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Friday, October 7, 2022

Ditch Shillong And Travel To Unexplored Meghalaya

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Imtiaz Ullah
Imtiaz Ullahhttps://nomadlawyer.org/about/
Imtiaz Ullah is the founder of travel website - NomadLawyer. A Corporate Lawyer, Senior Travel Correspondent, The Traveller Trails magazine and also acts as an Advisory Member, NGO - Sarvahitey. His travel philosophy is exploring new places, meeting new people, knowing the culture, eating like a local. He always believes in the idea-“ Don't just be a traveller but a Responsible one”.

Ditch Shillong And Travel To Unexplored Meghalaya

Shillong, also known as The Scotland of the East, was once the capital of Assam. It is now the capital of Meghalaya and also a major tourist destination in North East  India. It draws tourists from all across the globe. Tourism has become one of the mainstays of the local people here and plays a significant role in shaping up the economy of this beautiful land.

Ditch Shillong And Travel To Unexplored Meghalaya

Look Beyond Shillong

Lately, Shillong has seen a major upsurge in tourists leading massive over tourism and influx of tourists from nearby states like Assam. Meghalaya is a paradise of natural beauty including but not limited caves, waterfalls, clean villages and extremely hospitable local people. So it’s high time for tourists to explore nearby places of Shillong like Sohra, Jowai, Dawki, Mawsynram, Nongstein and many more places.

Through this blog we will  highlight some destinations from Meghalaya which should be included in your itinerary.

Also Read:https://nomadlawyer.org/road-trip-to-nagaland-for-a-cause/

Road Trip To Meghalaya

We started our road trip from Guwahati early in the morning. The best time is to start from Guwahati early in the morning to beat the maddening group of tourists going to Shillong. 

The first point we had to stop was at Barnihaat,  to get covid clearance. The requirements are – you have to have both the doses of vaccination, you have to download Meghalaya Tourism app and fill in the required details and get the E-Invitation. But ironically, we did not have all these. There was a long queue of people waiting for covid clearance and lot of commotion. I met the executive magistrate, showed him the press card and told him that we were there to cover travel stories from Meghalaya. He was a nice gentleman and granted us the pass.

Also Read: https://nomadlawyer.org/experience-the-tea-tourism-of-rural-assam/

Leaving behind a sultry Guwahati, we headed for the green hills of Meghalaya. Heavy vehicular traffic competed with each other with blaring horns, the dusty Jorabat road flanked by small roadside shops. The newly built four lane highway was a pleasure to drive, the scenic  green hills were filled with wild varieties of banana and bamboo plants. The beautiful  place, the lovely people and the solitude made an enchanting drive. 

Nongpoh For A Roadside Tea or Breakfast Experience 

We continued our drive through the beautiful landscape and this is a drive to remember. We stopped for our breakfast at a small roadside eating joint in Nongpoh, midpoint  between Guwahati and Shillong. It serves some of the local food also. As we were enjoying our breakfast, it started pouring cats and dogs. It was expected because it is Meghalaya- the land of clouds and rains. 

Umiam Lake or Barapani: Beauty and Serenity 

Another hour of drive through the winding road took us to the beautiful Umiam Lake or Barapani, as it called locally. The artificial lake created as a result of building a huge dam for production of hydroelectric power. The green hills, the beautiful oak trees and cool breeze are all always an attraction for a tired soul. We took some photographs here and soaked in the beauty of Umian lake

Sohra- We Are In The Abode of Cloud

We started our drive again and went through the Shillong town and reached Shora/Cherapunjee. It was nature at its best, light rains, the valley wore a green hue from the recent monsoon season. If you are a nature lover and enjoy the monsoon, the best time to visit Meghalaya is from August to October.

We checked in our hotel at Sohra Plaza, a perfect place to unwind away from the tourist frenzy.

The places we covered included

Nohsngithiang Falls or Sisters Waterfall

Nohsngithiang Falls (also known as the Seven Sisters Waterfalls or Mawsmai Falls) is a seven-segmented waterfall located 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) south of Mawsmai village in East Khasi Hills district in the Indian state of Meghalaya. The water falls from a height of 315 metres (1,033 ft) and has an average width of 70 metres (230 ft), making it one of the tallest waterfalls in India.

The best time to visit this waterfall is during the monsoon, if you wish to see the water flowing in its full glory. This waterfall has the reputation of being the fourth largest waterfall in the country. The falls originates as the water dives down over the top limestone cliffs of the Khasi Hills and falls all the way down the cliff adding a unique charm. It bifurcates into different waterfalls literally into seven segmented  falls, hence, it is called Seven Sisters waterfall.

Dainthelen Falls

Loacated very conviently near the road, Dainthelen Falls is unique in its truest sense. You can stand on top of the falls right at the edge from where the fall starts. You can actually walk on the small and shallow river before it takes the plunge.

The story behind the nane Dainthelen is intriguing. If legends are to be believed, the story goes like this- the waterfall derives its name from the word Thlen which means Python in Khasi language. It is believed that a huge snake reigned in this area and used ti disturb local people and travellers on the way. To end the terror of snake, the people decided to kill it. They were successful in their endeavor and killed the snake at the wide flat rock overlooking the waterfall, adjacent to spot where Thlen was killed is the Dainthelen waterfall.

No matter if it is true or not, it is a must visit place.

Nohkalikai Falls 

It is the tallest plunge waterfall in India. Its height is 340 metres. The waterfall is located in the Indian state of Meghalaya, near Cherrapunji, one of the wettest places on Earth. This waterfall is usually covered by a thick blanket of cloud and you have to be really patient and lucky to get a complete view of this mesmerizing waterfall. If you love sunset, please visit during this time you will be able to witness something extraordinary.

According to the legend there is a heartbreaking story. Nohkalika literally translates into “Jump of Likai”. Likai was a young widow living with her little daughter in Rangjyrteh village near the waterfall. She used to work all the day to make ends meet. So whenever she was home, she spent that time with her daughter. On insistence of family and friends, she remarried. Now that husband turned to be a shallow fellow. He was jealous of the baby girl as Likai used to spend a lot of time with her daughter.So one day, in a fit of jealousy, the husband killed the baby, cut her into pieces and cooked a meal with her flesh. Likai was out to work during this time. When Likai returned home she was surprised to see that her husband had cooked for her. She had the meal with joy little realizing what she was eating. Later when she went to have betel and nut, she found a tiny finger in her betel box. She soon realized what had happened. Likai was devastated. She was so overcome with rage and sorrow that she ran away from her home and jumped off the cliff. Since then the waterfall was named after her. I wish she had killed her husband before that!

Mawsmai Cave

Located about 6 km from Cherrapunji, Mawsmai cave is one of the main tourist attractions in the Cherrapunji. Amongst the most easily accessible of the many caves in Cherrapunji, Mawsmai Cave is an entryway to the world of underground adventure. There is a small market right infront of the way leading to Mawsmai Cave selling local handicrafts, souvenirs and also mouthsmacking food. Among many other dishes that I tried here, I had dry maggi with smoked chicken. I must say it is by far the best maggi I have tried so far. The smoke chicken takes the maggi to a different level.

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Timings : 9:30 AM – 5:30 PM

Entry Fee : INR 10 per person,

Camera: INR 15

Tips : Carry a torch in case you wish to explore the darker corners of the cave system at Mawsmai. If you are hefty in size, please re-consider going inside the cave, there are some extremely narrow passages, where you may feel claustrophobic.

Jowai

Jowai is the headquarters of the West Jaintia Hills district of the state of Meghalaya, India, and is home to the Pnar, a sub-tribe of the Khasi people. It is located on a plateau surrounded on three sides by the Myntdu river bordering Bangladesh to the south.

Jowai is a complete package of a fun-filled and sightseeing destination. To enjoy picnics or sightseeing or angling activities you must visit Ialong Park, Thadlaskein Lake and Tyrshi Falls. A visit to the world’s longest and deepest Umlawan Cave will add a pinch of adventure to your itinerary. On the way to Jowai visit Nartiang Monoliths,Jarain Pitcher Plant Lake, Stone Bridge Krang Suri Falls.

To wrap-up this trip, do remember to buy colourful handicraft souvenirs for your dear ones!

Mawlynnong
Mawlynnong is Asia’s Cleanest village. Visit Sky view points, Living root bridge, Balancing rock, high hills & mountain views and experience Mawlynnong local villagers traditional living style. Night stay in Mawlynnong Homestays.

Dawki
Visit Dawki to see the Indo-Bangladesh international border followed by Dawki river boating. On the way from Mawlynnong visit Bip-Hop waterfalls also. Late evening on the way to hometown visit Umiam lake for a lovely boating to close the weekend

Last but not the least if time permits you may visit Shillong

Places To Visit In Shillong

Litkor peak (shillong peak), Elephant falls, Don Bosco Museum & Cathedral church.On the way to hometown visit Umiam lake for a lovely boating experience.

Best Time To Visit

You can visit Megalaya all throughout the year. But my personal favorite to visit Cherrapunjee to see the waterfalls is from May-Sep or just after the monsoon and before winter, in the month of October. The weather is pleasant with less rain and more sunlight.

Travel and Don’t Stop

Please let us know if this blog was helpful in planning you trip to Meghalaya or if you need more information write to us at connect@nomadlawyer.org

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