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Old 3rd March 2019, 18:39   #1
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Default Meghalaya : In the abode of clouds

Meghalaya : They could not have named the state any better!
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Why Meghalaya?. Being honest, I had to visit Guwahati, Assam to fulfill some personal commitment and it came as an automatic choice with just over a couple of spare days in hand. On the other side, I had no idea that this would secure the top spot in the list of most beautiful places I have ever been to.

With profuse assistance from TripAdvisor and other online travel portals, we had devised a plan which accommodates the following places.

1) Cherrapunjee
2) Mavswami Caves
3) The Seven Sister Falls
4) The Double-Decker Living Root Bridge
5) Mawlynnong
6) Dawki
7) Shillong

Day One: Cherrapunjee, Seven Sister Falls, Mavswami Caves

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The route taken for Guwahati - Cherrapunjee.

We embarked our journey from Guwahati to Cherrapunjee early in the morning and after escaping humdrum traffic of the city, we were set cruising on Guwahati-Shillong highway. The secluded feel of highway made a tone for what lies ahead. After covering a few kilometers down the lane, an observant eye would notice something unique. It is the highway which forms the border between two states. The shops on one side carried Assam as the place name whereas the other side featured Meghalaya.

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Enroute to Cherrapunjee. The open highways are always inviting.

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Toyota Innova. Our trusted companion on this journey.

Soon we had to stop for breakfast as our stomachs protest. We had a light meal from Jiva Restuarant situated on the highway near Nongpoh. The food was tasty and light on the stomach, exactly what you need when you are going to take some twisty roads.

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The outdoor sitting area of Jiva Restaurant. The cool breeze is something which is constant throughout this state.

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Everything was perfect here and we were happy to pay the service charge.Nevertheless a good gesture from the restaurant.

Once we had pushed ahead of the sparsely populated countryside, the scenery really opened up.
There were many hoardings of Jiva resorts on either side of the highway carrying a caption "Good for nothing". This really cracked me up at first but when I thought of about it, it makes sense considering the laid-back nature of this place.

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I could not click any photo of Jiva Resort's hoardings. The caption "Good for nothing" was placed along with this picture. (Source: Google)

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The scenery just when we were approaching Shillong.

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Living up to its name!

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Four lane road ended and we were welcomed by narrow but smooth twisty road after Shillong.

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Smooth tarmac makes your journey comfortable all the way till Cherrapunjee.

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Football shaped building near Cherrapunjee.(Belongs to the Ministry of Earth Sciences)

Being an ardent football fan, this made me happy. Later I came to know that this structure belongs to the Ministry of Earth Sciences.

By noon we reached our halt for the day, Polo Orchid Resorts, Cherrapunjee. The resort is conveniently located near Nohsngithiang and boasts an unrestricted view of the falls.
The climate here changes drastically with fog and sunshine frequently taking their turns to show up.

We roamed around the resort premises and clicked some pictures.

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Nohsngithiang falls hiding behind a curtain of fog.

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The visibility was strictly limited to the resort premises when fog took over.

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The Roar. An interesting design for a door handle.

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The view from the balcony of our room.

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Our abode in the midst of clouds.


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If anyone knows the name of this flower, please let me know.

After check-in formalities and a stupendous meal, we decided to explore the nearby attractions. Meanwhile, the fog had cleared up giving us a glimpse of mighty Nohsngithiang a.k.a seven sister falls.

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The glimpse of Nohsngithiang falls from our room.

It might not be in its full glory, but this picture got imprinted in our hearts for a long time to come. The sun sets very early in these parts which made it difficult for us to stick to the plan. Yet we could visit Mawsmai caves and Dain-Thlen falls.

The prevailing season was not exactly the ideal time to visit Dain-Thlen falls as the water level were scarce.

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Brace yourself. Here is the stunning picture of Dain-Thlen falls during off-season!

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Even though we were disappointed with the water level, but a surrounding view like this made up for it.

After spending some quality time with the breeze, we rushed to Mavsamai caves.
Mavsamai caves are narrow limestone caves which ascertain the belief that India was a floating island that crashed into Asia to form the mighty Himalayan range. Here you would find fossils of sea creatures with no proximity of sea or ocean. It was really dark inside and the local guide (college students doing part-time service) we hired helped us in spotting these.

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The clouds followed us everywhere we went.

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The trail leading to the caves.

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The only photograph I could manage to click. An inside view of Mavsamai caves.

The sun sets early in this part of our country and as it is not advisable to explore places post-sunset we returned to our resort.

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I absolutely loved the lighting arrangement they had made.

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There was something about this combination of fog and bright light which invoked a feel-good factor all around the camp.

After a heavy dinner and bonfire, we decided to call it a day.

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Things were really cold at night and bonfire kept our spirits up.

Last edited by Aditya : 8th March 2019 at 07:47. Reason: Edited and Duplicate photos removed; Typos
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Old 5th March 2019, 06:04   #2
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Day Two: Dawki, Mawlynnong,The Living Root Bridge


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Through the heart of Meghalaya.

The day two started with a realization that it would take a complete day to visit the Double-Decker Living Root Bridge. Along with limited time available, it meant that we would need to choose between the former and Dawki. The local' knowledge came to rescue once again. There is a single-decker living root bridge near Mawlynnong which would not suffice any change of route. We decided to trust the local wisdom and modify our plan.

We bid farewell to our resort and left for Dawki after breakfast. Dawki is located around 90 km from Cherrapunjee. The roads leading to Dawki were good in the beginning, average in the middle and terrible during the last mile.

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Initial stretch of smooth winding roads leading to Dawki.

After a back-breaking last mile of travel, we reached Dawki.

Dawki is a small town near the India - Bangladesh border which is famous for its river with pristine water. From here one would get a glimpse of our neighbor borderland and their people. Boating facility is available which will take you within touching distance of India -Bangladesh border.

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The first glimpse of the stunning river.

There is a steep decline one should take by foot to approach the river and it calls for extra caution as the trail is quite slippery at times.
But the good thing is that you will find a lot of helping hands to hold on to.

The boating took around 2 hours including a small Maggi break near a secluded shore. As the options were less and Maggi was delicious, we had our lunch from there.

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A close up shot from the boat that we had hired.

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These structures were present everywhere.Clicked during our Maggi break.

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A Bangladesh army bunker on the other side of the river.

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Look closely, You will see the wire boundary that separates India and Bangladesh.

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The native people travelling on their custom built bamboo boats.

After completing our boat ride, next on our agenda was Mawlynnong and its single decker bridge. Mawlynnong is situated at a distance of 35 km from Dawki and is a well recognized tourist spot mainly due to Travel India's recognition as the cleanest village in Asia for 2003. But as Meghalaya in general, were kept squeaky clean, we could not notice any drastic difference here. The roads leading to this village were strictly average.

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An orange tree at Mawlynnong.I did not click any other picture here.

The single-decker living root bridge is at a short 4 km drive from Mawlynnong. It was getting dark and we did not waste any more time to leave. The living root bridge is a testimony to all of us stating the brilliance of our ancestors from Khasa tribe who found a way for inclusive development maintaining harmony with nature. There is a steep decline approaching the bridge and one should be extra careful about his/her steps. It is highly recommended to take the bamboo stick which will be really helpful in taking the slippery downstairs. It is available at a nominal cost as rent at the entrance.

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The view of the bridge from the trail.

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The epitome of planning and patience. The single-decker living root bridge.

The sun promptly withdrew from his course and without any further delay, we started our journey to Shillong(Approximate 100 km). The drive to Shillong was uneventful and we reached our halt for the day ‘Ri Kynjai-Serenity By The Lake'. This resort is located at Umniuh Khwan in the outskirts of Shillong and can be considered as a destination in itself. At first glance, we could not recognise all that amidst the darkness. After a stupendous dinner, we retired for the day.

Last edited by WhiteFang : 6th March 2019 at 06:26.
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Old 5th March 2019, 20:52   #3
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Day Three: Outskirts of Shillong, Return to Guwahati

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Our return route to Guwahati.

Day three started with a wish from my side. A wish that I could wake up to this view from my balcony for many more days.

The view of the sunrise from the room is something you can take with you till your last breath. My camera and specifically my photography skills could not do justice in capturing that moment.

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The sun rises very early at this part of the country and I had to wake up well ahead of my standards. In the end, the result was worth more than the efforts I had put in.

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The sight from our room's balcony. I could stare at this for all day long.

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The morning was well spent simply admiring this beauty.

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Just another click on a lazy morning.

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I was so lost in the scenery outside that I forgot to mention how good looking the interiors were.

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An English style fireplace helped in maintaining a relaxed ambience.

As we had very limited time at our disposal, we checked out from the resort after breakfast to explore the nearby attractions.

At other end of the lake there were handful options for water sports like boating and Jet Skis. We took both and they were quite good with hardly any rush at all.

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Our motorised boat leaving the shore.

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Got BHP?

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Ready to Roll!

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On Jet Ski, you will realise how humongous the lake actually is.

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I had tried Jet Ski before in Goa and Konkan, but having a lake as big all for yourself and being surrounded by lush green mountains makes this exotic.

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Abandoned. Waiting for the time to come.

We were at Umniuh Khwan, approximately 45 minutes(25 Km) away from Shillong. The thing about Shillong is that it is one of the most populated hill stations and is notorious for hour-long bottlenecks. Coming from Mumbai, the last thing we wanted was to get stuck in a traffic jam during our holidays. Add to that we had a function to attend in the evening back in Guwahati.

With that thought in mind, we decided to skip the capital city and started our return to our Guwahati. We reached the function just in time thereby concluding our memorable first (definitely not the last) experience with the North Eastern part of our country.

Note:

Here is my first attempt in creating a time lapse. It had to be the sunrise at Shillong.



This is the first time I am writing my travel experience here in team-bhp. Please bear with me for any mistakes that I have made.
Thank you for reading.

Last edited by WhiteFang : 6th March 2019 at 07:14.
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Old 6th March 2019, 09:06   #4
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Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 6th March 2019, 13:30   #5
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Default Re: Meghalaya : In the abode of clouds

A nice crisp travelogue, enjoyed reading. I'd urge you to try visiting the same places in the rainy season as well to just enjoy the rain which is actually "good for nothing" doing.

Btw, that football shaped thing in Cherrapunjee is not a building per se, it's the weather radar.
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Old 6th March 2019, 18:12   #6
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A brilliant travelogue of this cloud kissed land!
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Old 7th March 2019, 22:55   #7
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North east is definitely in my road trip bucketlist. Travelogues like these make me want to do it asap.
Very nice photos, especially of the sunrise in Shillong. Could you share more details about the resort? Day & night time lapses from that point would be amazing.
Is there any place where one would require a permit to drive? Which would be the best months for experiencing the full force of the seven sisters waterfalls?
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Old 8th March 2019, 00:47   #8
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Great travelogue there!
I must say your itinerary was bang on. You managed to cover the main attractions around Shillong within 3 days. And good decision on not entering the city, the traffic is a pain.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WhiteFang View Post
[b] Khasa tribe
Khasi*

Khasi people are indigenous ethinc people in Meghalaya and the language Khasi is categorised in Austroasiatic languages which further consists of other southeast asian languages.

However if one google's Khasa tribe like i did, turns out there was a tribe known as the khasas mentioned in ancient Indian and Tibetan literature native to northern Indian subcontinent.

Quote:
Originally Posted by superbad View Post
Could you share more details about the resort?
That's the Ri Kynjai resort at Umiam Lake. A 45min drive from Shillong on the Guwahati-Shillong highway.

Quote:
Originally Posted by superbad View Post
Is there any place where one would require a permit to drive?
No place in Meghalaya needs a permit to drive around.

Quote:
Originally Posted by superbad View Post
Which would be the best months for experiencing the full force of the seven sisters waterfalls?
JUNE/JULY

Last edited by Ashkait Kapoor : 8th March 2019 at 01:06.
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Old 8th March 2019, 01:53   #9
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Your travelogue brings back memories.I visited Meghalaya a couple of years ago and it was a memorable experience for me. If you want a vacation to feel the nature and be at peace then this is the place to go. Apart from this the roads are excellent and driving on them will be a memorable experience. I still think that i should have spent a couple of more days in cherrapunji doing noting.
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Old 8th March 2019, 08:07   #10
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A very well written travel diary. I like travelogues a lot. Firstly because of the break they offer you from your mundane routine plus for the relaxation they provide. Secondly they serve to bond you closer with your vehicle. A good read in the morning for me.
I loved the sunrise.
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Old 8th March 2019, 10:22   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashkait Kapoor View Post
Khasi*

Khasi people are indigenous ethinc people in Meghalaya and the language Khasi is categorised in Austroasiatic languages which further consists of other southeast asian languages..
Thank you for correcting and answering all the queries. I see you are from Shillong. I have to tell you this, your state is true heaven. I still remember that night staring at the night sky from Cherrapunjee. It felt like my eyes got some divine power and never before I saw a starlit sky like that in my life.
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Old 8th March 2019, 10:52   #12
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Very nice! The weather looks perfect, which month was the travel done?
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Old 8th March 2019, 10:57   #13
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Default Re: Meghalaya : In the abode of clouds

An amazing travelogue with excellent photographs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WhiteFang View Post
This is the first time I am writing my travel experience here in team-bhp.
Let it not be the last. Keep Traveling, keep Writing.
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Old 8th March 2019, 11:22   #14
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Quote:
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Very nice! The weather looks perfect, which month was the travel done?
It was in mid-December. As you mentioned the weather was perfect for moving around but on the downside, we could not witness the waterfalls in its full glory. On the bright side, there is always next time.
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Old 9th March 2019, 10:22   #15
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I am from Shillong but I've been staying in Bangalore now for the past 5 years, though I keep visiting home at least twice a year.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WhiteFang View Post
I still remember that night staring at the night sky from Cherrapunjee. It felt like my eyes got some divine power and never before I saw a starlit sky like that in my life.
Reminds me of the time I was home last Christmas. Had gone out for a short evening drive and stopped by a random spot to stargaze, I happened to see 2 shooting stars within a span of 20-30 mins as I stood there doing nothing as it's 'good for nothing'. :P How I crave for such days when in Bangalore.
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