2018 is here and we have already ticked off one from our list of places which was a trip to Meghalaya. While we are still looking at our new year pictures, the month of January and February has already gone by – so fast! Narayanan and I are having really busy days at work which automatically is reducing our time to do what we love. However, we are not the ones who get affected by it, the sad bug to which many people fall prey. I have even written a post on why Indians need to travel more and after putting that up, our lives have gotten even crazier.
Our first trip of 2018 had to start with a bang and yes it surely did, and with some of our favourite people we love hanging out with. After no research and less googling; yes you read that right – we just chose Meghalaya. One strong reason which got us to go here was that none of us has ever gone to this side of India. And folks in Chennai has this advantage of flying directly to Guwahati, which actually ended up saving us a lot of time. And oh – we had only three days (thanks to the Republic Day long weekend) as both of us did not (could not rather :P) want to take off.
Quick info about our trip to Meghalaya:
- Guwahati is usually the entry point to the North East. We flew from Chennai to Guwahati and back. Two-way flights cost us about ₹7000 per person.
- North East India is best explored by road and that’s exactly what we did. You can either hire a taxi or a Zoomcar from Guwahati. The average cost per day for taxis, for a Swift Dzire is ₹6500 per day.
- Three days did no justice to Meghalaya. 6 days at the bare minimum, and you can easily go around for 15 days as well if you intend to cover the rest of the North East belt.
- We stayed one night at Shillong, Mawlynnong and Cherrapunji each, and at budget properties. Costs approximately ₹1000-₹1200 per person per day.
- English is widely spoken, and not many people know Hindi. Khasi is their local language (and the name of a tribe in Meghalaya as well)
- Vegetarian food is a little difficult to come by, but if you are someone who can survive on bread and butter/Maggi and parathas here and there, then you should be good. Also, Maggi is another word for noodle soup, it doesn’t necessarily mean Nestle Maggi 🙂
Day One: Shillong
The Scotland of India was really cold the night we reached. To have travelled from a hot city like Chennai, the weather just gave us the right dosage of excitement. We stayed in an Airbnb (use this link to get free credits) and the place was just perfect. The host was great and he gave us all the necessary tips and info to make the most of our trip. The balcony of the house gave us a panoramic view of Shillong (pic on top) and we couldn’t wait to explore more.
These were the places we visited –> Buddhist Monastery (we love visiting local temples and this had to be the start :D), Elephant Waterfalls, viewpoint in Laitlyngkot area and Umiam Lake.
Other places in Shillong to visit if and when you do make a trip to Meghalaya are the Air Force Museum, Ward’s Lake (closed on Tuesdays), Lady Hydari Park (closed on Mondays), St. Mary’s Cathedral, Shillong Peak, Golf course, state museum (closed on Saturdays, Sundays & State Holidays).
We wanted to visit Dawki Village more than anything else which meant that we had little to no time to spend in Shillong.
But first, we stopped in Pynursala to have some yum oranges. I must say the best ones we have ever had are from here.
From here we drove for quite some time to reach Dawki Village. A small narrow road leads you to such a sight <3 Have you seen a crystal clear river bed in India? Oh we have 😀
Umngot River is a beauty not to be missed. A short boat ride over the crystal clear water, tons of pictures and a visit to the Bangladesh-India Border satisfies the drive you take to get to this place.
If you have time when in Dawki, do visit Shnongpdeng and Krang Shuri Waterfalls. Some of the pictures look amazing and I really want to go back just to see these two places.
Day Two: Mawlynnong
Our intention was to make the best of the three days and what’s better than spending a day in Mawlynnong, none other than the cleanest village in Asia. Did you know about this? A village of about 500 people, greenery everywhere and a small community point to meet – overall a well-balanced village. That’s Mawlynnong in short. English is not widely spoken here but the kids we met could speak English well. Tourists visit this place more than ever after they got the status of being the cleanest village. So, please do them a favour and buy some souvenirs from there 🙂
The best part about staying here was the clean air (I could so feel it), very less internet and network availability, no modern amenities and such friendly – smiling people. That’s it – I did not want to leave from here. We stayed overnight and next day visited the Riwai Living Root Bridge.
This is the place we visited in Mawlynnong –> Living Root Bridge. Another place that can be visited is the Balancing Rock.
From the Root Bridge, we proceeded to a lovely viewpoint – which was the place for food again. All of Meghalaya has amazing views and excellent joints for amazing food. The Mawjngih Lapynshongdor View Point in Pynursla was the pit stop and both the food and views were gorgeous. From here we had the chance to experience some more breathtaking views along the highway.
As were trying to head to our next destination – we got lost along the way in search of Mawkdok valley viewpoint as Google Maps lead us elsewhere.
Getting lost gave us the chance to explore few small villages which only made us wonder how life is so different and beautiful here. I can assure you that I was lost in deep thoughts as we were driving through. Anyway, the valley viewpoint is along the National Highway and the best landmark here is the huge cafeteria colored in yellow, green and red. Opposite the cafeteria is the viewpoint where you can zip line. Now at 1200 ft – to zip line – how cool is that?
For any adventure and adrenaline pumping activities during your trip to Meghalaya, check this website: Pioneer Adventure
And we knew about this only after going there so we clearly missed the bus 🙁
The drive is awesome and there are many viewpoints – pick and choose or drive through – you will love it anyway. On our way, we had a chance to see Wahkaba Falls with very less /no waterfall. More than the falls, we enjoyed the sunset 🙂
Our last stop was at the hotel we stayed in Sohra – Four Season Eco Resort.
Day Three: Sohra aka Cherrapunji
It was only when we entered Cherrapunji during this trip to Meghalaya did we learn that Sohra is the actual name / commonly used name of this small town. The time we went was off season – by that I mean there was no rain. In school, we were taught Cherrapunji to be the wettest place while this was the driest the time we went. Cold and dry! But I couldn’t stop myself from thinking how beautiful this place would look when the rains are around. Every waterfall should be majestic, the sound and the sights would be so hard to leave and the mountains so green. Oh!
Rains: March – October
These are the place we visited in Cherrapunji –> Mawsmai Caves, Nohkalikai Falls and Arwah Lumshynna Caves.
Other places that can be visited are Eco Park, Bangladesh viewpoint, Botanical Garden (Wednesday closed), Ramakrishna Mission Museum and Seven Sister Waterfalls. There is a restaurant called Orange Roots which serves yumm food.
Watch our vlog
There are many interesting points to visit in Meghalaya and you need so much time to cover them all and enjoy. I really hope we get to visit more of North East India real soon – especially during the monsoons 🙂
Some of the stunning pictures above are captured by my friends Ramesh Nagarajan and Praveen Kumar.
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