‘Clouds on clouds in volumes driven, Curtain round the vault of heaven.’
Spending a hundred and twenty hours in the mystic land of Meghalaya, India was a dream come true. I had been planning it for weeks with my mother and my best friend. Drafting the itinerary with Sakshi was a lot of fun as this was a place that we knew nothing about. But as luck would have it, none of us could find the itinerary at the last minute, for we had just scribbled it on a piece of paper in much excitement.
Losing the itinerary was the best thing that could happen to us, for we landed in Meghalaya not as tourists, but as wanderers. It was bliss. We didn’t have a plan. We made new friends. It was different.
Our haven for the next few days was a cozy little cottage called Quinton Enclave right in the middle of Shillong city. We were welcomed by the jolly caretaker who insisted we call him Thapa. We were tired but eager for the adventure that would follow. I had the most peaceful sleep that night. Our first destination was the wettest place on Earth, Cherrapunji!
You know you have entered the territory of Cherrapunji, when mist is all you see. The weather is chilly throughout the drive over the twists and turns of the East Khasi hills. We felt we were an inch closer to heaven when clouds playfully touched our heads. Picture perfect waterfalls, heavy clouds and fern fields are the sights you just can’t miss en route Cherrapunji.
There were a million times that we stopped on the way just to soak in the rawness of nature. It’s common to hear the chirping of exotic birds more than humans in this place. The locals residing here are known as the Khasis, from the native Khasi tribe. Languages understood and spoken here are Khasi, Bengali and Hindi. We watched the clouds blend into the falls as we lunched at a local dhaba right next to the Nohsngithiang falls. Oh, did i forget to mention the fresh out of the barks cinnamon found here? I watched, amused as my mother bought a dozen cinnamon exclaiming “Aaah! I will get started on apple pies the moment I reach home!”
The next day, we planned to visit Mawlynnong, the cleanest village in Asia. This was where the enchanting Living Root Bridge was. It was nothing like we had ever seen before. Yes. It was a fairy tale- like set up, with roots of trees naturally tangled into a bridge. Suddenly I felt myself recall all those Enid Blyton books I read as a child. For those who have read Enid’s books, it was exactly like the ‘Enchanted Woods’.
Our next stop was the Dawki River, that divides India and Bangladesh through a very friendly international border. The river was a hidden paradise. I wonder why we hadn’t heard about it before. Water so clear that I could see my own reflection in it. Untouched. Serene. We soon hopped onto a boat to witness the mesmerizing scenery. We went into a slight trance as the boatman rowed on, through this celestial waterway .
The way back was a smooth drive. Nature all around and waterfalls cascading through the woods. Clouds heavily gathering above to bid goodbye to the sun that was about to set. Now I knew why Meghalaya is also referred to as the ‘Scotland of the East’.
The next day we decided to explore Shillong. Now this place is a brilliant combination of beautiful people and even tastier food! The Shillong Cafe is a must visit. Try the Burmese Khowsuay there. Oh. How my mouth starts watering when I think of it. Apart from pretty cafes here, there is also a place called Laitlum, which is also known as the Grand Canyon of Shillong. If you love places that are not commercial, this place is a must visit.
Four days of pure bliss. I carried with me truck loads of beautiful memories with the people I love and a mental picture of this heavenly state. What a vacation. I’m already planning my next.!!!
EASIEST WAY TO REACH MEGHALAYA: Flight to Kolkata—->Flight to Shillong——> Hire a car and explore the rest !