint, Mawlynnong, Meghalaya, India by Bhakti Prabhu

Rains making the trip more memorable

Photo of Sky View Bangladesh Viewpoint, Mawlynnong, Meghalaya, India by Bhakti Prabhu

This bridge unlike the other fort bridges is more wider and less risky(filled with visitors, visit it during early morning or late evening)

Single Living Root bridge at Mawlynnong

Photo of Living Root Bridge, Mawlynnong, Surok Mawlynnong, Mawlynnong, Meghalaya, India by Bhakti Prabhu

Wider bridge

Photo of Living Root Bridge, Mawlynnong, Surok Mawlynnong, Mawlynnong, Meghalaya, India by Bhakti Prabhu

It was close during morning hours, but you can visit it.

We took a different route for Dawki, where we could see the Bangladesh plains and fields along with some great waterfalls on the way.

Borhill Falls in full flow on the way to Dawki

Photo of Borhill Falls, Meghalaya, India by Bhakti Prabhu

Don't know what they are called but they were pretty intense

Photo of Borhill Falls, Meghalaya, India by Bhakti Prabhu

Bangladesh and India separated by a single rock

Photo of Borhill Falls, Meghalaya, India by Bhakti Prabhu

Our next stop for the day was Dawki. The whole visit along with the boating was a different experience altogether. Though the water is more clearer during winters and you can even camp around the waters.

Balancing rocks at Dawki

Photo of Dawki, Meghalaya, India by Bhakti Prabhu

Boating at Dawki(Rs 700 per boat)

Photo of Dawki, Meghalaya, India by Bhakti Prabhu

Border between Bangladesh and India

Photo of Tamabil Road, Borhan Bag, Bangladesh by Bhakti Prabhu
Photo of Krang Shuri Waterfall, Meghalaya, India by Bhakti Prabhu

Falls as seen from viewpoint

Photo of Krang Shuri Waterfall, Meghalaya, India by Bhakti Prabhu
Photo of Stone bridge, Meghalaya, India by Bhakti Prabhu
Photo of Thadlaskein, Meghalaya, India by Bhakti Prabhu
Day 176

Kids playing outside the Army check post area

Photo of Shillong View Point, Meghalaya, India by Bhakti Prabhu

Used as rainshield

Photo of Shillong View Point, Meghalaya, India by Bhakti Prabhu

This day was reserved for Shillong Sightseeing which included the usual tourists spots along with Laithlum Canyons.

You can have a picnic with morning to do ground but rest and enjoy the scenic view.

Where you can actually feel the clouds

Photo of Laitlum Canyon, Meghalaya, India by Bhakti Prabhu

Tea and snacks served on the hills

Photo of Laitlum Canyon, Meghalaya, India by Bhakti Prabhu

Goats wandering around

Photo of Laitlum Canyon, Meghalaya, India by Bhakti Prabhu

The King's residence

Photo of Smit, Meghalaya, India by Bhakti Prabhu

Patterns

Photo of Smit, Meghalaya, India by Bhakti Prabhu
Photo of Cathedral of Mary Help of Christians, Lachumiere, Shillong, Meghalaya, India by Bhakti Prabhu

Open area for visitors

Photo of Shillong Golf Course, Golf Links, Shillong, Meghalaya, India by Bhakti Prabhu

We ended the day after visiting the museum of Shillong and called it a day off. The next day we left around morning for Guwahati from where we had booked a plane. Thus ended the beautiful journey on a pleasant note.

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