Kaziranga National Park, Meghalaya Tourism, Meghalaya Tours, Shillong, Cherrapunji, Mawlynnong
India’s Tallest Plunge Waterfall – the Nohkalikai Falls at Cherrapunji in Meghalaya

Among one of the most beautiful destinations of North East India, Meghalaya often referred to as the Abode of the Clouds is a land of lush green mountains, magnificent waterfalls, unexplored natural caves, the man made wonders of the living root bridges and home to the simple people like the Khasis, Garos and Jaintias. Separating the State of Assam from the plains of Bangladesh, Meghalaya is a cool, pine fresh State set on the horseshoes of rocky cliffs. Forming a part of Assam earlier, Meghalaya became a full fledged State on January 21, 1972 and is bounded in the North and East by Assam and on the South and West by the country of Bangladesh. Meghalaya has a total area of 22,429 sq. km. covering the districts of East Khasi Hills, West Khasi Hills, Jaintia Hills, Ri Bhoi, East Garo Hills, West Garo Hills and the South Garo Hills. The total population of the State is around 23,18,822 covering across 5629 villages and towns. Shillong is the capital city of Meghalaya and is often referred to as the Scotland of the East.

The State of Meghalaya is a land of pristine waterfalls, virgin forests, crystal clear rivers, lush green cover of mountains, pleasant sunshine, the living root bridges, charming people, the wettest places on planet Earth and unending bounties of Mother nature! Meghalaya Tours and Travels welcomes you to the State of Meghalaya ~ the ‘Abode of the Clouds’! A land where the clouds fill the clear skies and pleasant rains make you fall in love with life all over again!

With an approximate area cover of around 22,430 sq km, Meghalaya has around 70% of this land under forest cover. The forests of Meghalaya have unexplored virgin wilderness giving shelter to a wide biodiversity of mammals, birds and reptiles. The Nokrek National Park in the west garo hills of Meghalaya is home to the highly endangered Red Panda species. Only a few left in the World! And as an important part of their contribution to nature, the Tribes of Meghalaya have marked some of the forest regions as sacred groves which have been preserved from times immemorial and have deep religious and cultural significance to an extent where no tree is allowed to be cut from these sacred groves.

Meghalaya is home to many Legendary tribes of India with the primary dwellers being the Khasi, Jaintia and Garo tribes. Each of these tribes have their own distinct culture and traditions but the primary similarity binding these communities is the matrilineal system in which the family’s lineage is taken from the Mother’s side. The Mother is considered as the head of the family here and this can be noticed across Meghalaya where you see many women folks running the daily business activities in the local markets. It is notable that in Meghalaya, the youngest daughter inherits the property and takes care of her parents and siblings. At times, a daughter in law can also be chosen as the heir to the family inheritance. The State of Meghalaya has one of the World’s largest surviving matrilineal tradition. The people of Meghalaya practice Christianity as their faith and English is the official and widely spoken language of the State of Meghalaya.

Kaziranga National Park, Meghalaya Tourism, Meghalaya Tours, Shillong, Cherrapunji, Mawlynnong
The beautiful city of Shillong – a view from the Shillong Peak in Meghalaya

The State of Meghalaya (Sanskrit: Meaning abode of the clouds) has never failed to thrill its visitor’s. From pleasant weather, beautiful landscapes, majestic waterfalls and breathtaking scenery, a visit to Meghalaya will surely fill your heart with solace. Shillong aka ‘the Scotland of the East’ and ‘India’s Rock Capital’ is the capital of state of Meghalaya where you see a blend of the cultural past and modern civilization. Shillong is also the District Headquarters of East Khasi Hills District and is situated at an altitude of 1,496 metres above sea level. The capital city has a bracing climate throughout the year. This city has been the seat of Government since the consolidation of the British administration in this part of India more than a century ago.

The State of Meghalaya is one of the most favored destination of visitors to North East India. Meghalaya is a land of never ending mountain cover, seamless cover of clouds covering these mountains, pristine unadulterated landscapes, clear water rivers, pleasant climate with rainfall, the Bio Engineering marvels of the Living Root Bridges and unending bounties of Mother Nature. Meghalaya is a place where you get to see a blend of ancient traditions and modern life. The sanskrit meaning of the word ‘Meghalaya’ is ‘Abode of the Clouds’ and very true to this description once you are at Meghalaya you will experience that the cloud cover ceases to clear the skies.

Meghalaya is located at the proximity of the city of Guwahati in Assam with the capital of Meghalaya – Shillong having a distance of approximately 80 km from Guwahati. Shillong city is often referred to as the ‘Scotland of the East’ and ‘India’s Rock Capital’ as every third household in Shillong has a talented musician. Meghalaya is bounded to the south and west by the country of Bangladesh and to the north and east by the State of Assam.

Meghalaya is the wettest region of India, recording an average of 12,000 mm of rain in a year. Mawsynram in Meghalaya is the wettest place on Planet Earth. Alos, around 70% of the State of Meghalaya is under forest cover.

Inhabited by three principal tribes of North East India i.e. the Khasis, the Garos and the Jaintias, one unique culture of the tribes of Meghalaya is the Matrilineal system wherein the family’s lineage is taken from the Mother’s side and the youngest daughter inherits the ancestral property and takes care of her aged parents and unmarried siblings.

Meghalaya is a place where you get to see a blend of ancient traditions and modern life. The sanskrit meaning of the word ‘Meghalaya’ is ‘Abode of the Clouds’ and very true to this description once you are at Meghalaya you will experience that the cloud cover ceases to clear the skies. Meghalaya is located at the proximity of the city of Guwahati in Assam with the capital of Meghalaya – Shillong having a distance of approximately 80 km from Guwahati. Shillong city is often referred to as the ‘Scotland of the East’ and ‘India’s Rock Capital’ as every third household in Shillong has a talented musician. Meghalaya is bounded to the south and west by the country of Bangladesh and to the north and east by the State of Assam.

Kaziranga National Park, Meghalaya Tourism, Meghalaya Tours, Shillong, Cherrapunji, Mawlynnong
The Abode of the Clouds – the beautiful State of Meghalaya

The State of Meghalaya is also home to the ‘Wettest place on Planet Earth – Mawsynram’. Mawsynram records the maximum rainfall anywhere in the world. Very close to this is the record held by the town of Cherrapunji. Cherrapunji’s breathtaking landscapes is sure to leave any visitor here awestruck! The Majestic ‘Nohkalikai’ waterfall at Cherrapunji is the tallest plunge waterfall in India.

Geography of Meghalaya ~

As mentioned earlier, around 70% of Meghalaya is under forest cover. Meghalaya is mountainous with stretches of valley and highland. The State of rich in mineral deposits like coal, limestone, uranium, etc.

Meghalaya also has many rivers like Umiam, Umngot, Simsang, etc.

The highest point of the East Khasi Hills of Meghalaya is the Shillong Peak at an altitude of 1961 m and in the Garo Hills it’s the Nokrek Peak at an elevation of 1515 m.

Climate of Meghalaya ~

Being home to the wettest and second wettest places on Planet Earth at Mawsynram and Cherrapunji it can be easy understood that in Meghalaya, the clouds cease to clear the skies. With an average annual rainfall of 12,000 mm, Meghalaya is the wettest place on Earth! Meghalaya’s climate follows a trend as the rest of North East India wherein the summer months range from May to September classified with a mix of hot and humid and cool rainy days. Winters are mostly dry with cold nights.

Kaziranga National Park, Meghalaya Tourism, Meghalaya Tours, Shillong, Cherrapunji, Mawlynnong
The Longest Living Root Bridge in the World at Pynursla in Meghalaya

Flora and Fauna of Meghalaya ~

With around 70% of land under forest cover, Meghalaya boasts of a wide variety of Flora, Fauna and Avifauna species. Two of the most important tree varieties found in Meghalaya are Sal and Teak. In addition, Meghalaya is home to a large variety of fruits, vegetable, spices and medicinal plants. It would be important to state that Meghalaya supplies vegetables across the entire North Eastern region of the Country. The mammal species found in Meghalaya are Elephants, Bears, Red Pandas, Gaurs, Deer, Wild Boars, etc. The Hoolock Gibbon species is found in all the districts of Meghalaya. As per the tradition of the tribes of Meghalaya, certain small pockets of ancient forests have been preserved by these tribal communities for hundreds of years due to religious and cultural beliefs. These forests remain protected from exploitation and are called as Sacred Groves. These Sacred Groves of Meghalaya harbor many rare plants, animal species and a wide variety of Orchids.

Kaziranga National Park, Meghalaya Tourism, Meghalaya Tours, Shillong, Cherrapunji, Mawlynnong
The elusive Red Panda species to be found at the Nokrek National Park in Meghalaya. Image – Wikipedia

Economy of Meghalaya ~

The State of Meghalaya is predominantly an agrarian economy and nearly 80% of the population depends on agriculture for their livelihood. Nearly 10% of the area of Meghalaya is under cultivation. Handicraft is also an occupation prevalent among the tribes of Meghalaya. Weaving in an ancient craft done both on cloth and cane. Cane mats, stools and baskets of Meghalaya are famous across the World. Other items include mouth organs, flute, tobacco pipes, tribal weapons, etc. Tourism as an economy is gradually catching up in Meghalaya with many people depending on it for their livelihood. The Tourism Department Govt. of Meghalaya has come up with many unique initiatives to attract more visitors to the State and Meghalaya Tourism is dedicated on developing infrastructure and public facilities at tourist spots across Meghalaya.

​Considered to be among the wettest places on Earth, Meghalaya is home to Mawsynram and Cherrapunji, the two most rainiest places on the planet. Meghalaya itself records an average annual rainfall of 1200 cm. Meghalaya enjoys a favorable climate around the year generalized as temperate. The climate of Meghalaya is influenced by the South-West monsoons and the North-East winter winds. The four seasons of Meghalaya are Spring – March and April, Summer (Monsoon) – May to September, Autumn – October and November and Winter – December to February.

Known to be hospitable, cheerful and friendly, the people of Meghalaya belong mainly to three principal ethnic communities viz. the Khasis, the Garos and the Jaintias. Majority of these people practice Christianity as their faith which is evident from the many number of Churches to be seen here in Meghalaya. The most common trait binding these communities of Meghalaya is the matrilineal system wherein the family heritage is taken from the mother’s side.

Kaziranga National Park, Meghalaya Tourism, Meghalaya Tours, Shillong, Cherrapunji, Mawlynnong
The Local Khasi people of Meghalaya at the local market in Cherrapunji

The principal languages of Meghalaya are Khasi, Pnar and Garo. However, English is spoken by a majority of the people of the State. The Khasi language of Meghalaya is believed to be on the few surviving dialects of the Mon-Khmer family of languages in India today.

Meghalaya is home to varied flora and fauna. Rich in rare species of flora like the pitcher plant, wild citrus and pygmy lily. Meghalaya is a paradise for botanists with over 300 world’s species to be found here. Meghalaya’s forests are rich with the Rhododendron and pine trees. In addition, various species of fruit trees like plums, peaches, oranges as well as spices like ginger, pepper, turmeric, bay leaf, etc. are found across Meghalaya. The Mawphlang Sacred Groves at Mawphlang is a huge protected area forest and is home to over 200 species of orchids. Flora and Fauna are widely spread across the National Parks and Wildlife Reserves of Meghalaya. The Nokrek National Park near Tura is home to various species of fauna like Wild Elephants, Hoolock Gibbons, rare varieties of birds and orchids, etc. The Balpakram National Park near Tura is home to the highly endangered species of Red Panda. Additional fauna to be sighted here are tigers, bisons, black bear, leopards, sambar deer, etc. The Siju Bird Sanctuary is home to many rare and endangered species of Avi Fauna. The Siberian ducks are spotted here during winters and also the Grey Hornbill and Peacock Pheasant.

Kaziranga National Park, Meghalaya Tourism, Meghalaya Tours, Shillong, Cherrapunji, Mawlynnong
The Double Decker Living Root Bridge at Nongriat Village near Cherrapunji in Meghalaya

Meghalaya is a state of never ending festivals. From modern rock concerts to traditional agrarian based festivals, the ethnic community of Meghalaya viz. the Khasis, Garos and Jaintias celebrate several festivals that are characterized in the form of dance, feast and worship. Some of the prominent festivals celebrated across Meghalaya are Shad Suk Mynsiem Dance, Nongkrem Dance Festival, Behdienkhlam Festival, Laho Dance, Chad Sukra, Wangala Festival, Autumn Festival, Strawberry Festival, Ranikor Festival, etc.

Meghalaya is the wettest region of India, recording an average of 12,000 mm of rain in a year. Mawsynram in Meghalaya is the wettest place on Planet Earth. Alos, around 70% of the State of Meghalaya is under forest cover.

Meghalaya’s main ethnic communities, each having its own distinctive customs and cultural traditions are the Khasis (of Mon-Khmer ancestry), the Garos (of Tibeto-Burman origin) and the Jaintias said to be from South East Asia. The common trait binding all three communities is its Matrilineal system in which the family linage is taken from the mother’s side. The people of Meghalaya are known to be hospitable, cheerful and friendly.

Kaziranga National Park, Meghalaya Tourism, Meghalaya Tours, Shillong, Cherrapunji, Mawlynnong
The Local Khasi tribal people of Meghalaya

To Plan your visit to Meghalaya with Kaziranga National Park please fill the form below:

Destinations of Meghalaya and places of Interest~

1| Shillong, Meghalaya ~

Kaziranga National Park, Meghalaya Tourism, Meghalaya Tours, Shillong, Cherrapunji, Mawlynnong
The Music Culture of Shillong in Meghalaya – the Rock Capital of India

Shillong aka ‘the Scotland of the East’ and ‘India’s Rock Capital’ is the capital of State of Meghalaya where you see a blend of the cultural past and modern civilization. Shillong is also the District Headquarters of East Khasi Hills District and is situated at an altitude of 1,496 metres above sea level. The capital city has a bracing climate throughout the year. This city has been the seat of Government since the consolidation of the British administration in this part of India more than a century ago.

Places of Interest ~

Wards Lake, Don Bosco Museum, Madina Masjid, Shillong Polo Grounds, Elephant Falls, Indian Air Force Museum, Shillong Peak, Cathedrals of Shillong, Bara Bazaar, Police Bazaar and the numerous Cafes of Shillong.

2| Cherrapunji, Meghalaya ~

Kaziranga National Park, Meghalaya Tourism, Meghalaya Tours, Shillong, Cherrapunji, Mawlynnong
India’s Fourth tallest waterfall – the Seven Sister Falls at Cherrapunji in Meghalaya

The Land of Majestic Waterfalls, Breathtaking Landscape, Unexplored Caves, the Living Root Bridges and the Second Highest Rainfall anywhere in the World. The original name for this town was Sohra, which was pronounced “Churra” by the British. This name eventually evolved into the current name, Cherrapunji. The name “cherrapunji” which means ‘land of oranges’ was first used by tourists from other parts of India.

Places of Interest ~

Nohkalikai Falls, Seven Sister Falls, Dainthlen Falls, Mawsmai Caves, Double Decker Living Root Bridge, Single Decker Living Root Bridge, Beautiful Landscapes and the Rains of Cherrapunji.

3| Mawlynnong, Meghalaya ~

Kaziranga National Park, Meghalaya Tourism, Meghalaya Tours, Shillong, Cherrapunji, Mawlynnong
The Riwai Single Decker Living Root Bridge at Mawlynnong in Meghalaya

Declared as the Cleanest Village in Asia, at Mawlynnong there are about 95 households. A striking feature of this small village is that the literacy rate is 100%. Agriculture is the chief occupation of the local population, with betel nut being the main crop. The people residing in the community are mostly Khasi people.

Places of Interest ~

Living Root Bridge at Mawlynnong, Bangladesh Border view Sky-walk, Balancing Rocks at Mawlynnong, Asia’s Cleanest Village, Village Walks, Ecotourism Homestay with the Khasi Tribes, Mawlynnong Cathedral, Khasi Cuisine, etc.

4| Dawki, Meghalaya ~

Kaziranga National Park, Meghalaya Tourism, Meghalaya Tours, Shillong, Cherrapunji, Mawlynnong
The Border of India and Bangladesh at Dawki in Meghalaya

Dawki aka Tamabil, is a place at the border of India and Bangladesh near Meghalaya. Dawki is renowned for the Umngot River which has water so clear that you can see the river bed clearly with a naked eye. Visitors are allowed to take a boat ride on the River and one can literally see the boat floating in air as the water is so clear. At Dawki you can cross the border of India and reach the pillar 1273 that marks the border of Bangladesh and India. The suspension bridge at Dawki is also a tourist attraction which was constructed in 1932 by the British.

5| Pynursla, Meghalaya ~

Kaziranga National Park, Meghalaya Tourism, Meghalaya Tours, Shillong, Cherrapunji, Mawlynnong
The World’s Longest Living Root Bridge at Pynursla in Meghalaya

Pynursla is small town in the East Khasi Hills located between the journey from Cherrapunji to Mawlynnong. Covered with a thick rain forests Pynursla is a place of breathtaking beauty. The place remains under a cover of clouds most of the time around. Pynursla is also home to the Longest Living Root Bridge in the World!

6| Mawphlang, Meghalaya ~

Kaziranga National Park, Meghalaya Tourism, Meghalaya Tours, Shillong, Cherrapunji, Mawlynnong
The Khasi Heritage Village at Mawphlang in Meghalaya

The site of the Khasi Hills Sacred Groves, Mawphlang is located at 25 kilometers from the capital city of Shillong. The word maw means “stone”, maw phlang means “grassy stone,” and is one of many settlements in the Khasi hills named after monoliths. The Khasi heritage village is considered to be the hub of Khasi culture and plays host the Monolith Festival of Meghalaya every year in the month of March-April.

Mawphlang is also the starting point of one of the most pristine trekking routes across Meghalaya viz. the ‘David Scott Trail Trek’ which begins at Mawphlang and extends upto Lad Mawphlang covering a total distance of 16 km across the vast virgin wilderness of the East Khasi Hills and the flowing Umiam river.

7| Tura, Meghalaya ~

Kaziranga National Park, Meghalaya Tourism, Meghalaya Tours, Shillong, Cherrapunji, Mawlynnong
Welcome to the West Garo Hills of Meghalaya at Tura

Tura is a hilly town in the West Garo Hills district in the state of Meghalaya. One of the largest towns in Meghalaya, Tura is a valley located at the foothills of the Tura Hills and right below the Tura Peak. The climate in Tura is moderate throughout the year and has a large number of interesting and unexplored areas. The native God ‘Durama’ was believed to reside in the hills.

The Nokrek National Park near Tura is a hotspot of biodiversity in Meghalaya. Nokrek is an important habitat of the Asian elephants. The park had eight species of cats, ranging from Tiger to Marbled cat. But Nokrek is better known to have a remnant population of the Red panda that has generated curiosity across the World.

Places of Interest ~

Tura Peak, Nokrek Biosphere, Pelga Falls, Rongbang Dare, Sasatgre Village, Williamnagar, Sisobibra, Resubelpara, Baghmara Reserve Forest, Nengkong, Imilchang Dare, Simsang River

Important Festival of Meghalaya ~

The three major tribes of Meghalaya viz. the Khasis, Garos and Jaintias celebrate various festivals across the year to mark their agricultural good faith festivities. These festivals of the people of Meghalaya are interconnected with their traditional practices, culture and religion. The people of Meghalaya express their way of happiness in these festivals in the form of worship, feasting, songs and dances. Some of the important festivals of Meghalaya are ~

1| Nongkrem Dance Festival ~ Khasi Hills ~ Meghalaya

The Nongkrem Dance Festival is one of the most important festivals of the Khasi tribes of Meghalaya who inhabit the East Khasi Hills & West Khasi Hills districts of Meghalaya. Celebrated every year during the month of November, this festival promotes the message of peace and prosperity and is a way of saying thanks to the Lord Almighty by the Khasi people of Meghalaya. The Nongkrem Dance Festival is held at a place called Smit near Shillong which is also the capital of the Khyrim Syiemship Society. Smit is located around 15 kilometers from Shillong and is the hub of the Khasi heritage and culture. The Nongkrem dance of this festival is generally held at the King’s courtyard – viz. the Syiem of Hima Khyriem (Chief of Khyriem). In the Nongkrem Dance Festival, the festivities begin by offering the sacrifice of a goat in order to appease the God of Shillong Peak – Lei Shyllong. Later on the festivities and dance rituals begin where in the unmarried Khasi girls start the dance on barefoot and the boys accompany them in the dance holding traditional swords and white yak hair and both dance to the sound of the beating drums. The festival is celebrated with great pomp and vigor across the Khasi people of Meghalaya and people from across the world gather in Meghalaya to be a part of the festivities. The head of the Khasi State – Syiem presides over the rituals of the Nongkrem Dance Festival and the boys and girls dance to the tunes by paying their respects to them.

2| Shad Suk Mynsiem Dance Festival ~ Khasi Hills ~ Meghalaya

Another important festival of the Khasi tribes of Meghalaya is the Shad Suk Mynsiem Dance Festival. This is an annual spring dance festival of Meghalaya celebrated every year in the month of April by the Khasi tribes of Meghalaya. This is an annual thanksgiving festival for the successful harvest of a season and is celebrated on the Weiling grounds in Shillong city and also across other parts of the State of Meghalaya. This festival involves various families, clans and villages an it reflects the various characteristics of the matrilineal society of the Khasi tribes of Meghalaya. The men carry swords and symbolize as the protectors of the womanhood of the society.

3| Behdienkhlam Festival ~ Jaintia Hills ~ Meghalaya

The Jaintia people of Meghalaya inhabit the area around Jowai in the West Jaintia hills and they celebrate one of the most colorful festivals of Meghalaya that is hosted for three days called the Behdienkhlam Festival. The ‘Behdienkhlam’ means driving away of evil spirits by beating with sticks.

During this festival, the Jaintia people of Meghalaya take out a procession on the streets of Jowai accompanied by beating of drums and playing of flutes and pipes. A decorative structure in the form of a tower called as the Rath follows them and this Rath is carried to a lake for immersion. Men mostly take part in this procession while women stay back at home preparing for the sacrificial rituals. The festival culminates when a sacred tree is brought in the center of the locality of the village. A major sport soccer played with a wooden ball is organized between two teams f the Upper and the lower valleys of the Myntdu river. The team that wins will bring good fortune to that particular valley.

4| Laho Dance ~ Jaintia Hills ~ Meghalaya

Another popular festival of the Jaintia people of Meghalaya is the Laho Dance festival. In this festival both men and women participate. Both boys and girls are dressed in their finest attire and they dance together holding each others hands. Instead o the normal drums and pipes a cheerleader recites certain traditional chants for the audience.

5| Chad Sukra ~ Pnar Hills ~ Meghalaya

Celebrated every year in April, the Pnar people of Meghalaya make preparations for hosting the Chad Sukra which is their annual sowing festival. Similar to the likes of the many harvest festivals across North East India, the Pnar people too believe that it is the best time to sow seeds after this festival. This festival is celebrated to appease the God and seed his blessings to protect the crops from any calamities during the year.

6| Wangala Festival ~ Garo Hills ~ Meghalaya

The Wangala Festival is an important festival of the Garo people of Meghalaya who inhabit the East Garo and West Garo Hills of Meghalaya. The Wangala Festival is a post-harvest festival of the Garo tribes that marks the end of the years agricultural season and a time to thank God for a beautiful harvest – the God of Misi-A-Gipla-Saljong-Galapo. Held usually in the month of November, the festival is symbolized with eating, drinking and merrymaking across the festival days in order to celebrate a bountiful harvest. The men and women dress in their best possible attires and come out to the local celebration grounds where 300 dancers and 100 drums gather to highlight the grandeur of the Wangala Festival. To the tunes of the drums the men and women dance gracefully along with the tunes of buffalo horn trumpets and bamboo flutes.

7| Modern Festival ~ Shillong ~ Meghalaya

The Autumn festival of Meghalaya is held every year in October in Shillong which i organized by the Dept. of Tourism to promote tourism across Meghalaya. Various activities like fashion shows, beauty pageants, food and wine festivals, flower shows, music and rock festivals, etc. are organized as a part of the festivities.

The Strawberry festival of Meghalaya is another important festival that is emerging as a tourist attraction of Meghalaya. Organized every year on Valentine’s day, the festival draws huge crowds from across the World that provides various details of the strawberry cultivation across the State.

The Rainikor Festival of Meghalaya is celebrated every year in February which is a sort of a modern sports festival that has a blend of traditional practices of the Khasis, Garos and Hajongs of Meghalaya. Various sports like trekking, beach volleyball, soccer, swimming, traditional archery, boat riding, etc. are held followed by performance of live bands and ethnic cuisines.

To Plan your visit to Meghalaya with Kaziranga National Park please fill the form below:

Dawki, Shnongpdeng, Dawki border, Kaziranga National Park, Umngot, Shnongpdeng Homestay

Boats on the clear waters of the Umngot River at Dawki ~ Dawki ~ Meghalaya ~ India

Cherrapunji, Kaziranga National Park, Living Root Bridge, Cherrapunji Hotels, Meghalaya
Meghalaya Tourism welcomes you to the Double Decker Root Bridge at Cherrapunji ~ Cherrapunji ~ Meghalaya ~ India
Mawsynram, Meghalaya Caves, Krem Puri Mawsynram, Kaziranga National Park, Mawsynram
The rock in shape of a Shivling inside the Mawjymbuin Cave at the Mawsynram Village ~ Mawsynram ~ Meghalaya ~ India
Cherrapunji, Kaziranga National Park, Living Root Bridge, Cherrapunji Hotels, Meghalaya
Hanging Bridge Crossings to reach Root Bridge at Cherrapunji ~ Cherrapunji ~ Meghalaya ~ India
Dawki, Shnongpdeng, Dawki border, Kaziranga National Park, Umngot, Shnongpdeng Homestay
Welcome to Meghalaya at the Border at Dawki ~ Dawki ~ Meghalaya ~ India
Cherrapunji, Kaziranga National Park, Living Root Bridge, Cherrapunji Hotels, Meghalaya
Beautiful Butterflies at Cherrapunji ~ Cherrapunji ~ Meghalaya ~ India
Cherrapunji, Kaziranga National Park, Living Root Bridge, Cherrapunji Hotels, Meghalaya
Our visitors from Scotland at Cherrapunji ~ Cherrapunji ~ Meghalaya ~ India
Cherrapunji, Kaziranga National Park, Living Root Bridge, Cherrapunji Hotels, Meghalaya
The beautiful cloud cover over mountains at Cherrapunji ~ Cherrapunji ~ Meghalaya ~ India
Cherrapunji, Kaziranga National Park, Living Root Bridge, Cherrapunji Hotels, Meghalaya
The Umshiang Double Decker Living Root Bridge at Cherrapunji ~ Cherrapunji ~ Meghalaya ~ India
Dawki, Shnongpdeng, Dawki border, Kaziranga National Park, Umngot, Shnongpdeng Homestay
Visitors at the Border of India and Bangladesh at Dawki ~ Dawki ~ Meghalaya ~ India
Cherrapunji, Kaziranga National Park, Living Root Bridge, Cherrapunji Hotels, Meghalaya
Architectural wonders of the Living Root Bridge at Cherrapunji ~ Cherrapunji ~ Meghalaya ~ India
Cherrapunji, Kaziranga National Park, Living Root Bridge, Cherrapunji Hotels, Meghalaya
The Tyrna Village Eco tourism area at Cherrapunji ~ Cherrapunji ~ Meghalaya ~ India
Cherrapunji, Kaziranga National Park, Living Root Bridge, Cherrapunji Hotels, Meghalaya
The majestic Nohkalikai Falls at Cherrapunji ~ Cherrapunji ~ Meghalaya ~ India
Cherrapunji, Kaziranga National Park, Living Root Bridge, Cherrapunji Hotels, Meghalaya
Single Decker Root Bridges at Cherrapunji ~ Cherrapunji ~ Meghalaya ~ India
Cherrapunji, Kaziranga National Park, Living Root Bridge, Cherrapunji Hotels, Meghalaya
Jingkieng Nongriat Double Decker Root Bridge at Cherrapunji ~ Cherrapunji ~ Meghalaya ~ India
Cherrapunji, Kaziranga National Park, Living Root Bridge, Cherrapunji Hotels, Meghalaya
Our young visitor enjoys natural fish spa at Cherrapunji ~ Cherrapunji ~ Meghalaya ~ India
Cherrapunji, Kaziranga National Park, Living Root Bridge, Cherrapunji Hotels, Meghalaya
The Umshiang Double Decker Living Root Bridge at Nongriat Village ~ Cherrapunji ~ Meghalaya ~ India

Sample Itinerary Detail for your visit to Meghalaya – North East India

Day 1 ~ Guwahati and Cherrapunji

Arrive at Guwahati Airport and transfer to Cherrapunji. On the way sight the Umiam Lake which is the largest artificial water reservoir of NE India. The crystal clear waters to leave you spellbound. Arrive at Cherrapunji for night halt.

Night Stay: Sohra Plaza Homestay at Cherrapunji

Meals Included: NA

Day 2 ~ Cherrapunji ~ Double Decker Living Root Bridge (Trek Duration ~ 5 – 6 HRS)

Today after breakfast, we kick start the Double Decker Living Root Bridge Trek at Nongriat Village near Cherrapunji. Duration of trek is 5 – 6 hours. We will also spot the Single Decker Living Root Bridge at Cherrapunji.

Highlights of the Trek:

  •  These Living Root Bridges (Single and Double Decker) are one of the most unique bridges in the world. They are grown by the ancient tribes of the Khasi hills
  • Cross Hanging Bridge

After the trek we’ll have lunch at the Local Market at Cherrapunji and savor Ethnic Khasi Delicacies and Cuisine. Later visit the Nohkalikai Falls, Seven Sister Falls and Mawsmai Caves and wrap up for the day.

Night Stay: Sohra Plaza Homestay at Cherrapunji

Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 3 ~ Dawki and Mawlynnong

After Breakfast, visit the Dainthlen Falls and Wah Kaba Falls at Cherrapunji. Later travel to Dawki. The International Border of India and Bangladesh click your pictures at no man’s land at pillar 1275. Later visit the Umngot River at Dawki. Take a boat ride on the Umngot River ~ the crystal clear waters to leave you spellbound. Later arrive at Asia’s Cleanest Village of Mawlynnong. At Mawlynnong, visit the Balancing Rocks, the Living Root Bridge and take a walk along Asia’s Cleanest Village.

Night Stay: Comfortable Homestay at Mawlynnong

Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 4 ~ Mawlynnong  and Kaziranga National Park

After Breakfast, enroute to the National Park of Kaziranga. Evening free to visit the nearby Tea Gardens at Kaziranga.

Night Stay: Bonroja Motel/Namdang Guest House at Kaziranga National Park

Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 5 ~ Kaziranga National Park and Kohima/Kigwema

Early morning go for a thrilling Elephant Safari into the interiors of the Kaziranga National Park aboard the ride of the Kings an Elephant Safari to spot the pride of Assam ~ the Indian One Horned Rhinoceros at Kaziranga. After Breakfast, depart to Kohima in Nagaland. The capital of Nagaland, at Kohima visit the World War II Cemetery and the Kohima Cathedral. Night halt at Kohima/Kigwema.

Night Stay: Hotel/Homestay at Kohima/Kigwema

Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 6 ~ Dzukou Valley Trek

Drive to Viswema. Drive to take about an hour’s time. From there embark on your trek to Dzukou Valley. Trek duration 4 – 5 hours. Arrive at the Pristine Dzukou Valley.

Night Stay: Rest House at Dzukou Valley

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 7 ~ Dzukou Valley and Kohima

Spend the first half of the day at Dzukou Valley and later return back to Kigwema/Kohima.

Night Stay: Hotel/Homestay at Kohima/Kigwema

Meals Included: Breakfast and Lunch

Day 8 ~ Kohima and Guwahati

After Breakfast, enroute to Guwahati. Arrive at Guwahati for night halt.

Night Stay: Hotel NE Zone/Saraighat Homestay at Guwahati or similar

Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 9 ~ Kamakhya Temple and Depart from LGBI Airport 

After Breakfast, visit the Holy Kamakhya Temple at Guwahati. The Oldest and most revered among the 51 Shakti Peethas across the World, Kamakhya plays host to the Eastern Mahakumbh ~ the Ambubachi Mela Festival and holds special interest for the Tantric cult. Later we will drop you the Guwahati Airport for your onward destination. Tour Ends. Bid Adieu!

Meals Included: Breakfast

To Plan your visit to Meghalaya with Kaziranga National Park please fill the form below:

Exploring Meghalaya…..

When I started my small travel company, travelling across Meghalaya was one of my wonderful experiences. Instead of only sticking to the normal touristy circuit myself along with my friends used to travel on the offbeat path exploring places that were not known to many. From travelling via Rani in Assam to Mairang in Meghalaya exploring the Kylliem rock (largest rock in India) to exploring the biodiversity rich Nokrek National Park, from visiting the Second largest river island in Asia at Nongkhnum. From visiting the Nartiang Monoliths in Jowai to visiting the Longest Living Root Bridge at Pynursla. From camping by the riverbanks of the Umngot river at Shnongpdeng to attending the Wangala festival of the Garo festival at Tura, from exploring the caves of Mawsynram to enjoying in the natural hot water pools of Mawlyngbna across our journey we discovered that Meghalaya has so much to offer to any traveller apart from the well known destinations of Shillong, Cherrapunji, Mawlynnong and Dawki. There are so many other unexplored destinations across Meghalaya that we are yet to explore and I will post the details in this article once I am able to discover these places.

I will sum up my journey where we will start our journey from Guwahati and travel to West Jaintia hills at Jowai crossing the East Khasi hills. Then we continue to explore the West Jaintia hills to come back to East Khasi Hills and then end our journey at the West Garo Hills crossing the West Khasi Hills of Meghalaya.

On our journey across Meghalaya we have often travelled with our own vehicle and did not use much of public transport but there are many options of public transport and shared taxis across Meghalaya and even if you are planning on a backpacking journey across Meghalaya you will not find it much of a difficulty to find local modes of transport to explore the natural beauty of Meghalaya. Though the taxis are not very frequent (apart from the busy route viz. Guwahati to Shillong) but there will be transport at regular intervals.

We started on our journey to Meghalaya from Guwahati in Assam. Since I am clubbing my entire experiences together I will have two other friends on this journey (we were a different group of people each time but to avoid confusion I am considering 3 of us on this journey). We started early from Guwahati to head to Jowai and I would cover this experience in the following way:

Guwahati to Jowai

Jowai to Shnongpdeng

Shnongpdeng to Mawlynnong via Dawki

Mawlynnong to Cherrapunji via Pynursla

Cherrapunji to Nongriat to Cherrapunji

Cherrapunji to Lad Mawphlang to Mawphlang

Mawphlang to Mawlyngbna via Mawsynram

Mawlyngbna to Shillong

Shillong to Mairang to Mawphanlur

Mawphanlur to Nongkhnum Island via Nongstoin

Nongkhnum Island to Tura via William Nagar

Tura to Nokrek National Park to Tura

Tura to Guwahati

We crossed Jorabat that is the border of Assam and Meghalaya and continued on our drive to Meghalaya to enter at Byrnihat. Byrnihat is the first entry point in Meghalaya and is known for the various cement factories. Byrnihat market is a well known local market in the border of Assam and Meghalaya and various local traders come here to set up shops that sell their organic produce of vegetables, fruits, groceries, meat, fish, etc. It was a market day today at Byrnihat in Meghalaya and the place was filled with people from Assam and Meghalaya even at 8 AM in the morning. We took sometime to cross the place and were then off on our drive further. After driving for about 35 min we reached the Nongpoh toll gate. The National highway across Meghalaya is in excellent condition all thanks to the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and for the upkeep of the roads they charge a small amount as maintenance charges towards these roads from all vehicles passing through this toll gate.

We paid our toll charges of INR 65 and continued to drive to Nongpoh where we were scheduled to have our breakfast. Nongpoh is the favorite destination for travellers to Meghalaya who stop here to take a break from the long drive from Guwahati airport or from Shillong to grab a bite to eat. There are various dhabas and restaurants here in Nongpoh that serve various cuisine like North Indian, Chinese, South Indian, Local Khasi as well. My favorite place to grab a bite to eat is at a small eatery at the Nongpoh bus stand that serves some lip smacking Khasi food. This place is run by an elderly Khasi lady who serves Jadoh, pork and beef to her customers along with a special spinach curry, potato and carrot sabji along with tomato chutney and a fermented fish pickle. The three of us our seats at this eatery and the aunty served us our plates of steaming hot Jadoh and other items. The food tasted awesome and is experiencing Khasi cuisine at its best. We finished our breakfast and started on our drive further to Jowai in Meghalaya.

We crossed Umshing and reached the Umiam lake in Meghalaya shortly. We had planned to cover the natural beauty of this lake this time as we would not be returning the same way on our drive back to Guwahati so we took a right diversion towards Shillong route to sight the beautiful waters of the Umiam lake. The Umiam lake at Barapani in Meghalaya is the largest man made artificial water reservoir in North East India. It was primarily created as a source of hydel power for power generation and the huge dam on your way to reach Umiam and Shillong speaks of this. Today the waters of the this lake have become a place of prime tourist interest in Meghalaya. There is a sports complex here that has a restaurant and allows visitors to enjoy boating. There is also a resort here where you can spend a night by the waters of the Umiam lake in calm.

We reached the Umiam water sports complex and paid our entrance fees of INR 50 to go to the complex. Here we had our experience of boating on the Umiam lake and we stopped over at the restaurant to have a cup of coffee as well. After sometime we continued on our drive to Jowai in West Jaintia hills. The roads are good but after Barapani it is no longer a four way highway and the roads are a two way lane instead. This road connects Meghalaya with Silchar in Assam and further to Aizawl in Mizoram and Agartala in Tripura. We continued driving admiring the beautiful valleys of Meghalaya that we got to see on our way. It feels like driving in a foreign country with good roads and very less vehicles on the way. There are heavy trucks plying on this route as they transport goods to various other states like Mizoram and Tripura across this route via Meghalaya. We halted for breaks and to enjoy the clear and pure air of the West Jaintia hills of Meghalaya.

In sometime we reached the spot that has a huge entrance gate that welcomes you to West Jaintia hills of Meghalaya. We crossed the gate and continued to drive further. We reached the festival grounds of the Bacardi Weekender festival that is hosted every year in Jowai in the month of October – November and sees music bands from across India and abroad participate here. Various renowned artists of Bollywood also come over here to perform as well. One of my friends hosts a campsite here during the festival days and so he was well accustomed with the place around. He took us to a small food place around that serves some delicious Jaintia cuisine. The Jaintia cuisine is similar to the Khasi cuisine and includes most of meat. The dish served to us had white rice, dal, pork intestines, pork liver, sabji, tomato chutney, spicy chutney, green chillies, etc. It was one of the most delicious food ever tasted in Meghalaya and we thanked our friend for bringing us to this place.

We finished our lunch and finally reached Jowai in Meghalaya around afternoon. Our stay was booked at the Heaven’s Cove Resort in Jowai and it was a little drive away from Jowai town. We decided to visit the Nartiang monoliths of Jowai and checking out the Jowai market before reaching our place of halt. We drove to the place of the Nartiang Monoliths at Jowai in Meghalaya. The Nartiang Monoliths in Jowai are said to be the tallest monoliths in the World. These monoliths are sacred stones and the Nartiang monoliths here at Jowai in Meghalaya it seems were erected here to mark the reign of the Jaintia kings of the area. These monoliths of Jowai are basically stone pillars that are carved from a single stone. It is said that the tallest monolith here at the Nartiang monoliths is 8 m in height and is known as the Moo Iong Syiem that was erected by U mar Phalynghi to commemorate his victory in a battle. These monoliths of Nartiang in Meghalaya were erected during the period from 1500 to 1835 AD all during the reign of the brave Jaintia kings of Meghalaya. We took our time admiring the monoliths of Nartiang and took a walk around the area. There are a few local shops nearby selling snacks and tea and we stopped to have a cup of black tea before we bid goodbye to the Nartiang monoliths in Jowai and headed on our drive to the Jowai market before proceeding to check into our place of stay for the night.

The Jowai market is located in the heart of Jowai town in Meghalaya and is a blend of traditional and a modern market. On one side of the market you can find modern shops that sell goods that are found in the modern world of today like electronics, household goods, bathroom fittings, etc. while on the left side of the road is a traditional market selling goods that have a delectable Jaintia touch to it. Various traditional clothing of the Jaintia people can be found here along with their traditional food items. One thing that would catch the attention of your senses is the various fermented fish chutneys that are sold in this market. They have a very strong fishy smell and you cannot pass by without taking a glance at these items. Also interesting to see all shops being run by women folks from fish stalls to chicken/pork/beef stalls to the vegetable market of Jowai here all the shops are run by women. We explored the market area for a while and bought some toiletries that we would be needing across our trip.

We started our drive again and took a left from the DC office at Jowai to go to the Heaven’s Cove Resort at Jowai. It is about a 20 min drive from the Jowai market to this place and the drive is across the verdant hills of Jowai. We reached the place in sometime and Mr. Bari the owner of the place was there at the entrance to greet us. We had to park our car at a house nearby and take a short hike crossing a bridge and paddy fields to reach the place. Our luggage was carried by the caretakers of the resort and we started on our 10 min hike to the Heaven’s Cove Resort. This was a newly built place and is a lovely getaway here in Jowai. We reached the place and it was a beautiful building painted in yellow and white and has two rooms one on the ground floor and one on top with a dining area on the ground floor. The room on top is bigger and there is a living room area as well. The campus is powered with solar power with a backup genset available. There is a pool table, swimming pool, ATBs, cycles, dance floor, bonfire area and a fish pool that has Koi fish varieties here. The place is secluded and is a perfect getaway from a busy city life. Hep the caretaker cum cook assisted us to check in and take a walk around the campus of the Heaven’s Cove Resort here at Jowai in Meghalaya.

We took our turns riding the ATBs across the big lawn area here and in the evening Hep lit us a bonfire to beat the chilly winter weather in Jowai. For dinner we had rice, dal, salad, mixed vegetables fried, pork with sesame seeds and the food was equally delightful as the place as well. We retired to our rooms after a long day and the next morning we would be exploring the forest area behind the resort and do some other local sightseeings in Jowai as well.

We got up by 6 AM the next morning and explored the place again and we for a clear view of the beautiful colors of the Koi fishes here. Hep prepared us tea and we set out to explore the forest area behind as well as a waterfall that is located here and is the source of water supply to the resort as well as the nearby local villages. We started off our hike and it took us about 30 minutes to reach the hill top and another 15 min hike to reach the waterfall. The view of the resort from the hilltop was amazing and the cleat winter sky made the walk all the more exciting. We crossed small rocks to finally reach the waterfall area and after playing in the waters here we continued on our trek back to the resort. We had our breakfast of puri sabji, boiled eggs and tea and headed out to visit the Tyrshi falls at Jowai. This is about a 45 minute drive from the resort and a cascading waterfall here in the West Jaintia hills in Meghalaya. We had to cross a vast expanse of paddy fields to reach the Tyrshi falls in Jowai after crossing a small wooden bridge we reached the place. We trekked to the bottom here as well to admire the beauty of the Tyrshi falls and got a breathtaking view of the Pynthor Nein as well. We winded up our visit at the Tyrshi falls at Jowai in Meghalaya and next up we headed to explore the Umlawan caves near Jowai.

The Umlawan caves near Jowai is said to be the deepest and longest cave in the Indian Subcontinent with a length of 21.6 km. It is located at Lumshang village near Jowai. The roads are not well maintained so we had a little tough time driving to reach the Umlawan caves. There were few tourists around here and we hired the services of a local guide to take us inside the cave. In the interest of time we did not go very deep into the cave and visitors are allowed to explore only a small part of the cave. It was interesting to explore this cave in Meghalaya that has over 3,500 caves in total and we could see the various formations of stalactites and stalagmites here. The guide told us about the Umlawan caves and in sometime we came out as it was already afternoon. We started on our drive and had traditional Jaintia lunch at a small eatery and started on our drive back to Jowai in Meghalaya. On our way back to Jowai we stopped at the Syntu Ksiar. This place is a popular picnic spot and angling destination in Jowai by the banks of the Myntdu river. The place encircles 2/3rd of Jowai township. A beautiful monument has been made here in the memoir of a Jaintia patriot named U Kiang Nongbah and the name literally means Golden Flower.

We explored the place and headed back to the Heaven’s Cove Resort. Hep had prepared some evening snacks for us and we celebrated by the bonfire over a bottle of rum to mark our last evening here in Jowai before we headed out tomorrow to Shnongpdeng in Meghalaya. Dinner was simple and had egg fried rice, garlic chicken, salad, chilly potatoes, papad, pickle, etc. We planned to leave the next morning at 8 AM to head to the Krang Suri falls near Jojwai before heading to Shnongpdeng.

The next day morning after our breakfast on our way out of the Heaven’s Cove Resort, Mr. Bari joined us and he wanted to take us to this beautiful waterfall a little ahead of Jowai before reaching the Krang Shuri falls and as we had time in our hands we agreed to visit the place. Just about 30 min drive from Jowai takes you to this beauty of a place. We had to park the car along the road and from here hike down across natural ladders and a small bamboo bridge to reach this waterfall. Not many people know about this waterfall and hence it is limited to local visitors only and so there was particular name of this waterfall as well. We reached the bottom of this waterfall and it was a spectacular sight to behold. The water was crystal clear and the natural colors around filled our soul in peace. Meghalaya is indeed a land of pristine waterfalls and this one is a very good example of what we were about to experience on our visit across Meghalaya. We thanked Bari for bringing us here and we bid goodbye to him and Jowai to continue to Shnongpdeng.

On the way we reached the Jarain Pitcher plant lake. This man made lake is having a lot of the carnivorous pitcher plant species and as I never had an experience of sighting pitcher plants earlier we decided to make a stop here. This is a beautiful lake having a fountain in the center and also offers boating facilities to its visitors. The lake occupies an area of almost 50,000 sq. m. and is filled with the pitcher plant varieties. We admired the plants and later started on our drive to the Krang Suri falls. From the main road we had to take to left diversion to go to the Krang Suri falls and from here it is another 2 km drive to reach the parking spot of the Krang Suri falls in Meghalaya. We parked our car and started to hike towards the area of the Krang Suri falls. There is a well built pathway that takes you down to the steps of the Krang Suri falls near Jowai. We bought our entrance tickets from the counter and in some time reached the Krang Suri falls. The beauty of this waterfall is indeed a sight to behold. We took our places at the viewpoint and admired the beauty of this waterfall. My friends went down to swim in the waters as well. There are caretakers around and they guide you where to go and not to go. I took a walk around the natural cave like area here near the waterfall.

There are camping grounds in the area as well where you can spend the night here as well. My friends came back and we went on top to see the source river of the waterfall and it was a delight to see this as well. There are a few refreshment stalls here and we enjoyed our biscuits and black tea. There was a boatman here who offered us a ride on the waters of this river source for a small fee and we agreed to pay him the amount and we enjoyed a boating experience here at the Krang Suri falls as well. in about another hours time we left the Krang Suri fall and headed on our way to drive to Shnongpdeng. On the way we stopped for lunch at a roadside stall and the food was again an authentic Jaintia cuisine as well were still in the West Jaintia hills of Meghalaya. We arrived at Shnongpdeng in the late afternoon and went to check into our homestay here. The places to stay here at Shnongpdeng are basic and there are also camping sites available for stay as well. These work well during the winters when there is no rainfall and staying in tents is an option.

As it was late we did not plan on anything for the day and just sat by the banks of the river Umngot here at Shnongpdeng admiring the clear waters of the Umngot river. The boats were plying on the waters here and it seemed as though they were floating on the air and not moving on the water. There were some locals fishing here and the owner took us to the spot where his friends were fishing. They offered us their fishing rods and my friend joined them in their fishing expedition. The group had a good time fishing and the catch was good a total of 20 fishes both small and big. At the end the catch was divided among the group and my friend and the homestay owner got 5 fishes. With 5 fishes in our kitty we headed back to our homestay and the owner gave the fishes to his wife to be cooked for dinner. The meal would also have pork as it is a staple in the diet of the Jaintia people. We walked around the village admiring the natural surroundings and we could see the plains of Bangladesh from a slight elevation point in the village as Shnongpdeng is located close to Dawki (Tamabil) which is the border of India and Bangladesh.

We would be visiting Dawki tomorrow and cross the border to continue to Mawlynnong – the Cleanest village of Asia here in Meghalaya. This would mean that we would be leaving the West Jaintia hills ato enter the East Khasi Hills district of Meghalaya. We came back to the homestay and the owner invited us over the kitchen to see how his family was preparing dinner for us. All this because my friend knew him from earlier and had organized several camping expeditions at Shnongpdeng with him. He even hosted a TV series starring Kalki Koechlin here. Normally the Jaintia people are conservative and do not get too friendly with the tourists. Just because he knew my friend we were allowed to have these authentic traditional experiences of Meghalaya.

It was an interesting kitchen and the best part about the homes here in Meghalaya is that the people keep their kitchen very neat and tidy even though it might be small in size. The owner offered us some local liquor made with rice and it had a bitter taste to it and a strong flavour. We enjoyed our glasses and our dinner was served and it was an elaborate meal that had white rice, a dal cooked with a certain herb, fish curry with herbs, pork with sesame seeds, salad and a spicy tomato chutney. It was again one of the most flavorful meal we had ever had and all thanks to the homestay people for having it all arranged for us. We thanked each and every member of the family for their kindness and gratitude and having taken all trouble to arrange this wonderful stay for us tonight. We retired to our rooms and thereby ending another eventful day in Meghalaya.

The next morning was our day of adventure here at Shnongpdeng in Meghalaya. Pioneer adventures have their adventure site here and they organize various activities like snorkelling, diving, rock climbing, rappelling, etc. We would be enjoying an hour of Kayaking on the waters of the Umngot river here at Shnongpdeng in Meghalaya before heading out to Dawki and further to Mawlynnong village in Meghalaya. We enjoyed our hour long session and then started on our drive to Dawki bidding farewell to the owners of the Homestay here at Shnongpdeng. Dawki is a short drive away but we were warned that we would encounter traffic as heavy trucks keep plying across the International border carrying stones and other items.

And it turned out to be true indeed as we were greeted by hundreds of trucks starting from a little ahead of Shnongpdeng continuing up to the International border. However, these trucks were parked alongside the road and the only time we faced a problem was when there was another vehicle coming from the other side of the road. We managed to cross this traffic and reach the immigration checkpoint of Tamabil (Dawki) where we had to park our car and then walk to the International Border of India and Bangladesh. The bSF soldiers were here to greet us and they keep a 24/7 vigil on these border areas to detect and prevent illegal immigration and trade as well. we seeked their permission before crossing the Indian side of the border here at Dawki and then walking into no man’s land at pillar 1275. These were other soldiers standing here who were on a constant watch preventing tourists from crossing this area. On the other side we could see the territory of Bangladesh. we explored the no man’s land for a while clicking our pictures and then returned to the parking area to start on our drive to the Dawki clear water boating point.

This is the most premier tourist attraction of Dawki and every day during the peak season hundreds of tourists come here to enjoy the experience of clear water boating on the waters of the Umngot river here. We missed on this experience at Shnongpdeng in Meghalaya so we took the opportunity of enjoying our boating experience here in Dawki. We paid INR 700 towards boat hire charges and the boatman guided us to his boat. He took us into the waters here and it was a wonderful experience watching the crystal clear waters here. The other boats seemed as if they were floating in the air with the clear waters. The river has a stony bed and all these stones were clearly visible to our naked eyes. The boatman took us to a rocky island where we went to a local shop. The shop owner was frying fresh fishes that had just been caught from this river and he offered us some. There was beer available with him as well and we took our seats to have a beer can each and some fried fishes. The fish was very delicious and we ordered another plate full of it. we finished our beer and fish and then headed back to our boat. The boatman dropped us back to the shore and we thanked him to go back on our drive to Mawlynnong village in Meghalaya.

There are two roads to Mawlynnong – one via the BSF outpost and one through the highway and Poinisuk village. We took the inner way from the BSF outpost as there are 2 beautiful waterfalls to be sighted along this way. The roads are not very good on this route but still it was manageable and at first we reached the Borhill falls. Though it was winter season, the waterfall still had a good source of water supply across it and it look beautiful. We stopped for a while here and then continued on our drive to Mawlynnong in Meghalaya. We came across the other waterfall but it was dried out so we did not make a halt here and instead headed straight to Mawlynnong. We were yet to have our lunch today and it was late afternoon. We reached Mawlynnong to be greeted by one of our friends here Mr. Sukher. Sukher is a local guide here and he was a friend of Kaushik who was travelling with us. He also owns a homestay and restaurant here in Mawlynnong where we ordered our lunch. As it was late, the food was almost over yet Sukher managed to arrange for rice, dal, potato sabji and some chicken curry for us. We were quite hungry so the meal tasted delicious to us. Sukher also got us some tomato chutney to accompany our meal.

After our lunch we went to visit the balancing rocks here at Mawlynnong village. These balancing rocks are situated just outside the cleanest village of Mawlynnong in Meghalaya and are an interesting phenomenon to witness. A huge stone boulder resting atop a smaller boulder and this is how these stones have been standing here at Mawlynnong across many years. Even major earthquakes were not able to demolish this site. The earlier Khasi people of Mawlynnong considered these stones to be sacred and performed religious rites around these stones to protect their village from famine and bad luck. Today however this place has become an important tourist destination and every day hundreds of visitors come here to witness this phenomenon of balancing rocks at Mawlynnong in Meghalaya.

Sukher had planned the next day for us where we would go caving, sighting nearby waterfalls, take a short hike from Nohwet to visit the Riwai Single Decker Living Root Bridge near Mawlynnong. So we decided to take rest for the evening and simply explore the Cleanest village of Asia of Mawlynnong in Meghalaya. Sukher took us around the village explaining to us as to how the local people here go about their daily chores in keeping the village premises clean that has earned them this prestigious and coveted tag. Since it was awarded this tile tourism has become very popular in this remote village and people from across India and abroad come to Mawlynnong in Meghalaya to take a glimpse into the people’s lives here. We walked around the village admiring the natural beauty around and also visiting the local shops here that sell a variety of souvenirs. sukher guided us to our homestay that is located above his restaurant and we took our rooms. Evening we watched his family cook our dinner and after our dinner we retired to our rooms early as this is a village environment and people retire to bed early as 9 PM.

The next morning we were awakened by the chirping of the birds and the local roosters of Mawlynnong. It was around 6 AM and the sun was up. We took a walk around the place and Sukher joined us in sometime at his restaurant where he offered us some black tea and biscuits. Today was our day to explore the nearby places of Mawlynnong village. We would start our day by visiting the Old Khasi hut at Nohwet village. We took our car and Sukher joined us to show his ancestral home here. The oldest Khasi hut at Nohwet village in Meghalaya had belonged to Sukher’s great grandfather and today it is preserved to show the ancient heritage of the Khasi people of Meghalaya. It is a small hut built of bamboo and thatch roof and has only a single room where the family used to stay. We took a walk around the hut admiring the ancient architecture of this place. Next up we went ahead to visit the Nohwet sky view point. This is basically a huge bamboo structure that you need to climb on top and from here you get an amazing view of the beautiful landscapes of Meghalaya and the plains of Bangladesh as well. The ticket for a person costs INR 30 as it is a private property and we paid for our tickets and climbed this structure to get an amazing view of the mountains and valleys of Meghalaya.

Next up Sukher took me and my friend to walk across from Nohwet to Riwai where we would come out of the Riwai Single Decker Living Root Bridge while Kaushik as he had already explored these places would bring the car to the parking spot at the Riwai village. The trek was across the local villages and the beautiful forests of Meghalaya and we admired the tall canopy of trees around us. The trek took about 45 minutes and we finally came out at Riwai Single Decker Living Root bridge in Meghalaya. This is one of the most visited tourist spots in Mawlynnong and sees up to thousand visitors a day during the peak season. The Living Root Bridges are grown with the roots of rubber tree and the roots are guided to grow with hollowed out areca tree trunks that helps the roots to grow in one particular direction. In about 15-20 years one root bridge is completely grown and would last for about 500 years. These living root bridges are indigenous only to Meghalaya and the Khasi and Jaintia people are adept in growing them connecting the remote villages across perennial streams. Kaushik had joined us here and we explored the living root bridge of Riwai in Meghalaya.

We came back on top at the parking spot to go back to Mawlynnong village where we would have our lunch and then set out to explore a cave near Mawlynnong village. It is a not very frequently explored cave and only sees a few tourists here. We had to carry torches to go inside here and Sukher guided us. Not a very deep cave though still it was exciting to enjoy the view inside this cave. By the time we finished exploring this cave it was 4 PM and we came back to Mawlynnong village in Meghalaya. We had our dinner early and this marked our final day exploring Mawlynnong – the Cleanest Village in Asia here in Meghalaya.