there are certain journeys which once done leaves you wanting for more. how much ever you travel, you still feel you haven't had enough of the place. my trip to meghalaya was one such trip. located in the eastern belt of india, bordering bangladesh, meghalaya can be summed up as a potpourri of culture and nature. from frosty mawphlang to cherrapunjee - a town painted in green to the picturesque shnongpdeng and back to the hilly town of shillong - every aspect of the journey leaves a promise - i will be back here one day.
destination 1: mawphlang | faraway, frosty and forbidden
mawphlang is a village in the east khasi hills district of meghalaya state in north-eastern india, 25 kilometers from shillong. the word maw means "stone", maw phlang means "grassy stone," and is one of many settlements in the khasi hills named after monoliths.
destination 2: cherrapunjee, mawlynnong and nohwet
indisputably, one of the most scenic places i've witnessed, cherrapunjee and the nearby locations reside in the heart of nature. abode of root bridges and some really wonderful people, this part of our journey made us promise that we'll be back one day.
destination 2: shnongpdeng and dawki
a whatsapp forward made me revisit my itinerary to include this magical place right at the border of bangladesh. the photos don't do justice to the brilliance that is shongpdeng-dawki.
Day 1: Reach Guwahati. Visit Kamakhaya Temple and drive to Mawphlang via Umiam Lake. O/n in Mawphlang. Approx 120kms / 5 hrs with breaks
Day 2: In Mawphlang. Visit Sacred grove and Heritage village. Drive around the place
Day 3: Drive from Mawphlang to Cherrapunjee. Approx 80kms / 3-4hrs with halts
Day 4: Double decker root bridge trek. O/n in Cherrapunjee (also known as Sohra)
Day 5: Drive from Sohra to Nohwet. Enroute visit Riwai living root bridge and Mawlynnong (Asia's cleanest village)
Day 6: Drive to Dawki and Tamabil border area. Back after lunch and evening spent in Nohwet
Day 7: Drive to Shillong via Latlium gorge. Approx 100kms (3-4hrs with periodic halts). Overnight in Shillong
Day 8: In Shillong. City tour of Shillong. O/n in Shillong
Day 9: Leave Shillong
Things to consider before traveling
We traveled in December and the rains had receded by then. December is usually the trekking and caving season. So don't expect a lot of greenery
For greenery, the best time is to visit just after the rains (Aug, Sep and early Oct)
The temperature (except in Mawphlang where it went to 0*) was around 25-28*. During the day Sohra was around 30-32*
Veg food is available in plenty. Dont worry about eating options
Meghalaya is only hill-station with good motorable roads. So don't worry about the road conditions. They are quite well maintained
Start early for double decker root bridge trek. Try to start the walk by 7AM so that you can be back by 12PM. Carry lot of water and hire a guide only if you want to support the locals. The path is pretty straight forward
Shop in Shillong or local products. It is pretty cheap there (unless you'd want to support the locals in other areas)
There's helicopter service between Guwahati and Shillong. Make sure you get the tickets in advance and confirm on the day of the travel about the helicopter service. Sometimes they cancel due to bad weather
Luggage limit on helicopter is 10kgs per person, whereas in airplanes its 15kgs. So if you have a connecting flight from Guwahati to any other destination, your total luggage should be within the permissible limit as set by the helicopter service
If you are two people traveling and have 15kgs each then you will have to pay extra luggage charges for 5kgs each to the helicopter service provider. Alternatively, there is Meghalaya transport services (van or bus) operating between Guwahati and Shillong. Find a trustworthy driver who can bring your extra luggage to the right airport at the right time by paying him some nominal amount. We did this and worked our way cheaper than paying extra luggage charges