Trip Report: Meghalaya Adventure Trip

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#1 Dec 17th, 2012, 12:19
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#1
Hello,

I'm just back from a short adventure trip to Meghalaya. I'm posting this report in the Offbeat section so that people who do not have an idea about these activities may get some info about the same. Mods, please reply if its ok.

Here's a link to my starter thread on the Meghalaya Forum. Interented people can look into it for options.
http://www.indiamike.com/india/megha...eeded-t170726/

Our concise itinerary for the trip was as follows:

------xx------

Day1: 8th Dec, 2012
Mumbai to Shillong, via Guwahati
O/n halt at Shillong

Day2: 9th Dec, 2012
Siteseeing: Thadlaskein, Nartiang, Shillong
O/n halt at Shillong

Day3: 10th Dec, 2012
Siteseeing: Shillong, Cherrapunji
O/n halt at Cherrapunji

Day4: 11th Dec, 2012
Trek to Daouble Decker Living Root Bridge
O/n halt at Cherrapunji

Day5: 12th Dec, 2012
Caving at Krem Mawmluh (Horizontal)
O/n halt at Cherrapunji

Day6: 13th Dec, 2012
Caving at Krem Ri Blai (Vertical)
O/n halt at Mawlynnong

Day7: 14th Dec, 2012
Siteseeing: Mawlynnong
Activities at Dawki
O/n halt at Dawki

Day8: 15th Dec, 2012
Activities at Dawki
O/n halt at Shillong

Day9: 16th Dec, 2012
Shllong to Mumbai, via Guwahati

------xx------

I will begin the actual report shortly.

--Kapil Pilankar




Mod note: thread moved to Meghalaya forum
Last edited by JuliaF; Dec 17th, 2012 at 15:17..
#2 Dec 17th, 2012, 12:31
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#2
Hey Kapil I was also at Thadlaskein & Tyrshi Falls on 9th December at around 1-3 pm

Karikor Kharkongor
#3 Dec 17th, 2012, 12:33
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#3
Waiting eagerly for your trip report & pictures.

Ronak.
#4 Dec 17th, 2012, 12:33
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#4
Good start Kapil..Keep it up.
#5 Dec 17th, 2012, 23:32
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#5
Day 1: 8th December, 2012
Part 1

After several rounds of packing and unpacking on the days before, a final settled look appeared on the baggage to be taken for the trip. I left home at 0500hrs to catch the 0815hrs flight to Guwahati. The flight to Guwahati was without incident.

We were a total of 8 guys for the trip. 5 from Mumbai, 1 from Pune and 2 from Kolkata. We all met at the Guwahati airport by 1400hrs.
We checked around for the cabs to Shillong and almost finalized 2 Swift Dzires for Rs3200 before checking at the Meghalaya Tourism office. They said that the SSBT had recently started a Winger service from the airport to Shillong. Furthur they offered to drive us to our hotel without any extra charge. The ticket for the journey was Rs350 per seat which worked out to be Rs2800 for the entire vehicle. We booked it straight away.

The vehicle was comfortable with ample space for the luggage. We took a break for lunch after Jalukbari at a place called Shankar Dhaba. There was an item on the menu called 'Motor Masala' which we were keen to try out. On inquiring it turned out to be just 'Mutter Masala'. Our group was split with 4 guys being vegetarians and 4 being non-vegetarians. We ordered accordingly. The food at the dhaba was nothing to write home about, although it wasnt bad. We were introduced to the bigger lime that was to be a common feature of our future meals during the trip.

We left the place by 1600hrs which gave us a mere hour of sunlight with sunset at 1700hrs, a fact that us Mumbaikars found a bit difficult to come to terms with initially. Most of the journey was completed in darkness. We took a break at Nongpoh for tea. The road from Guwahati to Shillong can be rated as bed with some stretches being at best average. This has also to do with the four-laning project of the road. Our driver was a bit of a mad-hatter variety and scared us with a few close calls.

The road bettered after we crossed the Barapani Lake to again shring after entering the Shillong city. This was something I wasnt prepared for. I had spent a few months going through the maps and had completely under-estimated the roads and the local topography. The narrow winding roads of Shillong were fun to check-out.

After reaching the Police Bazar (hereafter mentioned as PB) area, the driver tokk us to the SSBT parking bay and demanded a furthur Rs 300 to drop us to our hotel. We flatly refused to do so and explained in simplest terms the deal we had at the airport. He consulted with a few other drivers before agreeing to take us there for a small chai-pani tip. We agreed to this.

The drive from PB to the hotel and the hotel review will be done in the next part.
Cheers!
#6 Dec 17th, 2012, 23:40
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#6
Good start.

Ronak.
#7 Dec 18th, 2012, 12:32
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#7
Day 1: 8th December, 2012
Part 2

After leaving the PB area we made our way to our hotel. Actually it was a guest house; the Hill Top Chateau. This is a brilliant property located ahead of Laban in the Lumparing area. The road leading to the place is isolated with forested areas on both sides. It was almost 2000hrs by the time we were on the road and obviously pitch dark except for the cab's headlights. Our driver, in a fit of devilish humour, switched off the headlights for a couple of seconds, scaring us out of our wits.

We reached the guest house in five more minutes. Our hosts, Ms. Aishwarya and Mr. Dean, were ready at the entrance to greet us. We were spellbound after looking at what we got. The property had three rooms: red, green and blue. The red room has an attached dining room. All the rooms were almost equals in size and decor, with a closet, TV and gyeser in each of the rooms. The hosts stay on the floor above the rooms. We were allowed to access the gallery of the house by our hosts. The way to the gallery went through their living room which was spectacularly done.

The Hill Top Chateau, true to its name, is located on the hill at some elevation above the rest of Shillong which makes for a spectacular view of the city any time of the day. I was told that there's also a trek route nearby to the Shillong Peak. I will have to explore it the next time I go there.

Our dinner and breakfast arrangements were done by the hosts themselves. We had yet to finalize the transport for the next day site-seeing. Our hosts checked with the cabbies they knew, but eventually we decided to use their Eeco, provided we all could fit in. We finalized the route before dinner: Shillong to Thadlaskein (Lake) and return via Nartiang (Durga Temple and Monoliths), lunch on the way followed by checking out the archery at Shillong and some shopping. We accepted a price of Rs3000 for the trip and something extra if we get time to cover more spots.

After dinner at 2100hrs, which I guess is quite late by Shillong time, we went off to sleep to put an end to our first day of the trip.

Day 1 pics in the next part.
Cheers!
Last edited by kapilankar; Dec 18th, 2012 at 21:49..
#8 Dec 18th, 2012, 12:40
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#8
Excellent narration of first day of the trip Kapil , will wait for the rest and the pictures.
#9 Dec 18th, 2012, 21:54
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#9
Day 1: 8th December, 2012
Part 3

Pic1: Night view of Shillong from the Hill Top Chateau
Pic2: The gang at the Hill Top Chateau

Cheers!
Attached Images
65006_10151341425534002_1360283913_n.jpg 546472_10151341425869002_402209621_n.jpg 
Last edited by kapilankar; Dec 19th, 2012 at 10:16..
#10 Dec 19th, 2012, 10:56
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#10
Day 2: 9th December, 2012
Part 1

The plan for the day was to start off early and check out Thadlaskein, Nartiang and a little archery in Shillong. It is rare for such trips, but we all were up and ready by 0730hrs for the breakfast. After the breakfast we crammed ourselves in the hosts Eeco and set out for Thadlaskein. It seemed to take us forever to get out of Shillong. The route from Shillong to Thadlaskein goes on further to connect to other NE states and sees quite a bit of traffic owing to the mines in the Jaintia Hills. The road condition is good for most part. Today being a Sunday, we saw hardly any traffic on the route.

We reached Thadlaskein Lake by 1000hrs. I must say that I was a bit disappointed by it. The lake has a legend that it was dug by the local tribe warriors using their bow-heads. The effort that the task must have taken is truly of mammoth proportions, but speaking from a tourists point of view it can be avoided. Today being a Sunday, activities at the lake were closed, but the lake gates were open. We had a little snack break at the dhaba opposite to the lake and a bit of fun at the jetty on the lake with a round of skipping-stones. We decided to proceed to Nartiang without further ado.

The road to Nartiang is off from the main road and the quality of the road is not pretty good. The road however goes through a lot of orange plantations, which had ripe oranges ready to be plucked. We proceeded first to the Durga Temple. This again wasnt up to our expectations. The temple is pretty old and looks serene. The temple had a ritual of human sacrifice which was later replaced by animal sacrifice after the British banned the former. We spent a little time there speaking to the caretaker and then left for the monoliths.

The monolith park at Nartiang, we were told, used to be a former market. The size of the monolith corresponds to the wealth of its owner. The monolith park brought out the kid within all of us a we hurried for a photo-op at some of the larger erections. The scale of some of the monoliths is truly huge and one can imagine the effort taken to place it there. After spending a good part of an hour there we decided to head back to Shillong.

On the way back we decided to stop for oranges at a small cluster of roadside stalls. The oranges were too expensive, but we helped ourselves to a few yams, sweet-potatoes and acorns. The platter was delicious. We paid for it and headed back to Shillong. The return ride was uneventful.

Rest of our day in Shillong to be covered in the next part.
Cheers!
#11 Dec 19th, 2012, 21:57
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#11
Day 2: 9th December, 2012
Part 2

On the way back, we got a call from Kyrmen (henceforth mentioned as Men i.e. his nickname) from the Meghalaya Adventure Tours. He's the same guy from samrjin's thread. He wanted to get our measurements for the caving gear. We decided to meet him after lunch.

We had planned to take our lunch at the City Hut Dhaba near PB. The place looks quite beautiful with a stunning decor. It turned out that the place was full and it would take us atleast 45mins to get a table. We then decided to look for other options.

Our driver cum guide for the day, Mr. Dean from the Hill Top Chateau, had returned home by then. He had a stomach issue and was not permitted to eat away.

The nearest one we found was the Assembly. We decided to eat there. It was already 1430hrs by then and the archery was to begin at 1530hrs. We had our lunch and left the place by 1530hrs. The food at the Assembly was average. The Assembly is one of the 'strictly nor recommended' places in Shillong, a fact which most of us were unaware at the moment.

We met Men outside the Assembly. All our travel, activities and lodging for the next four days was arranged by Meghalaya Adventure Tours. This organization is run by a person called Gregory Diengdoh and Men was a part of it. They usually do not handle the travel and lodging requirements but may do so on request. We decided on a pickup time of 0830hrs on the next day and gave the required details for the gear. We also wanted to cover a few other spots which we missed out today on the next day, to which Men did not mind.

After our meeting with Men, we moved on to the archery grounds. Mr. Dean had arrived to pich us up. On reaching the grounds we were told that there is no archery on Sunday. By the way, forgot to mention that Shillong really shuts down on a Sunday. Meghalaya has 80% Christian community and they really stick to their Sundays. The markets were going to be closed for the next two days as well on account of a protest against self-immolation in Tibet. Due to this a few shops in PB remained open today.

We then decided to move to the nearby Ward's Lake for a stroll as we had nothing else to do. The place is beautiful with walking/jogging tracks, boating area, well maintained lawns and restrooms. It is a good place to just take a stroll in.

We moved from the lake to the PB area for some mindless wondering through the markets. The first place we saw was the Delhi Mishtaan Bhandaar. We had heard about the place and decided to check it out. There was a fresh round of jalebis being made and we ordered some. It was just awesome. We took two packets as fuel for our stroll. WE did not find anything interesting, but it was fun nonetheless.

We all returned to the Hill Top Chateau by 1930hrs. The non-vegetarians had orderd a bit of pork for dinner. We wanted to try some home-made stuff before trying it someplace else. It was good. We packed our luggage for the next day ride to Cherrapunji before dozing off.

Day 2 pics in the next part.
Cheers!
#12 Dec 19th, 2012, 22:09
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#12
Day 2: 9th December, 2012
Part 3

Pic1: The Hill Top Chateau
Pic2: Day view of Shillong from the Hill Top Chateau
Pic3: All of us crammed into one Eeco
Pic4: Thadlaskein Lake
Pic5: Monoliths at Nartiang
Pic6: Description of the monoliths
Pic7: Ward's Lake

Cheers!
Attached Images
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#13 Dec 19th, 2012, 22:33
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#13
nice report with excellent snaps.
#14 Dec 20th, 2012, 10:10
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#14
nice reporting kapil. Yes you are right, Hotel Assembly is the unofficial pick up place for girls in police bazaar. I would have recommended Lamee or la galerie or Bombay bites or Eden or BarbeQ or bamboo hut.nyway u can check up tripadvisor for more reviews or infact add ur own reviews.by the way you guys did not see tyrshi falls? Its just 2 km after thadlaskein.
#15 Dec 20th, 2012, 10:18
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@karikor

Missed the tyrshi falls. Must have slipped my mind then. Will have to keep it for the next trip then.
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