Dauntless exploration of the bountiful hills of East
One bright sunny day, looking out of the office window, I did not expect that after 24 hours, I would be driving amidst the clouds, some 1500 km away from office and the humdrum of life, alone and deep in the mountainous terrain racing my off-roader. Dense forests full of pine trees on one side and 1000 feet fall eagerly awaiting to devour me on the other. With every turn I pass by, a different more magical view welcomed me.
The view was filled with thick dense white clouds with visibility just a couple of feet ahead and sometimes it was crystal-clear sky peeping on to the hairpin bends. Flowery bushes blanketed the pitch-black roads both the sides. The flowers bearing the residue of the continual rain, for an instance, made me forget the scorching summer heat that made me think of this summer get away.
I could not believe my eyes when all the splendid wallpapers of my desktop were just passing by me. It became even more surreal when I reached the river with the crystal-clear water. I could see the birds flying over me reflected by the water, disappearing into the mountains. I couldn’t stop myself from crossing the shallow river bare footed. Raindrops falling on my face, cold flowing water touching my feet and the clouds passing made me forget anything and everything outside this part of the country.
I travelled more than 700 km in just 4 days and honestly, that wasn’t enough. Starting from east of the mountain range to west, then to south-west and finishing up east. I started as early as 5’o clock in the morning and called a day at 8’o clock in the night. My fingers lost senses, foot was sore and my back ached after such long drives. My backpack was too heavy and dragged me down. Was I tired? Did not know. Was I exhausted? Did not matter, many more questions filled my mind, but the answer was always the same: I knew I am alive doing this.
The quest to explore one of the most beautiful and less explored part of India did not let the physical pain deter me from pushing my limits, because sometime tougher the journey is, splendid are the landscapes, remember no peak is scaled without the exhaustive climb.
If you are still wondering which country I am talking about, be amazed, it’s our own country but very less explored and often ignored. Welcome to Scotland of the East, Meghalaya.
My journey started when reached Guwahati. To reach Shillong, capital of Meghalaya the nearest airport is Guwahati. It is a 3-hour drive from the airport to Shillong, which is very well connected by road and cabs (private and shared) were available almost any hour of the day. By the time, I reached Shillong it was evening and I couldn’t contain my excitement and left for Cherrapunji immediately.
The locals of Cherrapunji are very amiable and treat guests with respect and great hospitality. They would offer very warm welcome to the city and offer accommodation as homestay, which ranges from 300-400 per night, yet no less in comfort than any multi star rated hotels. Most of the tourists prefer homestay to hotels. I’ve stayed the night at Laaiker Sait Sohpen, one of the homestays in the city. The locals would help in planning your tour helping you include the less traveled and less known landscapes in the area.
So here are some underrated yet breathtaking places you might not heard of:
As the Kynrem waterfall is located a little deep into the forest, off road lovers would find it much fun to explore. You can get a very closer look of the water falls at the end of the road. The waterfall is located not too far from the Bangladesh border.
2)Mawlyngbna – Kayaking at Lake Umkhakhoi
This summer ditch the beach for one of these breathtaking lakes instead . this spectacular lake surrounded by mountains will take your breath away for sure. Mawlyngbna is 12 km away from Mawsynram-the wettest place on earth. You can do kayaking, swimming and camping at this surreal and unadulterated Lake.
3)Drive to Mawlyynlong:
You might have selected Leh-Ladakh or Mumbai- Goa route for your bike trip but riding from Sillong-cherrapunji-Mawlynlong can beat all of them. The bike drive through the khasi hills passing many natural wonders on either side would make this route one of the best for your bike trip. As I started my journey from Shillong to Cherapunji i got lost into the abode of clouds.
Har mod ke baad aisa lagta tha ki baadiyon ke andar ghusta chala ja raha hu aur busy city life ko kahi 1000 miles chodh ke.
I couldn’t imagine what was waiting for me along the drive. This 3 hr drive is the best bike ride in my entire trip. Cherrapunji to Mawlynlong road is completely in the mountainous terrain with sharp turns and hairpin bends all over.
4)Newly discovered cave in Mawsynram:
The place that receives the highest rainfall on earth. It is cloudy most of the day. There are many caves around here, but here is the cave very less known and very less explored.
Krem dam um:
The path to the cave wasn’t a well laid one, as the cave not known much to the locals or the tourists. To reach the cave, one has to get down and start walking on the bank of nearby river. Halfway through the path, you will find yourself in the middle of the dense forest as shown in the wild explorations of national geographic.
5)Syntein view point:
This is one of world’s most dangerous roads. You have to drive through a waterfall on the way. The water falls directly on that road from the streams above and you have to zoom past it. 1000 feet of fall on one side and water falling directly on the road on the other makes it one of the most dangerous and adventurous road of world.
As I concluded my trip to the Scotland of the East/ God’s own country, I already started missing the treks, waterfalls, rivers and many more natural wonders, I wasn’t satisfied to go back. I wanted more and more of this life. With a heavy heart I bid adieu to Meghalaya and returned to my routine. The much needed summer break has given me so many wonderful memories. The exploration filled me with energy to get myself going for a while until I get back to my next adventure.
Detail travel Iternary coming in next blog. Stay tuned!!!
Content edit by : Bhargav Arya