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Old 27th May 2012, 13:51   #1
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Arrow Meghalaya Explorer: Sohra (Cherrapunjee), Sella, Bangladesh bop

With a nights clearence from home ministry, i started off at 3'40 for a recee trip to the long due destination, Sohra away from Guwahatis sweat n dust.

Just the feel of getting out of the city in itself was nice and when i saw that the Jorabat Burnyhut section of four laning was compleate on one side it was a big relief. As otherwise this section used to be frustating with bumper to bumper traffic along with never ending cover of dust. Up ahead the four laning work was on in a faster pace than Assam with mostly blasting of rock and land clearing work. There was a jam for quiet some time as a huge rock about the size of a 407 had fallen on the main road blocking traffic.

This onward it was a smooth ride till reaching the Shillong outskirts which always is stop go stop go stop go and on and on. At rhino point where i had to take a right turn it was confusing and ended up placing the vehicle at the wrong place. The young cop on duty did help me out of the situation but saying, why didn't go that side. Apolosized to the chap and drove on towards Shillong peak road and confirming with the Sa I Mika management about road condition or any issues with night driving after crossing the IAF museam elephanta falls area.
From this point on there was few or no cars at all.

Oh, i forgot to mention the nicest thing about the days drive. At Jorabat, where the road to Nagaon and Shillong goes seperate ways, saw Sikh men with platefull of pink rose water stopping vehicles. Remembered it from Misa Indian Army camp and Tezpore, so slowed down and stopped. The Sikh gentlemen offered me a glassfull, i couldnot have thanked him enough for the chilled drink that just sweetened all the senses. I was in smiles and was in all praise for their goodwill and genorosity. More so because otherwise vehicles are stopped in the region mostly for money and haressment which totally spoils the mood. So i must thank the Sikh community for their praiseworthy gesture.

Last edited by San Phrangmung : 27th May 2012 at 13:58.
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Old 27th May 2012, 14:35   #2
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Default Re: Meghalaya Explorer: Sohra (Cherrapunjee), Sella, Bangladesh bop

@ the Cherrapunjee road turn point

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 Meghalaya Explorer: Sohra (Cherrapunjee), Sella, Bangladesh bop-meghalaya-explorer.jpg

@ on the Shella short cut through Cherra resort road

Note to admin please club the photographs with the first post. Thanks.
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Old 28th May 2012, 13:14   #3
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Default Re: Meghalaya Explorer: Sohra (Cherrapunjee), Sella, Bangladesh bop

Snapshots from Guwahati to Sohra drive on Friday, 25 th May 3.30 pm to 8.50 pm.

Getting out of the city at Khanapara
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Right turn to Sohra point
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Old 31st May 2012, 11:04   #4
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Default Sa-I-Mika resort and park area photographs

Driving slowly Upper Shillong onwards, with a cofee / chow break in a roadside fast food board written cute little eatery managed by two young boys, i finally reached the spot from where i had to turn right.

Ther's no way you will miss the diversion as ther's a huge rock board with the Sa-I-Mika park sign to the right. From here it was a single lane village road made during the parks inauguration by the Meghalaya Governor MM Jacob.

Only the last 500 meters or so of the resorts approach stone road was in real bad shape with dangerous sharp boulders which may cut the tyres or car underbelly, so drive carefully here.

A young resort fellow came running as soon as i entered the gate and showed me the place to park. Once i got out of the car could see a group of people singing around a bonfire and another busy in the kitchen. The first thought that came was, wow its a huge complex and far far away from the crowed. There was nothing to be seen around other than the resort cottages and a few lights within the boundery. The quietness was overwhelming, even the sounds from the campfire folks seemed more like a whisper that the wind brings from time to time.

I was shown to my bed and bedding for the night by the manager and asked about dinner order. They don't have a menu as such but simple home made food cooked by local village folks. I opted for roti dal sabzi and was suggested fried chicken and nuggets to go with pre dinner refreshments.

As i didn't bring along the required liquid drinks, had to drive down to Sohra town market entry point just 5 minutes drive away. So had some chilled Tu$#@g along with the freshly made chicken fry out in the open looking into the nothingness!

Well the air was cool, the sky clear, so what more could i have asked for in this world capital of rain. Dinner was served in the restaurent, after which my tired body hit the bed.

So i slept and that also with a jacket, woolen cap and a blanket in May.

When my eyes opened finally i was yet again thankfull to the elements for another no rain day. I just took my N8 and headed out exploring the Sa I Mika park. The word hugeness hit my mind once more as i saw the compleate resort area in day light. And everything was so far away within and outside its boundery that wished i had come here minus a few years. There can't be a better place to spend in peace and compleate privacy specially for young couples and honeymooners.

So i walk and walk capturing every moment every scene and huh. . . whats that down there, yes unbelievably true there was a nice little waterfall right below. Took the steps down crossed a water reservoir, walked on stones, walked on sand, walked on the riverbed but for my nad luck i was no swimmer to jump in. This place has got something that no 5star accomodation can give naturewise. I will add the photographs so you shall see.

It was just a nights stay for me at Sa I Mika so after coming back up and having a cup of black lemon tea i left for having a look at newly opened Polo Orchid hotel and Cherrapunjee resort at Laitkyenshew village and a drive to Shella. At the end all three hotels have its own good/bad points and they don't really compete with each other for customers as they all have something unique to offer. So one can choose to spend a night in each for a diffrent experience and not regret any.

As for Sa I Mika, let my pictures do the talking. I did check four diffrent room types and loved them all for the ethnic look with stones and local materials used. The rooms here are larger than competetion and has a fireplace but if you want a lcd tv with satellite channels this ain't the place. Other hotel rooms that i checked looked right out of a city flat, small and clusterphobic.

At this place you can be yourself, unwind in peace with all the privacy you want and party on or star gaze whole night, no one is going to say stop.

I came to know from the management of a eight member Kolkata group, the ones that i saw the arriving night around the bonfire to have extended their stay by two nights. Sa I Mika also hosted the All India Auto tour group recently.

So if you love what you see on the photographs, need no tv in room, need no city restaurent menu, don't mind doing nothing the whole day lying on a river bed, don't mind sitting by the fire till the wee hours with a beer in hand or your love close by, this is where you should be.

There are lot more to do around so don't worry and come to Sohra, and remember you can have it all even with a daily budget of Rs 500 only full board at their dorm.

Here comes the snapshots of the resort and park area as i went out for a walk as soon as i woke up.

(20 shots)

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Old 31st May 2012, 12:07   #5
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Default Sa-I-Mika resort and park area photographs

More snapshots from the park area as i walk towards the river and waterfall

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Old 31st May 2012, 14:18   #6
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Default Re: Meghalaya Explorer: Sohra (Cherrapunjee), Sella, Bangladesh bop

Walk to the river bed

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Old 31st May 2012, 14:26   #7
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Default Re: Meghalaya Explorer: Sohra (Cherrapunjee), Sella, Bangladesh bop

Good pictures...would have been better if the frames were straight.
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Old 31st May 2012, 14:31   #8
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Default Re: Meghalaya Explorer: Sohra (Cherrapunjee), Sella, Bangladesh bop

Stoney path and a bit of mini beach

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Old 31st May 2012, 14:32   #9
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Default Re: Meghalaya Explorer: Sohra (Cherrapunjee), Sella, Bangladesh bop

Originally Posted by San Phrangmung View Post
Thanks for sharing San.Whatever happened to the military greened Wagon RDid you spray paint the car into a red now?

Last edited by ranjitp1 : 31st May 2012 at 14:34.
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Old 31st May 2012, 14:40   #10
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Default Re: Meghalaya Explorer: Sohra (Cherrapunjee), Sella, Bangladesh bop

So her's the natural pool with the waterfall that you may access 24x7 at the Sa-I Mika park in Cherrapunjee.

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Old 31st May 2012, 16:24   #11
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Default Re: Meghalaya Explorer: Sohra (Cherrapunjee), Sella, Bangladesh bop

Walk back to the resort and Sa I Mika room pictures.

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Old 31st May 2012, 16:38   #12
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Default Drive to Polo Orchid Resort, Cherrapunjee

Once i was back from my morning walk to the riverside i freshened up for the next lag, checking out and having breakfast at the newly opened Polo Orchid Cherrapunjee resort.

After reaching the main highway had to drive right towards Sohra town and take the left road to Shella. The road was in good condition and near the Halari restaurent point there was a petrol pump too. From there one has to drive straight again towards Thangkharang park on Shella highway for Polo. And to the right is the hugely popular and oldest hotel of Cherrapunjee the Laitkyenshew village resort. Which i visited after the drive to Bangladesh border villages.

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Old 31st May 2012, 16:57   #13
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Default Pictures of Polo Orchid resort Cherrapunjee

Pictures of Polo Orchid resort Cherrapunjee

Had to take a left turn from the Shella road and in two minutes i was at the resort gate. The gate was closed and as i horned a chap came and opened it for me. I asked him if the restaurent was open and proceeded to the marked parking.

Once i went in, there was no one in the reception, toilets also locked. So i went up to the restaurent, saw a person using the wash basin and dissapearing into the kitchen. Again with no one around i knocked on the kitchen door and asked if i could order something. So the wash basin fellow came out after sometime in his night dress looking sleepy.

I think i arrived a bit too early, but anyways chose baked beans with toast for 115 Rs. It was a joke when it arrived, two piece tiny bread cut in halves plus a few spoons of tinned baked beans. Everything was clean, tasty, served warm an all but one would need four plates to fill the tummy.

Anyways while waiting for the food i checked one of their rooms along with a BSF official who was to finalise a visit by senior official. The room was nice, clean, modern, but small like a cramped city apartment. However, it had tea cofee maker, large lcd tv, heater etc. to keep city folks/kids happy within the forewalls. Bathroom was also clean and with nice fittings. All in all a good place to spend a night without any worries at all.

I went just for breakfast and checked the complex so i would leave it to future guests to write more. But as a hotel in real/total sense with professionally trained IHM staff and all modern amenities this is the best your money can get in Cherrapunjee.

Everything good comes at a price, so be ready for a Rs 10,000 full board budget per day if you choose the Polo Cherra. From what i saw i am sure that you won't be dissapointed.

Given its high quality this place is going to attract a lot of high government officials as well as Meghalayas State guest. So good place to mingle with the people in the know.

And yes you can look at the waterfalls and that deep gorges all day long right from your room.

So if budget not an issue and you want food cooked by young professionals of Shillong's very own IHM unlike rest of the places, book it.

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Last edited by San Phrangmung : 31st May 2012 at 17:02.
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Old 31st May 2012, 17:21   #14
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Default Re: Meghalaya Explorer: Sohra (Cherrapunjee), Sella, Bangladesh bop

Nice Travelogue San .
I have done the Guwahati Shillong trip twice. What I remember was the beautiful vistas as one enters Meghalaya. And the fact that one had entered Meghalaya was immediately discernible from the state of the roads- the roads in Meghalaya were far better. I have also done the Guwahati - Silchar trip in a Sumo and again the appalling quality of roads in Assam were immediately felt as soon as one crossed into Assam. I hope things have improved now.
On a different note, the North East is beautiful in its own way, perhaps even more so than our North! The fact that it is so remote makes its beauty all the more bewitching, and the friendliness and fun-loving nature of the locals makes the entire experience even more memorable. I had the good fortune of seeing Guwahati, Imphal, a whole lot of Mizoram which included Aizawl, Seling, Serchhip and almost right till the Burma Border near Lunglei. I also saw Haflong, which is is the only hill station of Assam. In fact I travelled around Haflong a lot, including Jatinga, Gunjung and Umrongso. The Guwahati - Haflong route through Jowai and Umrongso is beautiful (though the road condition from Meghalaya border at Garampani till Umrongso is bad again). The route from Umrongso through the pristine jungles via Dihangi and Gunjung is beautiful, albeit patchy at places. What's surprising is that this road (Umrongso - haflong vis Dihangi and Gunjung) is neither displayed on the Google maps or mapmyindia. They need to survey the Northeast more. The train ride on the meter gauge train from Lumding to Haflong and beyond to Silchar also passes through some of the most breathtaking stretches that I've seen. What's amazing is that this rail line and the bridges were laid by the British over a hundred years ago and it is still going strong. The Govt ishas been trying to upgrade the metre gauge track to broad gauge but the project is nowhere near completion (though it was claimed that it will be completed by 2012) The pristine beauty of our North east should be advertised more aggressively by the states' tourism departments so that more people from the rest of India can enjoy it. This will help bring more tourism to the region generating more employment and reduce somewhat the insurgency that afflicts it. Also it will hopefully reduce the sense of alienation of the North east and help the people there connect with their brethren from the rest of India.
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Old 1st June 2012, 01:23   #15
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Default Re: Meghalaya Explorer: Sohra (Cherrapunjee), Sella, Bangladesh bop

@ Aks, glad to know that you liked the pictures. Those curves i actually enjoyed, didn't like the few straight ones i had to take at all. If time in hand shall walk upstream or the other way for some more misalignements :-) next time.

@ Ranjit thanks, despite the love for d greeny look, had to tone it down, normalise the look as much else the attention it gets everywhere was too much for occupents privacy. But atleast i have the pictures and one video as well to remember the bygone. ;-)

@ IronHide I feel really good to have come across someone who has travelled to some of the off limit, out of grid kind of places in the region.

Few months back my brother did visit Umrangso lake for a lunch trip from Haflong. The police escort told him about days when they would say their last prayers before taking this road. Yesterday on the other hand there was gun battle in Garo hills. So few places are still no go areas for lone travellers. And as you are aware every few kilometers has diffrent groups with their own mind.

Since you have been to some of the most unthinkable areas for a normal tourists, it would be really nice if you can share your experience and photographs in the coming days.

On the govt advertising part, the lack of tourist infrastructure needs to be addressed first. Plus things like ILP are major put off along with the growing popularity of kidnapping industry in some pockets.

But what i see happening in Khasi Jaintia hills area is really promising, plan to visit Ranikor side next to experience a new initiative first hand.
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