10. The hidden gem that is HaflongThis is one of the most beautiful hill stations in India. North- East is already incomparable when it comes to scenic beauty and hill stations. This is like a hidden gem which shines more than many others. The Haflong Lake is the most attractive point here and there are also other places of interest here. The airports of Guahati and Dimapur are close but if you want train connectivity, you get it from Lumding or Dimapur. Based in the North East Indian state of Assam, Haflong will let you play around up close and personal with the fog and clouds.Read More
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Book a Package Tour
135 Kms from Haflong
Best time to visit - March,April,May,June,July,August,September
The land of waterfalls, the Scotland of the East - Shillong needs no introduction and yet deserves so many. A must-visit if you are visiting the North-East, this lovely town offers you an experience that is unmatched. There is tons to see and do in Shillong and if you are a traveller who enjoys packing a lot of things in your vacation, you'll love Shillong. From numerous waterfalls to lakes to historical sites, you'll be spoilt for choice. Umiam Lake is a manmade lake that resembles the lakes of Scotland and is a wonderful way to spend your afternoon, but be prepared to walk a lot. The boating activity take place a little further from where you park your car and it's quite a long, long walk. Do check the weather before you step out since the weather here can be a little unpredictable. The Don Bosco Centre for Indigenous Cultures is another enlightening spot where you learn about the various cultures and tribes of Assam. The centre may get a little boring if you are not into history and it's best to head here if you are a history buff. Otherwise, you can spend your day at Elephant Falls, which are divine! The sight is incredible and the whole experience brings one much closer to nature. The beauty is mesmerising and the locals there are a treat to interact with. Do take back some bamboo goods when you are here and don't forget to bargain! Mawjymbuin Caves is another great touristy spot here and a treat to explore. The caves are well lit and not dangerous at all albeit a few tricky curves so if you are travelling with children, you can definitely bring them along. Do wear proper shoes when you are out on your expedition to avoid a fall. Reaching Shillong is hassle free and doesn't take too long from the urban city of Assam. Taxis ply at all times of the day and it's almost a 5 hour stunning drive. Do choose your hotels carefully in Shillong since the hotels here are absolutely splendid and you shouldn't miss a chance to enjoy the warm hospitality of this lovely town. Read More
The land of waterfalls, the Scotland of the East - Shillong needs no introduction and yet deserves so many. A must-visit if you are visiting the North-East, this lovely town offers you an experience that is unmatched. There is tons to see and do in Shillong and if you are a traveller who enjoys packing a lot of things in your vacation, you'll love Shillong. From numerous waterfalls to lakes to historical sites, you'll be spoilt for choice. Umiam Lake is a manmade lake that resembles the lakes of Scotland and is a wonderful way to spend your afternoon, but be prepared to walk a lot. The boating activity take place a little further from where you park your car and it's quite a long, long walk. Do check the weather before you step out since the weather here can be a little unpredictable. The Don Bosco Centre for Indigenous Cultures is another enlightening spot where you learn about the various cultures and tribes of Assam. The centre may get a little boring if you are not into history and it's best to head here if you are a history buff. Otherwise, you can spend your day at Elephant Falls, which are divine! The sight is incredible and the whole experience brings one much closer to nature. The beauty is mesmerising and the locals there are a treat to interact with. Do take back some bamboo goods when you are here and don't forget to bargain! Mawjymbuin Caves is another great touristy spot here and a treat to explore. The caves are well lit and not dangerous at all albeit a few tricky curves so if you are travelling with children, you can definitely bring them along. Do wear proper shoes when you are out on your expedition to avoid a fall. Reaching Shillong is hassle free and doesn't take too long from the urban city of Assam. Taxis ply at all times of the day and it's almost a 5 hour stunning drive. Do choose your hotels carefully in Shillong since the hotels here are absolutely splendid and you shouldn't miss a chance to enjoy the warm hospitality of this lovely town.
Before I first arrived in Shillong, I expected it to be yet another overrated tourist destination - similar to the likes of Shimla, or Darjeeling. I expected a Mall Road, a few hundred confused tourists and their cheeky kids brutalizing a city in the mountains. No wonder, I'd no plan to stay there even for one night, but because my next destination was Cherapunji, and I missed the last bus that left Shillong, I'd no other option. But it turned out that in only a couple of hours, I fell in love with this young, vibrant city in the northeast part of India. I loved its vibe, the local crowd and the super cheap food. And because of the fact that there was so much to see and do around Shillong, I ended up staying here for 3 nights, before I finally moved to Cherapunji. So if you too decided to give Shillong a visit, and are not sure what local attractions not to miss, here are my top 6 recommendations:
Next morning @ 06:00, we took a taxi to Shillong which was approx 90 kms and hilly highway. I travelled on a four track highway in mountains for first time. Entire path was very scenic and more natural and other hill stations. That was a great experience of combination of travelling on a developed four track highway and enjoying the most natural views. We reached Shillong at 08:30. In Shillong, the black taxis are only available public vehicle instead of auto rickshaw as it is a hill station. He took us to area where we could search for hotels. I went to find hotels but none of them were nice even at a rent of Rs.1250. We then decided to go to our pre-searched hotel named Orchid Hotel which was undertaken by Meghalaya Govt.
I finish this article deliberately with a Northeastern city because it'll ensure that part of India continues to linger in your thoughts after you're done reading it. Shillong is a beautiful city where the underground music scene has always produced some sublime artistes that are original in their approach. And the fact that Bacardi decided to organise a Weekender in the city in 2016 only reinstated the fact that the music scene here is slowly but surely getting the recognition it's worthy of.Some Major Music Festivals Hosted: Shillong Blues & Jazz Festival (Jazz) in Sept, NH7 Weekender (Various genres) in Oct.Read more about Shillong.So there you have it, musical travellers! I've just given you many reasons and options to check out the country and appreciate exemplary art. If you've already travelled far and wide to attend music festivals, do share your story on Tripoto! We'd love to share it around.
Shillong is a world apart. This capital of a tiny northeastern state is blessed with plenty of rain all year long, but late March is the time when the rain gods decide to take a foot back and relax. On the surface it may look like a typical modern Indian town, but its soul lies in its colonial era architecture still prevalent in some sectors. Definitely one of the most unique places to visit in March in India.Things to do: Picnicking with friends on the Shillong Peak. River rafting on Barapani Lake, just 17km from Shillong. Angling cat fishes and golden carps at Umiam Lake.Food: Since Meghalaya is home to the Mongoloid tribes as well, the cuisine is a bit different from the rest of the Seven Sisters with emphasis on spicy meat and fish curries.Weather: Average – 18 degrees Celsius. High – 26 degrees Celsius. Low – 10 degrees Celsius.Average Expenditure Per Head (excluding flights): Rs. 13,000 for 5 days.How to reach: The nearest airport is in Umroi, which is 40km away from Shillong. There are regular flights here from Delhi, Ahmedabad, Bangalore and Aizawl.For an extended guide on Shillong, refer to this trip.
Been here for a wedding earlier but I am the kind who loves revisits. Besides, who doesn’t love Shillong! A trip with an accomplished poet and novelist, Easterine Kire is an opportunity of a lifetime. We were part of the National Writers’ Meet. It excited me that the event was held at my Dad’s old college- St. Edmund’s College. The morning walk was pristine among other beautiful things that Shillong is made of.Kerala (July 2015)
Roads to Guwahati was good from Pathasala, and we reached there for breakfast thanks to early morning start. Then we took a right (well most of us did :P ) to shillong and the roads became even better. The 4 lane highway is full of curves, and banked to help take corners at higher speeds. Better yet the drivers were following traffic rules, and kept to their lanes. We made up the 100km in less than 1.5hrs.
Shillong autumn festival is one of the most famous festivals of the NE region with quite a popularity among the foreign tourists. It marks the onset of a season of Khasi tribes which is generally celebrated in the month of October or early November.Along with lots of food, wine, flower shows and cultural extravaganza this festival also hosts fashion shows to showcase the local fabric and hand-loom industry. In addition to the fashion show, you also get to experience the local craftsmanship and talent through various exhibitions’ stalls. As the name suggest, it is celebrated every year in shillong which is the capital city of Meghalaya.5. Orange Festival, Dambuk
End your sojourn in Meghalaya's capital city. Vibrant, yet serene, Shillong will surprise you with its host of attractions. One of the most popular places to visit in Northeastern India .Shillong is an urban enclave amidst a largely untouched landscape. Visit Shillong to experience the thriving cosmopolitan side of North east India. From cafes and gigs to breathtaking outdoors, Shillong is a dream escape, sprinkled with all the creature comforts of modern life.Amazing Things to Do in North-East India Shillong
If you want to enjoy the spirit of Christmas in a quaint far away town, then you should definitely go to Shillong this December. Shillong is popularly known as the 'Abode of Clouds' and we could not agree more! While in Shillong, do not forget to go to the Umiam Lake and the Elephant Falls. In December, the entire town will be christmasy!How to reach Shillong:Guwahati is the nearest railway station, which is 100km away, and the nearest airport is in Umroi, which is only connected to Kolkata.
#TripototakeMeToSandakphuShillong happened just like any other trip, with a purpose awaiting an experience.Till now I've had experienced the New Year's eve in every cosy way that my parents could make possible for me, but this time it was my demand to make it different, like our generation says, "My plans, my rules." So anyway I tagged along with a friend of mine, both with literally very limited cash to spend but in sheer need of escape from the city and on those accounts Shillong proved to be a great host.We reached Shillong at around 7 in the evening of 30 th December after missing a train at Howrah, travelling in General for about 20 hours and not being able to reach the phone of the friend who was supposed to take us to a budget hotel, but all that exhaustion was soon going to be relieved; as it happened after shivering in the bone chilling breeze, gulping down litres of steaming hot tea that we finally could make a contact with that angel of a friend. He took us to the hotel; it was small but a very nice one. At the reception we were greeted by a happy to serve bell boy who would later become our man friday; he took us to our room which was again a very cosy one and welcomed us with a heater and a bathroom fitted with geyser, seriously that was indeed a bonus considering the very moderate tariff we were paying. A hot water bath and a joint got our tired and cramped asses on power mode again and we were ready to explore the capital city of Meghalaya, which the friend said will already be half asleep; wait, it was only 08:30 in the evening but the friend who was a resident of that place knew his home well, and surely we didn't get booze or anything much except some mind bogglingly delicious pork momos and a Vodafone recharge card.While returning to our hotel in the deep night chill, with our hoodies on, our mouth shut and our eyes open, I saw something which would accompany me for a very long time to come. The streets of shillong are exactly like the ones we would imagine while reading Enid Blyton's The Mystery Series again or the Famous Five, whirling and twirling in all its delight, at times it's just some bleak and old stone stairs that would take you to the other end of the town, that night I was walking the one that leads up to Rilbong, after walking all the way up to the junction I once turned back and instantly fell in love with the far away lights of the peak in front in the cold dark; it enunciated a romanticism of its own. I knew it was just the beginning of the strong concord I was about to develop with this place in these 2 nights and 1 day that I had planned my stay to be; yes, just planned. I was yet to witness Shillong in the day light. With that suspense and what already had unmasked, I must say I had the deepest sleep after a long time.I am not usually an early riser but the next morning I woke up, very fresh and energised, at 5:30 sharp. The sun hadn't risen yet but was about to in very less time. I could see fresh, virgin streaks of mildew sun light playing across the curtains, making patters on the bed. It was a 31 st December morning; winter was at its merciless best. It was an ordeal indeed to pull down the blanket and get out of the warmth, but the anticipation of what was outside was more than tempting. I saw Shoumik, my trip companion, sleeping soundly. I removed the curtains and was a little disappointed as the window offered no view; I cursed my budget for that. View or no view, what I could see from the window was enough for me to understand that I still had almost 15 minutes in my hand to prepare myself for the sunrise. I made tea in the electric kettle; the sound it made almost woke Shoumik up. Even before the tea was made, I had a perfectly rolled joint and more 7-8 minutes in hand. I decided to do something against my usual nature as I thought, it was, anyway going to be a day of firsts. I went to the washroom and took a cold water bath, the water almost went down freezing every cell and bone of my body but I was prepared, with a towel wrapped around by waist, bare-bodied with a cup of tea and a joint to welcome with open and shivering arms, The Sun. I walked all across the balcony until I found a suitable position to place my cup, light the joint and witness the sunrise from the back of the total panoramic East Khasi hills. The sun came out beaming bright and gold, its strong but warm rays touching and kissing all my body, the cold water was just a bye gone, the chill only a boon. Such mornings are one of the many reasons for my mountain cravings. I stood there still admiring every bit of everything within my range of sight. The bright flares played boyishly between the tree branches, the tinted tombs of a far away sanctum gleaming gold, the birds chirping, the smell of the wind, the people getting ready for their daily chores, our man friday washing his clothes downstairs in the open, the sound of maruti 800's, the smoke of the little chimneys, everything about that morning was so abundantly country-side'ish, so immensely John Denver'ish.With the sun completely out, the tea finished, the joint stubbed, I was hungry.Shillong is swag in its own sense; I almost envied everyone for their boots and jackets. The cars? Well they would put the most expensive Indian DC Avanti to shame; simple Maruti 800's customised with rugged tires that outsized the provided wheelbase, headlights replaced by miniature flood lights and what colours, reds, greens, yellows, and blues. Everyone had a sense of self-respect and an aura of authenticity about themselves, their love for mountains shone bright in their eyes, their voice, a genuine blend of polite and pride. If you are a non-vegetarian, Shillong has absolutely every reason to be on your wish list, from chicken stews to grilled pork, mutton kebabs to beef bhuna, you get all. Though, as tourism does everywhere, you even get specific thalis, but would help if you ask the locales than go hunting on your own.The nearest places to go sightseeing would be cherrapunjee, Mawlynlong, Umiam and the Daiko Lake, but our budget was shorter than our duration of stay so we instead went for walks. We took a silent stroll down the Cantonment Area, trekked up a different way to the point we started from, had tea and samosas and Temul here and there; the chun (lime powder) of the temul almost burned my tongue. After the lunch, we took a cab (again some less customised Maruti 800's) to the Golf Course, which I still talk about to everyone referring to as the open green eternity.In cities, these days the number of children playing in the park has reduced, as tuition attendance has increased. Here, under such vast open blue, with the vast open green at their disposal, kids were playing, rolling, running while elders without any apparent worries rejoiced an evening of freedom. I really wished I could be a kid again, run to the far end of the field, lie down, curl up and roll down as and along the slopes and curves of the Golf course. I remember, even buying a gas balloon for myself while coming out, I have always loved letting them go and watch till they go out of sight.Police Bazaar, the Amsterdam of ShillongIt was 6:30 P.M. by the time we reached Police Bazaar, which is the capital of the capital. We had no happening plans such as a terrace barbeque or a house party but something better than these. We had a few friends coming over from Guwahati, so to kill the wait while they come, Dragon bar became our rendezvous. The small and stone walled bar attracted me at the very first sight of it. It was run by a sturdy Tibetan lady, or I think she's Tibetan as the bar had posters all over that read - Save Tibet. The expressionless (but very beautiful, I noticed) lady came up to us and said, "Only rum and pork." We were extremely content at the offering and settled on a bottle of rum and Chilli Pork. The bottle was down and the alcohol lover in me pushed me for another bottle but Shoumik suggested otherwise, saying "Puri sham baki hai bhai, we'll drink more. Let them come." I [of course] didn't tell him that I was so engrossed in the ambience and the drink that I almost forgot about the friends we had to receive. For a guy like me, it's a New Year's gift to know that booze is so inexpensive; hence, I bought more than I could drink. Our party started at 9, in our hotel rooms with every sort of unexplainable substance we would need. We were 5 people by then; the night was cold beyond thoughts. I suddenly got up and declared that I wanted to take a walk, if someone wanted they could come but everyone was beyond comfortable in the room so I thanked them, put on my jacket and went out. I checked the time; it was just some minutes to 12. I called up home, wished my parents and my sister, switched the phone off and lit the only cigarette I had brought along. I had four ways to go, I took the one that looked darker and narrower. The cold breeze stung me right in the face; the chill burnt my eyes that felt good. I am very bad at remembering ways so I was very conscious at every left and right I was taking, I suddenly found myself on a road that overlooked a pitch dark cliff, and just as I stubbed my cigarette and tilted my head up, I knew it was already a new year. The brilliant fireworks went up one by one, I knew they were shot very far away but the gorgeous explosions and my sight shared the same dark, oblivious sky. I suddenly heard a fading Rabindra Sangeet coming from somewhere, laughs of people, merry was in the very smell and void of the place. I stood unnerved, alone, totally content and silent, being a part of the same merry in my own little, futile world. I missed so many people I have never had the time to remember, suddenly all my hate list was replaced by the good memories I've ever had. I was happy at my very existence, I was suddenly so important to me. Standing there, overlooking a cliff totally invisible in the dark, being a guest to such majestic display of welcoming the new, sounds of celebrations, I cried like a kid, not out of pain or loss but an unexplainable joy. I made a resolution, not one that would guide me through the entire 2016 but the resolution was today, the present, the moment I am in because in all the past, the present and future, now is the only time I realised I am fully, completely a live part of, an active member of. With a very light head, a feather heart I decided to forget the way I had consciously remembered and find a new way home. This world, isn't too large to be lost, neither is too small to not try to get lost. After a half an hour walk I did find my way. I suddenly heard someone calling me from behind, I turned, it was a group of 4 guys, and they had a bike and a car, and clear marks on their body to prove they were hooligans. I decided not to stop, but was there any point in running away? No. I went up to them, they wanted a lighter, and I had a matchbox with just one stick left. Knowing that I myself had no smokes on me, they rummaged through their pockets and found me the last biri they had, we all shared the flame.The sturdiest guy among them started the talk, 'Hey man! Are you alone? Let's go for a drive, its new year's man.""No, I got my friends up at the hotel; I was feeling a little tipsy so came out for a walk.""That's real cool bro, then let's go to your hotel and party, we got a car and booze."I suspected, they were shit drunk and it was 4 to one, it was clearly now way for me.I pressed, "Actually it's a small guest house and outsiders are not allowed so...""What about tomorrow morning?""No I am leaving tomorrow." I don't know why I acted such scared, or maybe I had every reason to be, or maybe none. They were equally perplexed at my withdrawal. I bid them a hurried goodbye, thanked them for the smoke [I genuinely needed one] and started walking a hurried pace. After I was clearly off, I stopped for a breath, the biri had gone off-flame midway, I had no light. I found a place to sit and spend some minutes there; when I got off I had already made 2 decisions. One - my parents always taught me to be careful of bad people whenever going out alone but I realised it's even more difficult to trust people than to suspect them and since suspicion comes naturally I must learn to trust people, believe them. The second? Well, I checked on my accounts, decided to stretch them a little as I wanted to stay there for a couple of days more.My roomies asked me when I was back, "Where did you get that biri from?" I noticed I was still holding it between my teeth. I gave it light, puffed deep and said, "Just made some new friends."-Happy New Year-Important InformationReach - The nearest railhead is Guwahati. The nearest airport is the Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport, Guwahati.From Guwahati Reserved and Shared Sumos and Cars are readily available.Shared - INR 180, Reserved - INR 2200 (approx).Stay - Accomodation isn't a trouble, from luxurious tri-star hotels to budget guest houses are available. Tariffs vary from INR 8500 to INR 700.Contacts - Meghalaya Tourism : http://www.megtourism.gov.in | (0364)2502166, 2500736Note - All tariffs and rates are approximations and information collected during the period of December - January (2015-2016) and are subject to change anytime. Do confirm with the desired departments before booking.None of the places mentioned or suggested have been advertised.This blog was originally published on 'Soham Biswas Project'
298 Kms from Haflong
Best time to visit - March,April,May,June,July,August,September,October
Tawang has always been in the midst of conflict and controversy. But if you look beyond the controversy, you'll discover beauty incomparable to any other. Tawang is well connected from Tezpur by air and rail and summer is the best time to visit and plan a holiday. The major tourist attraction here is the Twang Monastery, which is celebrated as the birth place of the 6th Dala Lama. Besides the monastery, the Sela Pass and Jang Waterfalls are also touristy places and should definitely be a part of your itinerary. The Penga Teng Tso Lake is frozen for 5 months in a year, but makes for a wonderful sight all through. Do book a cab to visit the lake since the roads are a little tricky and are best managed by a local. Tawang is especially colourful in February when the Monpas, the native tribe, celebrate the Losar Festival (Tibetan New Year) and it really is a great time to be here. For foreign nationals, special permission is required to visit Tawang so do have all your papers in order. Before planning a holiday to Tawang, it's wise to research and also build contacts with the locals there to discover all the wonderful secrets of this splendid district!Read More
Tawang has always been in the midst of conflict and controversy. But if you look beyond the controversy, you'll discover beauty incomparable to any other. Tawang is well connected from Tezpur by air and rail and summer is the best time to visit and plan a holiday. The major tourist attraction here is the Twang Monastery, which is celebrated as the birth place of the 6th Dala Lama. Besides the monastery, the Sela Pass and Jang Waterfalls are also touristy places and should definitely be a part of your itinerary. The Penga Teng Tso Lake is frozen for 5 months in a year, but makes for a wonderful sight all through. Do book a cab to visit the lake since the roads are a little tricky and are best managed by a local. Tawang is especially colourful in February when the Monpas, the native tribe, celebrate the Losar Festival (Tibetan New Year) and it really is a great time to be here. For foreign nationals, special permission is required to visit Tawang so do have all your papers in order. Before planning a holiday to Tawang, it's wise to research and also build contacts with the locals there to discover all the wonderful secrets of this splendid district!
2. Tawang:Endowed with spirituality and natural beauty, Tawang offers visitors with a zillion reasons to visit. Connected to the rest of the country through the Sela Pass, which is known for being the only high altitude motorable mountain pass, Tawang has breathtaking views to offer. The Tawang monastery is the largest Buddhist monastery in India and is held in high regards by Buddhists around the world. Believed to be the land of 101 lakes, Tawang is considered to be holy by followers of Buddhism. For people interested in nature and spirituality, Tawang is one of the best places to visit in Spring in India. The nearest airport and railway station are in Tezpur, from where one can reach Tawang by road.
#TakeMeToBrahmatalThis is one of the most gorgeous places on earth, period. Beautiful place and eve more beautiful people. There's more army than civillians who live in such harmony. One state with 3 different country borders and nature in abundance. Its like the most virgin places. Lush green mountains and waterfalls. The waterfalls are from high up in the mountain tops and look like 'stairway to heaven'. You could travel from 1 town to the next in 2 hours but the journey is just awe inspiring through the winding mountains.I spent 5 days in and around tawang only and never wanted to leave. Its such a safe haven, you can walk around in the dark with not a care in the world. Theres a big Buddha in the centre of the town which is mesmerising and spreads peace and calm all over the place.The tawang monastery is one of the oldest monastery present and leaves you absolutely speechless.So this place should be on the top of everyones bucket list.Tawang is just plain Gorgeous.
People rarely read posts these days as they're just mesmerised with images and I thought, well... Why not I join the bandwagon?! These images are from my solo trip to the North East last summer where I spent 2 months spanning across 4 districts in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, West Bengal and Sikkim. Apart from my travels across Assam which was through an NGO, the rest of my travels were unplanned, guided by online blogs and websites, locals' recommendations and most importantly, absolutely safe so whoever tells you that it's unsafe for women to travel alone in this country, shut them up by trying it out for yourself!TAWANG
#Places to visit Tawang Monastery War memorial: There is a war memorial in Tawang dedicated to 1962 war like a Buddhist Monastery which can also be visited Bum la pass: To obtain permit for Bumla pass, the DC office opens at 10 am. Get the application from DC office. With the application give 4 copies of id proof and xerox of inner line permits.Once you submit the permit, you get it by afternoon 3 o’clock.
The following day we woke up early, as we wanted to visit the Tawang Gompa at the time when the monks offer their prayers. Tawang Gompa is the place where the 14th Dalai Lama hid himself after he fled from Tibet. A sense of peace and serenity prevailed at the Gompa . One can see the entire village of Tawang from there. There is a school attached with the Gompa , and we could see several Monpa (local) kids playing near the school.
Whenever I think of travelling, the first thing that comes to my mind are mountains. Arunachal Pradesh had always been in my bucket list, and this time I didn’t hesitate. I convinced four of my friends to join me for this trip. The time was fixed to be the last week of December, 2014. We planned to go to Tawang, a historically significant area rich in natural beauty.
Though the journey was tough, the views coupled with the adventures of encountering live landslides and the fear of the sumo falling off into the river below, helped me reinvigorate my insatiable hunger of getting up early in the morning as fresh as a freshwater dolphin and strolling around in content and happiness. I strolled up to the Tawang Monastery which is considered to be the largest monastery in India and also the largest vihara with more than 60 residential buildings. I managed to reach just in time for the morning prayers with all the lamas and the monks reciting prayers. I then made friends with the little lamas and enjoyed a day full of gully cricket, talks of IPL teams and lunch alongside them. The small alleys filled with the little lamas, criss-crossing the residences, foster warmth even when the sun refuses to shine.The Tawang MonasteryThe old structure on the left and the new temple on the rightI also visited the Ani Gompa. It’s a monastery that houses female lamas. Tugged on to the corner of a mountain opposite to the Tawang Monastery, it takes about 3.5 hours to reach. You have to depend on your legs to get you up there.Ani Gompa, nestled in the mountain
We dedicated this day for local sightseeing. In the morning we walked to the nearby market. The roads of Tawang are very deserted as there is very less population in this area. There are wild flowers on both sides of the road. We visited the Tawang Monastery which is 400 years old and is the second largest monastery in Asia.It was founded near the small town of the same name in the northwestern part of Arunachal Pradesh, by Merak Lama Lodre Gyatso in 1680-1681 in accordance with the wishes of the 5th Dalai Lama, Ngawang Lobsang Gyatso.Situated at the top of a mountain,this is a very important place of worship for the Buddhists.According to the legend, a white horse of the Prince of Lhasa had wandered into Monpa region. People, who went in search of the horse, found the horse grazing at the present location of the monastery. The people of the area then worshiped the horse and the location where it was found and venerated it every year. Eventually to honour the sacred site the Tawang Monastery was built at the site. The Monastery also has a huge library and museum.China had invaded India on 20 October 1962 from the northeastern border forcing the Indian army to retreat. They had occupied Tawang, including the monastery, for six months; they did not desecrate the monastery. China claimed that Tawang belonged to be their territory.In 1959, the 14th Dalai Lama had fled from Tibet, and after a tough journey, crossed into India on 30 March 1959, and had reached Tawang and taken shelter in the monastery for a few days before moving to Tezpur on 18 April 1959 seeking asylum in India.(Source:Wikipedia)For more trivia about this place,look here:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tawang_MonasteryWe then visited the Urgelling Monastery which happens to be the birthplace of the 6th Dalai Lama. Next we went to the Tawang War Memorial. It was built to pay homage to the soldiers who had sacrified their lives in the Indo-Sino war in 1962. It has blessing of the Dalai Lama.It also has to memorial halls having artifacts and information of these brave men.A light and sound show is also organised here every evening which depicts the story behind Tawang and the Chinese war.In the evening you can go for shopping,however the shops mostly close by 7pm and being remote the things are bit overpriced.Day 5We were supposed to see the three destinations namely Shungester Lake,PTSO Lake and Y Junction. Amongst these the Y Junction is 13937 feet high. Shungester Lake is situated 33kms off Tawang at a height of about 12000 feet. It was actually a village but in 1950s an earthquake followed by a flash flood destroyed the village and it was were the lake got formed. The place is heavenly and has rhododendrons everywhere with the snow capped mountains in the background. Migratory birds like the Ruddy Shell duck can also be spotted. This place gained prominence when a song from the movie Koyla having Madhuri Dixit and Shah Rukh Khan in the lead was shot here.That is why it is also fondly called Madhuri Lake.The Y Junction is mostly covered with snow and has many lakes. The PTSO lake is beautiful too. The Tawang Visit is never be complete without visiting these places. Another place Bum La Pass can be visited too situated at a height of 16500 feet but needs another permit. These three points can be visited only by local cars from Tawang. There are specific cars available at the starting point for visiting these three points. The road is bit bumpy. You should carry some camphor with you,just incase you suffer from breathlessness at such heights as oxygen levels are low here. You should also carry some amount of light food and water along with you.Day 6We had to leave Tawang with a heavy heart and started our journey towards Bomdila where we would stay for the night. On our way we stopped at the Nuranang or Jang Falls which is mighty and huge. Never had I seen such a beautiful waterfalls ever in my life. The water falls on the river Tawang Chu which flows downstream.We reached Bomdila in the evening. Since we had already seen the Bomdila Monastery on the way,we didnt have any other things to see there and therefore rested for the day.We stayed at the hotel Siphiyang Phong which was just okay.Day 7Our final destination was the Nameri Tiger Reserve which is around 120 kilometres from Bomdila.On our way we stopped at the Tippi Orchidarium which was a visual treat. Never had a seen so many orchids growing wildly and also in greenhouses at the same place.This place should not be missed. We reached the Nameri Tiger Reserve and checked into the Nameri Eco Camp which was simply the best accommodation in this entire trip.We stayed at the tent cottages. The feeling living inside a jungle has always excited me and that is why forests are my first love.We also went for river rafting in the Jia Bharali river and it was by far the best adventure I had done.It was thrilling! The forest is closed during this time of the year that is why unfortunately we could not avail a safari trip.However he saw many birds like Hornbills etc. The forest arranges a walk inside the main forest when the forest is open which is something you dont find anywhere else. This place is a must visit. You can also try activities like Angling here.The Eco Camp has every cuisine in its menu and it is amazing how they get you everything inside a forest too. The best place was seriously reserved for the last.Day 8We reached Guwahati and stayed there for the night,did some shopping. We took the flight next day early morning.however you can start early and take the flight the day you reach Guwahati itself. Guwahati is 220 kilometres from Nameri.P.S- You should carry mineral water and light food with you all the time.The journeys are time taking and strenuous.Be prepared for it. Take some breaks in between the journey. Try reaching the places before the sunset as roads are situated at high altitudes. This trip will surely be one of your best trips till date I can guarantee.
136 Kms from Haflong
Best time to visit - January,February,March,April,October,November,December
The recently 'smoke-free' declared city has a lot to offer in terms of its rich history and culture. Nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas and bordering Burma, Kohima boasts of lush green hills and forests amidst which treks and morning walks are a pleasure. Locations such as Dzükou Valley and Japfu Peak should be at the top of the to-do list for nature lovers. Ever seen a flying squirrel? The Itanki Wildlife Sanctuary houses a plethora of rare species of plants, animals and birds that can easily capture the hearts of wildlife and nature photographers around the world. Nagaland has been conspicuous in history with the Battle of Imphal and Kohima deemed as "Britain's Greatest Battle" by the British National Army Museum. Its 1,420 heroes can be seen commemorated at the War Cemetery, earning the respect of travellers across the world. Being a land of the Angami Tribe, the village Khonoma offers a rare chance of witnessing a civilisation untouched by commercialisation and modernisation, wherein one can learn about their philosophy, diverse art, history, food, dialect and music. The Nagaland Tourism department also organises various tribal tours such as that of the Konyaks, the fearless tattoo faced legendary headhunters, who have been known to sleep over a bed of human skulls. For travellers always yearning to take a part of the destination back home with them, The Hornbill Festival, hosted in the first week of December, remains at the kernel of Nagaland's cultural heritage, organising various activities, sports, competitions, music and dance performances and shops housing brilliant and unique souvenirs. Read More
The recently 'smoke-free' declared city has a lot to offer in terms of its rich history and culture. Nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas and bordering Burma, Kohima boasts of lush green hills and forests amidst which treks and morning walks are a pleasure. Locations such as Dzükou Valley and Japfu Peak should be at the top of the to-do list for nature lovers. Ever seen a flying squirrel? The Itanki Wildlife Sanctuary houses a plethora of rare species of plants, animals and birds that can easily capture the hearts of wildlife and nature photographers around the world. Nagaland has been conspicuous in history with the Battle of Imphal and Kohima deemed as "Britain's Greatest Battle" by the British National Army Museum. Its 1,420 heroes can be seen commemorated at the War Cemetery, earning the respect of travellers across the world. Being a land of the Angami Tribe, the village Khonoma offers a rare chance of witnessing a civilisation untouched by commercialisation and modernisation, wherein one can learn about their philosophy, diverse art, history, food, dialect and music. The Nagaland Tourism department also organises various tribal tours such as that of the Konyaks, the fearless tattoo faced legendary headhunters, who have been known to sleep over a bed of human skulls. For travellers always yearning to take a part of the destination back home with them, The Hornbill Festival, hosted in the first week of December, remains at the kernel of Nagaland's cultural heritage, organising various activities, sports, competitions, music and dance performances and shops housing brilliant and unique souvenirs.
Although, the road from Dimapur to Kohima was rocky and tiresome, yet the excitement of being at the coveted festival eliminated all the exhaustion. Moreover, the picturesque surrounding and the affable behaviour of the people of Kohima gave me an inexplicable feeling. Organised by the State Directorate of Tourism of Nagaland, the festival greets and embraces everyone to this beautiful place called Kohima, the capital of Nagaland. I was shocked to see that despite the rumors of being a disturbed state, people from all around the country flock to this city to get an overwhelming experience. Adorned with lights and several events happening simultaneously, the city becomes nothing lesser than a paradise on earth during the festival. You cannot deny the fact that December is considered to be the most happening month of the year and if you are in Kohima during this time, you are at the right place to have some wonderful moments to cherish.Regarded as the biggest festival in the North Eastern part of the country, it stood upright to prove its significance ever since its inception and has always been a pride for the people of the region. Though, our motive was to shoot the Rock Concert, which is a part of the festival, but could not restrain ourselves to indulge in the Naga way of blissful and happy life. It was a proud moment for the people of the region as the state of Nagaland was celebrating its fifty years of statehood and thus the festival was celebrated for ten days instead of the normal seven day schedule.Kisama, the Naga Heritage Village, which hosts the main festival, is well maintained and the scenic beauty around the area is breathtaking. With different stalls offering "Zothu” and "Thutse" (local alcoholic beverages made of rice) and the authentic food of the all the sixteen major tribes of Nagaland, Kisama offers a plethora of options for foodies and of course to bibulous like us. I visited all the stalls in Kisama to pleasure my taste buds with various delectable authentic food items and also to keep my spirits high, “Zothu” was always there. The stalls in Kisama closed their affair by 6 in the evening; however the night did not get over so soon. The Rock Contest, the Music Festival, the Hornbill Night Bazaar and many other activities kept the nights alive and young.The last day of the festival was more eventful as we all participated in the community dance where all the different tribes of the state unite and dance together. Since, we were there for the documentary shoot, after the celebration at Kisama, we had to rush to the Rock Contest Finale where ten bands got shortlisted from numerous bands, which came for audition from all across the country. That was the only time we were actually working apart from our extracurricular activities. It was fun, but to be frank, the result of the contest was unsatisfactory (*at least for me). Though the Rock Contest got over by 10 P.M., yet the night was still young and rocking. It was our last day in Kohima and we didn’t want to waste it at all. During our stay, we met some local guys and became friends, who took us to a party after the rock show. That place was meant for party freaks like us and we had the best of times, enjoying the party till the wee hours of the night. Dance to the tunes of the DJ or sit by the fire and enjoy some “Zothu”, it’s up to you. But I’m sure that if you were there, you would have had some amazing moments.With so many events and activities, I was gearing myself up for the festive season to follow. It was my first experience and with my fingers crossed, I am looking forward to have some more enthralling moments in the years to come at the Hornbill Festival.
11. Experience the thrill of mountain biking in KohimaA biking group called Native Station has pioneered the trend of mountain biking in Nagaland. The group has already organised several mountain biking events such as the Kohima Downhill and Thuwu-ni Enduro for professional riders. These biking trails present an adrenaline-filled experience that will take you through Naga villages such as Sangtam, Angami and the border villages of Assam.Visit Native Station for more information.
These guys (explorenagaland.com) run a guest house, and was it a great relief. We got a dorm with bunker beds, and 1 more room, and they were clean, well kept, and felt like home. Our ILP's were ready, food was served hot, and they organised a taxi for tomorrow's sight seeing.
KohimaWe took the route back to Guwahati, and had amazing fun on the roads, and reached Guwahati - Tezpur highway again in no time. Then we headed to Nagaon, and took a right after Nagaon towards kacharipara, and then followed directions on the road to dimapur. The roads were wide, and good with little traffic, and the light drizzle all along the way helped. There were dark clouds threatening in our rear view mirrors, so we pushed as much as possible. We reached Dimapur for lunch.
Visit Kohima, just in time for the Hornbill festival. In December, the local tribes of the region come together to celebrate and showcase their culture, and people from all over India travel to Nagaland to see this festival. Though a major chunk of your holiday should revolve around the Hornbill Festival, which begins on the 1st of December, Kohima has a lot of other beautiful places to see, such as the natural caves and the Dzuko Valley. Make sure to chart out a well-planned itinerary because you would not want to miss out on anything. After your holiday, you will agree that Kohima is one of the best holiday destinations in India to visit in December.How to reach Kohima: The nearest airport is in Dimapur, and you can hire a taxi from there to Kohima. It is a 5-hour journey from Dimapur to Kohima by road.
1. Hornbill Festival (Dec 1-10)
Kohima, NagalandKohima is your off-beat choice for the summer. It is urban but picturesque. It is forested but beware of the traffic jams. It has sprawling cafes and hole-in-the-wall retreats. Kohima, therefore, mixes many worlds. Explore the markets and museums, the Catholic Cathedral and the War Cemetery and come back enriched. Don’t forget to pick up a story or two from the folks down at Bara Basti, though, which should not be missed at any cost!
We departed for Kohima, the capital of Nagaland. First thing first - Beware of the hugeeeeeeeeeeeee traffic jam!! My goodness, its a real problem! The jam extends from the city main to the outskirts and you have to sit and kill time. A journey of 2 hours took us 5 hours to complete! The journey was quite soothing until the jam. Bizarre sights of food are available all along the way. The local sellers are seen trading live birds, bee-hives that are supposed to contains baby bees which forms edibles are some preparation, bamboo shoots, chillies, long and narrow brinjal etc.
147 Kms from Haflong
Best time to visit - January,February,March,April,May,October,November,December
More than the land of oranges as its original name Sohra connotes, this 'wettest place on the planet' is a land of waterfalls and rainfall. The Seven Sisters Falls and Nohkalikai Falls, Dain Thlen Falls and Nohsngithiang Falls remain the top most attractions for nature lovers. Adventure seekers and outdoor activity enthusiasts should visit during winters from November to February, when they can go river canyoning, explore the natural limestone Mawsmai Cave, Krem Mawmluh Cave, which is the fourth longest cave in the Indian subcontinent, and delve into solitude and quiet at the Eco Park, which explored more, can lead you to yet another quiet isolated waterfall leading to a deep gorge. Another star attraction of this East Khasi district, is the Double Decker Living Root Bridge, which can be reached after a steep but stunning trek through dense forests, also crossing bay leaf gardens and picturesque hamlets on the way. One can go atop an 80 feet observatory made of bamboo shoots, a daring but mesmerising climb immersed in the abundance of nature, from where the scenic plains of Bangladesh are clearly visible. Cherrapunji is a land painted with mystical beauty and its stories of deep rooted culture and history remain within a traveller after interacting with locals throughout their journey before finally carrying back life long souvenirs from the vibrant Cherrapunji Indigenous Festival, which is an annual event. Read More
More than the land of oranges as its original name Sohra connotes, this 'wettest place on the planet' is a land of waterfalls and rainfall. The Seven Sisters Falls and Nohkalikai Falls, Dain Thlen Falls and Nohsngithiang Falls remain the top most attractions for nature lovers. Adventure seekers and outdoor activity enthusiasts should visit during winters from November to February, when they can go river canyoning, explore the natural limestone Mawsmai Cave, Krem Mawmluh Cave, which is the fourth longest cave in the Indian subcontinent, and delve into solitude and quiet at the Eco Park, which explored more, can lead you to yet another quiet isolated waterfall leading to a deep gorge. Another star attraction of this East Khasi district, is the Double Decker Living Root Bridge, which can be reached after a steep but stunning trek through dense forests, also crossing bay leaf gardens and picturesque hamlets on the way. One can go atop an 80 feet observatory made of bamboo shoots, a daring but mesmerising climb immersed in the abundance of nature, from where the scenic plains of Bangladesh are clearly visible. Cherrapunji is a land painted with mystical beauty and its stories of deep rooted culture and history remain within a traveller after interacting with locals throughout their journey before finally carrying back life long souvenirs from the vibrant Cherrapunji Indigenous Festival, which is an annual event.
On the way there are many amazing views and waterfalls. All you have to do is enjoy the ride and do not get tempted for every scenic beauty on the way. We reached cherrapunji around 6 again. Damn, it was dark. As it was wet all around we wanted to take cheap room or camp this time within a compound. Luckily, we met a rider who offered us place with tent. We offered him some drinks in return ;) Now this is where we made nearly 4 very good friends.. sharing their life experiences driving Sumo around meghalaya. Its so good, how few drinks can get you such an amazing conversation with strangers. All you have to do is smile, and there are many stories waiting to be told.
After breakfast, set off for Cherrapunji, well known for receiving one of the highest rainfall in the world. Cherrapunjee is localy known as Sohra and is situated at a distance of 56 kms from Shillong. On the way is the Mawkdok Valley which is a very prominent sighseeing for tourists. Then on the way we visit the Nohsngithiang falls (Seven sisters falls) which is known to be the symbol of the Unity of the Seven States of North East India. After that we head for Thangkharang park, located just besides the Khoh Ramhah rock and offers a 180 degree view of the Bangladesh plains. Later than we visit the Mawsmai cave, a major crowd puller that leaves tourists spellbound. After trekking in the majestic cave we move for Eco Park, which hosts several hybrid and indigenous orchids. It also offers a breathtaking view of distant Sylhet Plains of neighbouring Banladesh.Attractions: Mawkdok Valley, Nohsngithiang (Seven sisters), Thangkharang, Mawsmai Cave, Eco Park.Part 4:
The next morning Ban took me to the tree house of Mawlynnong, managed by Lajong guest house, where one can get a get a glimpse of Bangladesh. After the morning tea, I bid goodbye to the Don Bok family and as arranged by Ban we set out for Nohwet View point, in his friend’s Ambrose’s taxi. The mountains of Sohra are right in front at this viewpoint. I was longing for the waterfalls that lied ahead, their thundering plunge calling out. Ambrose dropped me at the Pongtung cross roads (400rs) from where I got another cab till Pynrsula (50rs) from where another cab helped me reach Shillong (70rs). Reaching Shillong, I went straight to the Police bazaar and had a heavy Chinese cuisine for lunch. I made a mental note, avoid Chinese food before traveling. It made me gastric and sleepy. But then hunger pangs and the foodie in me goes berserk. Even before I reached Sohra (70rs) it started pouring. How wet can God be. From Sohra it was ~12-15kms till Nongriat. Being a Sunday, no cabs were available further (in general even). (3pm) I started walking and was prepared mentally to cover the distance in 4 hours; by 7pm I should reach Nongriat. To keep track of distance left, I asked every occasional face I spotted, "Nongriat kitna door hai". People gave such frowning doubtful looks. An old lady deemed it impossible, her voice mocking my spirit. Above that I did two wrong things already, I could have managed to reach early, daylight recedes quickly in such a rainy weather and I was wearing floaters; floaters maybe convenient for short distances, beaches but never for long distance walking, especially if it’s raining. It was only after I crossed the cement factory at Mawmluh, did I encounter civilization and cars started making appearances. I tried my luck asking for lift but nobody seemed to care about a stupid guy getting himself wet walking in the rain. After walking certain stretch, a car stopped and windows rolled; perhaps my luck is back again. Two men with their driver were going towards a border area. They were Bengalis and owned a mining area near the Bangladesh border. Being Bengali helped. After hearing what I embarked upon, they put sense into me that it would had been a futile effort trying to reach Nongriat at this hour. I had my return train from Guwahati next day at 12.30pm. Somewhere, I might have miscalculated my timings. Even somehow if I had been able to reach Nongriat, there was possibly no way I would have been able to enjoy the place per se and make it back to Guwahati station on time. So I tagged along with my newfound saviors. Throughout they took care of me as their own, provided me with dinner on our return way where we stopped somewhere, at a road side eatery. By that time, it was pitch dark, car tail lights glowed devil red. It was still raining heavily, sprayed by winds blowing in full gust; I was trembling. I wished how soon would I return to a warm bed. It was 11pm when we hit Shillong. They wished me luck and I thanked them a lot. I got into the first hotel I could find a room (600rs), as loitering alone at night might not be a good idea; they tend to trouble outsiders. That night sleeping in the hotel room, I could only dream, had I continued on my path how things would have been different. But things not going my way were perhaps a blessing in disguise; another reason for me to come back again and explore the picturesque beauty that lies in Sohra, Nongriat and many such places hidden in Meghalaya's chest.Khublei . Kynduhpat !(Bye, See you again)
If you love the rain, this is the place. A place far from all the hustle of the city and close to the clouds. Carry an umbrella , the weather is unpredictable but you will definitely love this place. Best place for the nature lovers.Norkhalika falls , one of the best scenic beauty.Double Decker Living Root Bridge, a must visit for adventurers.
Nohkalikai Waterfalls, Single Decker Living Root Bridge, Nohsngithiang Falls, Mawsmai Cave
Day5: According to the plan, all the passangers were supposed to congregate outside Tourism dev. corporation's office at 9 am, and so was everyone. Next moment a mini bus stood in front of us to take us to this would be memorable journey to the rainiest place on earth- Cherrapunji! As the bus started, a beautiful girl- Mary- in her early 20's introduced herself as our guide for the day! After a quick introduction of all the passangers with eachother, Mary started telling us about Meghalaya, Shillong, Khasis and their customs. With her beautiful smile, she made sure noone would get bored even for a fraction of second. As we came out of Shilliong, the road started winding around the beautiful but shallow valleys of pine forests of the Khasi hills and then happened the best thing that could happen at that particular time....it started drizzling! Here i was experiencing rain in Cherrapunji! Wow! After about an hour's bus ride, we reached our first point which was the Duwansyngh Syiem point 15 kilometers before Cherrapunji which offers an amazing view of lush green hills of Cherrapunji. As Cherrapunji started approaching near, the roads started occupying themselves with thick cover of fog and mist, something of this kind which i was seeing for the first time from so close! An experience that i will fail to put in words. Another half an hour ride through hamlets of weirdly long names (sounding like random alphabets stacked together), many sacred Khasi monoliths and n number of churches, we finally reached Cherrapunji's Ramakrishna mission school. One of its kind, the school is located in one of the most beautiful parts of this small town, with deep down valleys surrounding it on the rear side. School has a massive playground done with beautiful rose and orchid plantations overlooking the valley. A small museum is opened for visitors on its first floor showcasing the local culture. What one will surely spot while on a visit to this school are the local kids selling cinamom packets running behind the visitors. Even thou its a matter of choice, the cinamom tastes too bland for the spicy tongue of the mainland Indians hence certainly unsuitable! Next point where our bus stopped were the extremely beautiful - Nohkalikai falls, named after a mother who commited suicide from the same place when she realised her step husband killed and cooked her baby for food after she consumed it without knowing about it.. These are the second highest waterfalls in India. Afternoon after 12 is the best time to view these waterfalls as 50 percent of the times, the whole area is covered in thick fog which makes the falls completely invisible to the naked eyes. A few kilometers away was the Mot-trob. A huge huge really huge monolith rock considered sacred by the local Khasis. This incredible rock with its massive size is surely a natural wonder worth a visit. Just across the rock a few miles away, one can see a view of Bangladesh border demarcated naturally by many rivulets flowing in the area. From mot-trob, the bus went to Cherrapunji's eco park. An artificial park developed overlooking valleys which is the starting point of many waterfalls including 'missing waterfalls' which runs under the park surface and jumps down into the deep valleys. Eco park which also has a small resort for overnight stays, offers a panoramic view of the surrounding pine and oak forests and thousands of small water streams and falls carving their way down hills till they meet river waters. On the way to and fro seen are the Seven sisters watrefalls also called Nohsngithiang falls named after the seven northeastern states of India. Again you need to be really lucky to spot these seven falls clearly through Cherrapunji's thick clouds. Next and the second last location was the Mawsmai limestone caves- one of the many found in this area. A walk..sometimes a crawl...even some creeping along the ups and downs and narrow mouths of the slippery limestone cave is nothing less than a mini adventure. At this point i was so glad i made it to Cherrapunji coz this place just in 3-4 hours gave me some of the most beautiful experiences and moments of this trip. Wondered what more this 'soon to end' trip had to offer me. This afternoon halt at caves also had our lunch break included. With no proper Indian food available around (even if it was i doubt if i dared to eat shahi paneer made by a khasi lady pewwk) other than maggi, I decided to settle on some local khasi meal which included chicken curry with eggs, dal and lots and lots and more and even more of rice!! Pretty tasty i must say! Our last destination today was the Thangkhrang park..the most beautiful in Cherrapunji. This park faces many of the important waterfalls in the area including the earlier spotted Nohkalikai falls. This extremely clean and out of the world park has a mini orchid nursery which grows Orchids to exhibit to the visitors. I was lucky enough to see a few of the species blooming in their pots. Following this visit to Thangkhrang park, we were done with all the point in Cherrapunji hence started our journey back to Shillong. After an hour or two, our bus dropped us at Police bazaar. It was just 5pm and pretty much sunny. After saying goodbye to everyone and Mary, I started walking towards the Ward's lake. Adjacent to the lake on the other side is Shillong's almost abandoned Botanical park. Had a quick walk in the park with almost no one around eating the so very sweet pineapples of Shillong and headed towards the hotel thinking how this beautiful trip so quickly came to an end as i had my flight back to Mumbai lined up day after tomorrow's early morning.
“Even though, goodbye dear Cherra, And your rain goodbye, I’m off to my home, For my life is yonder, Though my love is here. “ Cherrapunji, or Cherra as I fondly call it is no less than a trip to the paradise. Humble households, smiling and hardworking people but overall a scanty population. Hundreds of small churches with crematories on small hills were also a sight to remember. And yes the pineapples, the juiciest ever in the history of this universe. Period. High above misty valleys and foaming rivers, ensconced in swirling clouds and perched on an escarpment, lies Cherrapunji. This is a stunning location and the year-round rain earned Cherrapunji coveted entry long ago into the Guinness Book of World Records as the wettest place on earth, the place where the rainfall can be recorded in feet rather than in millimeters. Amidst all the surprises of Cherrapunji, perhaps the most abiding is the startling realization that the wettest place on earth where it rains every month also has an amazing amount of warm sunshine. When the clouds drift away, there are a series of memorable views, and one can see as far as Bangladesh. Orchids bloom a few feet away from patches devoid of vegetation. Dense woods interspersed by rocky, cliffs furrowed by erosion.
112 Kms from Haflong
Best time to visit - January,February,March,October,November,December
The capital of Manipur, Imphal, is a politically and economically important city in the North East. If you are visiting Imphal, the Loktak lake should definitely be on your bucket list. Located about 38 km from Imphal, this lake with a cluster of small islands makes for a breathtaking sight. If you are lucky, you may be able to capture the sunset, which looks magical from there! The Red Hill Lokpaching is a hillock located around 16 km from Imphal. It is a sight of historic significance, where the British and the Japanese fought a fierce battle during WWII. It also houses the India Peace Memorial, a monument dedicated to the Japanese soldiers who lost their lives in battle. If you are not short on time, you could also visit the Sadu Chiru Falls or Leimaram Waterfall, located about 25 km from Imphal. It is located in the midst of the valley and is a beautiful testimony to the country's natural beauty. Read More
The capital of Manipur, Imphal, is a politically and economically important city in the North East. If you are visiting Imphal, the Loktak lake should definitely be on your bucket list. Located about 38 km from Imphal, this lake with a cluster of small islands makes for a breathtaking sight. If you are lucky, you may be able to capture the sunset, which looks magical from there! The Red Hill Lokpaching is a hillock located around 16 km from Imphal. It is a sight of historic significance, where the British and the Japanese fought a fierce battle during WWII. It also houses the India Peace Memorial, a monument dedicated to the Japanese soldiers who lost their lives in battle. If you are not short on time, you could also visit the Sadu Chiru Falls or Leimaram Waterfall, located about 25 km from Imphal. It is located in the midst of the valley and is a beautiful testimony to the country's natural beauty.
Two days out in the open had tired us out, so we spent the next day resting for sometime in our hotel room. Late in the afternoon we left to explore the city of Imphal, for there were quite a few promising locations here as the map told. Manipur was one of the places where battles of World War II were fought between the British and the Japanese forces, with Indian soldiers feeding the British manpower. Needless to say, Imphal stands testimony to many tales of wartime courage and resilience and pays homage to its martyrs. We visited a couple of these monuments - The Red Hill and Shaheed Minar, while exploring the the streets and markets of this lovely city. One of the interesting markets we came across was the Ima market, where all the vendors are called Ima, or Mother. Manipur is famous for its handlooms, and we made quite a few exquisite purchases to make the folks back home happy.The week had passed so soon that we did not even notice. Soon it was time to say goodbye to this lovely little town and head back to our busy city lives. When we boarded our flight for return, it was with a rejuvenated mind, a spent but fresh body and a contented and happy heart.
Our flight landed in Imphal amidst mild fog. Since it was August the summer was already past and winter was looking to creep in. The monsoons were meanwhile blessing the state amply, and we almost feared our trip would be all but washed out. However, right from the time we landed, the Sun God kept us good company, making the weather remarkably pleasant for outdoor activities. A quick shower and a sumptous breakfast at the Classic Hotel where we had checked in, we were ready to make most of our five day trip. We were very sure that we did not want to visit the usual places that people went sightseeing - monuments, parks and the like. So we directly headed to those places that makes Manipur befit its name.
With two states left in my “to-wander” list of seven sisters, I chose Manipur over Mizoram because of its accessibility from Dibrugarh. Roaming nearby Imphal made me realise that all the states I travelled in NE were far behind in terms of beauty in-front of Manipur. The extraordinary beauty of this place justifies its name – Mani-pur.Traveling here was a completely different experience than other states in NE. Manipuri’s don’t bother about Hindi or English much. They are happy with Manipuri. They have so difficult names of everything. Be it a place, person or something to eat. Girls here are gorgeous and open minded than any other state. Almost 90% of its land is covered with hills. Their local food is so different, tasty and easily available. They take sprouted beans and black tea as evening snacks. Almost all the traffic signals in Imphal had a lady inspector. The local museum will fill you with lot of information about Manipur. There is a market in Imphal called Ima market. Ima means mother in Manipuri. This huge market is run by mothers. Mothers sell vegetables, flowers, dried fishes, groceries, local handloom and a lot more here. A few of the Ima’s here understood and spoke Hindi and English. And interacting with them was a homely feeling.
123 Kms from Haflong
Best time to visit - January,February,March,April,May,September,October,November,December
The road towards Mawlynnong passes through some of the most beautiful landscapes in Meghalaya. You'll see forests, cliffs, valleys, gorges and waterfalls. As you come closer to the village, the road will become narrow and the bamboo forests will begin. And suddenly you'll be at the village, which is even more beautiful than its introduction. Blessed with pristine natural beauty, Mawlynnong, is located in the East Khasi district. It is 92 km from Cherrapunji and 90 km from Shillong. The village won the title of Asia's cleanest village in 2003. Climb up to the many tree huts, built out of locally grown bamboo, to get the most spellbinding view of neighbouring Bangladesh and gorges and valleys. There isn't much else to do here but walk around the quaint village. Take the opportunity to interact with the locals and savour some native fruit and vegetables. Once you've had your fill of this village, explore attractions such as the famous root bridges, Nohkalikai Falls etc, that are located at a close distance from Mawlynnong. Best way to reach here is by taking a taxi from Shillong or Cherrapunji. There are no hotels, but many locals offer homestays at affordable rates. Read More
The road towards Mawlynnong passes through some of the most beautiful landscapes in Meghalaya. You'll see forests, cliffs, valleys, gorges and waterfalls. As you come closer to the village, the road will become narrow and the bamboo forests will begin. And suddenly you'll be at the village, which is even more beautiful than its introduction. Blessed with pristine natural beauty, Mawlynnong, is located in the East Khasi district. It is 92 km from Cherrapunji and 90 km from Shillong. The village won the title of Asia's cleanest village in 2003. Climb up to the many tree huts, built out of locally grown bamboo, to get the most spellbinding view of neighbouring Bangladesh and gorges and valleys. There isn't much else to do here but walk around the quaint village. Take the opportunity to interact with the locals and savour some native fruit and vegetables. Once you've had your fill of this village, explore attractions such as the famous root bridges, Nohkalikai Falls etc, that are located at a close distance from Mawlynnong. Best way to reach here is by taking a taxi from Shillong or Cherrapunji. There are no hotels, but many locals offer homestays at affordable rates.
Last night we had a nice sleep. Early in the morning we went for a short tour of the village and then left for the leaving root bridge which is just 5 min away from mawlynnong.The living root bridge is just splendid and requires years for its formation. The climate was awesome...the sun was peeping out...there was sounds of birds chirping, water flowing by the stream.We were purifying our lungs with the purest air we can get. looking back to days of our journey.We then left for shillong with our RE and visited some local points like shillong view point..elephant falls..umiam lake...and its wrap..We then headed to guwahati and then to mumbai..
Take a nap in the thatched cottages of Asia’s cleanest village, Mawlynnong – a destination, surrounded by green oasis and warm people, perfect to welcome the new year.
Cross into the other-worldly realm of living root bridges in Mawlynnong, which also is famously regarded as the cleanest village in Asia. Spend the night at a homestay in Mawlynnong, and return to Cherrapunji the following morning.
Mawlynnong Village :Finally we reached to the most awaited Mawlynnong village which is famous as "Asia's cleanest village". People are so nice here, they welcome you with smile and you realize that you are far away from the city of crowds. We ordered for lunch and till the time it is prepared, we started exploring the village. It has a tree house in the village from where you can take a glimpse of Bangladesh and a big rock which is maintaining its balance on a small rock for many years. The food was excellent that i could not stop till my stomach gets filled. After the delicious lunch we drove towards our next Destination, "Dawki River".
Shillong to Mawlynnong: We checked out from Shillong and sailed towards Mawlynnong which was around 79 km journey. The road was so beautiful that we forgot about our destination and we stopped wherever our heart skipped a bit. After crossing a cemetery, a flock of sheep, a graceful narrow river and a pleasant view point, we reached near the famous "Living Root Bridge" which is few kms away from Mawlynnong village.
Day 4 After spending an amazing time at Shillong we started for Mawlynnong village, which is awarded as the cleanest village in Asia and is about 60 km from Shillong. On our way we spent some time at Elephanta Waterfalls which is quite a touristy spot. The route to Mawlynnong is quite incredible as you pass through high grass fields. Just 2km before Mawlynnong, we stopped over to see the stunning Living Root Bridge at Riwai village. The trek down to the living root bridge is quite delicious as you get to eat really fresh fruits pineapple, jackfruit & other local fruits. The living root bridges are tangles of massive thick roots, which have been intermingled to form a bridge that can hold several people at a time. Khasi people have been trained to grow these bridges across the raised banks of streams to form a solid bridge, made from roots. The living bridges are made from the roots of the Ficus elastica tree, which produces a series of secondary roots that are perched atop huge boulders along the streams or the riverbanks to form bridges. Check out more about them on : http://www.livingrootbridge.com/About-Living-Root-Bridge.php After a great trek and fun, we reached our HA -LA -TYNGKONG guest house at Mawlynnong village. There are very few places to live in the village and generally people just visit the village and return, but we had decided to stay and experience and it was worth it. It was very difficult to find the guesthouses in the village while we were planning the trip, so I have posted the photographs of various advertised boards. We had a really homely stay, the village is quite wonderful like a landscaped garden with few houses powered by solar lights and proper garbage disposal. Our host was also quite friendly and provided us with basic homely food. Charges for one room were Rs 1500 per night. We explored the village to the fullest and made a lot of little friends.
This is a tiny village about 2 kms further from the Living Root Bridge. It has become a very famous tourist spot because it was named as the Cleanest Village in Asia in 2003. Yes, that was 13 years ago. The people of this village have turned this title into a very flourishing business. You can see a hoard of taxis when you enter and there is a parking fee, which is basically entrance fee, of Rs.50/Car. This fee is collected even if there is no place to park. :| The village is clean for sure, but so are many other villages on the way here. So nothing surprising about it. The roads are dotted with plants and colorful flowers. Aesthetically very pleasing. There is 100% literacy in this village and it is a matrilineal society. Almost all of the shops and restaurants were run by women. What a refreshing change!
We then decided to go to Mawlynnong, the cleanest village in asia. People are very friendly over there. Accepting every guest with smile. We met a bunch of friends over there who were total fun. We were offered dinner on the village street and the dishes were just mouth watering.
I was roaming here and there asking people share transport to Cherrapunji or Mawlynnong - Cleanest Village in Asia. Luckily two local ladies observed me and approached to help.Lesson 3: Searching places, transport or getting information may take some time - Have Patience and go along with the situations.With their guidance I walked till Anjali Complex - 300m from Bada Bazaar which is the main Taxi stand.
First stop Pongtung village, still 18kms till Mawlynnong. Ban took me inside the compound of a guest house under construction right on the main highway road. The guest house has an impressive garden and a sitting area providing a bird’s eye view of the Kliar tyrsaw waterfall. The thunderous impact of the waterfall with the rocks giving rise to the sprinkled mist made the panorama bewitching. The guest house is supposed to be ready by next year.Ban was bearing enough to click a few crazy pictures of me, sitting on the tar road with beautiful mountain backdrop or the signboards, the weather smudging the frames in different corners. Passing vehicles gave vile looks. Ban suggested we wait near the Seng Trelang Sports Club at the crossroads. Moments later, a maxi cab came that dropped us at Riwai village. A small entry fee and a hike led us to the magnificent living root bridge. This was first of an experience. How nature can work wonders if nurtured by people. The nexus of roots has made the bridge robust over the years. A gurgling stream flowed underneath. The bridge connected to Nohwet viewpoint, about 2kms from there but Ban promised he would take me there next morning as it was already getting dark.The last leg of the day’s journey was thrilling as I sat on the roof with other villagers, something I had always wanted to do, while Ban suspended himself at the rear holding on to the steel ladder; such fabulous weather and refreshing breeze. Most of the road is confined between tall shrubs. It’s so relaxing when after a day’s travel you reach a place so serene and pure that is Mawlynnong. As apparent from clean roads, bamboo dustbins put up at every corner and the whole place with diverse fauna brimming with colors, no doubt it’s rightly called as God’s own garden. I comforted myself at Hala Tyngkong that cost me 500bucks for a single bed room. The family who owns this, Don Bok Shabong are such beautiful and welcoming people. Their little kids Eiba & Labyang do all the leg work to help their mother in taking care of the guests. Their English might as well surprise you, such fluency. Daylight was slowly retreating. Ban & I sat on a rock, sipping tea while he acquainted me more about the village. “Maw” translates to rocks, and “lynnong” translates to holes in the rocks, as evident from the one we were sitting on and all the other rocks in that village. Here all the homestays start with “Hala” meaning my own. Prayer chants coming from the Church of Epiphany echoed in that silence. Such peaceful pious environment is pacifying to the soul. It was only around 2004 when a group of women from England had a chance visit here by word of mouth. Soon the village got noticed by the media, led to fame, being conferred “Asia’s cleanest village”. An extensive family of 100 households is what constitutes this safe haven. Ban returned home soon after and I ended my day with a nice home cooked dinner. With Eiba’s cat.
131 Kms from Haflong
Best time to visit - June,July,August,September
Sylhet, lying on the banks Surma River, is considered to be one of the most beautiful cities in Bangladesh. With lush, refreshing greenery, it is known as the Land of Fairies! Keane Bridge is the gateway to Sylhet and also a prominent landmark. Ratargul is another lovely spot to visit when you are in Sylhet. This swamp forest is one-of-its-kind and the views here are absolutely stunning! One of the few freshwater swamp forests in Bangladesh, it's a must visit. Visit the forest during winter to enjoy the beauty at its peak. Tambil-Jaflong is where you'll witness inspiring views of the surrounding greenery and also get a chance to visit the waterfalls. Do also visit Sree Mangal, considered to be the largest tea gardens in the world. Pangthumai Waterfall and Satchari National Park are some of the other places you can visit when you are around Sylhet. If Sylhet is the only place on your itinerary, be aware that only a few hours are sufficient to explore and learn about the place. Read More
Sylhet, lying on the banks Surma River, is considered to be one of the most beautiful cities in Bangladesh. With lush, refreshing greenery, it is known as the Land of Fairies! Keane Bridge is the gateway to Sylhet and also a prominent landmark. Ratargul is another lovely spot to visit when you are in Sylhet. This swamp forest is one-of-its-kind and the views here are absolutely stunning! One of the few freshwater swamp forests in Bangladesh, it's a must visit. Visit the forest during winter to enjoy the beauty at its peak. Tambil-Jaflong is where you'll witness inspiring views of the surrounding greenery and also get a chance to visit the waterfalls. Do also visit Sree Mangal, considered to be the largest tea gardens in the world. Pangthumai Waterfall and Satchari National Park are some of the other places you can visit when you are around Sylhet. If Sylhet is the only place on your itinerary, be aware that only a few hours are sufficient to explore and learn about the place.
10. The hidden gem that is HaflongThis is one of the most beautiful hill stations in India. North- East is already incomparable when it comes to scenic beauty and hill stations. This is like a hidden gem which shines more than many others. The Haflong Lake is the most attractive point here and there are also other places of interest here. The airports of Guahati and Dimapur are close but if you want train connectivity, you get it from Lumding or Dimapur. Based in the North East Indian state of Assam, Haflong will let you play around up close and personal with the fog and clouds.
Haflong is one of the most visited places in Assam. The hill station has scenic vistas comprising of azure blue hills, emerald green rivers, unique orchids such and rare species of birds. Situated 310 km from Guwahati. Haflong hillstation is known for its beautiful landscapes, valleys, hills and mountains. Haflong is famous for the adventure activity options it offers. Trekking and paragliding are the most popular adventure activities. Places to wander are Orchid Garden, Borail Range, Maibong and Jatinga. A must visit is the Haflong Lake, which is one of the largest natural water bodies in Assam and situated in the heart of the town. The lake provides boating facilities too.
Haflong is Assam's only hill station, which explains why it was so tourist heavy. On our first day we were spontaneously invited to attend the Spring Planting Festival that evening. We weren't disappointed as the stage was filled with enthusiastic young people singing, dancing, drumming, reclaiming their traditions. The view was stunning, the market was friendly, the vegetables were fresh, the 12 cent samosas were hot, and Joseph had discovered the only decent little guesthouse in town.