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Old 6th June 2023, 19:17   #1
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Nokrek Biosphere Reserve in my Maruti 800 SS80

A dozen of us who had bonded over motorcycles over the years, agreed to meet at Nokrek in Garo hills of Meghalaya, albeit in cars. Nokrek happens to be a UNESCO designated biosphere reserve. It’s one of the total 18 biosphere reserves in India with the likes of Nilgiri, Andaman and the Sunderbans.

For us however it was more of a meeting destination, plus an escape from the unforgiving summer in the Assamese plains below. Only recently Nokrek got its first paved road and now it is barely 2.5 - 3 hours from home, making it a sweet short drive, what once used to be an off-road route.

And yet it is only now that I am looking up Nokrek on Google and trying to figure out what being a UNESCO biosphere reserve comes to mean. Interesting stuff and a must read. I am now hoping to see more of the biosphere reserves starting with the Sunderbans. But enough of that wish-list that only keeps growing longer by the day.

At around midday both the cars arrived at my hometown of Dudhnoi from Guwahati and were now stocking up from the market, for the evening ahead. At 1 pm I left home with odo reading at 54204 kms. Being the slower car, I went ahead, fuelled up and kept going.

Nokrek Biosphere Reserve in my Maruti 800 SS80-img_4904.jpeg
1.18 pm. NH17. The trees will be gone in a year or two, because of the ongoing highway widening project.

We kept driving on the NH17 and at Paikan took a left and went over to NH217 or the Tura highway. Tura happens to be the cultural and administrative centre for the Garos of Meghalaya, just like Shillong is for the Khasis. The road passed through gorgeous Sal forests on either side of this breathtaking highway i.e. NH217.


Nokrek Biosphere Reserve in my Maruti 800 SS80-img_4909.jpeg
1.39 pm. First halt.

Nokrek Biosphere Reserve in my Maruti 800 SS80-img_4927.jpeg
Since this route was new and unfamiliar to many, we had to frequently regroup before moving on. With time on our side, we enjoyed these stoppages.

Nokrek Biosphere Reserve in my Maruti 800 SS80-img_4916.jpeg
This part of Meghalaya (Garo hills), boasts of a vibrant car mod and motorsport scene, albeit unflashy compared to the craze in the Khasi hills.

Nokrek Biosphere Reserve in my Maruti 800 SS80-img_4933.jpeg
Just before Tura we veered off the highway and took the broken old highway leading to William Nagar which is yet another old town in the Garo hills of Meghalaya.

While this old highway is undergoing road construction work, the narrow village road leading to Nokrek is completely paved now and makes for a scenic drive. The sun was about to set and the temperature was dropping as we kept moving.

Nokrek Biosphere Reserve in my Maruti 800 SS80-img_4936.jpeg
5 pm. Tea break.

Nokrek Biosphere Reserve in my Maruti 800 SS80-img_4941.jpeg
One of the several u-turns that we did, before finally reaching our destination.
The paved road rose rapidly now and temperature turned from hot to pleasant to cool in no time.


Nokrek Biosphere Reserve in my Maruti 800 SS80-img_4947.jpeg
A photo op as we approach the Nokrek Biosphere reserve.

Nokrek Biosphere Reserve in my Maruti 800 SS80-291843476cb644b1bec3953054c016e9.jpeg
The road leading to Nokrek.

Nokrek Biosphere Reserve in my Maruti 800 SS80-img_4956.jpeg
6 pm. Reached our destination i.e. Daribok village in the Nokrek Biosphere reserve.

Nokrek Biosphere Reserve in my Maruti 800 SS80-img_4973.jpeg
The two families in the team, including mine, were allotted this little bamboo hut on stilts.

Nokrek Biosphere Reserve in my Maruti 800 SS80-img_4972.jpeg
6.30 pm. View from the hut.

A powerful storm smashed Daribok at night, blinding lightnings and hard hitting rain. That night I felt very close to being in an oceanic storm, stranded in a bamboo raft. Morning we woke up to a glorious sunrise no less. The constant sound of nature is now punctuated by the cacophony of the Western Hoolock gibbons which is common in Nokrek.

Nokrek Biosphere Reserve in my Maruti 800 SS80-img_4999.jpeg
A welcome sight of a bus turned into a home/training center. A team from Kerala is currently stationed here. Being a UNESCO designated Biosphere reserve, there is clearly work going on to empower local communities to balance progress with conservation, something that’s clearly missing in our times.

Nokrek Biosphere Reserve in my Maruti 800 SS80-img_5004.jpeg
8.45 am. Breakfast time.

Nokrek Biosphere Reserve in my Maruti 800 SS80-img_5010.jpeg
After breakfast we decided to do the small trek to the river below.

Nokrek Biosphere Reserve in my Maruti 800 SS80-img_5014.jpeg

Nokrek Biosphere Reserve in my Maruti 800 SS80-img_5030.jpeg
Took us approximately 30 minutes to reach the Simsang Dare.

Nokrek Biosphere Reserve in my Maruti 800 SS80-img_5063.jpeg

Nokrek Biosphere Reserve in my Maruti 800 SS80-img_5073.jpeg
The uphill trek on our return journey

Nokrek Biosphere Reserve in my Maruti 800 SS80-img_5090.jpeg
Some took a shortcut, while we continued on the longer route.

Nokrek Biosphere Reserve in my Maruti 800 SS80-img_5117.jpeg
My botanist wife

Nokrek Biosphere Reserve in my Maruti 800 SS80-img_5130.jpeg
Team photo. All members of Bulls of Assam mc

We had a quick lunch and checked out from our hut. We couldn’t leave earlier as it’s Sunday and the village gate remains closed during Church hours between 9 am to 1 pm. People who had work had left before 9. As for the rest of us, we decided to take a different route instead of going back to NH217. We continued on the old William nagar highway.

Nokrek Biosphere Reserve in my Maruti 800 SS80-img_5144.jpeg
Size difference between the Isuzu and the SS80.

Nokrek Biosphere Reserve in my Maruti 800 SS80-img_5147.jpeg
Our next stoppage was Rombagre, which has a fish sanctuary. Some fed puffed rice to the fishes. But it was scorching hot and we got moving in no time.

Nokrek Biosphere Reserve in my Maruti 800 SS80-img_5156.jpeg
For some respite from the heat.

Nokrek Biosphere Reserve in my Maruti 800 SS80-img_5157.jpeg
Rongsak 3 kms. Not too far from Bangladesh.

Nokrek Biosphere Reserve in my Maruti 800 SS80-img_5166.jpeg
Welcome to the land of the m800s

Nokrek Biosphere Reserve in my Maruti 800 SS80-img_5168.jpeg
Samanda bridge. Roads become butter smooth from here.

Found a restaurant finally at about 4 pm. All four cars arrived. After some surprisingly delicious noodles, I moved ahead for a fuel refill at Rongjeng, while also trying to cover as much distance as is possible before it gets dark.

A gypsy now appeared on my IRVM. I don’t know about the gypsy but Hirohito was definitely on full throttle for the next ten minutes or so, nearing 3 digit speeds. With Rongjeng another 15 kms, I slowed down near a trijunction looking at the IRVM. But the gypsy parted ways and took a right while I had to take a left. With the forest and no cars, just the two white Kei cars from the 80s, I was briefly teleported into a different era.

At around 6.10 pm, I pulled over after crossing Rongjeng to check on the rest of the team. They were right behind me, so I decided to keep going.

Nokrek Biosphere Reserve in my Maruti 800 SS80-img_5199.jpeg
Closer home. The windshield swirls notwithstanding, I can manage driving on this familiar highway in the dark. Home at 54480. Total distance travelled, 276 kms

Nokrek Biosphere Reserve in my Maruti 800 SS80-img_5212.jpeg
Abinash in the Isuzu with kid and wife decided to make a night halt at my place, since it was another 100 kms to Guwahati. He will be the last one to reach home.

Last edited by Hirohito : 7th June 2023 at 21:59.
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Old 8th June 2023, 06:02   #2
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Re: Nokrek Biosphere Reserve in my Maruti 800 SS80

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 8th June 2023, 12:15   #3
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Re: Nokrek Biosphere Reserve in my Maruti 800 SS80

I couldn't help but sit and drool over your M800. It is exquisite in its butch approach to beauty. Mighty heartening to see it out and about amidst one of the last bastions of Indian wilderness. I've been planning a ride to Assam and Arunachal later this year. Thank you for highlighting Nokrek, it's going straight to my to-go list. Wish you many more happy miles on the legendary M800.
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Old 8th June 2023, 16:37   #4
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Re: Nokrek Biosphere Reserve in my Maruti 800 SS80

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Originally Posted by BoltThrower View Post
I couldn't help but sit and drool over your M800. It is exquisite in its butch approach to beauty. Mighty heartening to see it out and about amidst one of the last bastions of Indian wilderness. I've been planning a ride to Assam and Arunachal later this year. Thank you for highlighting Nokrek, it's going straight to my to-go list. Wish you many more happy miles on the legendary M800.
Thank you BoltThrower. Happy to find an admirer of Hirohito and glad that my post had something in it for you. If you do come to Nokrek, and need any assistance, feel free to DM me.
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Old 8th June 2023, 17:56   #5
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Re: Nokrek Biosphere Reserve in my Maruti 800 SS80

Great write-up of another adventure for Hirohito. It is very nice to see places in Garo Hills like Nokrek being explored. I think the Garo hills offer a lot for those seeking a more raw and adventurous travel compared to the Khasi hills of the state. I went to Nokrek National Park a few years back when the road was still a mud one and there were small signboards in some small by-lanes saying "4wd only". It was a one fun trip and yours made me remember the same. Keep traveling and posting more!
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Old 9th June 2023, 08:18   #6
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Re: Nokrek Biosphere Reserve in my Maruti 800 SS80

Gunin youíre one heck of an explorer! And I couldnít agree more with your opinion on Garo hills vis-a-vis the Khasi hills. Thank you for reading and glad to hear about your trip to Nokrek long before the roads came.
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Old 9th June 2023, 18:44   #7
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Re: Nokrek Biosphere Reserve in my Maruti 800 SS80

Nice weekend expedition Shishir in your beloved Hirohito, you brought to us another motorable place of Meghalaya.

That bamboo hut under a storm with one side towards the incline seems a bit scary, you guys were brave to remain inside it.

Hope we did not delay your plans for that day, and thanks for hosting us in your lovely property and allowing to crank up your precious, great it performed triple digits with ease.

Wish you best for more such future trips.
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Old 10th June 2023, 09:35   #8
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Re: Nokrek Biosphere Reserve in my Maruti 800 SS80

HaiSaikat it was a pleasure having you and your family. Hope you reached Kolkata safe and sound. Sharing a photo of you with Hirohito.

Nokrek Biosphere Reserve in my Maruti 800 SS80-img_4882.jpeg

Xx
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Old 12th June 2023, 19:17   #9
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Re: Nokrek Biosphere Reserve in my Maruti 800 SS80

Wonderful writeup. Enjoyed reading it so much that I wished it were a little longer. The SS80 looks so retro and desirable in the pictures.
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Old 17th June 2023, 17:54   #10
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Re: Nokrek Biosphere Reserve in my Maruti 800 SS80

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Originally Posted by Hirohito View Post
Home at 54480. Total distance travelled, 276 kms
Storytelling is an art and you have really honed your skills at it. Coupled with an excellent eye for praiseworthy captures.
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Old 18th June 2023, 10:10   #11
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Re: Nokrek Biosphere Reserve in my Maruti 800 SS80

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Originally Posted by megazoid View Post
Wonderful writeup. Enjoyed reading it so much that I wished it were a little longer. The SS80 looks so retro and desirable in the pictures.
Thank you Megazoid. If you are looking for something longer you might like this. Itís a travelogue from my trip to Arunachal recently. https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/trave...-800-ss80.html (AMS in the land of the rising sun | Tawang in a Maruti 800 (SS80))
Enjoy! I love the SS80 too, itís angular design straight out of the 80ís and the simplicity above all.


Quote:
Originally Posted by aviator1101 View Post
Storytelling is an art and you have really honed your skills at it. Coupled with an excellent eye for praiseworthy captures.
Hey thanks Priyatosh. Hope you get to explore more of the Northeast while youíre still here. . Would love to see parts of the NE through your eyes.
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