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292 Kms from Jorhat
Best time to visit - January,February,March,April,May,June,August,September,October,November,December
Meghalaya’s capital, Shillong is quaint hill-station flanked by pine forests and a few hundred waterfalls scattered ac...
Mawlynnong to Shillong via Dawki and Shnongpdeng (140 kilometers)There was not much to do at Mawlynnong so we started for the much anticipated Umngot river bed at Dawki. The road passed through narrow villages giving us a slice of life of the people of the Khasi hills. We reached Dawki by noon and were delighted to see the clear water of the river bed. We hired a boat and enjoyed the whole experiences. There were places where we could see the reflection of the boat all the way to the river bed and it seemed as though the boat is floating in thin air! At one place I saw a bamboo structure built for people to take a jump in the river. I couldn’t resist the temptation and thoroughly enjoyed my share of diving and jumping! After monkeying around for a couple of hours we continued to Shonongpdeng which was similar to Dawki except it had lots of options to camp beside the river and do a lot of adventure sports. We were tempted to stay for the night there but we realized we won’t do justice to the place by staying just one night so continued towards Shillong. We reached Shillong late in the evening and saw even more people at police bazaar probably because it was the Christmas week. Finding a hotel proved more difficult than last time and we had to go beyond our budget to spend the night. This was our last night in the land of the clouds and we were about to take the honeymoon ride to an international level the next day!
Bomdilla to Shillong (400 kilometers)This day was dedicated to transiting from Arunachal to Meghalaya via Assam. We started early and rode downhill to Bhalukhpong, all the way feeling surprised of the fact that we had covered this stretch of pure off roading in pitch dark of the night. We couldn’t resist the mustard fields this time and stopped to click a few pictures and videos. As promised, we stopped at Tezpur for a cup of tea with the riders of Tezpur Bikers Club. From Tezpur to Jorabat was a boring ride on straight four laned highway. By the time we entered Meghalaya it was late evening. We asked for road conditions and the locals assured us that the road is good all the way to Shillong. The road indeed was a bliss to ride on. It was a two laned hilly road with loads of bends and turns and even though it was dark, I was thoroughly enjoying leaning on this stretch to such an extent that the panniers scratched the road a couple of times. Shillong is just like any other popular hill city with loads of hotel, houses and traffic. The whole city was decked up with lights for the Christmas celebration. We headed straight to the police bazaar area which is supposedly the most happening place in Shillong and saw a sea of people there. Finding a hotel in our budget was difficult so we booked an OYO and checked in. We walked till late night enjoying the whole celebratory feeling of the city.
When we are talking about the best weekends getaways and places to visit from Guwahati, the most exotic places of all that comes to my mind is Shillong in Meghalaya district. It is also called Scotland of the east. The mesmerizing hills, the fresh cool breeze, the beautiful landscape is something that will linger in your mind forever. Some of the best places to visit and enjoy in Shillong are the Lady Hydari park, The Cathedral of Mary Help of Christians, the Polo grounds, etc. If you have a day or two in hand visit Cherrapunjee, go to Mawlynnong which is also the cleanest village in Asia, also visit the living root bridge there, visit Mawphlang which is famous for the sacred forests and also Laitlum canyons where clouds play hide and seek on the mountains.
One of the first pointers we noted was the early sunset and limited movement thereafter. Hence, to reach to our next destination , Shillong, we left Kaziranga at around 12 pm. Had lunch (fresh fish from the river Brahmaputra) . Touched down at 6 pm , already pitch dark , the stars out in the sky all bright. I had booked a bed and breakfast at 'Bed and Breakfast' near the Polo tower , a very cosy room , little small for three people but, if you want to bunk up real close, this is the place to be. Plus , the owner, Eric, was real helpful in giving us some ideas about the places around Meghalaya. A traveller back in Baroda, had asked me not to miss the 'Dylan cafe' in Shillong and well , you can guess , where we went for dinner that night !
Day 4 started with a our drive towards Cherrapunji . On the way , we saw the giant elephant falls . This was a three step waterfall , a short 15 min trek to its base. How often do you witness white waters falling in a bundle so close you could almost touch it.
Day 3 was kept for roaming about in Shillong city and Umiam lake. We decided to explore the unusual places and kept the usual ones for the next day. From farms of cabbage, potatoes and cauliflower to green expanse of fields, to narrow lanes, to rocks to wooden houses in the middle of nowhere and clouds appearing and engulfing us, the city kept enthralling us all the time of the day.
Explore Shillong and nearby areasSpend the morning exploring the Williamson Sangma State Museum, if you're a history buff, or head to Ward Lake, one of the most popular tourist spots in the city, if you want a piece of natural beauty. Shillong also has a number of lovely churches that provide an insight into the architecture in the state.
The volcanic Meghalaya plateau rises above the plains of Bangladesh to welcome the South West Monsoon. The play of water over a volcanic land mass, has created intricate underground cave networks with streams, crystals, stalactite and stalagmite formations; while on the surface, thundering waterfalls and rich vibrant forests flourish.
(Shillong-Scotland of the East):Neeraj was quick to respond and an arrangement for the bike to be picked up and repaired was made by him through the local Royal Enfield Service Centre. After handing over the bike, I left to explore Shillong. I was put up in a nice hotel in the main area of Shillong called Police Bazaar. I took a local cab, since my bike was getting ready for the road ahead. The day trip in Shillong consisted of certain places of importance. The first place I went to was the Shillong Peak also known as the Shillong Viewpoint. It is just a normal spot from where the entire capital city of Shillong is visible, In one glance. The peculiarity of this place is that it is located inside the Army Cantonment area, so there is thorough frisking of the travellers before entering. Also ensure that you have a photo identification proof ready for perusal. Next was the Elephant falls which is the shining star of Shillong. Divided into 3 separate areas of water flow, one has to descend a flight of around 50 steps for each area. It was just mesmerising. Some photographs and a steady climb up from the base area of the waterfall took me to the parking area. Then I set off to visit a lovely lake called the Ward's lake. This lake has it all. A big waterbody, clean grass all around, some beautiful flowers and above it all, a stunning silence. A silence in which you could hear yourself. Perks of travelling alone, ain't it? Moving on we halted at a zoo-park called the Lady Hydari park. Some unhappy Black Himalayan Bears and chirpy Geese was all that I could see. They were inside unclean enclosures. I hope that the entry fee that we pay, eventually is used for the actual development of these areas. The visit to the Cathedral Church followed. The silence and the serenity of the holy place was enough to freshen up and setup some really good vibes. It was now time to visit the Shillong Golf Links. This is a large area of lush green natural turf, where apparently golf is played on weekends by the locals. On seeing this place I was reminded of Khajjiar in Dalhousie and how Khajjiar is known as the Mini Switzerland of India. The Golf Course in Shillong was so much more clean than Khajjiar, which has now become a purely commercial place with lots of crap around. It clearly struck to me that Shillong is such an underrated hill station. It has a beautiful waterfall, a very calm lake, some lush green outfields, and a viewpoint just like any other hill station. Definitely Shillong doesn't receive the attention of a tourist like any other mainstream hill station in the north. I returned back to my room after having a light meal. Lots of good cafés around the Police Bazaar area, if you want to have an experience of the local culture. After walking down to another market area called the Barra Bazaar, I came back to my room and ensured that I get a good night's sleep before the drive next day to Mawlynnong-Asia's cleanest village.
220 Kms from Jorhat
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 ...
Sitting at Rita's Cafe, I decided to get to Kohima. I didn't have an ILP and that was bothering me. But I asked a travel operator on my way back to the hotel, and they said that it was no issue at all. I got a ticket for a Winger to Kohima for the next day.The winger took off for Kohima at 6am in the morning. 150 kms of the journey was covered in 5 hrs, given that there were barely any roads anywhere. The roads at most of the places are being widened, and the air was filled with dust. As we came close to Manipur Nagaland border, one could witness the beautiful town of Mao. The landscape was filled with terrace farms, with hills pink with cherry blossoms.We entered Nagaland, and the entire vehicle was scanned. I was thinking of situations in mind when they would ask me for my ILP, and the way out. But despite my non-ethnic face, they ignored me, and the vehicle was allowed to move out after they had checked the luggage.
At 4.30 AM, I was up; ready by 5; and by 5.30, my cab guy had managed to get his tank full. Petrol is an issue in Imphal, and I had found women selling bottles of fuel at the roadside, much late in the night. The sun was up, bright, and people were out, jogging, taking strolls by then. But as we moved out of Imphal, dense fog covered the roads for the next 2 hours, until we were far deep in Manipur. At 8 am, the cab broke down in the middle of nowhere. And we spent a good 1.5 hrs in getting it fixed. Good that the driver knew almost all the drivers who passed by, and got a gang of them to help him out. Meanwhile, I munched on the dried fish snack that I had got at Loktak, enjoying clouds visiting the blue hills below. My phone started showing wrong time, picking up the local time of Myanmar, and I got confused if we had spent 2.5 hrs repairing the vehicle.
Rita Café: A perfect place to lounge in the evening with live Manipuri music being played by a local band. Good options for coffee and mocktail. The chilly cheese toast is a must try here.
Before I left for Manipur, I did my research and wanted to do Dzuko valley trek which can be done from Viswema or zhakama in Nagaland. I tried my best to get ILP by applying couple of weeks earlier to my departure but the same has been sitting "In Progess" State even now. I read few posts saying there is a route from Manipur side opened by MMTA which takes just 5hours which turned to be HOAX.First things first, people who want to enter nagaland from manipur side can do it even without ILP. As I heard from locals, there is no place to get and there is no one to check if you have ILP.I landed in Imphal airport expecting a taxi stand who can help me reach the base camp and as its just 110km, I was not expecting the taxi cost to be more than 1650(110*15rupees). When I reached the airport, I was surprised to see that there were hardly 3-4 taxis and no one even ready to take me. Finally I found a guy who asked 10000/-. I heard its 7000 from Kohima side for pickup or pickup and drop as everyone wants to charge you for both sides/Even the autovala asked for 350/- for 7-8km. So, I took a service auto right outside the airport and headed to ISBT looking at some big hoardings projecting Revival of Manipur transport blah blah blah, but I was surprised to see a very Big Bus stand but no Government buses.
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.
324 Kms from Jorhat
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 water...
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 ~13 kms 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
Tourism department conduct one day trip to Cherrapunji which includes waterfalls (Nohkalikai is more famous), a cave, Ramkrishna Mission school and a garden. The high attractions are the waterfalls (during some seasons these get dry, one can avoid then) and the cave. The cave is quite big with some small openings for one to pass through. One should also visit double decker roots bridge for which transport would be through either local taxis or a reserved taxi. One has to walk up and down almost 3000 stairs to get to the place (almost 1.5-2hrs). I also liked spending a night in homestay nearby and visiting the bridge early in the morning again when there was no crowd and the environment was calm.
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.
277 Kms from Jorhat
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...
After two days of transit riding we were starting for the first “destination” of the trip. We had a comfortable start from Bomdilla and enjoyed the views of the Himalayas. However, the road was a mixture of broken tarmac and unforgiving off roads which made us cover distances at a very slow pace. About 100 kms from Bomdilla we reached the highest point of the trip at Se La at 13700 feet above sea level. We spent considerable time at Se La by enjoying the ride around the paradise lake and clicking loads of pictures and videos of the milestone boards and the gate welcoming us to Tawang. When we were having a cup of tea at the cafeteria at Se La, a biker coming from Tawang came to us with a very grim and tensed look. He gave us a very stern warning about a patch of black ice about 2 kilometers before Jaswantgarh and advised us to be very cautious at that stretch. This made us a little worried and we immediately started towards Tawang without wasting any more time. We counted down the kilometers to Jaswantgarh and the warning turned out to be true! There was a stretch of around 250 meters of very slippery and very dangerous black ice on the road. The condition was so bad that it was even difficult to walk on that stretch without slipping. Thankfully, we had the company of Tejas who helped me to push the heavy Royal Enfield step by step across that stretch of black ice. It was a physically exhausting experience! We thought that the worst was over and we were relieved and continued towards Tawang. This turned out to be a big mistake as there were many other small but invisible stretches of black ice all along and we weren’t as cautious as we should have been. At one such descent, there was a small stretch of black ice right before a turn. I braked to slow the motorcycle down to take the turn and before we knew it, BAM! We found ourselves on the ground with the motorcycle on top of us and the cliff only a couple of few feet away! In spite of all its flaws, one of the advantages of the Royal Enfield is that one can add large sized crash guards. Fortunately for us, the team at Destination Adventure had installed these large crash guards which were covered with a rubber mesh which along with the panniers helped us walk out of the crash with minor bruises. We were startled to say the least and then started to ride extremely cautiously. Our tensed nerves were relieved when we reached the Nuranang waterfalls at Jang. Since it was winter we could not see the waterfall in its full glory but it was beautiful nevertheless! We finally reached Tawang, the town which we had been dreaming off, at around 7 PM. It was already dark and there was not much to do. At dinner Tejas and Shashank gave us valuable tips about our onward journey to Meghalaya. They also advised us to not take too much stress as it was supposedly a “honeymoon ride” and not a test of endurance. To which we jokingly replied that we have had our share of relaxed holidays and we wanted to have a honeymoon unlike anyone else’s. We had a satisfying sleep that night.
I spent a day in Tawang exploring its famous monastery. It's massive, to say the least. The Tawang Monastery is said to be the largest in India and the 2nd largest in the world.
The picturesque town of Tawang. It is known for its tranquil beauty and vibrant soothing energy. Talk of the hospitality or the amiable nature of the residents, the towering mountains overhead or the speeding thundering valleys. Tawang touches your soul in every amazing way.Rediscovering Northeast. 'Tawang', A MUST visit.
I somehow knew that my scars would continue to fester until I embraced a geographical change. Well, recruiting friends for company is difficult with most of them busy with their jobs, some were broke and a few simply not the game for it. I faced with the dilemma of whether to sulk in unhealthy dose of self pity or travel without a company. It didn't took me long to recognise that travelling made room for much needed self-reflection and a decluttering of the mind. I was pretty much impressed by Buddhism on my earlier trips to Ladakh. My Boss was kind enough to give me a 7 day break to reboot and refresh my mind for I had not taken a vacation in the past 6 months. Tawang was a natural choice for me, though the region is prone to heavy rains and landslides during May-June. I was skeptic about the whole idea initially, but the vision of beautiful valleys and lakes for photography was too exciting. How to reach Tawang?The nearest airport is Tezpur which is about 300 km away. In addition, there are a very few flights to Tezpur from rest of India. The best option, therefore is Guwahati which has one of the busiest airports in the entire northeast. Guwahati is located 480 km from Tawang and is connected to all the major cities in India. One can drive down to Tezpur from Guwahati Airport, which is about 4 hours away. Tata Sumo, Mahindra Bolero or Maruti Eeco are easily available for hire from Tezpur to Tawang. Taxis charge approximately ₹ 7k-8k. It's a 16 hours long journey from Tezpur to Tawang which holds you tight with its unparalleled beauty and the gift of nature displayed in every inch of the land. On the way, you would be able to see the beautiful Tenga Valley, Bomdila, the spectacular Sela Pass and lake, the Jaswantgarh Memorial and the famous Nuranang or Jang falls. While at Tawang A lot of good hotels are available in Tawang which provide comfortable stay and great food as well with charges ranging from ₹ 1000- 3000 per night. It gets extremely cold at night so carrying woollens and warm clothes is a must. The hotels generally have tie ups with local travel agents to provide vehicles to visit in and around Tawang. They charge around ₹4000-5000 to take you to all the places around Tawang which includes the Tawang Monastery, Tawang War Memorial, Bum La, Taktsang Gompa, Shongatser Lake and Pankang Teng Tso. The journey from Tawang to Shongatser lake is a mesmerising one with a number of isolated lakes and beautiful valleys. The best time to visit Tawang is Feb-Mar, Oct-Nov and Apr-July. You got to watch out for extreme cold and unhygienic roadside food. And hey, the civilians require something known as the Inner Line Permit (ILP), as Tawang is located near the international border with China. ILP can be easily obtained from Delhi, Kolkata, Guwahati, Tezpur and the Tawang district headquarters It takes approximately 10-12 hours for the process. It's the best to apply for it at Tawang itself as you can plan a day out there itself. For more details you can visit the Arunachal Pradesh tourism website. Tawang is a heaven for photographers and nature lovers out there. Don't forget to carry your medicines for motion sickness, sun-tan lotion, sun hat, goggles, raincoat and an umbrella. For all you hesitant solo travellers, don't let your fear stop you. Travelling solo allows us to know ourselves a little better. And, remember you hold the power to your feelings and being your own doesn't equate with loneliness. So, chuck that damn phone away and strike a conversation with yourself. Bon Voyage!
Since I had to return the next day, I got in touch with the one of the local tour operators for my return to Tezpur. Next day morning I boarded the cab from the guest house and said good bye to our beautiful host Dehra Lama and he wished me all the best in his own unique gesture of folding the hand. Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture with him (forgot to take one).Being a curious guy myself to know more about the places and people. I had good interaction with the migrants here (mainly Bengalis and Biharis) and how they have come to be here and doing business. Also, interacted with ITBP personnel and his experience. All these talks gives us a fresh perspective into a life outside ours and changes our thinking in some way or the other.I stayed overnight in Tezpur at one of the guest house nearby the bus stand. Next morning, I took the Volvo to Guwahati and then reached airport in a cab to board my flight in the afternoon.My journey ended with lots of beautiful memories which I have tried to put above. I would suggest to go out and explore. Life is meant to be enjoyed and experienced and what better way than travelling and meeting people.I am now locating a new place to visit. Signing off. Inbox me for contacts and any suggestions if you want visiting these places.
TawangAfter 5 long hours of driving through the hilly terrain we reached our elusive destination Tawang. Tawang is synonymous with the Tawang Monastery, the mammoth structure very easily visible from far away in the hills. It is the soul of the Tawang hill people. Spirituality flows from here. The monastery is the 2nd largest in the world after the Potala palace in Lhasa.
After Sela you will pass the Jaswant Singh War Memorial. He fought the Chinese in the Sino-Indian war of 1962. You can google more on this place. Jaswant Singh has been elevated to the position of a saint and the local believe that he protects the valley from disaster. This war memorial has on the outside beautiful quotes engraved on the walls and the stones. One thing in Buddhism is that they have heart touching quotes.
This picturesque town in Arunachal Pradesh is located at an elevation of 2,669 meters and is cradled in the Himalayas. Covered in glistening snow for most parts of the year, Tawang has an exotic elegance, with its pristine wildness, criss-crossed by gushing streams, surrounded by deep valleys and glassy lakes in a mountainous backdrop, making it one of the perfect places to visit in May in India. The streets are dotted with monasteries, as most of the people residing here are Buddhists. The whisper of the Tashi Delek can be heard all along the valleys as one treks along the region, seeking pleasure in adventure!How to get there: Tezpur in Assam is the nearest major transit point to Tawang and is well-connected by rail, air and road. From Tezpur, government and private buses ply at regular intervals, SUV s could be hired as well.
Why go? The geographical position of Tawang at the northeastern edge of the country makes it a truly offbeat travel destination. This picturesque town lies 10,000ft above sea level, bound by Tibet on the north, Bhutan on the south-west and the cultural uniqueness sets it apart from any other destination in India.Things to do: Tawang Monastery, Taktshang Gompa and Urgeling Gompa are the chief religious attractions in Tawang. Beautiful lakes surrounding Tawang include Shonga-tser, Pangateng Tso and Nagula Lake. Gorichen Peak and Nuranang Falls are other great attractions in the vicinity.Budget tip for Tawang: Stay at Radiance International and earn up to 1000 JPMiles on booking with JetPrivilege hotel partners.
Tawang's Buddhist community is deeply rooted in the political history of the place, as until early 20th century it was a part of Tibet. This hill town in Arunachal Pradesh is home to the Tawang Monastery, which is largest monastery in India and the second largest in the world. In Tibetan, the monastery is called Galden Namgey Lhatse, which translates to "celestial paradise on a clear night". The city preserves the culture and traditions of Tibetan Buddhism in the magnificent Himalayas.Where to eat: During your stay at Tawang, definitely check out the small street vendors in the main market that sell the most delicious momos and other snacks. The Woodland Restaurant is known for its salt tea and Dragon Restaurant for chopsuey.Where to stay: There are several stay options in Tawang, and most are widely available on the internet. Check out this page to get exact details, names and contact numbers of available hotels. Radiance International is one of the most popular hotels in Tawang.How to reach: The nearest airport is in Tezpur (143km). From there you will have to either take a local bus or taxi to the Tawang Monastery, which will take up to 8 hours.
122 Kms from Jorhat
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 foot...
By train: Numerous express trains go to Guwahati. From Guwahati, you get a local train to Dimapur which is a 5 hour journey. From Dimapur, you get a government bus or a shared taxi or a private vehicle to Kohima.By car: From Kohima main bus stand, you can get a private vehicle to Porba.
Contrary to the common belief, the festival of Hornbill does not happen in Kohima but around 12 km away from it (and a couple of hours long traffic, during the festival) in a village called Kisama Heritage Village.So for those visiting Hornbill for only a few days, it’s anyway not a very smart idea to be staying in Kohima and losing a few hours in the traffic everyday. Rather, consider staying in the village of Kigwema, located at only a walking distance from Kisama.Kigwema: A Peaceful Alternative Near Kohima
My plans change often. But this time was a bit different.I stayed in Kohima for two days, using the time to explore the town, walk through fascinating markets and taste some interesting Naga cuisine. I then loaded up the bike and set off for Imphal (Manipur). But, the bike had other plans.
a) De Oriental Grand: It is the most luxurious option available in this rustic hill townwww.deorientalgrand.comb) Hotel Vivor: It is another fine hotel replete with all basic amenities. It is known for its impeccable hospitalitywww.niathugroup.com/hotel-vivor-home
I was in Tawang, in deep dilemma. I didn't want to leave there and did not want to miss Nagaland either. But then again you have to leave one place to reach another. I left there on 25th and after long, restless, sleepless, and leg breaking journey of 27 hours straight, including a sumo ride, bus ride, and an alto ride, I reached Kohima. I did not have an ILP that is required to enter Nagaland, but somehow managed to get in with the help of some guys I met in alto. I stayed in dorm in The Blue Bayou, though it was costly (500 rs. per night), it was the best dorm I have stayed by far on my trip. From my dorm balcony I could get the panoramic view of Kohima, also there was some band downstairs, practicing for some gig and their music was beautiful. I roamed around the city, and it was such an experience with music and graffiti everywhere, street vendors selling all sort of crazy food (frogs, insects, and what not), and the best part was the coffee cafes with live music. Being a digital nomad it is important for me to get good wifi, and all the cafes there has good wi-fi. Do visit Dream Cafe, food there is ok but coffee was really good, and it has very good working environment with a panoramic view of Kohima.
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.
112 Kms from Jorhat
Best time to visit - NA
Dibrugarh is the passage to Arunachal Pradesh. You will get all varieties of Indian, Mughlai, Chinese, mainland and near...
Dibrugarh, AssamYou know how you crave that cup of tea to start your day, or at the end of a long hard one, or sometimes, just to wake up? Forget all of that. Welcome to Dibrugarh, the Tea City of India. Take a Tea Tasting tour and open your senses to the taste, the feel and the fragrance of the beverage your day depends on. Besides this, find exotic flora and fauna at Namdapha National Park or visit the Tilinga Mandir (also known as The Temple of Many Bells) for little adventures that the quaint town offers.
I landed at the Dibrugarh Airport to kick-start my journey. Dibrugarh is renowned as India’s tea capital. The finest tea in the world is grown here. This place essentially lies in the neighboring state of Assam with a few parts falling in Arunachal Pradesh. Dibrugarh is home to miles and miles of tea estates and the lush greenery brings many tourists here. There are a few national parks and botanical gardens to explore like the Jokai Botanical Gardens and the Saikhowa National Park and some Vaishnavite temples as well. This is one of the highly urbanized places, with universities and decent transport facilities. One of the few places in this part of the country where you can find a decent internet connection.
After two days at Mon we drove to Dibrugarh which was 200 kms or 7 hrs away. Situated in the northernmost tip of Assam, Dibrugarh is the gateway to Aurnachal Pradesh. Famous for tea, it has world’s largest area covered by tea gardens. After the long drive, all we could do is rest and prepare for the journey ahead.
309 Kms from Jorhat
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, cliff...
Nongriat to Mawlynnong via Tyrna (4.5 kilometers trek and 100 kilometers ride)Yet again, the day started with a trek. The walk back to Tyrna comprised of ascending 3000 steps but we reached there early in the afternoon. We loaded our bike and bid adieu to the beautiful kids of Tyrna village. Our route to Mawlynnong was via the same road to Shillong but the weather was totally different this time. There was dense fog all around and we finally got a sense why the state is called “Megh-Alaya”. We unfortunately missed the turn to the famous Nohkalikai falls in the fog and realized it only after going a long distance so we continued forward. A few kms before Mawlynnong the road became really narrow with dense banana trees on all sides making it difficult to anticipate the oncoming vehicles. We found it very difficult to find accommodation at Mawlynnong as even basic hotels were priced upwards of 2K for a night. Finally after wasting a lot of time we found a room in the attic of an under-renovation hotel which fit our budget. We then decided to explore “Asia’s cleanest village” and found it to be as clean as all the other villages of Meghalaya. By 7 pm everything was shut and we had a basic dinner at the only restaurant of the village. Overall we were a little disappointed with Mawlynnong and we would not recommend a night halt there.
On Day 6, we headed to the Asia's cleanest village, Mawlyinnong, which is located 90km from Shillong. It's close to the India-Bangladesh border. The ride from Shillong to Mawlynnong is an incredible one, with lush green bushes on each side of the road and lovely views along. The village was indeed very clean and neatly maintained. The locals are very welcoming to the travellers. They display warm gestures and smiles. The kids in the village are adorable, though some are camera-shy. After having spent some time in the village, we headed to Jingmaham Living Root Bridge.
Mawlynnong was awarded the cleanest village of Asia as the village consisting of 97 families had decided to build toilets in every house since 1989. We reached the village at around 7 pm. You would realize why it was awarded the cleanest village as soon as you enter.There was a Jingham (instructions in english) board right at the parking which told you what NOT to do here. We checked in a bamboo cottage booked by Airbnb. Reaching there I realized, we were being charged hefty for the small place just right enough to contain three people. The property was interestingly jointly owned by a 64 year old school teacher and a enterpreneur from Bombay who managed the bookings on Airbnb. After resting, we walked through the village till the Bangladesh viewpoint treehouse and the open farm in the opposite end. Till that night, I felt, I have almost covered the whole of Meghalaya since Jaintia hills is not much explorable. Well, i was proven wrong that night. After dinner , we happened to meet a Mawlynnong-er who was a guide by profession. That 45 minute long chat with him was the highlight of that night. He gave us insights to Jaintia hills and the offbeat treks that he organizes all the time. So, another trip will soon be planned ;)
Amazing, Magical, Magnificent, Beautiful, Spectacular. Even these words fall short to describe the beauty of Mawlynnong. Also referred as ‘God’s own Garden’ , this village won the status of the cleanest village in Asia in 2003 and the cleanest village in India in 2005. I just couldn’t wait to get there.
Next we headed to Mawlynnong Village, cleanest village in India. You roam around this small village with is self sufficient in keeping itself clean. Villagers must bit tire with all the tourists so close to their homes. Kids here are too shy of tourists and won't accept any bribe you give to click them.
One day trip to Mawlynnong – The Cleanest Village in AsiaOne of the other compelling reasons, was to visit the cleanest village in Asia – Mawlynnong, which is also around 3-4 hour drive away from Shillong. Like Cherrapunji, Mawlynnong also boasts of having a living root bridge, but a single layer one. Having seen many army cantonments throughout my life, my first opinion about Mawlynnong, on my first glance was that it looks like a well maintained army cantonment! Which is remarkable, considering that all the work is done by the villagers themselves, and the villagers maintain proper cleanliness too. And that is why a trip to Mawlynnong had to be there on my 5 reasons to visit Shillong.The vibrant food culture in ShillongThe last and the most compelling reason out of the 5 reasons to visit Shillong was the vibrant food culture in Shillong. “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” – This saying was proved true when I got to relish different types of local food options from different cafes spread all around Shillong. However, I hogged onto the yummy Momos, on a daily basis apart from checking out the Cafes.If these 5 reasons could compel me to convince my parents to go on a week-long family vacation to Shillong, which was enjoyed thoroughly by all 4 of us, you should also check out these 5 reasons to visit Shillong and escape the Delhi heat by taking a trip to the North East.Already been to Shillong? Do share your experience in the comments and do add in your recommendations too.Check out more such blogs at theETLRblog.com .
• Visit Dowki (Bangladesh border) and Mawlynnong Village, which has been consecutively voted as Asia’s cleanest village. The live root bridge here (Not to be confused with the Double Decker Bridge in Cherrapunjee) is the major attraction for all the visitors. Travellers to this part of Meghalaya vouch for Mawlynnong Village as being one of their most serene and humbling choices for a retreat. It is located at a distance of 90km from Shillong.Both lie in the opposite directions, hence cannot be clubbed together. 3 nights in Shillong may be divided accordingly.Bazaars-Lewduh market or Bara Bazaar enjoys the reputation of being the oldest and largest traditional market of not just Meghalaya but of all of northeast. Bara Bazaar has the distinction of being one of India's rare market places where most of the shops are managed and run by women vendors. The market has separate segments for fruits, vegetables, fish, pork, beef and betel nut. Traditional items like handloom products and ethnic food items are also available in Bara Bazaar. Apart from shopping and souvenir hunt, you can be a part of the local faith by attending the religious ceremonies.Besides Bara Bazaar, one place that you definitely need to visit is the famous Police Bazaar. It is a mix of the traditional and the modern; the chic and the classic. More modern than Bara Bazaar, this place is home to a number of hotels, multi-cuisine restaurants and shops that just about cater to everyone. Almost like an extended community centre, Police Bazaar is the place you need to be if you want to catch the pulse of the city. The most popular shopping outlets in Police Bazaar include the store of Meghalaya Handlooms & Handicraft, Assam Emporium, Khadi Gram Udyog, Glory's Plaza, OB Shopping Mall and Grand Bazaar. Artifacts made of bamboo and cane are found in abundance here along with cotton and silk products. The lanes of Police Bazaar are narrow but the variety and option you get to choose from is immense.Where to Stay-Shillong