[Trip Report: 11-15 Aug, 2018] Called upon The Abode of Clouds

#1 Aug 22nd, 2018, 00:43
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It was one evening I was craving to get away from hussle of daily routine and looking go somewhere. After searching a few places I stumbled upon Meghalaya. It felt so fit in plan that I booked the tickets by evening. I have visited Sikkim 4 years back but Meghalaya and was always in bucket list. This was very much impromptu plan for vacation booking and going within a month

Best thing I saw in Meghalaya:


Wei Sawdong Falls, Cherrapunjee Meghalaya by Anoop Kumar, on Flickr

Day 1- Aug 11: Guwahati to Shillong and stay :
I opt for bus service from Meghalaya tourism office at airport. The bus departs usually at 12:30. Fare was asked 400/- (But official website says 250/-). Itís non-Ac. Itís minivan and supposed to pickup from Airport and drop directly to Shillong. But driver was picking local travelers in the ways and dropping them. This took lots of time. In last one of passenger, who was local to Shillong, had to forced driver to drive without picking up locals. In the way we stopped to have some snacks at road side dhaba. Food was completely local mostly Non-veg. So we settled with only tea. I had a packet of pineapples.

Meghalaya Tourism minibus
by Anoop
After that, we started and should be reaching by 3:30pm. But The traffic started piling up in shillong after Umium lake..
Bus dropped us at Civil Hospital at 4:30pm. I reached my home stay at Kynjai Homestay, Motinagar. The owner Dajied, also facilitates bike rental. I booked TVS NTorq for travelling across,
Dinner hunt at Shillong: It was raining a lightly at 6:00pm. We thought of going out and roaming around the main market Police Baazar and have dinner. I took the scooty out and followed the Google maps. I thought head to Police Bazar and fill the petrol in between. The more I was going to Police bazaar side I only encounter the dark streets and nothing very few shops open. Finally driving here and there I reached to Bara Bazaar petrol pump. Then I went Dylonís Cafe for some food. Ambience and Food was good though at higher price. Beautiful place to spend hours and have chit chat along with light food.

Dylon's Cafe Shillong
by Anoop

But having only noodles and coffee wonít be enough for day long fasting as the bus from Airport just left after 10 min of our arrival. We started heading towards motinagar and there were petrol pumps after every stone throw.
It was around 9:30pm, raining along, most of market is shut down and traffic jam everywhere. Only good thing is I could drive scooty between lanes. No hard and fast rule for two wheelers in Shillong
Finally, found The Work Restaurant and had full meal. After that we called for the day. Night was chilling due to rain from few days.




Day 2- Aug 12: Shillong - Riwai Root bridge - Shillong
I was well aware that day start very early in eastern part of India. It was raining in morning and kept on raining all the way till Riwai.
We geared up with raincoat, looking like aliens. We started before 7 and thought of having breakfast at famous ML-05 cafe but, Dang, it only operates after 12:30.


Near ML-05 cafe
by Anoop

Beautiful place in woods
So I kept on drive till I see the something Open. Finally we had breakfast at Silver Brook Homestay restaurant.

Silver_Brook_Cafe
by Anoop, on Flickr

It was all the way dense clouds on NH 206, Shillong-Dwaki road. Road is beautiful and curvy. Due to fog there was no chance of any view point.

Dense clouds, somewhere on NH-206, Shillong-Dwaki Highway
by Anoop, on Flickr

Fog was cleared just before Pongtung, the junction road to Riwai/Mawlynnong.
Caution: Road from NH to Riwai is scenic single lane. Road is full of blind spots Stay alert all the time. I encountered a hooligan locals in car from opposite side who hooted on us.

Riwai root bridge : It's magnificent , but easy reach and selficoholic people have ruined it. I saw a DSLR guy waiting for 30min to get the shot. Another crazy people won't listen to security guy, they just stand on bridge there like dumb Buffaloes.


Riwai Root Bridge, Oldest root bridge
by Anoop0


Riwai Root bridge from top
by Anoop, on Flickr

After having lunch we had juicy pineapples and head back to Shillong. We didnít proceed to mawlynnong, it just didnít exite us much. On way back sky was full of clouds. No thick fog on way. It just made the day. The Meghalaya known for.

What a sight to see beautiful white feathers gliding just for you


Flying arround clouds, Some view point on Shillong-Dwaki highway
by Anoop


Flying arround clouds at Shillong - Dwaki highway by Anoop Kumar, on Flickr

A misadventure again: Now with scooty I thought to take cut at Laitlyngkot towards Laitlum Grand Canyon in hope to visit there. But the bad luck strikes again. After seeing such awesome road it was worst road to drive. I already went inside the street roads that there is no coming back and next petrol pump was only 15 Km. Which took 1 hours.
Although, there was some good scenic places near Umphrup and Smit village. People were gathered for fish competition. There was shooting of some music video was going on a small hill top.

Pro tip for self vehicle: If Google maps shows less than 25kmph speed. Road is bad.
Finally, I able to drive to petrol pump. After thar road was okey now. As We touched Jowai highway, it started down pouring. We stopped for snack.
Advice: Never follow Laitlyngkot towards Laitlum Grand Canyon route. Unless someone dying.
We had dinner Gazebo Restaurant And Cafe. The manager let us go in restaurant with all drenched raincoat, irrigate the cafe. .
Food was awesome. We had dinner again at Gazebo.
Weather was not chilling even if it was raining all day.

Some Notes
  1. Always carry raincoat and extra layer of cloth. Temperature may go down to shivering. I was drenching in sweat at Danthlen falls, but soon I touched the highway and clouds formation started, temperature goes down quickly.
  2. Wear good grip sandal or shoe. I saw some people going down barefoot at Riwai root bridge. A simple twist would break your bone.
  3. If you are in Shillong, start early as possible, the roads gets jam for taxies. Sunrise happens at 5:00am, you can start by 5:30 and have breakfast enroute.
  4. If self drive car follow rules, don't peak out your vehicle. No rule for two wheelers, they zoom past between opposite lanes. Fog become so dense that you can't see 10m past, drive carefully. Locals know the route and turns, so they drive fast.
  5. Most of attraction places are managed by local and the earning goes to manage these places. The bad road condition tells that state govt.ís negligence towards such beautiful place. I found Meghalaya is safe for tourist and people were generally helpful, except a bunch of hooligans crossed in way and made remarks and the a guy who kind of attacked at Dainthlen falls to collect the parking fee. I had to shout on him to keep the distance.


Upcoming posts
Day 3 - 4- Aug 13-14 : Shillong to (Sohra) Cherrapunjee - Stay overnight at Sohra -

Day 5: Kamakhya Temple, Guwahati
#2 Aug 22nd, 2018, 13:44
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Subscribed.
Darjeeling, Kuari Pass Winter trek, Tawang-Dirang-Bomdila


Two roads diverged in a wood, and I Ė I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.
#3 Aug 22nd, 2018, 14:37
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Nice report !
#4 Aug 22nd, 2018, 23:45
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Day 3 - Aug 13: Shillong to (Sohra) Cherrapunjee - Stay overnight at Sohra

Morning was beautiful and no sight of rain. We started for Cherrapunjee in morning drove straight to Mawkdok Dympep Valley View Point. Zip line was closed due to weather. We had breakfast at Homely Dhaba. Weather was clear. After spending some time we started for our next place to visit, Garden of Falls.Just few light showers in the way. The villages just after the highway en-route were super beautiful.
Again, road to Garden of Falls, Laitmawsiang is in very bad. I saw a couple of tyre burning mark on down slope. Hope it was not an accident.

Garden of Falls: What a place. There are 5 falls with 3 different kind. Also, bathing is allowed in one of the waterfall. Which is very much private. I enjoyed all my 40 min of private pool with no one around.
There are 3 volunteers who guide you though falls.
Go here in morning especially in weekdays. Weekend attracts many tourists.
More pictures are in flicker gallery


Sum Syiem Falls - Naturally carved orifice through falls
by Anoop Kumar



Arsdad Falls
by Anoop Kumar


When you have Natural pool all for yourself


Stieh Maw - Stieh Falls at Garden of falls
by Anoop Kumar


Riat Umlwai falls - Garden of falls
by Anoop Kumar


From back of Riat Umlwai falls - Garden of falls
by Anoop Kumar, on Flickr

After that we head to our stay place to check-in have some rest. At Sohra View Lodge, just inside the road to Arawah cave .
Verdict: The place at very nice place however. There no electricity so people wonít prefer it. Okeyish for stay with 4-5 friends but for couple and family itís NO. The location is very good. Just few minute walk to Arawah cave. The owner should invest some money to renovate the facilities. It could be top pick homestay.

Sohara View Lodge, Cherrapunji

You see the lodge is at such amazing place but poorly managed. There is also view point with proper stairs just in front of lodge

We headed to Tyrna Village -> Siej Village
Umkar Living Root bridge, under construction Double Decker Root Bridge.
An under construction double decker root bridge. I really like the place. First decker is almost complete and should be usable in 2-3 years. The top bridge is just about to begin with two thin roots across the stream. This place going to shadow old double decker bridge as it offer easy 10 min walk from parking. Also, it offers very close Bangladesh plain view just before the village. Also, magnificent view of Kynrem falls and deep valley.
I didnít find anyone going to this place.
I also have short video. I will add it later.


Umkar Living Root Bridge
by Anoop Kumar
The roots at at top left corner are the foundation of upper decker. How amazing would be when I will come back in future and bridge would be all ready

Selfie to banta hai


Road Condition: The road condition is pretty bad after Laitynsew-Tyrna Junction. After Seij, I thought of going to shortcut to Kynrem Fall and the Severn sisters but after Tyrna junction the road was all just big boulders. It was too bad for any bike and small car. After a kilometer I decided to not go ahead.
We came back to Tyrna junction and went around via Cherrapunjee market to Seven Sisters fall just before the sunset. Seven sisters falls view point is spacious and very touristy. You can also get a binocular for INR. 10 from a jovial guy and enjoy bangladesh plains a long as you want.


Seven Sister Falls, Cherrapunjee
by Anoop Kumar
It was very late evening and I couldnít get better picture of Seven Sisters. However the whole atmosphere was amazing.

We had dinner CORDIAL Lodge & Restaurant. Good place for dinner with nice road along and couple of swings to enjoy the evening.


God's own Painting at Seven Sisters falls, Meghalaya
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#5 Sep 16th, 2018, 23:59
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Sorry for long delay in publishing final post of the trip.

Day 4:
Early morning visit to Nohkalikai Falls: and to my surprise the big gates and everything open there. The shop owners stay there, so you can simply go there any time. Even if main gate is closed, there is walkway from side to reach the viewpoint and go further.

Nohkalikai Landscape

I spend more than an hour gazing the glorious falls and roaming around the plains beyond the view point. In morning place was really serene. I saw all the butterfly moths crawling over grass.

Nohkalikai View point

By, 7:30 , the first cafe at side of falls, got opened. We had breakfast and came back to our hotel.

Breakfast at Nohkalikai falls

Highly recommended to go in early morning.



Arawah Cave:
The pleasant walk to cave is just amazing so beautiful and romantic that you start dancing.

Walk to Arawah Cave
Cave is also beautiful and you can go very deep inside. You can spot various fossils.


Inside Awarah Cave



Fossils in Arawah Cave aged to 5 Millions years

Also there is sitting area with a swing where you can relax after coming from cave. You can see Wah-kaba falls and few streams in side. Enjoy beautiful valley enclosed from 3 sides, which become more scenic when clouds starts forming.

Wah-Kaba Falls view from Arawah Cave

Dainthlen falls: Good place for picnic and lots of beautiful and small creters. You are on top of falls

Top of Dainthlen falls

You can go around the falls to view it falling from the cliff.


Dainthlen falls

Wei-Sawdong : I canít get my thoughts off from the impression of Wei-Sawdong falls. The 3 step fall is most beautiful thing I experienced from nature. This is beautiful beyond expression. However it tests your physical ability to enjoy the view. I think itís 200 meters of steep 75-90 degree route without any proper stairs. The villagers have hame the path and stairs using bamboo trees.
This is must visit for any young person. I only go to viewpoint and then came back. The trail become scary for my wife. However, I advice to reach to bottom of the falls and enjoy the glory. There is junction down the route, from where you can go to left for full view of falls.


Wei-Sawdong falls

I didnít get more picture there. The jungle was complete dense and the trekking itself so tiring that it didnít click my mind to take more pics.
The main route is lead you to foot of falls which is more difficult.
Only catch is no proper parking place you have to park on roadside. Itís safe though. The ticket guys would be there all time. I only saw another tourist friends, probably from Meghalaya or Assam only. Very underrated place.

Interestingly During 2 days of Cherrapunjee we didnít faced any rain except just a little shower on highway. I mean I was at wettest place on earth and no rain in two days. It was all raining in hyderabad for a week before this trip and after that.
Anyway, itís good for us that it didnít rain at our time but it was good rain last day as per hotel staff. So it filled the waterfalls.
It would been very difficult to go Seij Village for Umkar root bridge and Wei-Sawdong.
I wonít recommend trekking to Wei-Sawdong in rain.
Also, going to Seij was no child play for 4-5 Kms. There are places where moss was on road as there was very little traffic. I only see a few of villagers there and a lady at entrance counter.


Bonus:
Some landscape en-route to Nohkalikai falls

Somwhere in the way to Nohkalikai falls

Mawkdok Dympep Valley View Point

Juiciest Pineapple I tasted ever.
Pineapple is my favorite fruit I have eaten at many places in India but oh boy, the taste of Meghalaya is something heavenly.
I could skip whole day meal of these pineapples.


Meghalayan Pineapple, The juiciest in the world.


Nohkalikai Falls, Cherrapunji Meghalaya by Anoop Kumar, on Flickr

On next day I visited Kamakhya Temple before catching up evening flight to home. I couldn't believe how lowest Pandas can go. They have literally hijacked the temple.
The temple premises are about Slaughter animals mostly goats, caged pigeon. Every step filled with a crooked panda robbing money.
They keep only 100 rupees in donation plate and even pressurize to give at least 100. Moreover, the essence of temple completely destroyed. They have covered the main adytum (Garbhgrih of temple) and even they covered the menstruating idol which is carved at temple wall.
If anyone going there, don't listen a word of pandas. If they they would do some Puja and quick darshanam. They are liar.

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