Top Places To Visit in West Kameng
Hotels and Homestays in West Kameng
Weekend Getaways from West Kameng
290 Kms from West Kameng
The land of the abominable snowman,they call it.Our first major destination in Lhasa was the Potala Palace.The entire site was as clean as it was touristy. We were limited to a visit of only 1 hour due to the integrity of the structure (it could risk collapse from the weight of too many visitors) but all in all it was absolutely gorgeous. The temples were just breathtaking and I enjoyed watching the monks walking from room to room continuing their daily tasks all the while examining the hundreds of different rooms, shrines and statues.After taking in the Potala Palace, we were set free to enjoy Johkang Temple and the surrounding vicinity that’s known as the Backhor Streets. It was quite interesting to see the layers of culture in such a small place. Lhasa was a much larger city than I had anticipated. Shops and stalls lined every corner and were filled to the brim with Tibetan prayer beads, necklaces, singing bowls, yak blankets and many other ornaments. Tibetan & Chinese restaurants filled the streets with an almost intoxicating smell of yak meat, bread & other cultural foods.We then explored both the Drepung Monastery & Sera Monastery. The Drepung Monastery, which happened to be the Dalai Lama’s old winter residence (up until the 5th Dalai Lama moved it to the Potala Palace), happened to house the largest amounts of monks in Tibet. We were very lucky to arrive just as many of them were gathered for their afternoon lunch and meditation sessions. The energy that protruded from them was nothing short of intense!Later, we passed through Gangbala Pass with a quick pit stop at Yamdrok Lake where we took some very scenic pictures of turquoise blue waters that were overlooked by snow-peaked mountains.Read More
The land of the abominable snowman,they call it.Our first major destination in Lhasa was the Potala Palace.The entire site was as clean as it was touristy. We were limited to a visit of only 1 hour due to the integrity of the structure (it could risk collapse from the weight of too many visitors) but all in all it was absolutely gorgeous. The temples were just breathtaking and I enjoyed watching the monks walking from room to room continuing their daily tasks all the while examining the hundreds of different rooms, shrines and statues.After taking in the Potala Palace, we were set free to enjoy Johkang Temple and the surrounding vicinity that’s known as the Backhor Streets. It was quite interesting to see the layers of culture in such a small place. Lhasa was a much larger city than I had anticipated. Shops and stalls lined every corner and were filled to the brim with Tibetan prayer beads, necklaces, singing bowls, yak blankets and many other ornaments. Tibetan & Chinese restaurants filled the streets with an almost intoxicating smell of yak meat, bread & other cultural foods.We then explored both the Drepung Monastery & Sera Monastery. The Drepung Monastery, which happened to be the Dalai Lama’s old winter residence (up until the 5th Dalai Lama moved it to the Potala Palace), happened to house the largest amounts of monks in Tibet. We were very lucky to arrive just as many of them were gathered for their afternoon lunch and meditation sessions. The energy that protruded from them was nothing short of intense!Later, we passed through Gangbala Pass with a quick pit stop at Yamdrok Lake where we took some very scenic pictures of turquoise blue waters that were overlooked by snow-peaked mountains.
203 Kms from West Kameng
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 across the charming landscape. Also referred to as the Scotland of the East, Shillong is replete with remnants of its British legacy, that can be seen in its architecture and the cuisine found on most menus. The beautiful Umiam, is a manmade lake and locally known as Barapani, it’s one of Shillong’s most popular places to visit. The Wards Lake is another artificial creation and tourists flock to this destination mainly for the boat rides. The multitude of waterfalls crowding the city - Sweet, Bishop and Beadon, and Elephant falls play a significant role in Shillong’s tourism. The Don Bosco Centre of Indigenous Cultures, is a cultural repository for all the seven Northeastern states, boasting of everything from weapons to rare photographs. To witness a magnificent view of the entire city, the Shillong Peak at 1695 msl fanning out over the town is your best bet. While touring Shillong, don’t forget to incorporate the beautiful Golf Course, that is perched at an elevation of 5200ft. Read More
(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.
Half confused and half worried, I am looking for a vehicle in the bustling streets of Bada Bazaar, an exit point in Shillong for Dawki, Cherrapunjee, etc. Dreaming about a vacation is super easy, but 'how to reach?', will exhaust your brain to the core - pan walas, shopkeepers, bus drivers, knocking doors and Google may have multi-directional opinion sometimes. This is enough to baffle and hence, delay the so-called planned trip.Call it lack of knowledge(read planning), but all those who want to travel will find a way(perhaps, discover a road not taken). After giving up on finding a direct public transport to Mawlynnong, I started reaching out to cab drivers. One would imagine that hilly areas would have big cars, but Shillong, in fact Meghalaya is a tiny cultural shock with the Maruti 800 prevailing as the main mode of transportation between cities – people overflowing through this miniature car of 90s. Having the basic knowledge of distance between places and what price cab drivers usually charge, did give me a platform(or basis) to bargain.
I kickstarted the next morning and we started our way through the beautiful roads of highway.. Stopped at a dhabba on the way, right before hitting the mountains which serves amazing bread omelette and some exotic fruits which they sell all over the way. The road trip from Guwahati to Shillong is blissful beyond words could explain. Stopped right after that at the umami lake .. It has this mesmerising view which one won't forget that easily ! Then we headed for the well known "Don Bosco museum" that showcases everything about northeast! Also it has a terrace that leads you and gives a view of The whole Shillong ! Evening was set aside for boat rides and some shopping at the police bazaar .. Bakeries here are real good!
Lucky us,it rained heavily in the night.So,we enjoyed the rainy weather,but also it didn't hamper our trip.So,in morning with fresh mind but tired legs,we set off for Shillong sight seeing.There are numerous waterfalls,each with its own unique beauty.Theres also a cave named Mawsmai Cave,where you can explore the cave system in its natural form.Its a unique experience as well if you can complete the whole cave system,but keep in mind,there are quite a bit narrow crevices & be ready to get wet below your knee in few areas.But,if you are adventurous,you must do it.Then there are Nohkalikai falls,with a wonderful scenic beauty as well as,a tragic history behind its name.
Guwahati- Shillong- Nongria Falls- Cherrapunji -Guwahati1) Guwahati-Gangtok-Tsomgo Lake- Baba mandir- NAthula pass- Gangtokor2) Guwahati-Gangtok-Lachung-Gurudongmar Lake- GangtokAs because we had time constraints and we planned to choose either of the options.We started from Guwahati at 9 am and planned to reached Shilong by 12 pm. However, once you enter those zones, time will cease to exist and your plans will go in dustbins. We took so many stops in between that we reached Shillong by 2:30.The way is absolutely breathtaking. Try having their local cuisines, chowmein (known as pan fried noodles in other parts of India) maggie, momos and lot more. Food in entire states of N.E is amazing.We reached police bazaar, Shillong at around 2:30. We bought raincoats for our journey and explored the tibetan market and tried the local golgappes or phuchkas.
Day 5We kept the last day to explore the main city Shillong. We visited Elephant Waterfalls, Shillong Peak and Local shopping markets. You can go for shopping at the local markets. You will find lot of handcraft items, stoles, woolens and what not.Elephant Waterfalls – It’s one of the prime attractions in Shillong and worth visiting as the falls can be viewed from three different steps. One has to climb down the steps amidst the greenery .This waterfall is pretty crowded as it’s located on the highway.Shillong View Point – It was a pleasant 20 minutes’ drive from the main city. You can hire local cabs and reach the destination in no time enjoying the lovely weather. At the entry you might have to wait till completion of the formalities by defense personnel as one has to pass the defense area. The view is definitely a treat to your eyes; you can see the whole city from the top. Do not miss having hot tea and Maggie there.Police Bazar - Certainly the place in town where everyone goes shopping and where you find everything. I especially loved the small roads going there with small markets along the streets. You can go for street shopping for funky clothes and shoes at a very reasonable price. Do not miss buying souvenirs.We had our last dinner at friend’s restaurant and enjoyed our walk to the hotel having ice-creams. With this we ended our trip with lot of unforgettable memories and a calmer self.
Meghalaya, the abode of clouds has lot to offer than just pine fresh mountains, beautiful waterfalls and rivers. We travelled to this city during the first week of September. We booked our morning flight from Delhi to Guwahati (Assam) and reached there around 1 PM. Our friend from Shillong had planned our itinerary for the next 5 days, which led us to the untrodden natural wonders.Day 1We landed Guwahati and traveled to Shillong which is 3 hours away. On our way, we visited Umiam Lake located in the hills. We reached there in the evening so the view was just amazing, we could see clouds all over, unending lake and lush green grass. The evening got more pleasing and alluring when it started drizzling and in bargain we felt calm and quiescent. You can go for a boat ride or try kayaking and water skiing, but make sure you try all these during day time. Next we headed to Shillong, we found little traffic on our way as it was raining throughout and there’s only one main road that connects to the whole city. We finally reached our hotel, we had ordered food from outside for dinner. We went out after dinner to explore the city and local markets. Don’t expect a shiny night because its more than that, it is peaceful beyond explanation.Day 2 and 3
This 53 km stretch caters a lot of things to offer the riders right from slight but soothing drizzles, to exquisite waterfalls and caves. This is one of the popular stretches as it is covered by natural and beautiful scenes throughout the road which is a treat for a bike rider.
297 Kms from West Kameng
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 world, Bhutan. Simple at heart, grappling with growing commercialisation, Thimphu is bustling with energy and is the heart of the country. Thimphu is a delight to explore if history interests you and also if you want a break from the quiet and serenity of Bhutan. Brimming with cafes, nightclubs and restaurants, the city welcomes people from all over the world with open arms. While here, do check out Changangkha Lhakhang, one of the oldest temples in Bhutan, the National Folk Heritage Museum which offers a peek into the life of the Bhutanese people, especially the rural way of life. There are tons of parks, gardens and galleries in and around Thimpu and you cover most of these in a single day depending on your interests. The exhibits here range from archaic to contemporary and are definitely worth taking a look at. Read More
Next day, hail a cab and travel to the capital town, Thimphu. Aim to keeping this cab to get around in Thimphu, as it be a more convenient and cheaper option since cab fares are high there. Moreover, the cab drivers in Bhutan are very gracious and will always indulge in a conversation about His Highness, Bhutan, and Buddhism. Thus, you'll be learning a lot while you're in transit. You can contact Mr. Mangal Singh at +975 17607472 to book for a trip.** (Read Part 2 for Thimphu, Punakha and Haa Valley)Cover Image Credits: http://www.mountainechoes.org/
Day 2: Phuntsholing -> ThimpuWe woke up early on Day 2 and met our guide Sangay who took us for our immigration process. We took around 3 hours at the Department of Immigration to get our permits and then after lunch we were off to Thimpu. There was initially some concern about the weather but the rain wasn't heavy enough to spoil our plans.
Next day morning, we geared up as soon as the 5AM alarm went off to capture the first light hitting Thimphu, Bhutan. A small hike to a nearby monastery with frozen dew all around the place was totally worth it. Sunlight falling on the mountain range behind the Thimphu city was quite a spectacular sight to watch.
Thimphu city is spread out along the side in a north-south heading on the west bank of the valley framed by the Raidāk River, which is known as the Wang Chuu or Thimphu Chuu in Bhutan. It is also the third highest capital in the world in altitude. The ancient capital city of Punakha was replaced by Thimphu when it was established as capital in 1955, and in 1961 Thimphu was declared as the capital of the Kingdom of Bhutan by His Majesty the 3rd Druk Gyalpo Jigme Dorji Wangchuck.
Day 4: The way towards Thimphu started. The first stop to visit was kharbandi gonpa ( the monastery built by Royal Grandmother , Ashi Phuntsho Choedron in 1967). The beautiful and magnificent himalayan ranges were seen to the road which took upto the hills. The Toorsa river had its silent flow irrespective of the aura around. The small town of Chimakothi has its own culture maintaining its individuality. Finally the day or to be more appropriate the year ended with a theme based party in Bhutan.
Welcome to your 'Best of Bhutan tour'! On arrival at the airport in Paro, you will be met and transferred to your hotel in Thimpu, the modern capital city of Bhutan. The rest of the day is at leisure to explore the city. Overnight in Thimphu. (Meals on your own)
Today, after breakfast, proceed for a full day sightseeing of Thimphu visiting places like National Memorial Chorten, Buddha Dordenma Statue, Motithang Takin Preserve, National Library, Folk Heritage Museum and Tashichho Dzong. The large Tibetan-style National Memorial Chorten was built in 1974 to honour the memory of the third King, His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck (the father of modern Bhutan). This whitewashed chorten, with its golden spires, features elaborate mandalas, statues and a shrine dedicated to the popular third king.
After breakfast, proceed to Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan. Enroute visit Kharbandi Gompa -The Kharbandi Gompa monastery is located amongst garden of tropical plants and flowers. It was set up in 1967 by the Royal Grandmother, Ashi Phuntsho Choedron. Later, continue your drive to thimphu. Thimphu is a unique city with unusual mixture of modern development alongside ancient traditions. On arrival, check in to your hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure. Overnight in Thimphu. (B)Request A Call Back
After breakfast, proceed on a city tour of Thimpu visiting places like The Jungshi Handmade Paper Factory, National Memorial Chorten and Buddha Dordenma Statue. The Jungshi Handmade Paper Factory was established in 1990 to produce the authentic Bhutanese paper known as Deh-sho using traditional techniques that have been practiced for generations. The factory uses the bark of two tree species, the Daphne and Dhekap in the manufacture of the paper.The large Tibetan-style National Memorial Chorten was built in 1974 to honour the memory of the third King, His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck (the father of modern Bhutan). This whitewashed chorten, with its golden spires, features elaborate mandalas, statues and a shrine dedicated to the popular third king. The religious paintings and complex tantric statues inside the monument reflect both peaceful and wrathful aspects of Buddhist deities.Made of bronze and gilded in gold, the Buddha Dordenma is a gigantic Shakyamuni statue, the largest Buddha statue in the world at a height of 169 feet. Sitting upon a large meditation hall, there are 125,000 smaller Buddha statues, also cast in bronze and gilded, that have been placed within the main statue. The rest of the day is at leisure to explore the local markets. Overnight in Thimphu (B)You can stay in-
311 Kms from West Kameng
Best time to visit - March,April,May
Bhutan has gradually become a popular tourist destination. And if you are visiting Bhutan, you can't possibly miss the lovely city of Paro. Considered to be one of the most beautiful valleys in Bhutan, it is definitely a must visit! A perfect mix of culture, beauty, nature and history, Paro offers you an experience unlike another. Do visit the unofficial Taktsang Monastery or Tiger's Nest, which is a delight for trekkers and explorers! Located on a hill, the trek to this monastery is something you'll always remember. Do carry water, wear proper shoes before you start your trek lest the number of halts increases your trek time. Another wonderful place to visit is the National Museum of Bhutan which is located in a former watch tower and hosts a collection of artefacts tracing the history of Bhutan. Among other places to visit, Rinpung Dzong and Drakhapo are definitely worth visiting. The Paro market is also a great place to explore and makes for a perfect location for an evening stroll. If you don't want to stay in the city, Paro is where you should head to. The lush valleys here are a delight to explore and the streams and meadows are nothing less than a postcard. Read More
Day 4: On our way to Paro. 2nd important city and in fact only city with airport in Bhutan.. 1.5 hr ride from Thimpu .. 50 kms.Bhutan major attraction - Tiger nest.. Have always been enticed by its wallpaper like pics.. Time to turn imaginations into reality..Taktsang, or the Tiger's Nest Monastery, is one of the most sacred sites in Bhutan. one of the most challenging monasteries to get to. Located at an elevation of over 10,000 feet, Taktsang is the birthplace of Bhutanese Buddhism.
After breakfast, drive till the base of the world famous Taktsang Lhakhang. Taktsang Lhakhang or the Tiger's Nest is the most famous Buddhist pilgrimage site and temple complex in Bhutan. Visible from afar, this stunning and highly revered monastery is perched on a high granite cliff at an altitude of 10,236 ft., overlooking the northern Paro valley. The rest of the day is at leisure for independent activities. Overnight in Paro (B)You can stay at-
After breakfast, visit National Museum, Paro Dzong and Kyichu Lhakhang. The National Museum of Bhutan is housed inside the revamped Ta Dzong, which was formerly a watchtower. It showcases an intriguing collection that illustrates the rich and unique cultural heritage and tradition of Bhutan, including ancient Bhutanese art and artifacts.
This morning, drive to Paro, en route visit Punakha Dzong. Punakha Dzong served as the capital of the country from 1637 to 1907 and the first national assembly was hosted here in 1953. Built in 1637-38, this massive architectural edifice is the second oldest and second largest dzong in Bhutan. In addition to its structural beauty, it is renowned for containing the preserved remains of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the unifier of Bhutan as well as a sacred relic known as the Ranjung Karsapani, a self-created image of Avalokiteswara. On arrival, checkin to your hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure to explore the local markets. Overnight in Paro. (B)
Welcome to your 'Bhutan - Himalayan Kingdom' tour! On arrival at the airport in Paro, you will be met and transferred to your hotel in Thimpu, the modern capital City of Bhutan. On arrival, check in to your hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure to explore the city. Overnight in Thimphu. Meals on your own. Enroute Thimpu - 65km, approx 1.5 hour drive.
After breakfast, drive till the base of the world famous Taktsang Lhakhang. Taktsang Lhakhang or the Tiger's Nest is the most famous Buddhist pilgrimage site and temple complex in Bhutan. Visible from afar, this stunning and highly revered monastery is perched on a high granite cliff at an altitude of 10,236 ft., overlooking the northern Paro valley.On the way to town, visit Kyichu Lhakhang. The 7th century Kyichu Lhakhang (temple) is one of the oldest shrines in Bhutan. The temple complex is composed of two temples - the first was built to subdue a giant demoness and the second temple dedicated it to Guru Rinpoche. Overnight in Paro. (B)You can stay in-
After breakfast, drive to Paro, enroute visit Drukgyel Dzong and Paro Dzong. Drugyel Dzong is the best example of a fortified Dzong built in the 17th century to commemorate Bhutanese victory over the combined forces of Tibetan and Mongolian army, which attempted several invasions to the country. Though the fortress was destroyed by fire in 1951, the ruins remain an impressive and imposing sight, reflecting unique and intriguing design and construction techniques. On arrival, check in to your hotel in Paro. Overnight in Paro (B). Distance- 142km, approx 4 hours drive.
238 Kms from West Kameng
Best time to visit - January,February,March,April,May,October,November,December
More than the land of oranges as its original name Sohra connotes, this 'wettest place on the planet' is a land of waterfalls and rainfall. The Seven Sisters Falls and Nohkalikai Falls, Dain Thlen Falls and Nohsngithiang Falls remain the top most attractions for nature lovers. Adventure seekers and outdoor activity enthusiasts should visit during winters from November to February, when they can go river canyoning, explore the natural limestone Mawsmai Cave, Krem Mawmluh Cave, which is the fourth longest cave in the Indian subcontinent, and delve into solitude and quiet at the Eco Park, which explored more, can lead you to yet another quiet isolated waterfall leading to a deep gorge. Another star attraction of this East Khasi district, is the Double Decker Living Root Bridge, which can be reached after a steep but stunning trek through dense forests, also crossing bay leaf gardens and picturesque hamlets on the way. One can go atop an 80 feet observatory made of bamboo shoots, a daring but mesmerising climb immersed in the abundance of nature, from where the scenic plains of Bangladesh are clearly visible. Cherrapunji is a land painted with mystical beauty and its stories of deep rooted culture and history remain within a traveller after interacting with locals throughout their journey before finally carrying back life long souvenirs from the vibrant Cherrapunji Indigenous Festival, which is an annual event. Read More
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:
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.
275 Kms from West Kameng
Best time to visit - January,February,March,April,October,November,December
The recently 'smoke-free' declared city has a lot to offer in terms of its rich history and culture. Nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas and bordering Burma, Kohima boasts of lush green hills and forests amidst which treks and morning walks are a pleasure. Locations such as Dzükou Valley and Japfu Peak should be at the top of the to-do list for nature lovers. Ever seen a flying squirrel? The Itanki Wildlife Sanctuary houses a plethora of rare species of plants, animals and birds that can easily capture the hearts of wildlife and nature photographers around the world. Nagaland has been conspicuous in history with the Battle of Imphal and Kohima deemed as "Britain's Greatest Battle" by the British National Army Museum. Its 1,420 heroes can be seen commemorated at the War Cemetery, earning the respect of travellers across the world. Being a land of the Angami Tribe, the village Khonoma offers a rare chance of witnessing a civilisation untouched by commercialisation and modernisation, wherein one can learn about their philosophy, diverse art, history, food, dialect and music. The Nagaland Tourism department also organises various tribal tours such as that of the Konyaks, the fearless tattoo faced legendary headhunters, who have been known to sleep over a bed of human skulls. For travellers always yearning to take a part of the destination back home with them, The Hornbill Festival, hosted in the first week of December, remains at the kernel of Nagaland's cultural heritage, organising various activities, sports, competitions, music and dance performances and shops housing brilliant and unique souvenirs. Read More
Although, the road from Dimapur to Kohima was rocky and tiresome, yet the excitement of being at the coveted festival eliminated all the exhaustion. Moreover, the picturesque surrounding and the affable behaviour of the people of Kohima gave me an inexplicable feeling. Organised by the State Directorate of Tourism of Nagaland, the festival greets and embraces everyone to this beautiful place called Kohima, the capital of Nagaland. I was shocked to see that despite the rumors of being a disturbed state, people from all around the country flock to this city to get an overwhelming experience. Adorned with lights and several events happening simultaneously, the city becomes nothing lesser than a paradise on earth during the festival. You cannot deny the fact that December is considered to be the most happening month of the year and if you are in Kohima during this time, you are at the right place to have some wonderful moments to cherish.Regarded as the biggest festival in the North Eastern part of the country, it stood upright to prove its significance ever since its inception and has always been a pride for the people of the region. Though, our motive was to shoot the Rock Concert, which is a part of the festival, but could not restrain ourselves to indulge in the Naga way of blissful and happy life. It was a proud moment for the people of the region as the state of Nagaland was celebrating its fifty years of statehood and thus the festival was celebrated for ten days instead of the normal seven day schedule.Kisama, the Naga Heritage Village, which hosts the main festival, is well maintained and the scenic beauty around the area is breathtaking. With different stalls offering "Zothu” and "Thutse" (local alcoholic beverages made of rice) and the authentic food of the all the sixteen major tribes of Nagaland, Kisama offers a plethora of options for foodies and of course to bibulous like us. I visited all the stalls in Kisama to pleasure my taste buds with various delectable authentic food items and also to keep my spirits high, “Zothu” was always there. The stalls in Kisama closed their affair by 6 in the evening; however the night did not get over so soon. The Rock Contest, the Music Festival, the Hornbill Night Bazaar and many other activities kept the nights alive and young.The last day of the festival was more eventful as we all participated in the community dance where all the different tribes of the state unite and dance together. Since, we were there for the documentary shoot, after the celebration at Kisama, we had to rush to the Rock Contest Finale where ten bands got shortlisted from numerous bands, which came for audition from all across the country. That was the only time we were actually working apart from our extracurricular activities. It was fun, but to be frank, the result of the contest was unsatisfactory (*at least for me). Though the Rock Contest got over by 10 P.M., yet the night was still young and rocking. It was our last day in Kohima and we didn’t want to waste it at all. During our stay, we met some local guys and became friends, who took us to a party after the rock show. That place was meant for party freaks like us and we had the best of times, enjoying the party till the wee hours of the night. Dance to the tunes of the DJ or sit by the fire and enjoy some “Zothu”, it’s up to you. But I’m sure that if you were there, you would have had some amazing moments.With so many events and activities, I was gearing myself up for the festive season to follow. It was my first experience and with my fingers crossed, I am looking forward to have some more enthralling moments in the years to come at the Hornbill Festival.
11. Experience the thrill of mountain biking in KohimaA biking group called Native Station has pioneered the trend of mountain biking in Nagaland. The group has already organised several mountain biking events such as the Kohima Downhill and Thuwu-ni Enduro for professional riders. These biking trails present an adrenaline-filled experience that will take you through Naga villages such as Sangtam, Angami and the border villages of Assam.Visit Native Station for more information.
These guys (explorenagaland.com) run a guest house, and was it a great relief. We got a dorm with bunker beds, and 1 more room, and they were clean, well kept, and felt like home. Our ILP's were ready, food was served hot, and they organised a taxi for tomorrow's sight seeing.
KohimaWe took the route back to Guwahati, and had amazing fun on the roads, and reached Guwahati - Tezpur highway again in no time. Then we headed to Nagaon, and took a right after Nagaon towards kacharipara, and then followed directions on the road to dimapur. The roads were wide, and good with little traffic, and the light drizzle all along the way helped. There were dark clouds threatening in our rear view mirrors, so we pushed as much as possible. We reached Dimapur for lunch.
Visit Kohima, just in time for the Hornbill festival. In December, the local tribes of the region come together to celebrate and showcase their culture, and people from all over India travel to Nagaland to see this festival. Though a major chunk of your holiday should revolve around the Hornbill Festival, which begins on the 1st of December, Kohima has a lot of other beautiful places to see, such as the natural caves and the Dzuko Valley. Make sure to chart out a well-planned itinerary because you would not want to miss out on anything. After your holiday, you will agree that Kohima is one of the best holiday destinations in India to visit in December.How to reach Kohima: The nearest airport is in Dimapur, and you can hire a taxi from there to Kohima. It is a 5-hour journey from Dimapur to Kohima by road.
1. Hornbill Festival (Dec 1-10)
Kohima, NagalandKohima is your off-beat choice for the summer. It is urban but picturesque. It is forested but beware of the traffic jams. It has sprawling cafes and hole-in-the-wall retreats. Kohima, therefore, mixes many worlds. Explore the markets and museums, the Catholic Cathedral and the War Cemetery and come back enriched. Don’t forget to pick up a story or two from the folks down at Bara Basti, though, which should not be missed at any cost!
We departed for Kohima, the capital of Nagaland. First thing first - Beware of the hugeeeeeeeeeeeee traffic jam!! My goodness, its a real problem! The jam extends from the city main to the outskirts and you have to sit and kill time. A journey of 2 hours took us 5 hours to complete! The journey was quite soothing until the jam. Bizarre sights of food are available all along the way. The local sellers are seen trading live birds, bee-hives that are supposed to contains baby bees which forms edibles are some preparation, bamboo shoots, chillies, long and narrow brinjal etc.