This time, we drove to Cherrapunji (also called Sohra) via Shillong from Assam. We recently visited my family at Assam and during the stay there, we decided to drive to Cherrapunji. The route was pretty simple. Reach Guwahati- Nongpoh-Mawlai Mawiong-Shillong-Nongkrem-Sohra. Its that simple. Locals are helpful too, if you are unsure or if GPS backs out on you, don’t hesitate in taking help from the locals. (However, a heads-up. On the route to Shillong to Cherrapunji, you might come across locals who do not understand Hindi or English, in that case you might have to use sign language if you do not know the local language). Route is pretty simple tough.
I have been to Shillong and Cherrapunji before, so I knew what to expect. I packed woolens, but also did pack an umbrella as we were headed towards one of the wettest places on this planet. I want my camera to last forever 🙂
Though Shillong is one of the most go to places for people from Assam, there might be someone who might not know what I am talking about. To give a brief overview, below are some facts picked from wiki.
Shillong is the capital and hill station of Meghalaya, also known as “The Abode of Clouds”, one of the smallest states in India. It is the headquarters of the East Khasi Hills district and is situated at an average altitude of 4,908 feet (1,496 m) above sea level, with the highest point being Shillong Peak at 6,449 feet (1,966 m). It is said that the rolling hills around the town reminded the European settlers of Scotland. Hence, they would also refer to it as the “Scotland of the East”.
Sohra or Cherrapunji (currently the historical name Sohra is more commonly used; alternative spellings are Cherrapunjee and Charrapunji), is a subdivisional town in the East Khasi Hills district in the Indian state of Meghalaya. It is credited as being the wettest place on Earth, although nearby Mawsynram currently holds that record. Cherrapunji still holds the all-time record for the most rainfall in a calendar month and in a year: it received 9,300 mm (366 in) in July 1861 and 26,461 mm (1,041.75 in) between 1 August 1860 and 31 July 1861.
The drive from Guwahati to shillong was easy with traffic shrinking as you drive out of Assam and again increasing as you approach the city of Shillong. Once you start driving out of Shillong, thats when you start merging with heaven. The roads start getting narrower with mountains on one side and the clouds on the other side. Slowly, you get submerged in the picturesque meadows and at one point of time, you can do nothing but sted tears of joy in astonishment. I could not believe my eyes. Everytime I travel, something or the other stikes the emotional chord inside of me, and I am no longer myself. This time, the grasslands won my heart.
Cherrapunji boasts of many places it helds for its tourists, right from the Limestone caves to the Living Roots bridge. Our intention this time was to drive to the heart of Cherrapunji, have lunch, go see the seven sisters falls and come back to Shillong and call it a day. the same we did. Only, while reaching the viewpoint of the Seven Sisters Falls, fog came down heavily on us and there came a time when we could no longer see each other, but only the halogen parking lights dipping on and off of a car parked almost a 100 meters away. Forget seeing the Seven Sisters Falls. So, not much of a success in terms of sight seeing, but I can’t thank the Heavens above for the wonderful drive.
Once back at Shillong, we checked in to the Polo Towers in the heart of the city. the hotel was pretty good with cozy rooms. The food menu was comprehensive and I decided to savor a local delicacy called Dohkhlieh. Its a Pork salad. Won my heart again. The breakfast spead was pretty awesome and I ensured I stuffed in enough to jump start my day.
The second day, we drove to Shillong Peak, Elephanta falls and finally the Police market.
Shillong Peak: This is the highest point in Shillong and gives a mind blowing view of the city. The clouds played fowl again, else, you can view the Himalayan Peaks and Bangladesh plains from here. There are local tea and snack stalls at this point, and also if you wish, you can be dressed in traditional Khasi attire and get some beautiful pictures of yourselves. There is a entry fee for this point, and also as Indian Air Force has its Radar Station here, you will be required to do an entry at the gate along with submitting your Govt ID.
Elephant Falls: Originally called the Three Steps waterfalls,a sign here that the British renamed the falls because there used to be a rock resembling an elephant near the left side of the main falls. That rock, however, was destroyed in the 1897 earthquake. Its a tourist spot swamped with travelers, but you can still find a place to sit and stare at the falls, seeking calmness of the wandering mind.
Police Bazar: Its a small market as compared to several other markets of this country, but definitely you can find some of the trendiest clothes and shoes here. Its a local market and trust me, if you can bargain, you can pick a lot with a small amount. So ladies, bring out the best of your bargaining skills while you are here.
Once done with shopping, we headed back home, and on the way is Hotel Orchid. Here we stopped for buffet lunch. The restaurant at this hotel gives its guests a wonderful view of the Umiam lake. Umiam Lake is a reservoir located in the hills 15 km to the North of Shillong in the state of Meghalaya, India. It was created by damming the Umiam river in the early 1960s. The principal catchment area of the lake and dam is spread over 220 square km, as per wiki.
After the lunch at this place, we headed back home, only to stop on the way and get a few bottles of local pickle made of mangoes, chillies and bamboo. You got to try these hot pickles.
Overall, its was a wonderful and rejuvinating journey. I loved Meghalaya all over again, and would definitely go back soon, to get a picture of myself clicked on the Living Roots Bridge at Cherrapunji.
Catch you soon with some other story 🙂 Do leave a comment if you have anything to say, I love reading your messages 🙂