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Old 8th March 2010, 11:02   #241
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Folks,

This has been an amazing piece of work from all of you - Please keep it coming. Your Journey from Guwahati to Shillong takes me back to my graduation days from REC, Silchar when it use to take 3 days by bus / train from home to college.

The Guwahati to Shillong road in those days use to be a very picturesque stretch in those days with a huge number of tourist busses plying the route. Has been almost 15 years since.

The Shillong to Silchar stretch use to be horrendous in those days. Road Closures was common because of landslides (I got stuck for 3 days in a bus once). The road was pothole ridden (wonder how the tourist busses use to manage speeds of 60 plus in some stretches). It was a proper Ghat section. The end of it was even more brilliant - As you approach Silchar, we use to have a common bridge for both the rail and the road - and it is not multi-level - The same stretch was used by trains, busses, cars.

Thanks for taking me down the memory lane and indeed the photos show why NE India has been neglected and could have been one of the best tourist destinations in the entire world. Having spent 10 years of my life in this part of the world, I say, I was really lucky to be so close to nature.

Cheers.
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Old 8th March 2010, 16:01   #242
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bbkp View Post
Folks,
The Guwahati to Shillong road in those days use to be a very picturesque stretch in those days with a huge number of tourist busses plying the route. Has been almost 15 years since.
Thanks bbkp. The Guwahati Shillong road is still picturesque. Only grouse is that the traffic during the nights is more than NH9 between Hyderabad-Vijayawada. There are just too many trucks on this road and most of them are driven rashly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bbkp View Post
Thanks for taking me down the memory lane and indeed the photos show why NE India has been neglected and could have been one of the best tourist destinations in the entire world. Having spent 10 years of my life in this part of the world, I say, I was really lucky to be so close to nature.
In my personal opinion, I would prefer the NE to remain as it is today. The sheer beauty of the places will be lost if they turn into major tourist attractions. NE destinations should be only for the serious travelers.

(On Gmail Buzz, there was a comment from a friend currently in US - "You found snow in India? LOL".
This shows how ignorant some of us are about our own country. And I would definitely prefer the usual tourists to stay away from NE and not spoil it with commercialization.)


Few Pics on the way to Sohra:

Sohra is 56 kms from Shillong. One of those ultimate eco-friendly destinations, a place renowned all over the world for having the privilege of receiving the highest rainfall in the world. Set against the backdrop of breath-taking landscape, it is a place to discover the Indian summer monsoons. An unique annual meteorological phenomena directly influenced by the south west monsoon and the north east winds. The heavy monsoon rains over these mountains undoubtedly creates in Sohra one of the rarest bio-diverse vegetation in the world. Truly a beautiful corner in north-east India, waiting to be discovered and explored.

The coal mining activity happening en route to Sohra from Shillong is spoiling the beauty of the whole landscape!


AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_0084.jpg

AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_0086.jpg

Bad Tea at this place almost upset our stomachs. Arun and myself were feeling queasy the whole day after having the tea.
AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_0088.jpg

AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_0089.jpg


Mawkdok Dympep Valley View
A few kms from Umtyngar, as one takes the right turn from the road junction, one comes across a beautiful bridge known to the locals as the Duwan Singh Syiem Bridge, that is the entrance to the Sohra tourist circuit. From here the landscape abruptly changes into picturesque deep gorges. The Forest Department has constructed a view-point where visitors can stop a while and enjoy the spectacular natural beauty.
source


AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_0091.jpg

AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_0085.jpg
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Old 8th March 2010, 17:14   #243
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Awesome !! Nothing can be compared to a few deep breathes of that fresh and slight moist air - What am I doing in Mumbai

@Pulsar56,

Yes. Traffic from Guwahati will be particularly bad till the road splits into two. One of which heads towards Upper Assam (Jorhat, Dibrugarh, Tinsukia) and the other to Shillong.
If you consider that the rail network is not so strong in NE and most of the transportation is still by road, that probably explains the high count of trucks on that road. What's more, the Guwahati to Shillong stretch has to be traversed for everyone going to Manipur and Tripura via Silchar.

During day time, the road is generally taken over by tourist busses and they are even worser than the trucks
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Old 9th March 2010, 00:27   #244
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bbkp View Post
What's more, the Guwahati to Shillong stretch has to be traversed for everyone going to Manipur and Tripura via Silchar.
I suppose you mean Mizoram and Tripura. Of course that's a whole lot of trucks on that highway, and it all pass right through Shillong! Manipur bound truck traffic usually goes via Dimapur, not Silchar.

Quote:
During day time, the road is generally taken over by tourist busses and they are even worser than the trucks
"Worse" will do just fine, bbkp. Sorry, can't resist the temptation.
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Old 9th March 2010, 03:08   #245
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pulsar56 View Post

Mawkdok Dympep Valley View
The last two photos showing the deep gorges in this region are a visual treat, Clouds in the sky adding to the splendour. The roads seem to have been maintained in good condition in spite of maximum rain in this place.
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Old 9th March 2010, 10:02   #246
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Guite View Post
I suppose you mean Mizoram and Tripura. Of course that's a whole lot of trucks on that highway, and it all pass right through Shillong! Manipur bound truck traffic usually goes via Dimapur, not Silchar.


"Worse" will do just fine, bbkp. Sorry, can't resist the temptation.
Thanks - I stand corrected.

Regards
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Old 17th March 2010, 12:42   #247
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Default On to Shillong and we watch a team member get a bath

It has been 4 pages since my last post about 5 weeks ago. The delay has been unintentional and frankly, even now I am in no mood to write. So please pardon the fall in quality.

After a restful night in Tezpur, we ordered b'fast in the rooms. Revitalised, we set off for Guwahati. Once on our way, we called ahead and spoke to a very helpful Mr. Rajeev of Himatsingka motors the Skoda A.S.S. and he told us that we were welcome any time. After I did a short stint at the wheel, Arun took over and at one point just before the bridge over the Brahmaputra, he had to brake hard and swerve to the right to avoid an errant scooter. We did not realise how hard he braked until Suren called a little while later to find out how we were, it was through him that we learnt just how hard Arun had braked - seems there was an earthquake reported from Guwahati about that time!

AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_1595.jpg
Perhaps it was the glare of all that bling that caused Arun to cause that EQ

Finding the Skoda A.S.S. was getting on our nerves as the address was sketchy and none of us were familiar with the city. Ellen too found the details too skimpy and turned her nose up at it. Fortunately, there was help on hand in the form of Gopal, Arun's Man-Friday in the NE. Well, Gopal actually drives a taxi for a living but is adept at all kinds of things and Arun spotting his talent quickly made him into some kind of an assistant / valet / butler etc. It was therefore with relief that we greeted Arun's exclamation of Gopal! when he spotted him on the ring road. Perhaps, Suren would be able to describe and explain Gopal in his full glory as he had a very interesting run-in with Gopal over the phone.


AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_1596.jpg
Gopal stands watch over a very dirty 'Le Tank'. Notice how a very clean Gopal keeps a safe distance!

Gopal guided us to the Skoda A.S.S. located on the service road to the ring road. We were welcomed warmly by Mr. Rajiv, who after taking one look at the dusty. muddy and very bedraggled looking 'Le Tank' promptly went looking for a master of his trade - the washer. Well, this wonderful human being, seeing that business was dull had decided to take a stroll around Guwahati. There was little we could do till he returned as no self-respecting techician/mechanic would go anywhere near the car in it's unwashed, dirty and probably smelly condition.

That denizen of Guwahati's Skoda A.S.S. returned to the workshop in about 15 minutes and after one look at the car, very non-chalantly asked us "Where has this car been to, to get so dirty?". Our reply of "Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh" drew an admiring look from him, but he quickly recovered and asked us "Where are you from?" Our reply of "Hyderabad" elicited a supplementary question that was more rhetorical than anything else - "You drove all the way from Hyderabad to Tawang and now you are in Guwahati?!" Once we assured him that we had driven all the way and not cheated by putting the car on a plane or train or anything stupid like that and that we intended to complete the 7500km trip firmly planted inside the car, that maestro said something to the effect of "WAH", ceased all further conversation and went to work. We watched with admiration as that true professional went about his job and, what a job he did. Totally professional, it was as if the rest of the world ceased to exist for him and all he could see was the very, very dirty 'Le Tank'. He went to work with a single mindedness that is rare. He methodically cleared away all the mud, grime, dirt and dust till the 'Le Tank' was clean and gleaming.

AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_1599.jpg
Even caked with mud, the aux lights gave usable light.

AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_1598.jpg
Stowaway mud increased the weight of the car substantially.

Nazim wanted to crawl under to photograph the mud in/on the underbody. Thankfully, a gentle reminder about mining accidents where the roof caved in trapping hapless miners dissuaded him.

AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_1606.jpg
The master goes to work

AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_1607.jpg

Above and below: The mud gets the ol' heave-ho.

AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_1616.jpg

AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_1618.jpg
The rear was no less dirty. Notice the washer at the open front door. He used a jet of water with the precision of a surgeon to remove mud and dirt from the door-sill / frame without even a drop of water getting into the cabin!

AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_1621.jpg
Split personality? Clean front - dirty rear.

AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_1622.jpg
The rear gets hosed down.

AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_1629.jpg
Once the dirt, mud and grime got hosed away it was time for a generous dose of soap suds.

AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_1633.jpg
And, a final rinse

Once 'Le Tank' was scrubbed down, we took her onto the workshop floor with a three point agenda - (1) Clean the air filter (2) Clear all error codes from the ECU and (3) Get the headlights to point down at the road (or somewhere in the general direction of the road) instead of sending signals out to the yet undiscovered life on other planets in the sky. The Works Manager himself took charge of the air filter and soon the poor man was enveloped in a cloud of dust. He emerged triumphant a little while later holding an air-filter that looked absolutely clean. The headlights were much trickier to handle. The technician who normally handles the VAG analyser was absent that day and the Laura's headlights could be adjusted only via the VAG. Emboldened by the presence of Nazim, who is a veritable wiz with anything to do with electronics and software, we encouraged the team at Himatsingka to hook up the Analyser. What followed was an excruciating half an hour of trying to tempt the headlights to look away from the skies above. We succeeded partially and drove away with the headlights (both beams) focussing somewhere in the approximate are of the horizon in front of the car. We were however thrilled at the difference that the clean air-filter made. The engine was now much smoother and was responding instantly, it was also revving lower to give the same power.

AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_1636.jpg
Headlamps get the treatment, eventually we had to use washers on the fixing screws to focus them downward.

Attachment 309685

While we were at the A.S.S. we had called ahead to Shillong to re-confirm our bookings and to convert our 3 rooms for 2 days booking into a booking for 2 rooms for 3 days. The Hotel Alpine Continental obliged us and
we told them to expect us around 10.00. Rooms in hand, we set off to have dinner in Guwahati. We hunted for and found a nice chinese place that Arun remembered from his earlier trip(s). Seems that the guy had
changed his board and colour scheme so we missed it on our first pass. The food was pretty good and after a sumptuous meal we bundled into the car for the drive to Shillong. The Guwahati - Shillong road was packed
with traffic and reminded us of the Hyderabad - Vijayawada NH9. Only saving grace was that the GS road was a hill road with plenty of turns where one could overtake the trucks lumbering uphill.

The Hotel Alpine was firmly in the "OK" territory. It was clean enough. The sheets, blankets etc were absolutely clean, the bathrooms were not the best in the business and the heaters were a bit squeaky and dusty.

Pics in Alpine:

AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-31122009012.jpg
Seems he has thought of a way to beat the system in Monopoly.

AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-31122009013.jpg
Uh - Oh, that did not work, time to rethink strategy.


The food in room service was passable but, the breakfast was great. We sank into those clean beds after switching all alarms off to surface just as breakfast was about to close and hurried down to get the 50% of our nourishment for that day before they shut the buffet. B'fast done we trotted off to the India Tourism office to pick up brochures guides, posters etc. Done with that we decided to push along to Elephant falls and Cherrapunjee. That of course is another story.

Cheers,

Last edited by Ravveendrra : 17th March 2010 at 12:46.
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Old 17th March 2010, 19:41   #248
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Nice pics, Ravvs. It is nice to see the Junior Advocate surfing!

Keep them coming!
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Old 17th March 2010, 21:59   #249
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Excellent travelogue and breathtaking photographs.
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Old 18th March 2010, 14:56   #250
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Few more of the Mawkdok Dympep Valley.
AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_0095.jpg

AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_0098.jpg

AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_0103.jpg

AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_0106.jpg

Indian Cowboy?
AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_0107.jpg

Scary wooden bridge!
AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_0109.jpg
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Old 18th March 2010, 15:31   #251
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Default Mawsmai Caves

6 kms from the Sohra market to the south lies the village of Mawsmai in the direction of Bangladesh border. At the village crossing, one passes grasslands surrounded by forests, ending in a clearing. From this clearing, a concrete pathway through the jungle leads up to the main cave entrance. This cave is the only cave that is fully lighted. The cave can be divided into two parts (old and new). Of the two, the new cave is yet to be lighted. It has impressive formations of large passages and chambers. The Caves are made of limestones, which have a large number of stalagmites and stalactites. Some of them are covered with special crystals that glitter beautifully.

AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_0111.jpg

AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_0113.jpg

AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_0115.jpg

AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_0117.jpg

AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_0118.jpg

AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_0119.jpg

AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_0120.jpg

AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_0121.jpg

AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_0125.jpg

AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_0127.jpg
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Old 18th March 2010, 16:52   #252
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Nice pictures Nazim. If you visit this cave in the raining season, you can not cross exit the cave without removing your shoes, folding your pants and wading through ice cold water.

I had to do that when I visited in August 2008.

Cheers,
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Old 18th March 2010, 18:03   #253
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Nice pictures Nazim. If you visit this cave in the raining season, you can not cross exit the cave without removing your shoes, folding your pants and wading through ice cold water.

I had to do that when I visited in August 2008.
Arun had warned us about the water in the caves and we were prepared for some swimming!
But, the time we visited the caves being winter, there was not much water except for few drops trickling here & there!


Strangely, I am not able to upload anything onto T-BHP Server right now!
Will upload the rest of the cave pics later.
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Old 18th March 2010, 19:12   #254
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Originally Posted by pulsar56 View Post
Mawkdok Dympep Valley View
Those are awesome pics!

I agree with you guys, that such places should remain as they are now, secluded and natural. Otherwise they just become tourist traps. Progress in the lives of locals in terms of modern amenities etc is good, but that should not happen only through tourism. We have a way of slipping into over-tourism.

Last edited by gomzi : 18th March 2010 at 19:14.
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Old 19th March 2010, 17:37   #255
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Inside Mawsmai Caves:


AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_0130.jpg

AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_0132.jpg

AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_0136.jpg

AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_0139.jpg

AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_0142.jpg

AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_0143.jpg

AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_0144.jpg

AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_0146.jpg

AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_0128.jpg

AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_0158.jpg

AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_0159.jpg

AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_0160.jpg

AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_0161.jpg

AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_0165.jpg

AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_0167.jpg
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