We welcome you to the Border of India and Bangladesh ~ Dawki, Meghalaya.
Dawki also known as Tamabil is a small town nestled in the border of India and Bangladesh. Located in the Jaintia Hills of Meghalaya, Dawki serves as an important trade route between India and Bangladesh. Although the area is heavily guarded by border patrols of India and Bangladesh, Dawki doesn’t have any fenced border between these two countries implying this to be a friendly border. The demarcation is done using a few stone pillars and gates across the border of each countries. The pillar 1275 is the distinct border and Dawki. Visitors to Dawki can cross the border of India and travel upto the pillar 1275 and return back to India. Again, the area is heavily guarded by the Border Security Force (BSF) of India and hence it is necessary to speak to them and seek their approval before crossing the border at Dawki.
Located in the West Jaintia Hills district of Meghalaya, Dawki is a small town that borders the Nations of India and Bangladesh. An important trade route between the two countries, Dawki is among the few border crossings between India and Bangladesh.
The principal attraction at Dawki is the Umngot River. The Umngot River has waters so crystal clear that once can see that boats plying on its waters are almost floating in the air. This river also serves as a natural boundary between the Jaintia and Khasi Hills of Meghalaya. The drive from Mawlynnong Village to Dawki is splendid passing through deep gorges and ravines and three majestic waterfalls of Meghalaya are to be spotted along the way.
Dawki is famous for the Umngot River. The Umngot River at Dawki marks a natural border between the Khasi and Jaintia hills of Meghalaya. The Dawki Umngot River has water so crystal clear that one can easily see the river bed clearly from the surface. During winter months especially November and December the waters are so clear that when the boats ply on its waters, it actually looks like these boats are floating in air. At Dawki, over the Umngot River is also a suspension bridge that was built by the British in 1932.
If you are visiting Meghalaya then a stop at Dawki is always recommended. Not just for the experience of being able to cross the border of India to go sight the border of Bangladesh but for the host of other activities. Frequent searches on the available encyclopedia of google.com would provide you much of information about Dawki (Tamabil as it is locally called) stating of the presence of the Umngot river here that has crystal clear water. You will be blogged off with the amazing pictures of the Umngot river that has water so clear that you feel that the boats here are floating on the air and not plying on the river waters. It will surely give you an amazing experience once you reach Dawki and plan to get on this boat ride. But mind you, that this place has gradually started to attract visitors. And not just one or two but hundreds of them. Once you are at Dawki be ready to get stuck in traffic in an area where you hardly see any homes of people but only tourist vehicles. There is a reason for this jam viz. the roads at Dawki are quite narrow an at the point where you start your boating experience at Dawki there is no proper parking area. So the vehicles choose to park along the side of the already narrow road and while one vehicle tries to pass and another comes along through the other way, there is always a chance of getting stuck and you have to wait until the time you have assistance from the local people of Dawki who temporarily adorn the hats of traffic police and interestingly manage to clear off the ruckus within a few minutes only. This information is not to discourage you from planning you travel to Dawki but to make you mentally prepared once you are here at Dawki and not to worry in case you get stuck here at Dawki. There will always be an easy way out of it.
As mentioned earlier, most of the tourists travel to Dawki just to experience the International Border here and to enjoy an hour of boating time on the clear waters of the Umngot river here. The maximum time these activities take is not more than 3 hours so people generally do not prefer to stay over here and instead travel to Shillong for their night halt after spending time at the village of Mawlynnong – the Cleanest Village in Asia. Our general Itineraries plan your visit to Dawki by starting early in the morning from Cherrapunji and then reaching Dawki. After crossing the suspension bridge here we proceed to visit the International Border at Tamabil and then come back to the boating point where we step down and board the local boats for about an hours time of boat ride and then we proceed to Mawlynnong after sighting the Bornhill falls along the way. We reach Mawlynnong and have lunch, take a walk along the cleanest village of Asia, sight the balancing rocks and visit the single decker living root bridge of Riwai and then continue on our journey to head back either to Cherrapunji or Shillong.
For travellers who wish to choose to have a different experience of Dawki as a place which is less touristy we present to you the village of Shnongpdeng. A completely offbeat location, Shnongpdeng is growing as an Ecotourism destination of Meghalaya. Not yet crawled by the Spiders and Bots of the google algorithms and not promoted extensively by the many blogs and travel sites, Shnongpdeng is an amazing paradise located very close to Dawki. A slight from left to the road that leads you to Dawki and after travelling a little further will lead you to Shnongpdeng village. A place that is so near Dawki but yet there slow of tourists here are no humongous as in Dawki. Once you reach at Shnongpdeng the clear waters of the River Umngot greet you and you can see the locals of Meghalaya enjoying their day here fishing or cooking on one of their picnic trips. Shnongpdeng mostly sees visitors from Meghalaya, Guwahati and the other offbeat travellers who come here to experience one of the various water sports activities that are organized here. The various adventure sports activities organized at Shnongpdeng are Scuba Diving, Zip Lining, River Rafting, Kayaking, Cliff jumping, Caving, Local Boating, Snorkelling, Camping, Rappelling and a host of other activities. Even if you are not interested in any of the adventure activities but boating on the clear waters of the Umngot river here is a must try experience which is worthwhile and once in a lifetime experience. Though you get to do the boating experience at Dawki itself, the boating experience at Shnongpdeng is a different one altogether where you get a feel that the entire river is for you to wander around as there are not many tourists around at this side of the border. The border of India and Bangladesh can be sighted here at Shnongpdeng too and you can see many visitors from Bangladesh enjoying their day out on the other side of the border. There is however strict patrolling of the BSF forces here who keep a strong vigil for movements around Shnongpdeng so as to no illegal border crossing happen. In case they do the BSF personnel hold such people in custody and ensure to transfer them back to the other side of the border. Once you are here it’s worthwhile to halt for a day to enjoy the real beauty of Shnongpdeng. There are not many stay options here but there are a few bamboo made homestays and camping sites at Shnongpdeng. The Shnongpdeng Escapade is one such place where you can choose to halt for the night here at Shnongpdeng. They offer their camp grounds here and also arrange for your various activities at Shnongpdeng like Camping, Trekking, Boating, Kayaking and Snorkelling. Kayaking on the waters of Umngot at Shnongpdeng is a magical experience. The clear waters here make you feel that you are floating on the air and not just Kayaking on a normal river. Relax and unwind from your busy city life at Shnongpdeng. Take a walk along the riverside, swim on the waters of the Umngot river, Camp along the river side, savor delicious meals served with local herbs and do everything you always wanted to do to break away from your normal routine life. Shnongpdeng will surely rejuvenate your soul and make you think twice before packing your bags to ask this question – Should I leave or should I spend another day beside the surreal waters of the river Umngot at Shnongpdeng?
In general we conclude by writing that Dawki is gradually becoming a popular tourist destination of Meghalaya. Dawki has not much of an infrastructure to handle a heavy influx of tourists and visits to Dawki are mostly for a day. So Dawki doesn’t have many hotels for stay. Although small shops are available that serve tea and snacks. An option to stay at Dawki is at the camping grounds of Dawki. The Pioneer Adventure tours have their camping grounds at Dawk that also offers its visitors options of adventure water sports. The various adventure sports organized at Dawki are Kayaking, Ziplining, Snorkeling, etc. Kayaking on the uMngot River at Dawki is an experience one of a kind ad is a perfect site for beginners. Snorkelling at Dawki gives you a first hand experience of exploring the clear waters of the Umngot River at Dawki. The underwater photography during snorkelling at Dawki is indeed a rewarding experience.
And all of the above can be experienced by halting for a night at Dawki by the beautiful campsite along the Umngot River. get to experience a day off from the busy city life listening to the chirping of the birds, the gushing sound of the water of Umngot an spend your night of calm. The halt at campsite at Dawki is sure to leave you relaxed and rejuvenated and filled with memories of you visit to the Border of India and Bangladesh at Dawki!
Places of Tourist Interest at Dawki ~
1| The Border of India and Bangladesh at Dawki, Meghalaya ~
Dawki is one of the few border crossings between India and Bangladesh. At Dawki, visitors are allowed to cross the Indian border and travel to no man’s land till the pillar no. 1275. Visitors can click pictures at the border and come back to Indian territory. Please be advised that the border is heavily guarded by armed personnel of the Border Security Force of India. Hence it is always advisable to ask for their permission before crossing the border.
2| Clear Water Boating on Umngot River at Dawki, Meghalaya ~
Another major tourist attraction at Dawki is Boating on the clear waters of Umngot river. The boat ride last for about an hour and it takes you on a tour of the Umngot River here. The crystal clear waters to leave you spellbound. One boat can fit upto 6 travellers and at towards the end you may also choose to swim in the shallow waters where the water current is not very strong. On your boat ride you can see through the waters of the River up to 20 feet and at times the water can also seen as transparent and colourless with clear visibility of the flora and fauna of the Umngot River.
3| Suspension Bridge Dawki, Meghalaya ~
At Dawki, there is a suspension Bridge that was built by the British in 1932. One can cross this bridge on your way to the Border of India and Bangladesh and later catch a glimpse of this engineering grandeur on your boat ride on the Umngot River.
4| Borhill Falls Dawki, Meghalaya ~
On your way from Mawlynnong to Dawki you can spot the Borhill Falls. Not frequented by tourists you can enjoy the calm and serene atmosphere around here. The Borhill Falls is one fall in Meghalaya where you have to cross the waterfall over a Bridge and you can stand on top of the bridge and see the water flowing under you.
5| Kshaid U Po Umkrem Falls Dawki, Meghalaya ~
Another among the not very well known falls of Meghalaya is the Kshaid U Po Umkrem Falls on the way to Dawki from Mawlynnong. The crystal clear waters of this waterfall is to leave you spellbound.
6| Camping and Adventure Sports at Dawki,Meghalaya ~
Camping in Dawki is a wonderful experience in Meghalaya. The beauty around this place will hold you here, you will only wish to stay in Dawki. The warm sand under your feet when you step out of the camp in the morning makes you feel refreshing and relax. The riverside stay in Dawki can be experienced only with camping.
Also at Dawki, you can enjoy various Adventure Sports like Kayaking, Ziplining, Snorkeling, etc.
Sample Itinerary Details for your visit to Dawki – Meghalaya
DAY 1: GUWAHATI – CHERRAPUNJI (5 – 6 HRS)
On your arrival, you’ll be met by our representative. We directly hit the road to Cherrapunji. The roads are good, so enjoy the lovely drive through the lush green hills. Lunch/Snacks on way, depending upon the flight timings. After check in, time to loosen up from the journey. If time permits we can visit the different waterfalls/caves of the area.
Night Stay: Cherrapunji Resort/Cottages.
Meals Included: NA
DAY 2: CHERRAPUNJI – DOUBLE DECKER ROOT BRIDGE – DURATION OF TREK IS 5 HRS (UP&DOWN)
Today after breakfast, we kick start the Double Decker Root Bridge Trek. The trek starts from – DOUBLE DECKER ROOT BRIDGE – end point Lad Mawphlang. Duration of trek is 5 hours.
Highlights of the Trek:
These Double Decker Bridges are one of the most unique bridges in the world. They are grown by the ancient tribes of the Khasi hills.
Pools with pristine blue water. Bathing is also an option.
Cross Hanging Bridge
After the trek we’ll get back to our base for lunch. Take your time for yourself, making notes, checking the picture or getting some more sleep. Then we’ll go out for local sightseeing :
We can also start off the trek early before breakfast. In this case, breakfast will be packed and we’ll have it on the way.
Night Stay: Resort/Cottages. Cherrapunji.
Meals Included: Breakfast
DAY 3: CHERRAPUNJI – PYNURSLA (2 HRS)
Today after breakfast, we’ll drive to Pynursla. From there we kick start our trek to the longest root bridge accessible in the East Khasi Hills
Highlights of the Trek :
Longest root bridge
Lunch can be arranged as time suitable. After Lunch we can go to Mawlynnong for stay overnight.
Night Stay: Resort/Cottages. Mawlynnong
Meals Included: Breakfast
DAY 4: MAWLYNNONG & DAWKI
Today is our day in the beautiful village of Mawlynnong, settled in the wilderness of East Khasi Hills.
Morning after breakfast we visit the Living Root Bridge of Mawlynong. You spend the day simply enjoying the nature of the place. Get your camera out, make notes of the place, read a book or anything that unwinds you.
For Sightseeing Options are
Asia’s cleanest village
Watch Tower ( Take a view of Bangladesh )
We get back to our base for lunch. Take your time for yourself, making notes, checking the picture or getting some more sleep. Then we‘ll go out for Dawki site seeing.
DAWKI SIGHTSEEING OPTIONS:
Night Stay: HomeStay/Cottages at Mawlynnong.
Meals Included: Breakfast
DAY 5: RETURN FROM GUWAHATI AIRPORT
Today after breakfast, we drive back to the airport and you fly to your onward destination. Tour Ends. Bid Adieu.
Meals Included: Breakfast
To Plan your visit to Dawki in Meghalaya please fill form below:
Exploring Dawki with our guests from Bangalore ~
Our guests from Bangalore were turing North East India with us across Assam and Meghalaya and we had finished exploring Shillong, Cherrapunji and Mawlynnong already. Our next destination was to explore Dawki and then continue on our drive to Jowai and to arrive at Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary before evening. We were halting the night at Mawlynnong and early morning we left mawlynnong at 7 AM after tea to drive to Dawki. We had bought bread to be had along the way and we started driving towards Dawki from the inner road that connects Dawki from Mawlynnong. On the way we would be crossing two beautiful waterfalls. We arrived at Dawki at 8.30 AM and at first headed to explore the border of India and Bangladesh at Dawki.
We reached the spot quickly as not much traffic was there and after parking our car we went to explore the border area. I took permission from the BSF soldiers to cross the border and soon we crossed the border of India into no man’s land between India and Bangladesh. We walked upto the pillar 1275 where we clicked our pictures and in some time we left to the clear water boating point at Dawki. As Dawki is renowned for the clear waters of the Umngot river that flows across the place, boating on the clear waters of this river is a popular tourist activity here and visitors to Dawki never miss out on this opportunity. We had to walk down at the ticket counter where we had to pay INR 700 for the boat to take us along the ride on the Umngot river at Dawki.
Exploring Mawlynnong, Dawki and Shnongpdeng
We had heard of the sublime waters of the Umngot river at Dawki and the surreal phenomenon with waters so crystal clear that it creates an illusion of the boats floating in the air and we had planned to visit Dawki on a trip from Assam and we had explored the other tourist destinations of Meghalaya mostly at Shillong, Cherrapunji, Mawsynram, Jowai and Mawphlang, etc. we planned on making this trip specially to explore Mawlynnong and Dawki and this was during the initial days of the start of our travel company when we were going around exploring the places around North East India and this would be a time for us to explore Dawki. We were finalized with our plan of visiting Dawki but then one friend of ours told us about this gem of a hidden paradise that was not known to many travellers during the time and this place was none other than Shnongpdeng and this was an added bonus for our trip to Dawki and as we were travelling in our own car we didn’t have the problem of logistics and so we were all set to explore surreal Dawki, Mawlynnong and Shnongpdeng.
We started on our early morning drive from Guwahati and we did not plan on Shillong and so this meant that we had to drive for another two hours from Upper Shillong and so we had to ensure to cross the Shillong peak traffic before 8.30AM and this meant we left Guwahati at around 6AM to drive towards Burnihat, Nongpoh and further towards the Umiam Lake at Barapani. We were four of us travelling and so we took turns to drive so that one person driving is not fatigued and we stopped at Barapani to view the pristine waters of the Umiam Lake here and we had a cup of tea and some breakfast as we had to skip breakfast because of the early morning drive and soon we started on our drive again and as per our calculations the streets of Shillong were gradually being filled with the various vehicles and we were lucky we did not get stuck in traffic and instead we started on our ride to Upper Shillong and we crossed the beautiful landscapes of Shillong and continued on our drive to Mylliem and further towards on the roads to Cherrapunji. We soon reached a road diversion and the road to the left takes us to Mawlynnong and Dawki while the road straight road leads to Cherrapunji.
We took the road left and continued on our drive across the beautiful landscapes of Meghalaya and this drive was no less than across some foreign country and we put on some nice county music and we enjoyed on our drive towards Pynursla. At one stretch of the road we could see only the cloud cover and so we had to drive carefully to avoid any unwanted distraction along the road and soon we reached Pynursla where stopped to have a true breakfast of the Khasi people of Meghalaya that is comprised of Jadoh and meat and also the rice platter that is served with a vegetable fry, dal, freshly chopped salad, a spicy tomato chutney, some homemade spicy pickles and a choice of meat or fish. The Khasi people of Meghalaya follow a typical eating routine across the day where they split their meals across the day and they do not eat a lot of rice at one go itself and these meals are priced moderately as well and they eat whenever they feel hungry after a hard day of work and their meal is nothing very fancy and it has an offering of rice, dal, sabji and this is what makes them able to digest the food and they have the very lean physique and do not have bulging tummies. We took our seats to enjoy their meals and soon we hit the road again to drive to Mawlynnong the cleanest village in Asia.
The road towards Mawlynnong are much narrower compared to the highway and the visibility is lesser because of the tall growth of the broomstick trees and the areca nut trees and so one has to be careful in case they are driving to avoid the vehicles that come from the other side as it is a two lane road and we soon reached the stream crossing that has a suspension bridge over it and we kept during towards Mawlynnong and soon we reached the site of the Riwai Living Root bridge and we planned on visiting the place because we had asked a friend who works as a local guide to help see a place from us to halt for the night and as we spend a day here tomorrow so we went ahead to see the place before we continued on our day of exploring Mawlynnong village and its various tourist attractions before we headed on our drive to Dawki the next day. We met the local guide at Mawlynnong village and he took us to his house where they had setup two rooms that acted as a homestay for travellers and he gave us a price we couldn’t resist and we took the rooms and we freshened up and set out to explore the various places of interest at Mawlynnong.
After checking into our rooms we put our stuff there and we came out to explore the beautiful village of Mawlynnong that is said to be the Cleanest Village in Asia. The locals of Mawlynnong village have since long kept it as a practice to keep the premises of the village neat and clean and also they have had toilets across all the houses since long. They also know the difference between the biodegradable and non-biodegradable waste and so they have been segregating this waste and while the biodegradable ones are used to create manure and compost while the non-biodegradable ones are collected carefully and sent across to recycle plants in Shillong for safe disposal. This was bought to news by the Discover India magazine in 2003 and later BBC as well and tourists started to recognize Mawlynnong on the map and this coupled with the boating experience on the crystal clear waters of the Umngot River at Dawki has made Mawlynnong and Dawki as two of the most sought after tourist destinations in North East India. The mention of Mawlynnong in his Man Ki Baat speech by the Hon. Prime Minister of India Mr. Narendra Modi ji has made a much wider impact on the minds of the people and this has made inflow of tourists more to Mawlynnong and even with this the villagers have been able to keep up with maintaining the cleanliness across the village and keep the tag of the Cleanest village in Asia to its repute.
Our guide told us that it would be better that we took the hike from the Riwai Single Decker Living Root Bridge to the Nohwet Village after our lunch because we did not have much time the following day as we would be continuing to Dawki and so there would be less time the next morning and so we went to have our lunch at the guide’s mother’s restaurant and later we would go to explore the Riwai Living Root Bridge and further hike across a pristine forest area to reach the Nohwet village where we would explore the oldest Khasi hut and later the Nohwet Sky view point and one of our friends who didn’t like to hike would bring the vehicle to the Nohwet village and we would come back to Mawlynnong village. We had a sumptuous meal of rice, banana flower sabji with potatoes, dal, chicken with sesame seeds, potato fry, mashed roasted brinjal, papad, pickle, etc. and after the meal we started on our drive to the site of the Riwai Single Decker Living Root Bridge at Mawlynnong Village.
The Living Root bridges are a pride of Meghalaya and are known to be found only in the state and nowhere else in the World. The Riwai Single Decker Living Bridge is by far the most easily accessible root bridge and the widest one as well and this is what makes this the most visited living Root Bridge with around 1000 visitors coming to visit the place during the peak tourist season. A brief about these living root bridges of Meghalaya: As we all know that Meghalaya is a place that receives heavy rainfall during the monsoon season and the place called as Mawsynram is the wettest place in Earth and so there are numerous stream crossings that are present across the various remote villages that are present in the East Khasi and West Jaintia hills of Meghalaya. It is not feasible for the local administration to build bridges over these streams because these villages are very remote with nothing but a narrow pathway present to connect them and the villagers need to access the townships using these small pathways itself. During the rainy season when the steams get filled with water and the villagers find it extremely difficult to cross these water streams to restore connectivity they came up with the unique idea of growing bridges instead of building them and this was how the concept of living Root Bridge came to the picture.
The villagers used the roots of the rubber tree for this and they allowed these roots to grow in a particular direction across the streams and to provide guidance and support to these young roots they use the trunks of the hollowed out betel nut trees or even bamboo poles and the roots keep growing across that direction across the stream and it takes around 20 years for the roots to grow in that direction and this makes the living root bridge complete. Once fully grown to make the pathway across the bridge, the villagers use stones and wood planks to make the surface even and one such living root bridge would last for around 500 years. These root bridges unlike the conventional iron bridges grow stronger with rain while the iron ones rust and become weak that provides the additional advantage to the root bridges. This Riwai is a single decker living Root Bridge while the one at the Nongriat village near Cherrapunji (also a UNESCO World Heritage Site) is a Double Decker Living Root Bridge.
These root bridges are generally located across the remote corners of the forests and one has to trek for some time to reach these but the one at Mawlynnong is the most easily accessible one that takes only around 10 minutes time and so the visitors come to view this unique bioengineering marvel here. We too set out to explore this root bridge and we walked down the stairway to reach this beautiful man grown bioengineering marvel and as it was the winter season the water level was not so high in the stream that flowed below. We walked across the root bridge and then we trekked further uphill towards the Nohwet village and the walk is across the pristine forests of the East Khasi Hills of Meghalaya. We reached the Nohwet village and we went to the site of the oldest Khasi hut and Nohwet village and this so happened to be the ancestral home of the friend cum guide and he showed us across the place and it was tough to believe that a family of four used to stay inside this hut and it was well designed as well. Later we went to visit the Nohwet Sky view point that is basically a tree house cum view point built with bamboo from where we can see the plains of Bangladesh from here.
After this we boarded our cars and we started on our drive to reach Mawlynnong village where we stopped to view the Balancing rocks at Mawlynnong village. This is a unique phenomenon where a large rock boulder rests atop a much smaller rock and this has been standing like this since many hundred years and this earlier was considered to be a sacred place by the Khasi people and various rituals and worship were conducted at this place in the olden days. Today this serves as a tourist attraction drawing hundreds of visitors every day and guests are thrilled with this unique phenomenon that defies gravity and is a unique place to view. We too walked across this balancing rock structure and admired this unique geographical phenomenon and it was really interesting to witness this as to how a huge rock boulder is resting atop another boulder. With this we headed back to Mawlynnong village and we took some time to explore the village and learn about the various activities that are undertaken by the villagers here every day to keep the village clean.
We returned back to our homestay for the evening and we had another nice traditional dinner at the restaurant and we called it a night here at Mawlynnong village and prepared for the next day for our journey to the land of the pristine waters of the Umngot River at Dawki and Shnongpdeng. Dawki is also the border of India and Bangladesh and the place is divided at the border naturally by the waters of the Umngot river and across the place there are border fences as well that demarcates this border between India and Bangladesh. We took a short walk across Mawlynnong village in the evening and our friend cum guide wanted us to see the traditional kitchen as well and hence we got the opportunity to savour some traditional rice wine that is brewed by the local Khasi people and it had a very strong odour and flavour to it as well and we just had a glass each and enjoyed our dinner and we went back to our rooms and retired to bed. The next morning we were scheduled to explore the cleaning activities at the Mawlynnong village and after breakfast we would proceed on our drive to Dawki and later to Shnongpdeng. We got up early as we retired to bed early and we could see even the local villagers were up by 5.30 AM and they were preparing themselves for the day.
Generally the place remains busy from the afternoon to early evening when the visitors throng Mawlynnong village to have their lunch after their visit to Dawki from Cherrapunji and later they return to Shillong by evening and so the people associated with the tourism activities at Mawlynnong have to prepare themselves for the day. Also few tourists even stay back at the homestays here at Mawlynnong to enjoy their calm evenings in a village environment far away from the hustle and bustle of the city life and also there is a cave and a living root ladder at Shiiliang Jashar that is not yet become a touristy place and so visitors who come to Mawlynnong can try the offbeat experience at these two places as well. The living root ladder is another very unique phenomenon that is found only here at Shilliang Jashar and the roots in this bioengineering marvel grow towards the bottom (vertically) unlike in the root bridges where they grow horizontally. These roots for a mesh and they grow downwards and they tangle up forminga ladder like structure and visitors can climb up the ladders as well.
We very much wanted to explore at least the living root ladder if not the cave here at Mawlynnong but we were short in time as we had to return back to Guwahati and so we had to be content to observe the local activities here at Mawlynnong village. The schedule of cleaning the premises of the village begins in the evening itself after the tourists leave the spot and the waste is all collected and segregated carefully. The morning activities is mostly to clean the dried leaves that fill the place during the morning time and we observed how the locals clean their homes and keep the garbage in bamboo bins placed outside the household and later another team comes and they collect the waste and carry it for disposal. It is a well-defined and yet a simple process and this has earned this tinsel village a very good reputation that makes visitors from across the World come here to enjoy the beauty of the village. In some time we had our breakfast here at Mawlynnong and we bid farewell to the place and out friend cum guide and we started on our drive to Dawki – the border of India and Bangladesh. There are two approaches to Dawki from Mawlynnong and one is across the highway and the other is across a smaller road that takes visitors along the International Border and on the route it is a good opportunity to sight the two more beautiful waterfalls that fall along the way.
We decided to take the smaller and shorter route to Dawki from Mawlynnong as the traffic rush is less across this route and also to enjoy more of scenic beauty on our drive as well. We took a right diversion from Mawlynnong and we continued on our drive towards Dawki and the entire area across the place is filled with growth of areca nut trees and broomstick trees and this is a very important cash crop for the place and people have been earning decent money by growing these crops. Soon we approached the International border that is bifurcating the two countries and we continued on our drive to Dawki along this border and we could see a nice border fence bring built to provide more security along the border. We admired the natural border along our way to Dawki and soon we reached the site of the Bophill falls of Meghalaya that is a very beautiful waterfall and even though we were visiting during the dry season of winters there was still decent water to be seen across the waterfall.
We stopped for a while here to click our pictures and later we continued on our drive to Dawki again. We reached Dawki in about an hour and fifteen minutes time and the plains of Bangladesh gradually became visible to us. Also as the place was along the plains, the temperature was warmer as well when compared to the general climate of Meghalaya that is favourable across the year. Dawki is the border of the East Khasi Hills and the West Jaintia hills districts of Meghalaya and when we are at Shnongpdeng it would be in the West Jaintia hills and continuing further one can go to Jowai that is the district headquarters of the West Jaintia Hills. We arrived at Dawki and soon we stopped at a place to enjoy our boating experience on the crystal clear waters of the Umngot River at Dawki. In the winter season when the rainfall is less, the waters of the Umngot river at Dawki appear to be very clear and the river bed is visible with the naked eyes. The boats that ply on the waters of this river appear as if they are floating on air and this unique characteristic has made Dawki a very renowned destination in North East India.
At Dawki one can have the opportunity to go for boating on the waters of the Umngot River and hopefully it shouldn’t rain because if it rains, the waters bring in mud and so the crystal clear waters turn muddy and one cannot have the perfect experience here at Dawki. We got down from our cars and we hired the services of a boat that would take us for an hour long ride on the crystal clear waters of the Umngot River at Dawki and soon we began on our experience of boating here at Dawki. The boatman was a local person and it seemed that he knew our friend at Mawlynnong as well and so he took us on the waters of the Umngot River at Dawki and explained to us about how he has ferried tourists from around the World who come to Dawki to witness this experience. The boatman took us on a nice boat ride and we could see the river bed from the boat itself and the boats at the distant would appear to be floating on the air because the water bed is very clear. The boat took us to the island and we stopped here and the shopkeeper was selling tea and some snacks and he also offered us can beer as well.
We spent some time on the island and later the boat took us back to the point and we began on our drive to travel to the border of India and Bangladesh. The road to Shnongpdeng takes a left diversion and we had to cross a small market area here at Dawki and here we see that the other name of Dawki is Tamabil as well. We crossed the market and soon approached the border and we could see the various trucks parked here that generally carry goods from India to Bangladesh and vice versa. The customs offices can be seen around and we crossed these offices to reach the border at Dawki where we had to park our car at a designated spot and we walked towards the offices of the Border Security Forces and we took permission to cross the border and the soldiers granted us permission and we could see the offices at Bangladesh and we are allowed to travel only to pillar 1275 near Dawki. We crossed the Indian border at Dawki and we reached no man’s land and we clicked our pictures here and we returned back to the Indian Territory at Dawki and we thanked the soldiers and started on our drive to Shnongpdeng.
We reached Shnongpdeng from Dawki and this is indeed a paradise that looks so beautiful and is more look alike in the pictures unlike the waters of the Umngot River at Dawki that looks somewhat different because of the host of tourist activities that happens here unlike at Shnongpdeng, these waters are much more clean with less of tourist footfalls and this is mostly a place where the backpackers and the weekend visitors from Assam come to mostly along with guests from Bangladesh as well. The majority of the tourists follow a typical visit routine to Dawki wherein they either come from Shillong or Cherrapunji to Dawki in the morning and here they enjoy a session of boating on the waters of the Umngot river followed by a visit to the border and later explore Mawlynnong village and further the balancing rocks and the Riwai Single Decker Living Bridge and finally they travel to Shillong or Cherrapunji. We were not the everyday tourist and so we thought it would be best to visit Shnongpdeng and halt here at one of the few homestays that are present here and enjoy the waters of the Umngot river and later we would travel back to Guwahati via Jowai in the West Jaintia hills after we explore the Krang Shuri falls the next day.
At Shnongpdeng there are numerous water related adventure activities that are carried out and this is conducted by the Pioneer adventures who conduct Kayaking, Rappelling, Snorkelling, Diving, etc. and we thought of trying of some of these adventure activities here at Shnongpdeng before we enjoyed an evening of beer by the river side and later halt at our homestay to begin our journey back to Guwahati the next morning. We went to the homestay to check in and these are basic homestays and also are priced nominally and visitors to Shnongpdeng and Dawki can choose the option of staying at these homestays or even at the various camping sites that are present along the Umngot River in case they want the thrill of staying close to the river and we choose comfort and therefore we took the rooms at the homestay and it was located in a quaint village that has lush greenery all across and some of the very rare species of flora that are endemic to this region of the World. We went to have our lunch at one of the local shops that are setup along the river banks and after lunch we would take a stroll along the river banks and then go for some adventure activity if time permitted us.
We took our seats at the small stall and they had a unique way of serving the meal on the dried leaves of the areca nut tree and these were woven to form a saucer like shape and the meal would be served on it and it was so nice to see the local people refraining from the use of too much plastic and the only plastic we could see around would be that of the water bottles and there were signage’s all around to keep the place plastic free and there were dustbins at regular intervals where people could dispose the use water bottles and later these would be collected and sent to recycling plants. We could see the various offerings for the meal and everything present here was freshly cooked and we ordered the rice meal along with chicken and the fish fry that were caught from the river itself and I must admit this was a very delicious meal with the natural flavours of the meal filling our taste buds and at such cheap prices. Wherein for a meal for four we paid just of what we would be paying for the price of person’s meal at city restaurant and this taught us as to how the modern way of eating is a distress to everyone and is the prime cause of major diseases in the modern cities.
We took a walk across the Umngot river where we could see the locals fishing and there were boats lined up where people were sitting with their traditional fishing rods and enjoying fishing here and we could see some of the people catch a good sized fish as well. We thought of taking up the adventure activity at Shnongpdeng but then we realized that we were too full and so we opted against it and just thought of going for another round of boating on the Umngot river at Shnongpdeng before we would call it a day and spend our evening relaxing by the banks of the river and later return to our homestay and call it a day. The next morning we went towards the West Jaintia Hills district of Meghalaya and here after driving for about an hour we reached the site of the Krang Shuri falls that is a very popular tourist destination in the West Jaintia Hills of Meghalaya. The waters of this Krang Shuri falls is very clean and this is what draws so many tourists here and also there is an option of bathing in the water here as well and the visitors can access the base of this waterfall as well. We admired the beautiful view of the Krang Shuri falls and later we headed back on our drive towards Guwahati crossing the beautiful landscapes of the West Jaintia hills to enter the West Khasi Hills thereby ending our journey to Dawki, Mawlynnong and Shnongpdeng.