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194 Kms from Nechiphu
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...
After breakfast today we will visit the famous Elephant Falls and Shillong Peak - to enjoy a bird’s eye view of Shillong later visit Don Bosco Monument, Ward’s Lake where you can enjoy boating, Botanical Garden and Lady Hydri Park. Evening you is free for your personal activities. Overnight stay at Shillong.
After breakfast drive to Jowai 64 kms. from Shillong is the administrative headquarters of Jaintia Hills as well as the commercial centre. Arrive Jowai,check in hotel visit Nartiang Monoliths biggest collection of monoliths or Megalithic stones in one single area is to be found north of the Nartiang market, Durga Temple at Nartiang, Thadlaskein Lake, Stone Bridge at Thlumuwi etc.
I have already seen Shillong. So this time I had breakfast at Madras Cafe (great filter coffee !!), and took 12 pm bus from Meghalaya Transport Corporation bus stand to Guwahati.Nominal price and good connectivity, I reached Guwahati by evening. Took a hotel at Paltan bazaar. Lot of options available. Approx INR 1000/ day.
Picture perfect overcast skies, dramatically green valleys and a hundred or so silvery waterfalls make Shillong a destination beyond definition. This one city will make you realise how you can find beauty at every corner! Whether it is the awe and wonder that captivates you as you enjoy the panoramic views of the city from Shillong hill, or the charm of isolation that draws you in the surrounding groves of tall, evergreen trees of Upper Shillong, every nook, every street, every lane here has a story that is waiting to be unraveled. But if there is one thing in Shillong that is even more attractive than its natural beauty, it is the eclectic mix of cafes and their unwavering bond with music. Is it any surprise, that while the world was enjoying the trance of parties in Goa, or the taste of Israeli food in Dharamshala, Shillong created a niche for itself amongst people looking for unique music and delicious food! Here's a list of the best cafes in town for some delectable bites and soaking in the local vibe.
Next morning we got up and got ready to head back up those 3000 steps. We started walking by 10 and made it to the top by 12. We then tried to find a taxi to take us to Mawlinlong but as it was a Sunday we soon realized none of the share taxis was running.So we went back to Shillong ( share taxis were available for this) and the next morning leave for the village. We made it to Shillong by 7 in the evening all tired and wet. Got into a restaurant, ate dinner after what felt like ages and then decided to start looking for a hotel.MAWLINGLONG VILLAGE
Start early the next morning as there are many attractions in Shillong that you'll not want to miss. First visit the Cathedral Catholic Church, which is built in Gothic architectural style and lies amidst expansive lush lawns. This cathedral was made a shrine in the year 1980. It was constructed atop an emerald-colored hill and has stunning stained glass installations and tall arches.Timing: 7:00 AM – 6:30 PM
Hotel Recommendation: Nalgre Guest House
Had we set alarms to wake up, we would have been late! The first light of dawn hit our room at 4:45 am in the morning and the view outside was enough to make us leap from our beds and get ready to begin an early first day of our trip.
ShillongShillong, called as 'Scotland of The East', the capital of Meghalaya, is the only hill station in the country that is accessible from all sides. With beautiful roads, crystal clear lakes, mesmerizing waterfalls and impressive mountains, there are several picturesque places to visit in Shillong.
333 Kms from Nechiphu
Best time to visit - March,April,May,June,October,November,December
One would assume that Thimphu is still settling into its role as the capital of one of the happiest countries in the wor...
Yes, we have all seen 'Eat Pray Love' and 'Queen'.Yes, simply uttering these two words ‘SOLO TRAVEL’ fill us up with euphoric, exotic thrill.It was something I always knew subconsciously, that I would someday do. And I would continue to do. I just didn’t know where and when to begin. But last month when my best friend took the plunge and came out victorious (she went to Bali for 12 days and came back in one piece), I decided it was time.For my first solo trip ever, I chose probably the safest place on this planet – Bhutan.Even though I booked my tickets on a complete whim, it didn’t take long for the excitement to get replaced by fear. I immediately realized that this was going to be a totally different experience from the one I’m living now, which was a nerve-racking thought to say the least!Plus, I didn’t personally know a single soul in the country I was traveling to and that naturally made me feel a little lost, vulnerable and child-like scared.But with solid push from friends, and some self- introspection, I decided park my fears aside and blindly take the plunge. I also kind of didn’t have an option - my tickets were already booked.And needless to say, just like my best friend, I too returned back in one piece. But that wasn’t all. I returned from my first-ever solo travel trip – which also happened to be the most memorable trip I’ve taken to date.So, through my solitude and my experience as a lone traveler, I wanted to share some of my bittersweet observations/insights on mindsets of travelers (especially Indian travelers, as Bhutan is majorly filled with Indian tourists) and their expectations from their travels. More like, let me burst some travel bubbles that Indians live in, when they set foot outside the comfort of their homes.MYTH #1: Travel/Traveling IS NOT a free flowing stream of ‘fun’Yes, by and large, it should be. Because you are on vacation, you are taking a break from your mundane routine lives and you are obviously spending your hard-earned money and time on doing something that will provide you a different kind of experience – positive experience. And it most cases, it does.But that doesn’t mean every second of your journey or travel experience will be pleasant. And that is actually a boon in disguise. That’s what converts your planned & predictable holiday into a wild and exotic adventure.So if something happens to you which was not mentioned in your itinerary, there is absolutely no reason to feel so miserable about. It’s another feather that needs to go on your traveling cap.Tell me, within the comforts of our home and daily lives, where we are so familiar with everything around us and equipped with the know-how of our surroundings, ever so often, our minds are flustered and troubled and consumed with multiple issues.Then, how do you expect, that in a completely new terrain, with unknown people, diverse cultures and unfamiliar traditions, you expect everything to go your way? Just because you spent a lot of time doing your research and making prior arrangements via virtual mediums - in real, physical space, nothing comes with 100 percent warrantee. And that is really the best part.· I got caught in immigration upon my return because I didn’t have the necessary permit. That wasn’t fun. But now that’s a permanent and significant memory, etched for life in my brains.· An old monk- looking man ( who was actually my hotel staff) walked into my hotel room with a master key in the middle of the night, while I was inside, getting ready to go to bed ( this was due to a co-ordination failure and more of an accident for which the hotel more than compensated) and that was scary. Not fun. Again, another permanent memory which also earned me free dinners in that hotel for the rest of my stay.· The hike to Taktsang Monastery in Paro was grueling, almost life-ending. No amount of warnings or sound advices can prepare you for what you’d endure because each person differs from another in terms of stamina and capabilities. And I realized my threshold to endure such things was beyond negative. The loser part of me kept telling me to turn back, because I was on a holiday and this experience was turning out to be hard work and negative and painful- why should I endure all that when all I am supposed to feel is good, relaxed and positive? But there was this other part, who wanted to push further and see the finishing line. And now, having done it, it went on to become one of the most inspiring and defining moments of my life.FACT #2: Travel can’t be LIFE TRANSFORMATIVENext time you come across someone who’s about to embark on a travel journey – ask that person what their expectations are from that travel and be prepared to get amused.99% of them will say- “I expect to be a changed person.My travel needs to help me achieve some deeper understanding of life, I need to overnight transform into a more matured, insightful, well balanced and sane individual, not to forget – also simultaneously become calmer, happier, saner”. How???Holidays make you come back feeling refreshed. I give you that. And that too happens for a logical reason. You get out of your mundane routine and distract your mind from your regular issues. You forget your day to day problems and focus on whatever experiences your holiday brings in ( good or bad). So when your travel comes to an end, and you are back to your routine, it all seems fresh simply because your mind was elsewhere the last few days. It only takes minutes, hours and at best days, for that feeling to go out of the window and the monotony of daily life to step in.So NO! Holidays don’t transform you as a human being. They give you a break from monotony and that too is short-lived. Nothing more. Nothing less.FACT #3: GROUP TRAVEL IS FUN TRAVEL – JUST FOR THE GROUPThis is something I have always wondered about. Especially because I come from a tiny nuclear family and we never really practiced the culture of traveling in big groups.Why is it that people who travel in a group- become so unempathetic towards others around?Just because you are traveling in a group, doesn’t mean the world ceases to exist beyond your circle, right?Group travelling seems all fun and jolly when you’re in a group but not so much so when you’re on the receiving end.You had planned your perfect getaway holiday; planned everything meticulously from start to end to be perfect but in the end; you end up with a group of travelers just waiting patiently for their next prey. The unsuspicious prey falls into their trap and suddenly they find themselves suffocated and escapeless. Trust me, I know from experience.Talking loudly amongst them is just the start of the problem. They become obnoxious and become oblivious of their fellow travelers and have a sense that they own the place. They not only disrupt your travel experience but the worst part is that the memory and pain you went through lingers on for the rest of your travel.· As the night fell in our quaint little riverside resort at Paro valley, and the weary guests made way to their respective rooms, the predator group stayed wide awake in the lawn, enjoying their vegetarian barbeque, for they must engage in multiple rounds of antaakshari. Their melody wasn’t melodious at all – to the tired guests, they were just harsh echoes which kept the whole valley awake. And when that died down, the babies woke up – whaling and crying till daylight.· Every time fresh parathas arrived in my breakfast buffet, cute little Chintu ran to pick up his parathas first. But alas! Chintu wasn’t just picking up parathas for himself. There was dadu, dadi ( old people- so sweet gesture), dad and mom ( always put parents first), Pammy aunty, Sunny uncle, Pinki didi, Sonu bhaiya, etc etc etc. The list simply went on. I gave up my hopes of eating fresh parathas or any parathas and instead settled for plain coffee.FACT #4: Indians love STICKING TO Indians, outside borders.Pledge of our country, India, says “We are all brothers and sisters”.Sometimes, Indians are way too patriotic. They are communal within the country but polar opposites outside. Even if they step out only for a short while.In my four days in Bhutan, I met Indian families from all across the country, everywhere I went. Right from the flight to immigration, hotel to restaurants, hikes to shopping - everywhere. And everyone felt an easy sense of sisterhood or camaraderie just because they met a fellow Indian.Friendships were formed over seconds, if not live, definitely on FB. Secrets were divulged over a single glass of wine. Shopping plans were made for the following day and numbers were exchanged to share pics on watsapp. After my 4 days solo stint in Bhutan, I have 3 new friends from Gujarat, 1 from Kerala and 3 more from Bengal. Sadly, not a single Bhutanese friend ☹ except my guide.FACT # 5: MY TRAVEL BETTER THAN YOUR’S!Doing things differently is what makes every travel experience unique. Checklists of places to visit, food to eat, things to buy etc. are made by almost everyone while travelling. But this process of comparing check lists and trying to prove how yours is better than the rest- I find it simply incorrigible.You may have the perfect holiday planned out every single step of the way, but one thing you cannot argue on is that your travel checklist is not the perfect one as everyone experiences their travel differently, even while doing the same thing.What you did in your travel might not be done by others but that doesn’t necessarily mean than their travel was any less enjoyable than yours. No checklist is better than the others- every list is unique from the rest and that’s what makes travelling a different experience for everyone. So instead of squabbling over checklist and exchanging notes, next time do yourself a favor and enjoy your stay the way you like it.FACT # 6: IT’S ALL IN THE GENESEverything comes in a full circle. In childhood days while going for excursion, holidays, etc. mainly our beloved Dad takes initiative and goes through a process of knowing the places thoroughly where we will be visiting, taking various precautions, summarizing the entire holiday span with activities, not planning a hectic tour, etc.It is the general habit of a child to inherit various qualities from their parents. Now as one grows up, he or she might be exercising those special qualities that their parents had implemented while going for a travel. Sub-consciously we start making those arrangements and take necessary steps that we have inherited from them.
THIMPHU: We went for sightseeing in Thimphu.First we vsited the huge 51m-tall steel statue of Buddha Dordenma commanding the entry to the Thimphu valley. The massive three-storey base houses a large chapel, while the body itself is filled with 125,000 smaller statues of Buddha. The Buddha looks best in morning light, or at night when it is illuminated.Next we headed to the Zoo which of much interest . There were some interesting recreation points on our way through Thimphu.Thimphu marketplace was very lively!!
3. Colours of Tshechu: Tshechu is the annual religious festival celebrated in every district of Bhutan. Colourful mask dances and other religious rituals are the main attraction of every Tshechu. The Tshechus are organized in honour of Guru Rimpoche. Every Dzong organizes Tshechu at different times of the year so one can plan the trip accordingly. We planned our trip during Thimphu Tshechu and attended the first day of Thimphu Tsechu. The courtyard of the Thimphu Dzong was packed with both locals and tourists. The locals came dressed in their colourful traditional attires and jewellery and took part in the festival with lots of funfairs. We too enjoyed every moment of this colourful extravaganza.
First thing we did was to submit a copy of our permits and fill a permit entry form for visiting Punakha & Haa Valley at the Immigration office. This is a very quick and easy process. Take photocopy of the permits (stamped at various checkposts) and submit. You’ll get your permit within an hour. You can also collect the same by evening.Places to visit in Thimphu1. National Heritage Museum: This is a good place to learn about Bhutanese heritage. You can see the display of tools used, taste Ara (Rice wine), etc. Entry Fee: Rs. 502. Art & Crafts School: Here you can witness live painting by students of this art school. An interesting place located opposite the heritage museum. Entry Fee: Rs. 100
Thimphu:We took one of those share-taxis amply available in the city to reach Thimphu the next morning. Thimphu is a city like no other. It is a capital with no traffic signals! A capital with only traffic police whistling to control traffic. We were lucky as the time we went in (September end) happened to be during their festive season. Hence we got to see the famous traditional masked dance happening in the Tashichö Dzong.
The one hour ride takes you to Thimphu, the capital city. For visiting the village of Punakha, you have to apply for another permit at the Immigration office in Thimphu, which I did on arrival. Later I hired a taxi to visit Buddha Dordenma, a huge Budha statue on the top of a hill.
DAY 5: THIMPUThere aren’t a lot of places to cover in Thimpu. You will be able to cover all the places in 1 day itself.Incase you plan to go to Punakha or any other places in Bhutan, please apply for a permit in Thimpu. It shouldn’t take more than 30 mins for you to get a permit.
You will have enough time to explore Paro (visit Tiger’s Nest perhaps!) and still reach Thimpu in time, because Paro to Thimpu is a short stretch of nearly 50km, and a smooth highway connecting two cities is moreover the best in the country, thus saving you enough time no matter when you leave.Since Paro has the only international airport in Bhutan, and Thimpu is the capital, the highway moreover stays good in shape throughout the year. It takes one and a half to two hours to travel between the two cities.
230 Kms from Nechiphu
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...
We then left to the main taxi stand to get ourselves a share taxi to Cherapunji (It would make life easier if you could rent a bike from here and do the entire journey on it but we couldn't get our hands on any bikes).The taxi cost us around 80 rps only and in about 2 to 3 hours we were in between the clouds. We couldn't see what was 10 meters ahead either.It really was the wettest place on earth and we were there during the wettest season.CHERAPUNJI:Now that we were in Cherapunji our next step was to find a place to stay which turned out to be not too easy as the first place we went to- hostel By the way, we got kicked out as the owner did not like us!Finally, we found one place which agreed to give us a room for 1000 rps a night and we decided to spend the night there.
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.
302 Kms from Nechiphu
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.
95 Kms from Nechiphu
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...
It was morning rains that decreased the temperature below 8 in Tawang.I was undecided about what next. The previous day had talked with the taxi driver about Zemithang ,8000 to and fro with an eve stay so it was a out of budget.My group had left for the early bus to Bomdila and I was checking the weather forecast of the places around and it was rains everywhere. Then i decided i take an off day with just a walk in the town after 4 days being on the move and slept again.I woke up around 9 and then got ready , had breakfast and then walked upto the Tawang Monastery which is the second largest monastery in the world.I was treated with awesome views of The giant Buddha that towers over the town as well as the beautiful monastery during my walk.
We reached Tawang at around 2:30 pm and then start deciding for the next day trip up to Bum La Pass.2 of us were involved in formalities to get id proofs and ILP copies. Apart from ILP, a separate pass is required to go up to Bum La pass, near Chinese border which gets done by the taxi drivers on the day of travel with both id proof and ILP copies. Meanwhile,i started looking for stay options nearby and luckily got one named Hotel Massang, near the bus stand again.My friends also got stay in the same hotel. I had lunch and was determined to cover at least something nearby the same day.I walked up to the Giant Buddha statue nearby. Tawang has some shortcuts with stairs leading up to higher altitude places. The stairs can be quite slippery, plus the dogs were a bit hostile as well. I fell twice while climbing these shortcuts. But all the effort put in led me to a pretty spectacle.
Bum La Pass (37 km)Early morning ( by that I mean 8.30 am ) we left for another picturesque ride to the Indo-China border at Bum La Pass. A permit from the Army is required to visit this place and can be obtained from Tawang a day in advance.Our first pit stop was the Army Canteen. Every time I meet the Army men I feel this sense of awe at their joviality despite living in such adverse conditions and in such extreme situations. They enlightened us about the tribulations of living at an elevation of around 15,000 ft. It's not just the stress from human sources but the strain of mother nature that they have to endure. Sub-zero temperature, hypoxia leading to dyspnea (difficulty in breathing), and sleepless nights. A big salute to their courage, tolerance, and sacrifices!The army canteen had some mouth-watering samosa (kept us returning for it!), momos, Maggie and brewing chai for us and some awesome army goodies at bargainous prices. Like I got this incredible jacket which managed to keep me warm even in the sub-zero temperature and protected me from the glacial winds. Just for 700 bucks. Deal of the year!The road to Bum la is horrendous. I felt like the roads just kept getting worse and worse with each passing day. The sadistic universe must have been like, "Oh you survived that, let's throw something worse at you."But then again, the universe must be bipolar. Cause it threw at us the most pristine of places which took out breaths away. Quite literally! There are numerous lakes en route. Good luck with counting them cause I lost my count.
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.
236 Kms from Nechiphu
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...
I flew from Hyderabad to Dimapur, the only airport and railhead in Nagaland. From the airport, I took an auto to Dimapur railway station, from where you will easily find shared Jeeps to Kohima. Now brace yourselves for a 3 hour long, tiring, bumpy ride on bad roads that will test your fitness and agility, after which you will reach Kohima, the capital city. It was almost sundown by the time I reached there, so I stayed there that night and headed towards a nearby village called Kigwema, the next day. If you are looking for luxurious hotels, Kohima is where you should stay put, because beyond it, in the villages, you will mostly find only basic homestays. I would suggest you to not spend too much time in Kohima and instead explore more of the villages because they are a lot more serene and peaceful.
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.
258 Kms from Nechiphu
Best time to visit - NA
Dibrugarh is the passage to Arunachal Pradesh. You will get all varieties of Indian, Mughlai, Chinese, mainland and near...
Head to Dibrugarh on the morning of the 10th day for your return journey back home. Getting to Arunachal PradeshBy air: Arunachal has three airports in the state – Ziro, Along and Tezu, but these are usually served by connecting flights from Guwahati and Kolkata. The closest airport that is well-connected to the rest of the country is Guwahati. But depending on where you're going in Arunachal, you can also take flights to Tezpur and Dibrugarh.For this itinerary, we will use Guwahati as our base, which is 311km from Itanagar, the state capital, and is our first stop.By train: Around 43 km from Itanagar, Harmuti railway station in Assam) is the nearest train station connecting Arunachal Pradesh to other major cities of India. From there you can take a bus or hire a cab to reach the state.By road: The state is most accessible by road and easily approachable by all nearby states and cities. There are a number of state transport buses that run within Arunachal as well as connect it to the neighbouring states. The network of taxis is also well developed and preferred by most tourists as it is more reliable than the buses.Getting around Arunachal PradeshArunachal Pradesh State Transit (APST) runs regular buses across the state, but they mostly operate in the plains because of the condition of the roads in the more remote areas. And because of the terrain, the buses can sometimes be infrequent and unreliable. The main mode of transport is shared Sumo taxis for the locals and other cabs for tourists.The road network in Arunachal is not overly developed and it is often not possible to move directly between smaller towns and villages. You will often have to return to the plains instead of going directly from town to town.Best time to visit Arunachal PradeshBecause of the varied terrain, Arunachal is subject to a diverse range of weather conditions. The summers are usually warm, with temperatures going up to 35ºC, while the winters are cold and chilly with sub zero temperatures in several places. The monsoons receive a heavy dose of rainfall, so it is advisable not to visit during that time. Peak summers are from May to June, monsoons from July to September, and winters from October to February.Spring (March-April) and autumn (early October) are usually the best times to visit as the temperature is moderate and most of the places are accessible.Which is your favourite place in Northeast India? Write about your experiences here on Tripoto and check out our YouTube channel for some amazing travel inspiration.
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.