Unique Holidays in Meghalaya Among the Whispering Woods and Spectacular Rivers
Days in the abode of clouds
It was a wonderful week for us at Meghalaya, during December 2018. It is located in the north-east zone of India. In Sanskrit language, Meghalaya means ‘The Abode of Clouds’. Mesmerized by the beauty and weather of this place, the British had called this place as the 'Scotland of India'.
In the real sense, both the nick names are very much apt! We experienced moving clouds around us, when we were there. It was a fantastic experience! Meghalaya comprises of mist-covered Khasi, Garo and Jaintia hills.
The transparent Umngot river at Dawki
After reaching Shillong, the capital city of Meghalaya, we moved towards Dawki, which is located in the border of India and Bangladesh. It requires approximately 3 hours of road journey to reach ‘Dawki. Travelling on this route was very rejuvenating as we got to see numerous rivulets, gorgeous ravines, suspension bridges, many local fruit-bearing trees, betel nut plants etc
On reaching Dawki, we were mesmerized by the river ‘Umngot’, which was very clean and clear. The river water was transparent Emerald Green in colour, reflecting the greenery around. Local people told that, we can see pebbles at the bottom of the river even at a depth of up to 15 ft. We confirmed this, by dropping a coin willingly to ensure the transparency of river water!
History stamped on culture and nature
There is a suspension bridge connecting Khasi Hills and Jaintia Hills across the Umngot River. This was built by the British Government, ruling in India during 1930. Currently, this is in good condition and it is also an indicator of the border between India and Bangladesh.
Boating facility is available for tourists in the Umngot River, at an affordable price. There were many boats in the river. However, for our surprise, we did not find a single boat that was connected with a fuel engine. We also noticed that local fishermen were using traditional hooks for fishing, when many modern fishing methods are adopted elsewhere. This is attributed to content life and responsibility towards the protection of the environment.
Living root bridges of Meghalaya
Our second day in Meghalaya started looking for the famous 'Living Root Bridges' in the locality. We understood that there are more than 15 living root bridges in total and most of them are 'single' level bridges.
The one in the picture is the Double Decker Root Bridge at Nogriat village, which is unique, because it has two levels. Living Root Bridges are created by guiding and manipulating the young roots of Indian rubber tree (Ficus Elastica), across a rivulet as the opportunity guides itself. Over15 years, the roots grow and get intertwined forming a stable bridge. Local Khasi tribe people had been designing such living root bridges for many years. Hats off to their creativity!
Fascinating Water Falls
Having seen the root bridges, we moved around Shillong to see numerous waterfalls. There are many spectacular water falls in Meghalaya .To quote a few: Elephanta Falls, Wei Sawdong Falls, Seven Sister Falls, Nohkalikai Falls, Rainbow Falls...many more. Each falls has a picturesque view and a unique legend associated with.
Some of these places require a bit of walking from the main road and trekking through forest. It is a wonderful experience to go through the misty woods, listening to the chirping of birds and crossing crystal clear rivers through suspension bridges. It is definitely worth seeing all these, though it turns our calf muscles souring!
How to go to Meghalaya?
The nearest airport is ‘Guwahati’, the capital city of Assam state of India.
From Guwahati, local taxis are available for onward journey.
Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya has good road connectivity from other parts of India. Local buses and taxis are available for sightseeing.
Best time to visit
October-June is the best time to visit Meghalaya.
Normally, in Meghalaya, there will be heavy rains during June- September. Because of this the most of the rivers get flooded and so is the Umngot River too. During this time, the river water does not look transparent.
It is advisable to carry light woolen clothes, as the weather is bit cold in Meghalaya. We may expect occasional rains as well. Therefore, an umbrella or a raincoat too could be added in the travel kit.
Roadmap of Meghalaya
Meghalaya is the best place for holidaying with nature, enjoying with a thrilling experience and a lot of beautiful surroundings with clean rivers, mesmerizing waterfalls and green hills registering a lot of evergreen memories for our life.