Monday, May 14, 2018

Assam, Meghalaya- bowled over by the cuisine and generosity- Part II

For Part I... Click Here

Moving on to Meghalaya

Next day morning after breakfast we started for Meghalaya. In Kaziranga the climate was warm and we were dressed accordingly. As we entered Meghalaya it was cloudy, raining and the temperature went down to 15 degrees. We had lunch on the way and I started feeling sick.

We came to 'Travellers - Bed & Breakfast where our room was booked.
 It was a nice place, but the room was too cold. I just went under the two blankets they had provided and got up only on the next morning. After a hot water bath and breakfast, I was ready for exploration.

Lake, Waterfall and the Living root bridge

A road trip to Dawki is considered a must on one's bucket list while travelling to the North Eastern state of Meghalaya. It is a small town along the Indo -Bangladesh border along the river Umngot in the West Jaintia hills. Umngot is considered one of the cleanest and beautiful rivers of India. We went to a small tea shop up there and sipped hot tea, enjoying the beauty of the river. Sand mining on the Bangladesh side has disfigured the landscape to quite an extent.

Next we drove to the Borhill Falls, which is one of the best waterfalls on the India -Bangladesh border while driving from Dawki to Mawlynnong village. It was so refreshing to watch it and absorb the pure energy it was exuding.

Walk to the Living Root Bridge was a bit long and it was drizzling at that time. Living root bridges are a form of tree shaping common in the southern part of the Northeast Indian state of Meghalaya. They are handmade from the aerial roots of Rubber Fig Trees (Ficus elastica) by the Khasi and Jaintia peoples of the mountainous terrain along the southern part of the Shillong Plateau.We stood there watching that marvel and I could feel energy encompassing and soaking me, making the climb back up a breeze. We got to eat mulberries and very sweet pineapple on the way.

Our next visit was to the cleanest village of Asia, Mawlynnong. Mawlynnong is known for its cleanliness. The waste is collected in the dustbins made of bamboo, directed to a pit and then used as manure. A community initiative mandates that all residents should participate in cleaning up the village. Smoking and use of polythene is banned while rainwater harvesting is encouraged.

We had lunch at a small restaurant in Mawlynnong. We found the people in Meghalaya serve food with so much love, as if they are serving guests, not customers.

Getting totally drenched

We knew that Meghalaya has the highest rainfall in Cherrapunji or Sohra, but God wanted us to experience it first-hand. 
                                                                      Path to the cave
                                                                                 Entry to the cave
As we started walking towards Arwah caves, it started to rain very heavily. We had umbrellas and we were walking under the trees, but we got totally drenched. The views inside the cave was well worth the walk in the rain:

There was a guide to take us inside the cave, to show us the fossils, and stalactites. A stalactite is a tapering structure hanging like an icicle from the roof of a cave, formed of calcium salts deposited by dripping water.It was a unique experience. 
                                                                      Fossils in the cave

When we came out of the cave, the rains had stopped. We wanted to buy some clothes to change, but couldn't locate any clothes shop and by the time we reached back our room, the clothes were almost dry.

Ecopark and Seven Sisters falls

Our next destination was Four Season Eco Park that was a huge area with so many waterfalls:

We had lunch at the Eco Park, in EMI restaurant that served Assamese and Bengali food. 

Here again the ladies were serving us with so much love, forcing us to have more. Later we came to know that the local tribal people are very caring and generous.

Then we were on our way to the Seven Sister Falls: 

They are dramatic waterfalls, some of the highest in India. They symbolize the seven states in northeast namely Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Nagaland, Tripura, Mizoram and Meghalaya. It was a breath taking scene and I felt like standing there only, watching the heavenly sight.

Meghalaya - House of clouds

While we were driving through the mountain roads in Meghalaya, it was interesting to see fog rising up from the valley on the side and obscuring the road in front of us. We thought that fog descended from up and were really intrigued. The mystery got solved when we were near Seven Sister Falls. It was all very clear when we reached. As we stood there, mesmerized by the beauty of the whole scene, suddenly we saw water particles rising from deep down area, gathering together, forming a thick fog, coming all the way up and engulfing us. It was an out of the world experience.

Throughout our drive in Meghalaya, we got to see these rising clouds in the valleys on the side. There is no doubt that 'Meghalaya', which means 'House of clouds' is the most apt name for this mystical place.

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