Writing today of a holiday that brought in so many rich experiences. I visited Meghalaya in January end and I am glad I did when it wasn’t raining. For those who love rains, please do visit during monsoons but I am more of a person who doesn’t like holidays to be accompanied with wet shoes, wet clothes in the rooms etc.
So over eight months ago, it was just a simple browsing on my cellphone that it caught my interest of going to Cherrapunjee. A few pictures just made me wonder if I will ever reach this place. As I do browse a lot of travel destinations I thought to myself ‘ I will’ and left it at that.
After a few days I went on do a little more research and realised I could plan a holiday with family visiting Gauhati, Shillong and Cherrapunjee.
Gauhati is a city and I was surprised to see huge roads, flyovers, massive urban structures which I had presumed to be the property of only metros or cities like I live. The place has a distinct style that reminded me of many ways of Kolkata and is bit dusty too. Having said that it is a city with adequate infrastructure and people who are very polite.
After a long flight and stop over at Mumbai we finally reached the first destination -Gauhati only by night.
We stayed at Grand Bhabendra Alay that was chic and it was a wonderful overnight stay. It was much required after a long day of two flights and taking Zoom car near airport.
Yes our next four days were going to go with Zoom car and next morning we left for Shillong. We were going to return to Assam to Gauhati but our major travel destination was to explore Meghalaya with Shillong and Cherrapunjee.
We reached Umiam Lake after two hours of driving and the breathtaking scenes made us wonder at the marvel at the openness, calmness of the space. This is a must visit on your way to Shillong.
(Umiam Lake-Shillong. Picture by Reshma Krishnamurthy)
As we reached Shillong we realized it wasn’t going to easy to tackle the weather with a child along. The weather was going too cold and soon after a quick late lunch we rushed to the local market to take stock of a few woollen clothes.
We stayed at Kaizan bed and breakfast and though it was highly recommended on many travel spaces and blogs, I would say it was good but a bit over hyped. The major plus point of Kaizan at Shillong was the warm room heater they had. That literally ensured we wouldn’t step out of the room. Thankfully we had visited Ward’s Lake, a place we happened to visit again the next morning too for its beautiful garden space, flowers and greenery.
Next day it was time to visit Cherrapunjee but as we were travelling by car, we decided not to check into hotel, instead visit a few tourist places and stop wherever we felt like and do a check in by 5.30pm. One has to remember that in destinations like Shillong and Cherrapunjee the sunlight is at minimal and it becomes night by 5pm.
We visited Nohkalikai falls that has one of the most breathtaking views. Before we headed to this place it was time to capture a few scenes of amazing valleys near Sohra at Mawkdok Dympep Valley where even courageous souls were doing ziplining between the valleys. I was more than happy just seeing the beauty and somehow I couldn’t convince myself to go into the adventure opportunity.
(Mawkdok Dympep Valley-Photograph by Reshma Krishnamurthy)
Later we had time to visit the Nohkalikai falls. The waterfall and the tourist destination has an unpleasant history attached to it but the views are simply marvelous.
We just didn’t want to head out to another destination from here and I was in love completely with Meghalaya. There was much more for me to see and cherish the memories and I am glad it turned out in that direction.
After a quick meal we headed to Mawsmai caves which was fascinating for my child particularly though I found it heavily overcrowded with too many people trying to climb and maneuver narrow rockly paths. It is however a must -try if you can manage to climb and get down from uneven rocks.
Soon we headed to our hotel in Cherrapunjee at Kutmadan resort. This hotel had its own wow moments where we didn’t even realise we had booked the suite. So we had our own fireplace in the adjoining room and views to cherish.
The staff were exceptionally friendly and this place spoke in volumes on solitude. We were informed that the valley at the end has the Bangladesh border so it was kind of interesting for me to stay in a place that was so close to the border. The entire resort has only five cottages and it has the advantage of being at a place that has amazing viewpoints. The sunset too at Kutmadan is a time that needs to be cherished as one gets to marvel and wonder on nature’s gifts for Earth.
(Kutmadan resort at Cherrapunjee -Photography by Reshma Krishnamurthy)
Next day, it was an occasion as a family to celebrate on this day and we were happy we were spending time together. We soon reluctantly left for Dawki, a place I had come across in one of the travel blogs. As predicted in the blog the travel route was adventurous and soon we came to the place -a river that divided India and Bangladesh as its borders. Dawki was crowded but thankfully we knew of Umngot river and we went further .
This was indeed a paradise. We were so glad we had made it to Umngot in Meghalaya. We went on a boat ride that just brought us to feel privileged to be in a mesmerizing place. I can’t even forget that I asked a local lady if I can somehow use wash room somewhere, she smiled as though she understood my concern as a woman in a tourist spot and guided me to a tiny -fairly neat washroom. When I offered to pay later, she again smiled and said ” It’s fine, hope you like the place”.
Do not make the mistake of coming all the way to Cherrapunjee and ignoring Dawki or Umngot. It was so magical that we again didn’t want to leave even though we knew we had a long way back to Shillong. Yes we were going to return this time to Shillong before going to Gauhati as the final destination in this travel plan.
(Umngot River-A tourist spot near Dawki, Meghalaya) (Paradise in India-Photograph by Reshma krishnamurthy)
There are many interesting activities like ziplining, tents-camping, boating, trekking and even a hanging bridge that would accommodate only 20 people to walk at a time. After a long wait we did get an opportunity to walk on the bridge and this place was indeed the high point of Meghalaya trip.
(Hanging bridge at Umngot river.
Cover photograph for this blog and this picture- Photograph by Reshma Krishnamurthy).
All I can say is that when looking for destinations within the country, do visit relatively lesser known places, hidden pockets that are indeed worth every bit of your time.
Hope you liked reading the blog.