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Old 19th March 2010, 18:27   #256
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Mawsmai Caves (Last set):

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This is one of the best pictures the D90 clicked on its own!
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The smile says it all - Wonderful experience at the caves!
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Hmm... what next?
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Old 19th March 2010, 19:37   #257
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Monoliths:

These kind of monoliths are found throughout the length & breadth of Khasi Hills.
The local monoliths are erected in honour of heroes who died in battles and in remembrance of clan members. The vertical stones commemorate male members of the tribe, whereas the flat horizontal ones represent the womenfolk.
Nartiang (in Jaintia Hills) has the tallest monolith (27 feet) in Meghalaya.

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View from the hotel room - New year's eve!
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Old 19th March 2010, 20:26   #258
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This thread is following a strict "Each Release on Fridays" only , lol . At least I'm enjoying the slow and steady pace of your's and Rav's review of the whole trip .

What next ?..... is it the Monoliths? . And not to forget the insane XXL sized chicken piece curry we had on our return from Mawsmai, lol .
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Old 22nd March 2010, 23:35   #259
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Originally Posted by pulsar56 View Post
Monoliths:

Attachment 311103

Attachment 311104


View from the hotel room - New year's eve!
Attachment 311105
Seems like the attachments in my last post did not load!

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Old 23rd March 2010, 17:21   #260
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sutripta View Post
The real pity is that in the past (well distant past, pre GQ), Orissa had perhaps the best maintained sections of NH5 and NH6. And the state highway from Sambalpur to Rourkella was a dream. Agreed that the other SH (which are now NH2xx) were pretty bad.

OT. Can someone tell me how to use the multiquote feature. I assume it allows me to quote from different posts.

Sutripta
I don't know if its still true, at one point of time, Orissa had the highest road density in the country (connectivity of rural villages was way beyond other states). I guess we never moved to the next level after connectivity- connectivity by good roads. Quite unfortunate, and symbols of a corrupt lazy administration through the years.
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Old 23rd March 2010, 21:36   #261
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Originally Posted by pulsar56 View Post
Thank you manu.
BRO lines are always thought provoking.

Next Set: Tawang Monastery.
The tawang monastery's museum snaps remind me very much of the musuem at Hemis monastery.
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Old 23rd March 2010, 21:54   #262
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Originally Posted by manolin View Post
The tawang monastery's museum snaps remind me very much of the musuem at Hemis monastery.
Hmm... Let's see, I might get a chance to photograph the Hemis Monastery too. (Talks of a Ladakh trip have already started! )

Strolling along the streets of Shillong:
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The Laura also joined us in celebrating the arrival of 2010!
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Old 24th March 2010, 00:24   #263
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Default Falls, caves and wet spots

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Originally Posted by vnabhi View Post
Nice pics, Ravvs. It is nice to see the Junior Advocate surfing!

Keep them coming!
Thanks Venu saab. The little fellow was not surfing, he was playing Monopoly that is loaded on Nazims lappie.

BTW, when does your DC to DC journey end - when do you touch down in Hyd?

Quote:
Originally Posted by J.Ravi View Post
Excellent travelogue and breathtaking photographs.
Thanks Ravi, posting our experiences here has been as much a pleasure as the trip itself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pulsar56 View Post
Monoliths:

These kind of monoliths are found throughout the length & breadth of Khasi Hills.
The local monoliths are erected in honour of heroes who died in battles and in remembrance of clan members. The vertical stones commemorate male members of the tribe, whereas the flat horizontal ones represent the womenfolk.
Nartiang (in Jaintia Hills) has the tallest monolith (27 feet) in Meghalaya.



View from the hotel room - New year's eve!
I wonder if there is any symbolism (other than the very obvious) - erect vs. horizontal .........
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

On our first morning in Shillong - we trooped downstairs and demolished the breakfast buffet. Then we attacked the India Tourism office and picked the brains of the poor girl there asking her about things to do and see in Shilloing (we did learn that she was going to spend new years eve with her parents. Just for the record, it was not I who asked). We then proceeded to literally ransack the tourism office for brochures, guides and posters.

Thanks to the helpful girl in the tourism office, we identified the Elephant falls and Sohra, Cherrapunjee etc. as the best things to do on that day so, we shot off towards Elephant falls which are a short distance outside Shillong (just past the Air Force Station) on the road to Cherrapunjee.

The elephant falls are divided into three parts (if I am not mistaken) and the upper and middle falls are nice but not really special. The lowest part of the falls which one gets to via a narrow path, bridge and staircase are truly wonderful.

The lower falls are not spectacular or gushing or loud. They are instead blessed with a tranquility, a sedate pace and very unusual for water falls - a soothing and calming effect. The setting of course is spectacularly beautiful. Verdant hillsides covered in varying hues of green. Moss covered rocks, the water coming down in half a dozen streams over the rocks and plunging into a pool that has water plants and fish in it. Birds popping in to fish/quench their thirst or just to gaze at the wonderful sight that the waterfalls provide.

Thankfully tourists (especially the noisy variety) were few and far between at the lower falls and we got many quiet moments there take in the gentle beauty of the place. Of course this also meant that we could take some pictures.

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Though we would have loved to while away some more time at the Elephant falls, the more famous Cherrapunjee and Sohra (for those who are more 'with it') beckoned and we dragged ourselves out onto the road to Cherrapunjee.

That is one lovely road, not very steep but full of curves and turns. That is one road that made me wish we had taken the GTX instead of 'Le Tank'. With a wistful sigh, I imagined that I was in the GTX and threw the Laura into the curves only to have Arun and Nazim protest from the rear seats (the little chap got to sit in the front as a special treat, since it was a short trip). I quickly adjusted my driving to 'cruise' mode which suits the Laura much better and thereby mollified the back benchers.

Frankly, Sohra and Cherrapunjee have nothing going for them except the 2 line reference in school-books and the "I have been there" factor. I was quite disappointed and regretting not having spent more time at the Elephant falls, when Arun, perhaps sensing this, mentions that there are some interesting caves in the vicinity - aah good!

We therefore take directions down from the nearest tourist info board and set off for the Mawsmai Caves. It is with interest that I learn that the caves are in the middle of a sacred forest. There is no mention of the caves being shrines etc. I guess the Khasis have their fundas right, took a holistic view of things and declared that the whole of the area is sacred and therefore to be kept scrupulusly pure (and clean). This is much better than a cave that has been declared a holy temple and thereafter destroyed by smelly unguents, lamps and offerings (bio-degradable).

The set-up at the caves is very orderly, there is a clearly defined path leading to the entrance. The caves are 'one way' and one comes out at the other end.

The first few chambers are merely interesting. The farther one goes, the more beautiful it gets.

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One finds more and more intricate galleries, delicate formations on the roof and walls as one proceeds. A few of the middle chambers have stalactites that sparkle, a few are phosphorescent and others sparkle from crystalline structures that catch the light and reflect it - much in the manner of diamonds.

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A few narrow passages add to the adventure and a few would be really forbidding for anyone suffering from claustrophobia.


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Above and below: Nazim and the lil chap posing in front of one of the narrow passages
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Right at the end is a tall chamber with the walls in a yellow-white. The ceiling here soars up into the darkness. The texture of the walls, the manner in which they converge and their colour reminds one of lace. The shape of the chamber makes one think he is in a steeple.

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Little man at the foot of that towering chamber

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Looking up!

The highlight of the caves for us was Arun's discovery. He noted that one particular formation of stalactite/stalagmite was in the shape of Buddha's head, complete with nose, mouth, eyes, matted hair surmounted by a crown.

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Above and below: The head of Buddha
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Used a flash for this one:
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Taken without a flash:
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We stepped out of the gloom inside into the gloom outside. It was already dusk and we decided to eat at a hotel right next to the scary wooden bridge. The food was sumptuous (including the oversized chicken) and we ate heartily before we set off for Shillong.

On the way we caught sight of a hill side on fire and it was a magnificient sight. I do not think we got any shots of it though.

Cheers,

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Last edited by Ravveendrra : 24th March 2010 at 00:31.
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Old 2nd April 2010, 12:27   #264
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Default Quaint churches and an imposing Cathedral

30th December was very different from the other days in the trip. Hardly any driving, a very relaxed day with some wonderful sights and experiences first at the falls and then at the caves. A nice relaxed dinner of a huge chicken in gravy + rice and rotis with dal. We were back in the room a little after 8.00 p.m. well fed and refreshed. That was when we decided to do a little review of the pictures and start this thread. The review of the pictures took ages (as there were so many) starting this thread took only slightly less time.

Starting this thread was not easy and the thread was finally up a little after midnight. The reason is not far to seek, the process of starting this thread included several arguments (politely referred to as 'discussions') between the four hot-heads that are behind this thread. One cannot just pick four hot-heads, make them stars in a thread and then expect them not to have their own ideas, very strong ones at that, on how things should be done. All is well that ends well and, after many tense moments, raised voices, finger waggling, fist waving, table thumping, slaking of parched throats etc. we managed to give effect to everyone's brain waves. More important, we managed to plot out the outlines of this thread and the central theme or plot. I still do not know how Arun managed it but, he managed to con Nazim and me to do all the work while he pops in after some half a dozen pages with a one liner. Wonder of wonders we finalised a methedology and surprisingly it worked! 18 pages containing 263 posts, more than 900 photographs and a little over 16000 views stand testimony to that.

We went to sleep that night satisfied with our work and with a firm resolve not to wake up early. One mistake I did was to tell the lill chap that. Telling a 7 year old that he can sleep late is like waving a red flag under his nose. True to form, he was up at some unearthly hour close to the one I used to wake him up so he gets to school on time and he insisted that I wake up too. I can only see it as retribution for waking him up early through most of the year and packing him off to school. We began the last day of 2009 by lazing around in the rooms. A leisurely shower was followed up with a leisurely breakfast. In order to digest the breakfast we took a stroll through the market and then piled into the car for a drive around town to look at the churches and cathedral.

One church that stood out was the Anglican Church. Its neatly proportioned wood framed structure and graceful roof make it stand out.

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The Cathedral seems totally utilitarian from the outside with its boxy shape reminding one of a government office. Once inside, the high ceiling, polished wood and floors worn smooth over the years enchant you.

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Light streaming in through high stained glass windows gives a very special feel to the space. (I am a total sucker for stained glass).

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Cheers,
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Old 3rd April 2010, 01:10   #265
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Originally Posted by Ravveendrra View Post
All is well that ends well and, after many tense moments, raised voices, finger waggling, fist waving, table thumping, slaking of parched throats etc. we managed to give effect to everyone's brain waves.
LOL! Did we do all that!
Maybe I don't remember as I was busy with the low priced commodity we bought at Shillong!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ravveendrra View Post
... surprisingly it worked! 18 pages containing 263 posts, more than 900 photographs and a little over 16000 views stand testimony to that.
And, this thread happens to be one with the least number of replies from other T-BHPians!
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Old 3rd April 2010, 07:09   #266
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@AP2AP Gang: Yesterday I went to for the screening of an award winning documentary "One Crazy Ride" Dirt Track Productions - One Crazy Ride about 5 bikers who did western to eastern Arunachal on their bikes without coming out onto Assam. Learnt quite a few interesting facts like the tribes inhabiting the Tawang area hang phallic symbols outside their house to ward off evil etc.

Over all the beauty of the place captured by your travelogue and the documentary has inspired me to travel to this beautiful place before it gets destroyed by the influx of commercial tourists.
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Old 8th April 2010, 18:36   #267
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Originally Posted by MileCruncher View Post
Over all the beauty of the place captured by your travelogue and the documentary has inspired me to travel to this beautiful place before it gets destroyed by the influx of commercial tourists.
Yes. Please rush to NE in the next 2-3 years. After that, it will be like visiting any other hill stations in India!


Archery near the Polo Grounds, Shillong.
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sorting,counting of the arrows.
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All Saints' Cathedral:
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AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_0059.jpg
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Old 11th April 2010, 01:59   #268
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Wow, what a travelogue it is. Amazing story telling backed up with lovely photographs. I've spend my whole weekend today reading through the log and gawking at the photos. Everytime I visit home I made a plan to visit so many such interesting places of NE but never was able to materialize(except for Shillong and cherra once, long time back) :-( I don't know when I can visit Tawang.
And please please keep those logs and photos coming. I don't know how I missed this travelog before. One of the best logs I've ever read in Team-BHP.
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Old 11th April 2010, 11:48   #269
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Default Aah, finally some fan mail.

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Originally Posted by kaushik_s View Post
Wow, what a travelogue it is. Amazing story telling backed up with lovely photographs. I've spend my whole weekend today reading through the log and gawking at the photos. Everytime I visit home I made a plan to visit so many such interesting places of NE but never was able to materialize(except for Shillong and cherra once, long time back) :-( I don't know when I can visit Tawang.
And please please keep those logs and photos coming. I don't know how I missed this travelog before. One of the best logs I've ever read in Team-BHP.

Thanks Kaushik for your kind words which are all the more valuable since I have read your travelogues and enjoyed them thoroughly.

It was kinda getting lonely out here with just Pulsar and me hogging all the space, nice to have ppl come in and share. I am glad you enjoyed the pics and narration but, trust me, they are not a patch on the real thing. Arunachal has its own unique beauty that is truly incomparable and any visit there would be worth it. I hope and pray that I will be able to vist Arunachal again (and again) to visit the other areas of Arunachal too.

Cheers,

@ Pulsar: Time to ring in the New Year?

Cheers,
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Old 11th April 2010, 23:15   #270
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Originally Posted by Ravveendrra View Post
Thanks Kaushik for your kind words which are all the more valuable since I have read your travelogues and enjoyed them thoroughly.
Nice to know that you liked my travelogues although not many are here. Kinda getting inspired now to post some more logs, specially the Ladakh trip which have been long pending.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ravveendrra View Post
It was kinda getting lonely out here with just Pulsar and me hogging all the space, nice to have ppl come in and share. I am glad you enjoyed the pics and narration but, trust me, they are not a patch on the real thing. Arunachal has its own unique beauty that is truly incomparable and any visit there would be worth it. I hope and pray that I will be able to vist Arunachal again (and again) to visit the other areas of Arunachal too.

Cheers,

@ Pulsar: Time to ring in the New Year?

Cheers,
I was doing my hometrip during the time this log came up and that's why I missed it before. It's really nice to see people now travelling to our part of the world. I hope that your travelogue will become inspiration for any such trips by TBHP'ians in future.
If you plan to do some more trips to NE then don't miss other states too this time. Mizoram, Manipur and Nagaland has their own beauty. Also head towards the eastern parts of Assam i.e. Kaziranga NP and then to other historical places in Upper Assam (Majuli- the river island, Sivsagar/Jorhat/Dibrugarh etc - historical places and tea gardens) and then finally towards Eastern Arunchal Pradesh Pradesh(Parashuram Kund, Tezu and then to Kibithu-eastern most point of India, these are amazing places too).
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