Travel India: A Night in Meghalaya

Travel India: A Night in Meghalaya

Travel India: A Night in Meghalaya

Travel India: A Night in Meghalaya

By Medha Bhatt

The Northeastern Indian state, Meghalaya in Sanskrit translates to the abode of clouds (“Megha”). Its world-famous towns Cherrapunji and Mawsynram receive maximum rainfall in the world, with most of it in the monsoon months of June to September. Cherrapunji, or Sohra, is the more well-known of the two, and I got an opportunity to witness the beauty of this faraway town with a big fat Indian wedding in the family. The wedding was a week-long affair in Guwahati, the nearest city to Meghalaya with an airport and train station.

On the Way to Cherra!

On the Way to Cherra!

An Uber took the three of us – my sister, Dad and I – to Shillong, the capital town of Meghalaya where we met our driver and tour guide Roy. Roy’s old and trusted black and yellow cab, a Maruti 800, took us along the winding Khasi hills to our night destination, Sai-mi-ka resort. The hills of Meghalaya are divided between three tribes, Khasis, Garos and Jaintias. Sohra is the Khasis’ name for their main town and Sai-mi-ka is a quite sleepy resort in its outskirts surrounded by gentle sloping hills.

Sai-mi-ka Resort Interior

Sai-mi-ka Resort Interior

After a quick evening tea, my sister and I decided to check out the Mawsmai caves of Sohra, which was not too far from our resort. The caves were a cold spooky wonder with sparkling limestone stalactites lighting our way.

Mawsmai Cave

Mawsmai Cave

Outside the caves, we were surrounded by lush rolling hills and in the faraway horizon, it gave way to dusty brown flatlands. Later, when we asked Roy about it, he told us that those flatlands fell in Bangladesh.

Flatlands

Flatlands

As we were travelling in the winter month of November, it was mostly bright and sunny instead of misty clouds and rains. We were not complaining as we drove to the “living” root bridge near the well-known village of Mawlynnong. The Khasis and Jaintias made these bridges by tying the hanging roots of rubber fig trees to cross swelling rivers during the rains. We had initially planned to climb the 3000 steps from Tyrna leading to the double-decker bridge. However, my father’s enthusiasm to witness this natural marvel that his years would allow, made us travel all the way to the single root bridge, which did not have such an arduous uphill climb.

We drove along a winding route from Sohra to reach Mawlynnong in the southern part of East Khasi hills, very close to the Indo-Bangladesh border. The living root bridge is a striking bioengineering marvel and an amazing example of local innovation. The structure was sturdy with mud plastered over the roots with multiple scenic views of the gentle rivulet below. A short walk away from the root bridge took us to the cleanest village of Asia, Mawlynnong. Conical bamboo trash bins are found in every nook and corner of the village with no signs of plastic or polybags, which we soon found out were banned here. The tarred roads were smooth and shiny with perfect little homes on either side. Each home welcomed us with a beautiful view of blooming garden and quiet little yard. On one side of the road, a mother with her young daughter were selling bamboo knickknacks on a makeshift shop of a small table. The little girl spoke to us in Hindi while translating her mother, who we were guessing did not speak anything apart from Khasi. We were completely charmed by their simplicity and to express our gratitude, we bought wooden combs and pocket mirrors along with few pairs of bamboo earrings.

Living Root Bridge

Living Root Bridge

With little time in our hand and a wedding celebration beckoning us, we bid our farewell to the beautiful hill country of Meghalaya. The promise and desire to visit its salubrious and serene wonders stayed with us on our drive back home.

 

Bio

My name is Medha Bhatt. I am a storyteller by heart and want to tell my travel tales in every way possible. I believe that every place has a story. I dream of creating a community where people can share their travel experiences. In pursuit of my dreams, I have created a travel blog called Neotravellers.com – a community of bloggers and storytellers!

 

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