Cherrapunji in Monsoon ;
A journey from Shillong to Sohra
An escape from the heat of Kolkata is mandatory in the summer months. If your destination is Meghalaya, the abode of clouds, you are no doubt on cloud nine. Mysterious mist, lush green hills adorned with countless water falls, wide emerald valley stretches far to touch the azure canopy of heaven and many more combination of adjectives and nouns will fill the pages of your travel diary when you are in this portion of the North-East India.
We included Shillong, Cherrapunji, Mawsynram, Mawlynnong and Dawki in our itinerary of tour to Meghalaya, mainly the East Khasi Hills and the Jayantia Hills. The name Meghalaya finds its true meaning in the climate of Cherrapunji and Mawsynram, misty clouds are the host while torrential downpours during the Monsoon has given birth to a number of waterfalls, brooks, streams and rivers. So, in this blog post I am going to describe the places to see in Cherrapunji.
DAY—1: Reached Shillong on a Sunday. In the evening loitered through the crowd at Police Bazar; many shops were closed on Sunday evening. Our stay at Rosaville was simply wonderful. We love this place and come back here again and again.
DAY – 2 : Don Bosco Museum and Cherrapunji.
Things to see on the way to Cherrapunji from Shillong:
Don Bosco Museum
A representation of the legend of Khasi Origin
Don Bosco Museum (Shillong) – As we started from Shillong quite early for Cherrapunji, we decided to visit this museum. It takes minimum 2 hours to see this world-class 7 storey museum. It showcases all the 8 states of North East India. It has an amazing collection of weapons, dresses, musical instruments, accoutrements and photographs.
The entrance Gallery has twenty-two models made in the style of the N-E people who are welcoming guests in their colourful attire.
Two galleries are extraordinarily remarkable: first, The Religion and Culture Gallery- it shows how Christianity has evolved and expanded throughout the world and the welfare ventures it took for the downtrodden; the second is the Art Gallery which has a collection of paintings and rare artefacts from various states of the North East.
The skywalk on the top of the museum is no doubt a unique experience. It provides a 360-degree view of Shillong city.
Sohra is the local name of Cherrapunji, located 56 kms away from Shillong. Usually tourists hire a cab, visit Cherrapunji within a day and come back to Shillong. But at least a night’s stay at Cherrapunji is always better to do justice to the beauty of this place. We booked Cherrapunji Holiday Resort for two nights and the hotel was really good with nice and efficient female khasi staffs. It overlooks to the lush green hills; the woody whistle of a cricket-like insect is the only sound you will hear here.
Milliyem – The way to Cherrapunji will enthral tourists with its scenic beauty but a few places are there for food. Milliyem is full of small and rustic food joints providing with rice, saag, chicken curry or roasted pork.
Mawdok Dympep Valley View Point– At the entrance of Sohra this place is set up by the government. It presents a beautiful view of the valley where two hills are meeting with each other amidst a host of flying clouds.
The fly fast ropeway activity is also available at this place.
Wakaba Fall and Khasi Monolith – On the way at the left Wakaba Fall is seen from Madan Shad Seng View point. A copy of Khasi Monolith is also there.
A meandering path up the hill to Cherrapunji Resort itself is a thing to enjoy. A group of waterfalls at far, near this resort, would suddenly catch your view and it will be a moment of silence and serenity.
DAY-3 : (Sightseeing at Cherrapunji)
Eco Park– A man-made park on the top of the seven sister waterfalls and a good place for children’s entertainment. Scenic view of the falls is no doubt beautiful. But as a park this huge place can be maintained in a better way. A view of massive Sylhet Plains of Bangladesh can be seen from here but we missed it due to the cloudy weather.
Mawsmai Cave/ Krem Mawsmai Cave– On The roads to Cherrapunji small advertisement hoardings are put up by the hotels. One such reads, “Challenge your child with adventure” and this phrase is very true I realised when I entered this cave. Usually this is a crowded place, initially the feeling of irritation may come but once you enter the cave and pass through the scanty pass where only one person can pass through at a time, you will feel the tang of real adventure I swear. Everyone can do this, nothing to get afraid of. Only a little precaution will save you from small slips or jerks.
The Stalactite and Stalagmite structures within the cave is wonderful. This is a must-see tourist spot.
This place is under the forest department of Meghalaya. There is a collection of flora and fauna beside this cave open for interested ones.
Seven Sister Fall– In Meghalaya this waterfall is called in many names eg. Mawsmai Falls or Nohsngthiang Falls. A popular tourist spot is this with a beautiful small brook on the opposite side of the road.
Nohkalikai Fall– This fall is the tallest plunge waterfall in India having a height of 1115 feet. The best view is possible from the inner balcony of a restaurant there. The story of Nohkalikai Fall is well-known to the local people.
Good Indian and Chinese food is available here. Long stick-like cinnamon bark is being sold along with other spices. I found some different species of Pani puri here…cannot resist,dear.
Ram Krishna Mission Math and Museum– Established in 1924 this Ashram has a Higher Secondary School with very beautifully maintained field and an Anthropological Museum. Photography is prohibited inside the school and the museum (a smaller one, can be given a miss).
Dainthlen Waterfall: The road to this fall is full of big natural lakes and spread out green valley. The fall is no doubt beautiful but the nature around it is more beautiful, filtered with fresh Oxygen and serenity.
The rocks are carrying the marks of the whirl force of water and are cut into small round pieces. Really Water is soft but it can be harder than stone and stronger than wind if it gets kinetic energy.
There is a board with the following story about this fall ( actually most of the falls here have a story to tell):
This waterfall derives its name from a Thlen or Snake of gigantic size which dwelt in a cave . The villagers used to frequent the heavenly market of Langhiang, Konghen and had to pass the bridge of the gods and the cave of the thlen. Anyone travelling in even numbers was safe but in odd numbers one would be devoured by the Thlen. A great durbar was called for in order to devise a plan to get rid of the snake permanently. It was believed that this snake was butchered here by U Syrmoh a knight of Yore who fed him with red hot iron rods which killed him instantly. A grand feast was held and the whole town partook the meal. However, one old lady took a piece of the meat home for her grand child but kept on forgetting until one day the thlen was revived again. Remnants of the tools used for feast , that have turned to stone can be seen even today.
This place is a favourite place for the locals for a day out or picnic. A bath at the natural lake is surely rejuvenating. As local drivers do not want to travel a bit long distance to this place, this is not at all crowded. An ideal place for ‘one who has long been in city pent’.
Raitk Teng-This is a small but beautiful home stay on the way to Sohra from Dainthlen , a picnic spot in the lap of nature and a spot for shooting TV serials also. We had tea and biscuit here while returning from Dainthlen.
Back to Cherrapunji, at our resort we had a camp fire( yes, in the last week of May it was quite cold here) with a delicious buffet dinner and sound sleep…..that’s all.
Next day we would head to Mawsynram and Mawlynnong.
Khublei!! Thanks !!