Usually, I plan my travels well in advance, but this trip was a bit different. The idea was conceived a week before during a party with one of my friends and colleague. This time I wanted to give into the adventure of uncertainty(discretion is advised). As expected my better half was easily convinced and we started making a rough itinerary.
Meghalaya is one of the Seven Sister States of northeast India. Separating the Assam valley from the plains of Bangladesh, Meghalaya is mountainous, with stretches of valley and highland plateaus consisting mainly of Archean rock formations(4,000 to 2,500 million years old). Meghalaya is the wettest place on earth. The town of Sohra (Cherrapunji) holds the world record for most rain in a calendar month and the village of Mawsynram holds the record for the most rain in a year. Most of the rain fall occurs between June and September, creating impressive waterfalls and carving out some of Asia’s longest caves. Beginning of October is the best time to visit, to witness the waterfalls in full glory.
Meghalaya is home to three main ethnic tribes, namely the Khasis, Garos and Jaintias. A good time to be in Meghalaya is during the Hundred Drums Wangala festival in the Garo Hills. It is a post-harvest festival celebrated by the Garo tribe between October to December. Usually it is celebrated in the second week of November every year at Asananggre, a small Garo village 18 km from Tura in West Garo Hills.
Soon enough it was day one of our journey.
Three of us started out on our journey from Kolkata. We reached Shealdah railway station and boarded our train for Guwahati. The day was spent in the train.
We arrived at Guwahati raliway station at 04:15 AM, while it was still dark outside. We made our way to the adjacent parking lot and took a shared sumo to Shillong. It is about 100 km and took us around 3 hrs to get there. Shared taxis, Buses and private cabs are available on this route. A helicopter service is also available between Guwahati airport and Shillong Helipad.
For more information on Helicopter service: Gov of Meghalaya Transport Department – Helicopter Service
It was almost 08:30 AM and we had our breakfast and took another shared sumo from a parking lot in the Shillong Cantonment area, to Sohra(Cherrapunji).
Note: 10 people are accommodated in a shared sumo along with the driver. For comfortable journey one may pay for extra seats.
Shillong to Sohra is about 55 km and it took as around 2 hrs. We checked into our hotel, freshened up, had our lunch and booked a cab for local sightseeing. As we made our way through the picturesque meadows of Sohra towards Nohkalikai Falls, we could only imagine how lush green the meadows would be after the rains.
A nominal entrance fee is charged for the view point. Small shops are lined up one after the other by the side of the road leading from parking place to the view point. The tribal shopkeepers sell variety of stuff from local traditional craft items to locally produced bay leaves. Items made of bamboo and cane were cheaper here than in Shillong. Some shopkeepers offer hats and traditional dresses on rent.
Falling from a height of 1115 feet (340 metres) the Nohkalikai Falls is the tallest plunge waterfall in India. There is a gruesome legend behind the name ‘Nohkalikai’ which in Khasi language means “Jump of Ka Likai”. The legend is about a local women named Likai who jumped off the cliff next to the falls.
For more information on the legend : The legend of Nohkalikai
Next stop was Ka Khoh Ramhah also known as Pillar Rock or Mothorp. It is also referred to as Giant Single Rock Shiva Linga(200 feet high). Legend has it that Khoh Ramhah is a fossilized cone shaped up side down basket of an evil giant who used to torment the locals. So in order to get rid of the evil giant, the people decided to invite him for a huge meal and mixed his food with sharp iron and nails which eventually led to his death. The giant basket that he had left at that place has turned into stone. On a clear day, the Bangladesh plains beyond are a sight to behold.
On the way back from Khoh Ramhah, we stopped at Thangkharang Park. The park is apparently like any other clean and nicely maintained botanical garden. It is popular for its picturesque setting, with a fountain, greenhouse and garden. It offers a breathtaking panoramic view of the Bangladesh plains and the Kynrem Falls is also visible from this park.
For more please continue to : Couple of Rolling Stones