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Old 7th December 2017, 13:38   #1
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Default Meghalaya, My home in the abode of clouds

Hello All,

This is my first travelogue in TeamBhp. And today I want to share some pictures with you all that I happened to show my 3 year old Italian baby last Sunday afternoon. I adore her and call her Victoria. Pardon the quality of the images. I have been snapping photos using my old iphone.

Victoria: "Daddy, you promised to share stories of your last vacation as well as pictures. But till date you haven't shared any."
Daddy: "Don't worry little one, I can tell you the story now.
"

I hail from Shillong, the Scotland of the East. And our Scotland resides in the midst of clouds and mist. Although I have moved to Namma Bengaluru 14 years back, Shillong often calls me to her lap. So I try to be home once every year during the self proclaimed Durga Puja break.

Few facts about Meghalaya-
Capital: Shillong. Used to be the erstwhile capital of Assam
State Formation: 1972. Carved out of Assam
Famous for: Cherrapunji, Single and Double Decker living root bridge; Transparent river 'Wah Umngot' in Dawki; Mawdiangdiang which is the cleanest village in Asia; Shillong golf course, Khasi Pine forests
Main Local Tribes: Khasi, Jaintia and Garo; Khasis following a matrilineal lineage. Kids take their mothers' surname and men relocate to live with their wives after marriage. The youngest daughter is the heir to her mother's property.
Important Establishments in Shillong: IAF Eastern Aircommand HQs; Assam Rifles HQ; Seismological Observatory
Food: Jadoh; Momos; Chowmein; Doh Snam; Turumbai; Dry Fish; Sohiong (Prunus nepalensis); Sophie fruit
Popular hobby among the locals: Shillong is the self proclaimed Rock capital of our country with several rock and blues bands, Archery
Get around: Local taxis which are mostly Maruti 800s or Altos carry a capacity of 7-8 people. The journey in these cabs can be quite painful; Buses ply around the city. If one is lucky then he gets to travel in a piece of history. You may still find some old blue and yellow Tata Mercedes buses with wooden high floors plying around the city; Walk. The city is best explored by what we Shillongites say 'MLS 11'. The pun here is 'MLS' used to be the old car registration format for Shillong and the number '11' indicates our god gifted legs.
Ideal time to visit: September to November. It is a time of the year when the entire city erupts into a confetti of festivities. Starts with the Durga puja, followed by Autumn festival, Nongkhrem dance. Shillong hosted a Cherry Blossom festival this year too, Christmas.
Traffic scenario: Boasts of one of the worst traffic jams in our country. Although vehicles follow rules religiously and follow lanes, the vehicular density is choking the city.

Meghalaya is best experienced by the lens rather than words. So sit back and enjoy the pictures.

Take Off
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Arriving at BLR airport.

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That is me and missus waiting at the lounge.

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Boarding the Godforsaken Spicejet.
No offense to anyone here, but being in the travel industry I am not sure if I will ever fly with them again. Our flight was 5 hours delayed and it's not the first bad experience I had with them.

Home Coming to Shillong
After 3 hours of flying we landed at Guwahati. Shillong being a hill station and poor in connectivity is serviced by Guwahati airport. With no railway lines in place the only way to get there from Guwahati is by road.
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The taxi to Shillong

Views from Guwahati Shillong road
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That is the Barapani lake a.k.a. Umium lake.
It is a man made reservoir with a dam built on the river Umium to generate hydroelectricity for entire Shillong city. The damn was built in 1960-1961 era.

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Umium Lake

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Intersection of NH40 and Shillong bypass

Since it was a long and tiring travel we retired early that night.

Short visit to Inlaws in Silchar
The next morning Missus and I headed off to her hometown Silchar in Assam for a short stay and to pick up my inlaws.
Silchar is a little over 200 kms from Shillong and is culturally vibrant.

At Sonapur we stopped for a quick lunch.
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The tarmac from Shillong to Silchar can be a complete oxymoron. While the roads in Meghalaya are extremely good the roads in Assam are nerve rattling.
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Our bone jarring ride. The rickety Sumo made this journey even more tedious.

After a long day's travel, the rest of the evening was mostly uneventful in Silchar and it gave way to a fresh new day when we woke up to see this:
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The city of Silchar was already gearing up for the upcoming Puja festivities.
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Street lit up with lights that resembles lanterns

The next day we were on our way back.

The beautiful laid back outskirts of Silchar with the occasional good roads:
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But the roads soon started to worsen to this:
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Assam Tea gardens at Kalaincherra

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This is a glimpse of the road condition from Sri Kona to Sonapur which is close to 150kms.
The yearly landslides and poor road management have always been the reason for the havoc on this road.

Enter Meghalaya again
Meghalayan roads made it evident that we were closer to Shillong:
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The diversion that indicates Shillong to the left and Barapani to the right

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Smooth tarmac and sparsely populated car density is a driver's dream

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But the mist and the clouds on the road can be a spoiler for speed lovers.

Puja Celebrations in the hills
Saroda Utsav is celebrated with much pomp and glory in Shillong. Durga Puja ushers a new time of year for the people here. Everyone is seen dressed in their best attire. There is laughter all around. Children are at their euphoric moments. Amidst all of this is Ma Durga who we Bengalis believe comes to Earth with her children to sanctify the populace.

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Durga Puja at our locality

Some photos of the puja decorations:
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Mr. Sengupta's dhunichi dance. He is 84 and is quite fit

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Rangoli by mom and missus

On the final day of puja is the day when the married ladies play with sindoor or vermilion.
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The customary photo after the play. Mom, Missus and Mom In Law(L-R)


Shillong cityscape
But since it's also the time of the year when I usually go home, it is hard to resist not taking a stroll down the memory lane.
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Shillong Peak at 6500 ft gives a panaromic view of the entire valley

Last edited by sub.g84 : 8th December 2017 at 18:51.
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Old 7th December 2017, 20:56   #2
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Meghalaya, My home in the abode of clouds-976713_738168566209989_211710289_o.jpg
The hill in front of our home on a rainy day.

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The same hill on a cloudy day. Notice the hues of the sky.

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All British era Saints Cathedral was built in the year 1902 after it was destroyed in the 1897 earthquake.

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Police Bazar which is the main CBD. The name Police Bazar came from a very old story where there used to be a traffic police at the center of this round about.
In the background is a very interesting Tata Mercedes D Model bus which is still in service.

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A graphical depiction of a similarly modeled Tata bus. Such buses used to be a common scene even a few years back.

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Dusk setting over the city

Cherrapunji and country side
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Countryside roads with the clouds eager to get photographed.

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The drive to Cherra

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Duwan Sing Syiem Bridge while entering Cherra. Meghalaya police has got new cars this year. They do stand out in the crowd.

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Got ourselves photographed in the local traditional attire.

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Trekker's paradise.

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The romance of the clouds and the hills

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Clouds playing hide and seek with the Nohkalikai Falls

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Ramakrishna Mission Cherrapunji is popular among the locals for the education it imparts to a lot of students from the weaker economic background

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One of the oldest church in Meghalaya, originally opened by the Welsh Missionaries in the year 1846

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Cave exploration was fun

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Getting lost in the clouds

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The abode of clouds
The flat lands at the distant background is Sylhet(Bangladesh)

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Our ride that took us around Cherrapunji

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The ride back to Shillong

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Sun setting over the country roads

Suddenly the clock struck and I realised that I had already bid Khubeli Shibun(Thanks a lot / bye) to my hometown.
Time flew and we didn’t even get a clue.
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Victoria: "Wow so when are you taking me home?"
Daddy: "Well I am going to plan it and we will go home one day driving up the Indian states."
Victoria: "Thanks Daddy"


A few pics of Victoria from my album:
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Meghalaya, My home in the abode of clouds-img_7923.jpg

Last edited by sub.g84 : 8th December 2017 at 18:10.
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Old 9th December 2017, 23:36   #3
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Default re: Meghalaya, My home in the abode of clouds

Mod's note: Moving thread from Assembly Line to Travelogues. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 10th December 2017, 09:02   #4
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Default re: Meghalaya, My home in the abode of clouds

The place looks so wonderful and inviting.

A very well written travelogue - helpful for someone who wants to visit. I'm surprised to see the condition of the roads in Megahalaya - they look to be of international standards. Corruption must be really low there - the roads are this well maintained despite the rainy weather.
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Old 10th December 2017, 09:16   #5
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Default re: Meghalaya, My home in the abode of clouds

Such Pristine Nature. Wonderful place!

Only if the government was more liberal to creating infrastructure in areas other than major cities, we would have had the option to work from such godly places as well.

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Old 10th December 2017, 17:44   #6
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Very nice travelogue with good pictures. I want to do Shillong for long. That's one beautiful place. How is February to visit.

Would also like to know what is the criteria for getting lounge access.

And I feel no infrastructure is actually good because this way the place retains its natural charm other wise we are known to spoil places.

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Old 10th December 2017, 20:09   #7
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Default Re: Meghalaya, My home in the abode of clouds

Great pictures ad very lucid narration. It was like revisiting Shillong and Cherrapunjee for me. It has been some 27 years since I last visited the state. Indeed there is so much that this state holds as far as tourism is concerned.
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Old 10th December 2017, 21:04   #8
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Default Re: Meghalaya, My home in the abode of clouds

Beautiful pictures and great words to go along with. I had visited these same places in Meghalaya more than two decades back. These pictures helped jog back my memory of them.

Need to visit Silchar in Assam sometime soon. May be enjoy some good Sylheti cuisine.
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Old 11th December 2017, 10:09   #9
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Default Re: Meghalaya, My home in the abode of clouds

Quote:
Originally Posted by samaspire View Post
The place looks so wonderful and inviting.

A very well written travelogue - helpful for someone who wants to visit. I'm surprised to see the condition of the roads in Megahalaya - they look to be of international standards. Corruption must be really low there - the roads are this well maintained despite the rainy weather.
Thanks. Well corruption is equally bad as the rest of the country, unfortunately. But what the PWD does is they float tenders to lay additional tar over the existing well tarred roads citing yearly maintenance. That way the residents stay happy and the PWD makes dirty money.

Quote:
Originally Posted by manishalive View Post
Very nice travelogue with good pictures. I want to do Shillong for long. That's one beautiful place. How is February to visit.

Would also like to know what is the criteria for getting lounge access.

And I feel no infrastructure is actually good because this way the place retains its natural charm other wise we are known to spoil places.
Thank you. Yes, most of the NE India is charming with natural beauty. No wonder it is called Paradise Unexplored. Shillong is a hill station and like any other hill station it is very cold during the months of December, January and February. But please bear in mind that the end of February gets colder than the rest of the month as the winter gives a parting kick usually.

I have a corporate credit card that gives me lounge access But I believe anyone can pay to get access to the lounge.
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Old 11th December 2017, 15:01   #10
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Default Re: Meghalaya, My home in the abode of clouds

Hey Buddy, you are blessed to have a home town in Hills, we city guys miss all these vistas and the greenery.
Thoroughly enjoyed the pics.
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Old 12th December 2017, 14:15   #11
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Default Re: Meghalaya, My home in the abode of clouds

A beautiful travelogue. It refreshed our memories of Shillong trip during 15th August long weekend. We had a short trip, but Cherapunjee delighted us tremendously. We will cherish the beautiful memories. Thanks for such a nice photo travelogue. Enjoy your Punto.
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Old 12th December 2017, 14:48   #12
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Lovely place and pics. There is so much in our country with so much diversity of landscapes. I feel guilty not having gone north of Karnataka while I have seen few larger countries end to end :( Only if roads were great ! We could travel to most of the places.
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Old 12th December 2017, 15:30   #13
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@ sub.g84, Absolute stunner your Meghalaya is, pictures said it all. I have never traveled across to that side of the country, surely this side of the world is equally beautiful and a must-see manifestation of nature.
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Old 13th December 2017, 09:58   #14
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Default Re: Meghalaya, My home in the abode of clouds

Hi Sub.g84

A good TL, it reminds and freshens up my childhood memories as I used to frequently visit Shillong as it was just a 3 hours drive from my place i.e. Khanapara 9 miles. Shillong is one of the best town in India in terms of natural beauty, scenic and cleanliness and also some good places to visit. One can visit the Golf Course, the Elephanta falls and Bidon Bishop falls and of course Cherrapunji. Nicely written TL and people will be encouraged to visit Shillong. Lovely photographs.

Cheers

Subrata
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Old 13th December 2017, 14:43   #15
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Default Re: Meghalaya, My home in the abode of clouds

Lovely pics reminding me of my visit to the ML earlier this year in March. I liked Shillong a lot. One thing worth mentioning is the prevalence of women in ML society eg. All the small roadside shops are operated by women, even the cigarette/tobacco ones.

The Umngot river at Dawki was really a highlight of the trip. You have to see the crystal clear waters of the river in person to believe it. The day I visited it was a little overcast but I could still see the bottom of the river. I also visited the Don Bosco museum which gave very good insight about the various tribes in northeast.
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