Ethereal North East: Trip to Guwahati, Shillong and Cherrapunji

After a pretty long time our trip to northeast was indeed a welcoming break! We had booked a 4D/3N package through one of the travel agencies; the places in our itinerary were Guwahati, Shillong and the wettest place on earth “Cherrapunji”.

Guawati Airport

Guwahati Airport

We took the Indigo 5:30am fight to Guwahati and reached on time to meet our driver cum guide for the next three days, Jyotirmoy.

Jyoti dropped us at our hotel, Mayflower, a beautiful property in the middle of the old Guwahati city’s Pan Bazaar. Everything about the hotel was pleasing, the rooms, the interiors, the staff and of course the food. The day was to our leisure. Enroute we visited the abode of one of the most revered Goddesses “Kama Khya, the granter of desires, Kamakhya temple.

Kamakhya Temple

Kamakhya Devi Temple

The temple sits atop the Nilanchal Hill about 800ft above sea level. In the evening we went for the Bramhaputra River cruise.

Bramhaputra River

Bramhaputra River

Every evening boats take tourists across the river with live band playing songs from Kishore Kumar and Shammi Kapoor era. The ambience is quite relaxing with music playing inside and myriad of colors outside.

Bramhaputra River cruise

Bramhaputra River cruise

The sky looked divine with different hues of orange as the sun set and its rays reflected on the water. The experience was so entrancing; one could forget about the world around and lose oneself in the grandeur of the mighty Bramhaputra.

Sun sets over the Bramhaputra River

Sun sets over the Bramhaputra River

The next day we got ready for our road trip to Shillong, our next destination. The highway from Guwahati to Shillong is interesting in the sense that one side is Assam and other side is Meghalaya! Enroute we stopped at the picturesque Umiam Lake for a boat ride.

Umiam Lake

Umiam Lake

The lake came into effect as a part of a hydro-electric project, Umiam Umtru Hydro Electric Power Project. It is also known as Barapani among the locals. The lake itself wreathes a resplendent world around the tourists with all its beauty. The encompassing hills create an added magic all around. One can simply stay enchanted for hours while traversing through the lake.

Boating at Umiam Lake

Boating at Umiam Lake

Options like kayaking to sailing either in groups or individually are available. Shillong in itself is so fascinating that its also often called the “Switzerland of East”. Keeping the experience alive we next reached the “Don Bosco Museum” which quite righteously offers a glimpse to the multi-cultural lifestyles of the indigenous people of North East.

Don Bosco Museum

Don Bosco Museum

The museum spans through 7 floors, each floor depicting a part of history of mankind in general and natives in specifics. Stories like how earth came into existence, how human evolved from apes, how various religions and faiths came into existence to the cultural diversities of vivid tribes of the North East. As the day ended we reached the hotel by 6pm for a sumptuous dinner.

Shillong City

Shillong City

We woke up early next morning as per our itinerary with excitement to experience some of the grandest waterfalls of the region. We started by witnessing the famous Elephant Falls in Shillong, The falls which is locally called “Kshaid Lai Pateng Khohsiew” or three step falls, was coined “Elephant falls” by the British due to the rock on the left side that resembled an elephant.

Elephant Falls

Elephant Falls

However, the same was destroyed in an earthquake in 1800’s and one cannot make out the elephant structure now. The entire excursion from top to the bottom, including all three waterfalls takes about 30-45 mins. It is actually worth the walk. Our next destination was the Mawsmai Cave and falls of Cherrapunji.

Mawsmai Caves

At about 6 kms from Cherrapunji, these natural limestone caves are a real beauty to watch. Although the section is not well lit and quite slippery, tourists are awed by the natural wonder. The weather changed from sunny to cloudy, and we couldn’t help but keep admiring the mesmerizing beauty of the city, with mountains standing tall across the sides of the meandering roads, clouds playing hide and seek, the rains and multitude of opulent waterfalls spanning through the entire stretch.

We reached the Nohsngithiang Falls (also known as the Seven Sisters Waterfalls or Mawsmai Falls); seven sisters, depicting the seven north eastern states, is a seven-segmented waterfall located 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) south of Mawsmai village in East Khasi Hills district in Meghalaya. As per statistics available on the internet the water falls from a height of 315 metres (1,033 ft) and has an average width of 70 metres (230 ft).making it one of the tallest waterfalls in India.

Seven Sister Falls

Seven Sister Falls

We were awed enough, however, to add further to our euphoria Jyoti drove us down to Nohkalikai falls which takes one of the tallest plunge of about 1115 feet. The falls fed by rainwater is tremendously powerful as much as majestic.

Khyrem Falls

Khyrem Falls

Next in line was the Kynrem Falls located in the east Khasi Hills. We stood here for quite some time admiring the flurry with which the water fell along with the roaring sound it made on touching the ground creating a clear water bed running underneath the road to the other side.

Falls enroute

Falls enroute

Nature indeed at its best! This is what we crave for to lose ourselves in the embrace of Mother Nature and leave behind the maddening city life.

Mountain Peaks of Cherrapunji

Mountain Peaks of Cherrapunji

By the time we reached our hotel, we were exhausted yet energized; we had breathed the untouched undiluted, glimpsed the elegance and felt the frenzy of raw nature all together.

Thus ended one of our best trip’s while we headed for Shillong and back to Guwahati to catch the flight for Delhi the next day. We missed the Kaziranga National Park this time around for its being closed during monsoon season though.

7 Comments

  • Uday Baxi says:

    A very good experience indeed.

    Regards

  • Arun Singh says:

    Mala Ji,

    Thank you for including us in your trip to North East.
    I must say that all the pics are really very beautiful…and of course you all are looking pretty.

  • Nandan Jha says:

    And your log reminded me of ours, where we reached Guwahati and then went to Shillong and beyond.

    We did this in March and though we went to Cherrapunji, it was all dry. Looking at all the waterfall pics, one wonder what it would feel like, to be there, in person.

    But then since it was March, we could go to Kaziranga :-). But a trip during rains is on cards for this part of India. Thank you Mala for sharing your journey with us.

  • Gorakh Chaudhari says:

    Great

  • Sidhi Jhaveri Balaji says:

    Thankyou for taking us around North East. We visualised the experience and majesty of the North East. We will difinitely visit these places… Is there any option, if we can reach by road and also would like to go for homestay for more days. Thankyou once again.

  • Col NN Bhatia (Retd) says:

    Ms Mala Raman has written beautiful article on the Northeast. BUT I would like to remind author and readers of the article that the Northeast is much beyond Guwahati, Shillong and Cherrapunji- besides these as the gateways to the exotic Northeast, there are Nagaland, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh (erstwhile NEFA), Mizoram and Tripura though many include Sikkim too!
    Being a military veteran, I served two tenures of 4 years each in the Northeast. The first tenure was in the insurgency troubled Mizoram from Jan 1966 to Nov 1969. Our Battalion marched on foot for 12 days from Agartala to Aizawl. The entire Northeast had very poor roads, meter gauge train from Barauni onwards with no Rajdhanis and Shatabdis running and air connectivity was limited to Dakotas and Fokker Friendship aircraft. Tripura, Mizoram, Meghalaya and Assam wrapped up East Pakistan & country had just fought Sino- Indian War of 1962.
    My second tenure of 4 yrs was in Nagaland from Jun 1986 to Jun 1990 and things had by then much improved. I traveled in the entire Northeast less Manipur on various
    military duties BUT missed seeing Mawsmai Caves, Don Bosco Museum and then neither boating was allowed in Umiam Lake in Barapani nor was there Brahmaputra River cruise. I thereafter traveled twice to Agartala(ONGC) and Digboi-Dibrugarh to Siliguri inspecting OIL India Limited (OIL) installations doing their security audits.
    I sincerely thank Ms Mala Raman for her wonderful description, photographs & letting me read and see pictures of many places I missed yet bringing back the nostalgic memories of the past of the exotic Northeast!
    Thanks a lot Ma’am for reviving the old but golden memories!

  • Meghna Baid says:

    Very good read. It reminded me of my trip to this triangle with Kaziranga. Cherrapunjee has a lot more to offer. Trekking to the Double Decker Root Bridge. Ahead of Cherrapunjee are Dawki, Tamabil, Shnongpdeng, Umngot river near Bangladesh Border which can be covered in a day’s trip.

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