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Old 26th January 2017, 12:24   #1
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Default An XUV500 speaks - From the East Coast shores to the North East mountains

"Yes, I am serious" I overheard Mr D say, rather casually.
"Oh my Goodness!! The North East!!!???" The animated remark of the good lady could not be classified as "casual" though. It rather startled me even within the shades of my garage. For, she was far too excited. A drive to the North East has been something which Mr D and his better half had been yearning for a while now. The epitome of laziness that he is, Mr D had a full train of thoughts, but it never left the station.

Well, as you might have already guessed from the title, I am Mr D's XUV speaking. He is least interested in penning stories of me nor my travels. So, I am that ill fated machine who is “again”, I should add, wrenching out the unimaginative, oil slick, mechanical brain to wriggle out creativity on a travelogue! Well, that's my standard statement now. I have started to live with it.

For the wise and lucky souls who haven't yet had the misfortune to sit through the torture of my rantings, you may pick your choice from below (or all of them) to waste your time.

1. My Autobiography- the first time I took a pen, rather a keyboard (Autobiography of a Mahindra XUV500 - Satin White)

2. Kochi to Coorg (Diary scribes of an XUV500 - Drive from Kochi to Coorg)

3. Kochi to Vizag through the hinterlands (An XUV500 speaks: Kochi to Vizag through the hinterlands)

4. When I crossed the country in search of Monsoons (An XUV500 speaks: The Western Ghats I hadn't known...)

Enough of flogging the dead horse, we may as well get directly to the travelogue. At the outset, may I forewarn you: This is the point in the report when you can still close the screen and leave. I am a machine and haven't studied Wren & Martin at school, nor down the "To be or not to be..." soliloquy nor have played hide and seek with John Keats. Therefore, the misgivings if any, may kindly be pardoned.

An XUV500 speaks - From the East Coast shores to the North East mountains-dsc_035901.jpeg

Route taken

16 Dec- Vizag- Balasore
17 Dec- Balasore- Siliguri
18 Dec- Siliguri- Rangia
19 Dec- Rangia- Bomdila
20 Dec- Bomdila- Tawang
21 Dec- Tawang- Bum La- Sangetsar- Tawang
22 Dec- Tawang
23 Dec- Tawang- Bomdila
24 Dec- Bomdila- Shillong
25 Dec- Shillong- Cherrapunji- Shillong
26 Dec- Shillong- Jowai- Krang Shuri falls- Dawki- Living Root bridge- Mawlynnong- Shillong
27 Dec- Shillong- Kaziranga
28 Dec- Kaziranga- Siliguri
29 Dec- Siliguri- Darjeeling- Siliguri
30 Dec- Siliguri- Kolkata
31 Dec- Kolkata- Vizag

Distance and Fuel Data

Total Distance- 5924 Kms
Litres of Diesel- 489.37
Fuel Expense- Rs 27051
Avg price/ litre- Rs 55.277
Rs/ Km - 4.566

Mileage
Highway- 13.4 kmpl
The adamant hills- 9.1 kmpl
City/ Misc circuits- 10.86 kmpl
Overall Average- 12.10 Kmpl

Last edited by dhanushmenon : 17th February 2017 at 15:26.
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Old 2nd February 2017, 13:54   #2
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Default re: An XUV500 speaks - From the East Coast shores to the North East mountains

Human memory is fallible, more so when it comes to Men (or so I’m made to believe). Ask Mr D's wife, and she would happily pull out a cross indexed list of occasions in which he has embarrassed himself; birthdays, anniversaries, family functions, bill payments and even grocery items! He is a legend in forgetfulness, sets high standards and exceeds the threshold each passing day.

However, the drive to North East from the East Coast, will surely not fade as long as he has cognizance within his humble grey matter. Like always, there were ambiguities and uncertainities in the plans, leave, route etc etc. However, all is well that ends well; and it suffices to say that Mr D, the good lady and the wonderful kids thoroughly enjoyed the 16 day trip.
And me? It was close to 6000 kms man!! Are you kidding me?
Can't you see the grin pasted all over my face?

An XUV500 speaks - From the East Coast shores to the North East mountains-dsc_0380.jpg

Why the North East?

All those who have glanced through my previous rantings might recall that Mr D was relocated to Vizag from Kochi in Dec 2014. That they were at Vizag now (far closer to the mountains that the bitter gourd shaped land called Kerala), this would obviously be the best time to plan a road trip to these unexplored gems.

Mr D and the good lady, for a little while considered driving to Sikkim and Bhutan instead of Tawang and Shillong. Mr D then had long and animated discussions with many of his friends and travel stalwarts across the country. However, at the end of it all, none was wiser and Mr D had his hair on stilts. A further counselling session with the images of Uncle Google saw the jaws dropping instantly and Tawang was straight away decided in full earnest. Later, a little bit more fine tuning saw Meghalaya and Kaziranga being clubbed to the travel itinerary, tasting a little spice from Assam too.

Well, once the journey and route was finalised, Mr D wanted to paste me with a sticker too. However, the "wonderful" planner that he is, the plans didn't leave the confines of his mental faculties in time and I set forth for the journey without a sticker. Once we got back from North East, fellow bhpian fundagenie was kind enough to help him gather some pride and spoon fed him with this customised sticker.

An XUV500 speaks - From the East Coast shores to the North East mountains-northeast_logo.jpg

I holler a huge shout out to fundagenie for waging through the constant daunting of Mr D with numerous design changes he wanted (I know most were senseless). I also empathise with you for having had to tolerate his torments and smile to his stupid suggestions which didn't even meet the basics of design and art. C'mon Mr D, creativity isn't as easy as sleeping on a couch!!

As I understand, North East to be covered completely you need multiple trips. Bhutan and Sikkim is what Mr D has kept in the bucket presently. Then the virgin lands in the East of the North East. Goodness!! That's some serious travel and multiple trips. And if those happens, I am definitely going to have a tough time writing all those travelogues. After all, my vocabulary is limited.

Places visited
  1. Tawang
  2. Shillong
  3. Jowai, Krang Shuri falls
  4. Dawki river and Bangladesh border
  5. Mawlynnong and the root bridges
  6. Cherrapunji/ Sohra
  7. Kaziranga
  8. Darjeeling

Last edited by dhanushmenon : 13th February 2017 at 18:50.
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Old 2nd February 2017, 17:57   #3
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Default And the Journey Begins

The chain of hairpin bends and a steep incline spread out before me. The white sheet spread by the fresh snow ahead looked inviting and also scary at the same time for my humble 2 WD capabilities. The mist had spread across a veil over the greens with white needles of ice dripping from trees. I pepped the torque and swerved out to the grand openness of blue sky after the curve, to be greeted with floating dollops of whites. Wow, Its snowing!!!
Somewhere suspended in mid air, I heard a croaky voice. May be No.
The floating snow slowly danced down to the road forming a layer of heavenly white. The whitest I've ever seen.
Then I heard that discordant voice again; this time louder, shaking me out of my dream. The blissful sight started to diffuse from my mental frame.

“ ...Country Roads....” That was my master gleefully singing a song to himself, blissfully unaware of the pollution he is raking up. I wonder when will someone knock him some sense and make him realise that his vocal chords are actually not as divine as he thinks. (Hope he actually doesn't read this report. All these compliments of ‘croaky voice’ and 'lazy moron' are definitely not going to be taken on a lighter vein).

It was the day of starting our journey and Mr D woke me up early in the day to pamper me with a nice wash. We were to start only by evening though. Car wash, finishing whatever was remaining of packing, hearty meals and some amount of sleep. That's what he had in his agenda for the day. He was to drive through the night. So sleep was very much justified. However, with his mischievous son having bunked class, him getting sleep was anybody's guess.

Junior D helped him pack the car too.
An XUV500 speaks - From the East Coast shores to the North East mountains-img_20161216_151314.jpg


Journey to Tawang

Are you a tourist, or a traveller? Before heading to the mighty mountains, that is a question which you might want to ask yourself.
If you have read this log this far, it is a given that you have a penchant for travelling. It is also a given that like me, you also seek to tread the paths less travelled and unwind in a place of ethereal charm. Now that you have reaffirmed that you are indeed a traveller, instead of being skeptic about the roads (or the absence of it) or the numerous stones strewn across the path which lead there, open out to the charm of the North Eastern Himalayas.

An XUV500 speaks - From the East Coast shores to the North East mountains-dsc_0182.jpg

We set out on 16 Dec as planned and through some good, not so good and atrocious roads reached Tawang on 20 Dec. The route taken and further details have already been covered by Mr D in his Route guide :

Holiday to Tawang- Route guide (Holiday in Tawang: All you need to know)

I do not have anything further to add to his proficiency in "Angrezi" and therefore, I do not intend to touch that phase.
However, I shall supplement his effort with a few snaps on this post and few videos in the next post.

The monastery- The sunset did bestow us with a gleam for a nice capture. This one is going to the archives for sure.

An XUV500 speaks - From the East Coast shores to the North East mountains-dsc_034601.jpeg

Tawang Monastery- from the balcony next to the oil lamp room. I don't think many people visit this part of the monastery.

An XUV500 speaks - From the East Coast shores to the North East mountains-dsc_030201.jpeg

Tawang Monastery- The customary and probably the most clicked angle.

An XUV500 speaks - From the East Coast shores to the North East mountains-dsc_00550101.jpg

Featuring Junior Mr D- I really don't know what Mr D was trying to capture with this. See, I am a machine and don't much understand the thought process of my owner.

An XUV500 speaks - From the East Coast shores to the North East mountains-dsc_027701.jpg

Oil lamps

An XUV500 speaks - From the East Coast shores to the North East mountains-dsc_0290.jpg

The prayer wheels

An XUV500 speaks - From the East Coast shores to the North East mountains-dsc_0323.jpg

Striking a pose with the monks

An XUV500 speaks - From the East Coast shores to the North East mountains-dsc_0328.jpg

That's me. Oh please, don't make me blush.
(Photo by Mrs D)

An XUV500 speaks - From the East Coast shores to the North East mountains-dscn961701.jpeg

It sure was cold! The temperatures were clutching my nuts and screws at -4 degree Celsius at nights. Since my MID cannot display "negative" figures of temperature, I flashed "zero".

An XUV500 speaks - From the East Coast shores to the North East mountains-img_20161223_095246.jpg

Last edited by dhanushmenon : 13th February 2017 at 21:12.
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Old 2nd February 2017, 19:31   #4
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Default The mesmerising Meghalayas

Tawang and around I guess, rather than me trying to find words to phrase a sentence, it would be better that videos and snaps do the talking. Afterall, I know that people are not much interested in the clatter of a machine trying to make sense out of English and grammar.

Video 1. A compilation of the drive up the mountains- around Sela pass sector.



Video 2. Stretches of bad visibility



Video 3. Roads from Bomdila to Tawang



Video 4. Frozen waterfalls near Jaswantgarh and a frozen river near Sela



Video 5. Road condition to Bum La



Video 6. Roads from Bum La to Sangetsar



Video 7. Approach to Sangetsar and a frozen waterfall



Video 8. Return from Sangetsar with the blinding sun



Video 9. Some breathtaking views



Video 10. The snow laden stretch


Last edited by dhanushmenon : 13th February 2017 at 19:32.
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Old 13th February 2017, 18:39   #5
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Default Bomdila and Sela

A few glimpses from the archives- Near Bomdila and Sela

Welcome to Tawang

An XUV500 speaks - From the East Coast shores to the North East mountains-dsc_0372.jpg

The first Milestone to Tawang- near Kalaktang

An XUV500 speaks - From the East Coast shores to the North East mountains-dscn9450.jpg

This river would be gushing during monsoons. Even when dry, the landscape was beautiful

An XUV500 speaks - From the East Coast shores to the North East mountains-dscn9476.jpg

"I am watching you". Photo Courtesy- Mrs D

An XUV500 speaks - From the East Coast shores to the North East mountains-dscn949301.jpeg

Dirang- the town caressed by the river

An XUV500 speaks - From the East Coast shores to the North East mountains-dscn9507.jpg

Local cuisine- As local as it can get.

An XUV500 speaks - From the East Coast shores to the North East mountains-img_20161219_124435.jpg

Hello Mr Yak...

An XUV500 speaks - From the East Coast shores to the North East mountains-dsc_0418-hdr01.jpeg

Daughter of M r D- The budding photographer. She will easily be a better photographer than D. Rather, by the blotch he creates in each frame, anyone can surpass his standards.

An XUV500 speaks - From the East Coast shores to the North East mountains-dsc_0009.jpg

Highway to heaven...

An XUV500 speaks - From the East Coast shores to the North East mountains-dsc_0005.jpg

Sublime and pristine

An XUV500 speaks - From the East Coast shores to the North East mountains-dsc_0019.jpg

The Frozen river near Sela. They had a wonderful time here. More because of the first time excitement

An XUV500 speaks - From the East Coast shores to the North East mountains-dsc_0039.jpg

Snowladen...

An XUV500 speaks - From the East Coast shores to the North East mountains-dsc_0409.jpg

An XUV500 speaks - From the East Coast shores to the North East mountains-img_20161223_101527.jpg

Snow spread

An XUV500 speaks - From the East Coast shores to the North East mountains-dsc_0406.jpg

A little kidding around. Mr D and the wonderful kids

An XUV500 speaks - From the East Coast shores to the North East mountains-dscn9530.jpg

Last edited by dhanushmenon : 16th February 2017 at 14:40.
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Old 13th February 2017, 22:18   #6
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Default Bum La, Sangetsar, Chillipam and Dirang

Let's get this straight right at the outset. There are no "roads" which leads to Bum La. There are only unpaved tracks with lots of rubble, some boulders and jaw dropping views aplenty. I guess that's the case with almost all challenging destinations.

Even for an expert driver, placed in moderate conditions, the roads are tough, no two thoughts. For a person like Mr D with questionable degree of psycho-motor skills, they start snaring.
Well, to say the least, to borrow from the 'Man from Snowy River', "If it were easy to get there, it wouldn't be challenging".

An XUV500 speaks - From the East Coast shores to the North East mountains-img_20161221_10364501.jpeg

So, these "roads" to Bum La, if you may like to call them so, are not very easy. Though not beyond achievable too. Even with a low GC vehicle, you can scale the heights with a little bit of tact. Though I have a bit of higher GC under my belt, I still am just a 2 WD vehicle. Mr D didn't have much of problems negotiating the stretches of pebble/ boulder strewn tracks; even with his un enviable driving skills. We also saw a swift and punto taking to tracks towards Bum La on the day we travelled there. Therefore, if you are still in two thoughts whether to take your own car there or not, think not further; just take it. You won't repent the decision. The drive is something which will stay with you throughout your life. More than that, if you have the flexibility of your own car, you can stop at places at your will (which will be quite some for the view it offers). The hired taxy driver won't be so benevolent.

An XUV500 speaks - From the East Coast shores to the North East mountains-img_20161221_16180101.jpeg

Hues of sunset.

An XUV500 speaks - From the East Coast shores to the North East mountains-img_20161221_164615_01_01-2.jpg

Though manageable for difficulty, the passengers will still be treated to a rollercoaster ride due to the uneven surface. Mrs D bestowed me with a gift of broken grip handle in the rear seat during this stretch. Ask her, and she will still say that the drive to Bum La was nothing great to write home about, from a passengers point of view.

An XUV500 speaks - From the East Coast shores to the North East mountains-ts_d0001.jpg

That said, for a traveller, the route was spellbinding. We were treated to much awe during the trip which at many times left the senses numbed.

An XUV500 speaks - From the East Coast shores to the North East mountains-dsc_0080.jpg

Well, Love is everywhere. You just need to find it...

An XUV500 speaks - From the East Coast shores to the North East mountains-img_20161221_10395201.jpeg

In Chinese territory...

An XUV500 speaks - From the East Coast shores to the North East mountains-dsc_0089.jpg

An XUV500 speaks - From the East Coast shores to the North East mountains-dsc_009301.jpeg

We were here; the customary snap.

An XUV500 speaks - From the East Coast shores to the North East mountains-dsc_0103.jpg

And a customary snap for me too.

An XUV500 speaks - From the East Coast shores to the North East mountains-img_20161221_121323.jpg

Then, the track traced to Sangetsar. Wonderful place I should say.
The route conditions are in the videos in post #4. So, I do not intend to bore you more with lexicography or literature. Some snaps can do I guess.

An XUV500 speaks - From the East Coast shores to the North East mountains-dsc_0174.jpg

An XUV500 speaks - From the East Coast shores to the North East mountains-dsc_0125.jpg

An XUV500 speaks - From the East Coast shores to the North East mountains-dsc_016201.jpg

Since we were already behind our time schedule, we couldn't visit Taksang Gompa. Please plan a visit there as I have been told it is really worth the bumpy 7 km drive further from Sangetsar towards Zemithang side.

From Tawang, we set course to Shillong after a day's lazing around in the town for local sight seeing. Tawang- Bomdila- Rupa- Chillipam- Kalaktang- Orang- Guwahati- Shillong.

A few from Chillipam (Rupa) monastery: -

An XUV500 speaks - From the East Coast shores to the North East mountains-dsc_0485.jpg

An XUV500 speaks - From the East Coast shores to the North East mountains-dsc_049701.jpeg

The country side views of Sangti

An XUV500 speaks - From the East Coast shores to the North East mountains-dscn9676.jpg

From the orchards of Dirang

An XUV500 speaks - From the East Coast shores to the North East mountains-dsc_0438.jpg

An XUV500 speaks - From the East Coast shores to the North East mountains-dsc_0429.jpg

Last edited by dhanushmenon : 17th February 2017 at 16:39.
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Old 16th February 2017, 14:36   #7
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Default Meghalaya- Shillong, Krang Shuri, Dawki, Sohra

1. First things first, before I honeytrap you with photographs.
The road discipline at Meghalaya was the best of all states that I have rolled my rubber so far. And believe me, I have had my share of my travels. The roads are generally well laid and a bit narrow; But someone really put their heart and soul to teach them road discipline.

Sharing a Personal Experience: - Approaching Shillong main junction, there was a 3 Km delay at the traffic signal (common feature, I was told, because of the confluence of roads). The approaches to the junction is a two lane road. Despite the inviting blank spaces on the other lane, I did not see cars trying to outsmart the other and get ahead in the signal. Everyone maintained their line and waited patiently for the one in the front to move forward. A few I saw cutting through, were all vehicles of visitors (with out of state number plates). For a while, I felt ashamed being an out of station vehicle myself. Mr D is decent in this regard and he didn't embarrass me that day.

2. Places to visit

Meghalaya is pretty untouched, unexplored and has abundant natural beauty. The more you tread the unknown path, the better your reward will be. The state is mostly plain land and there is no risk of getting trapped in a 4 X 4 country, up in the middle of nowhere.
I had covered only limited places, and therefore, my 'gyaan' distribution will be limited to that. Isn't it unfair to talk about things which you have no idea about?

a. Shillong City. Being the capital city, it has all the oomphs, Oohs and OoLaLas. Has a nice market place too with an excellent street food scene. Police bazaar is where you have to head to. However, markets close pretty early as per metro city standards. So plan accordingly.
Shopping list can include boots, leather jackets, tops, shawls and sweaters.
You also get unique snacks and sweets from the shops in market area- the kind which vcan be carried back home as return gift.

Within the premises of the town, you can visit Shillong Peak, Elephant falls, Laitlum Canyons and Air Force Museum. A bit towards the North of Shillong is the vast expanse of Umiam Lake too.

b. Krang Shuri Falls- 93 Kms from Shillong, towards Jowai- Dawki sector.
This is a place of surreal charm and is a must visit for all. Crystal clear blue waters and a natural swimming pool. Mr D and kids did not venture into bathing sessions as the water was chilly cold. There were very less tourists in the falls. Looked as if it was pretty unknown to the tourist circuits and the few people who visited during our presence were all localites; who came for a Sunday break.

c. Dawki 80 Kms from Shillong (direct route),
125 Kms through Jowai circuit
34 Kms from Krang Shuri Falls
  • Right at the border of India and Bangladesh.
  • Wonderful pace with clean water. Boat rides are sought after and popular
  • Boat charges are Rs 500 for a one hour ride per boat. The boat man will take you to an island upstream where water is supremely clear and is the place where all the "suspended in air boat" photos originate.
  • Aim to reach there by noon so that sun is atop and you can get good photos
  • No restaurants or washrooms nearby. Carrying your own food is suggested. Else, make good with a makeshift Dhaba setup on the banks or snack on Lays and Kurkure
  • Tamabil border checkpost is at a distance of 3 Kms from Dawki river bridge.
  • Home stay options are available near Dawki.
  • There is also an organised camping set up by the banks of the river at Shnongpdeng. Quite close by.

d. Mawlynnong Village- 78 Kms from Shillong- Direct route
21 Kms from Dawki bridge
  • Famed to be the cleanest village (awarded in 2004) and I should say, the tourism still relies heavily on the fame.
  • Place is undoubtedly clean. However, most of Meghalaya is clean for that matter. The neighbouring villages to Mawlynnong are equally clean for that matter. Only that they aren't as famous.
  • The villagers have a sense of cleanliness and considers it as a matter of pride to maintain the cleanliness around them. Wonderful foundation for future generations. Wish the nation turned towards them
  • There is a skywalk bridge, from where you can see the plains across the international border to Bangladesh. Though not much of a view, it is still a good experience to climb up the bridge.
  • The place is also famous for butterflies and a balancing rock. People who have seen the butter ball of Mahabalipuram, can save some time and miss this.
  • Lot of homestay options available and finding accommodation wouldn't be a problem.

e. Living Root bridge
  • There are many living root bridges across Meghalaya. Most are unknown to travellers.
  • Most famous ones are the double decker living root bridge at Nongriat (a full day trek for the to and fro journey) and the Living root bridge at Riwai, Mawlynnong
  • Since Mr D had his kids in tow, We visited the more sensible single root bridge at Mawlynnong. A gentle trek of about 15 minutes from the main road. Easily marked diversions. Can be done by kids of 4 yrs and above
  • Wonderful place and an unforgettable experience. Must Visit.
  • Carrying a bottle of water is advisable. Else, you can buy from shops by the side of the trail

f. Sohra/ Cherrapunji- 56 Kms from Shillong
A wonderful place of unmatched charm and beauty during the periods after monsoons. However, the sight wasn't much to the tastes of Mr or Mrs D during their visit. Though the place had its own uniqueness in geography and the view it offered, the lack of water in the falls brought them back with faces as long as cows.
In its full glory, Cherrapunji has numerous places to visit and a day or two wont be sufficient to do justice to its beauty. It has waterfalls aplenty, lakes and caves intertwined with unexplored gems which the local villagers will guide you to.

Listed below are a few places which figures prominently in tourist maps and some which do not. But, are you a tourist or a traveller? So, don't just stick to the list below
  • Nohkilakai falls- A plunge from the apex of a horse shoe shaped plateau.
  • Nohsngithiang falls- Seven segmented falls. Also known as Mawsmai falls. The falls gets illuminated during sunset and is a sight to behold.
  • Mawdwok Valley view.
  • Umkhakoi Lake.
  • Lawbah hot springs.
  • Umdikian Falls.
  • Mawphlong the sacred forest
  • Mawsynram- The village with unique umbrellas and Shivling Caves.
  • Mawlyngbna.
  • Mawsmai Caves
  • Double decker root bridge

3. Suggested circuit/ itinerary- The state is worth spending a lot more than five days and has many friendly homestays who will happily greet you in. I had spent lesser than that and had my axis pivoted at Shillong.

Itinerary 1
Day 1- Within Shillong- Shillong view point, Elephant falls, Police Bazaar
Day 2- Shillong- Jowai- Dawki- Mawlynnong/ Schnongphdeng
Day 3- Mawlynnong/ Schnongphdeng- Sohra/ Cherrapunji- Shillong
Day 4- (if you have)- Can venture into Laitlum Canyon trek, or Mawsynram village or Mawlyngbna or as tailor made from the list in para 2 above.

Itinerary 2
Day 1- Within Shillong- Shillong view point, Elephant falls, Police Bazaar
Day 2- Shillong- Jowai- Dawki- Mawlynnong- Shillong
Day 3- Shillong- Mawlynnong- Sohra/ Cherrapunji- Shillong

Places that Mr D took me to

It is for nothing that the state is called Mesmerising Meghalayas. The state is a splendid abode to spend the whole of your vacations.
It has luscious waterfalls and numerous ones at that. Most of them famous, lush and pulsing. However, the best time to visit will be immediately post monsoons. Summers would be a big NO NO. Else, you can train your imaginative brain cells and creativity to imagine a lush waterfall flowing down that barren rock.
We went during end December, the winters, and therefore had to be content with the imaginary falls plunging from heights.

That said, these are the places in the North East (other than Tawang of course), which Mr D took me to: -
  • Shillong
  • Elephant Falls
  • Sohra/ Cherrapunji
  • Krang Shuri Falls
  • Tamabil India/ Bangladesh border
  • Dawki river
  • Living Root bridge
  • Mawlynnong village
  • Kaziranga (Assam)
  • A one day drive through Darjeeling (WB)

And that above would be the last sentences I would type. I shall now keep my rattle muted for the snaps to speak.

Last edited by dhanushmenon : 23rd February 2017 at 17:09.
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Old 23rd February 2017, 17:35   #8
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Default re: An XUV500 speaks - From the East Coast shores to the North East mountains

Shillong and Sohra

Elephant Falls, Shillong

An XUV500 speaks - From the East Coast shores to the North East mountains-dsc_0694.jpg

Traditional Meghalaya Attire... The junior Ds

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Police Bazaar, on Christmas Eve.

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The plunge of Nohkilakkai Falls. In the thick of monsoons, this would be a sight to behold!!!

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Like I said earlier, with dry grass all around, calling this the wettest place on earth would be a bit far fetched. Mr D would say that his heartland of Mallu land has greener places. Well, statistics might not match though.

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The drive was wonderful anyway...

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Cleanliness is in the pulse of the people here. Most places were remarkably clean. These kinds of boards promoting cleanliness were found all along the places we visited.

An XUV500 speaks - From the East Coast shores to the North East mountains-img_20161225_141020.jpg
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Old 23rd February 2017, 18:04   #9
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Default re: An XUV500 speaks - From the East Coast shores to the North East mountains

Krang Shuri Falls, Dawki and Living Root Bridge

Krang Shuri Falls. One place which you should not miss in your plans.

An XUV500 speaks - From the East Coast shores to the North East mountains-dsc_069801.jpeg

The water is naturally blue and the place is calm & serene.

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There is a small trail which leads to the falls. Mr D's kids did it with relative ease.

An XUV500 speaks - From the East Coast shores to the North East mountains-img_20161226_105713.jpg

Dawki- the river which will get your eyes popping.

An XUV500 speaks - From the East Coast shores to the North East mountains-dsc_08130101.jpeg

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An XUV500 speaks - From the East Coast shores to the North East mountains-dsc_0786.jpg

An XUV500 speaks - From the East Coast shores to the North East mountains-dsc_0826.jpg

Living Root Bridge, Mawlynnong. Wonderful experience I should say; rather, Mr D would say. A well marked trail leads you down to the root bridge. Trek back up is a moderate work out for the ones not used to climbs.

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In memory of their hard work...

An XUV500 speaks - From the East Coast shores to the North East mountains-img_20161226_160038.jpg
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Old 23rd February 2017, 18:32   #10
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Default re: An XUV500 speaks - From the East Coast shores to the North East mountains

Kaziranga

An XUV500 speaks - From the East Coast shores to the North East mountains-dsc_0002-201.jpg

The forum is replete of travelogues and guides to Kaziranga and therefore I won't dwell into literature here.

An XUV500 speaks - From the East Coast shores to the North East mountains-dsc_097501.jpg

The high point of our visit to Kaziranga was the tiger sighting.

An XUV500 speaks - From the East Coast shores to the North East mountains-dsc_096601.jpeg

An XUV500 speaks - From the East Coast shores to the North East mountains-dsc_001201.jpg

Though it might not be as direct a sighting as one might find at the safaris of Africa; this was still a welcome surprise. After all, how many are lucky to sight a tiger when on a rhino safari?

An XUV500 speaks - From the East Coast shores to the North East mountains-dsc_096901.jpg

Rhino Skull...

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The Safari Trails

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An XUV500 speaks - From the East Coast shores to the North East mountains-dsc_099301.jpg

And a few miscellaneous...

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An XUV500 speaks - From the East Coast shores to the North East mountains-dsc_0009-201.jpg

Useful info for trip planning.
1. Aim to reach the safari ticket counter by 1430 hrs (2:30 PM) for the evening safari.
2. Try and do jeep Safari and Elephant safari in different ranges.
3. There is Cultural Evening near the Forest Guest house at around 6:30- 7:00 PM. It showcases local arts, music and dance performance. Mr D found it to be good and worth. They also serve local food freshly prepared at the venue.

An XUV500 speaks - From the East Coast shores to the North East mountains-img_20161227_193541.jpg

For planning the jeep and elephant safaris, the below pictures might be of use:

An XUV500 speaks - From the East Coast shores to the North East mountains-img_20161227_134550.jpg

An XUV500 speaks - From the East Coast shores to the North East mountains-img_20161227_123240.jpg

Last edited by dhanushmenon : 23rd February 2017 at 18:34.
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Old 23rd February 2017, 19:03   #11
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Default Return from the Enticing North East

With Mr D's heart heavily set and me almost in tears, we started our return journey to 'Las Vizag'. To keep my spirits high, Mr D took a day detour at Siliguri and we did a circuit drive through Darjeeling from there.

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Tall, majestic and proud.... Mt Kanjenjunga

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The legendary Darjeeling toy train

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The villages in West Bengal was luscious, green and surprisingly beautiful (contrary to what Mr D believed from his abysmal Geography)

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But then, it was the last leg...

True my suspensions were tested to its hilt in the heights of Bum La, fluids frozen in the sub zero temperatures and engine churned to its limits; but what I cherish when I leave here are the wonderful places I saw, the ever helpful people I met and the splendid experience this place gifted us.

An XUV500 speaks - From the East Coast shores to the North East mountains-dsc_0377-chosen.jpeg

Mr D couldn't get enough of North East and in a whiff of wind it was time to come back. He didn't have half the mind to start the return journey. Not that he had a choice to stay further; for he has a job to attend which feeds four mouths at home and diesel in my belly. Reluctantly we bid bye to the enticing North East- with a promise to return soon(er) to be lost in the land we fell in love with.

I guess it's adieu till then...

An XUV500 speaks - From the East Coast shores to the North East mountains-dsc_0355.jpg
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Old 23rd February 2017, 19:37   #12
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Default re: An XUV500 speaks - From the East Coast shores to the North East mountains

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section). Thanks for sharing!

Wonderful ! Really great to see so many colours.

And not mention all these colours are by and large unexplored!

Last edited by ampere : 23rd February 2017 at 19:43.
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Old 23rd February 2017, 20:49   #13
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Default re: An XUV500 speaks - From the East Coast shores to the North East mountains

Lucky kids, lucky car. Lucky us. In the midst of nature's bounty, it would have been a travesty for Mr D's XUV not to speak. Wish I could be the XUV's dashcam .
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Old 23rd February 2017, 20:58   #14
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Default re: An XUV500 speaks - From the East Coast shores to the North East mountains

A refreshing travelogue with beautiful pictures and narration! Thank you.

I always want to drive to the north of India. I 've been to almost every nook and corner in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka several times, such that a mere thought of a trip to any of these places brings up all the sceneries and vistas on to my mind screen and I sigh at doing another drive to a place that is so afresh in my memory.

Like a typical Chennaiite I know nothing in Hindi and that really stops me from venturing into the north of India. One of the important aspects that I enjoy in any of my travels is the interaction with the locals and experiencing their warmth and hospitality. Unfortunately the lack of Hindi knowledge completely eliminates that part and I fear my travel will just be visiting places and clicking pictures, which really doesn't motivate me to pack my bags. In this case, what is your view?
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Old 24th February 2017, 09:10   #15
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Default Re: An XUV500 speaks - From the East Coast shores to the North East mountains

Thank you Mr. D's XUV for bringing this awesome read to us. I have been asking Mr.D to let you once meet my cheetah as well. My Cheetah is still a young kid and needs some serious inspiration to kick me out of home too! You may think all XUV owners are same but you are "that thing" which makes it different for Mr.D!

It was so thoughtful for Mr.D to get you a custom designed sticker for this expedition and special mention of fundagenie of course! I can see how engrossed you both were for this trip! And the serene terrain you had been too, leaves us mortals craving for more. This April I am headed to Diwang - Tawang and Kaziranga but without my Orange Cheetah. You see? There is some more inspiration needed which could be delivered by face to face meeting between both of you? Anything you can do to entice Mr.D?

By the way, do you have any picture of yours with this custom expedition sticker

Keep munching miles and bringing us the stories from around motherland.
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