Meghalaya Memories # Part 1

Sometimes there are many things that we wish for but cannot achieve in life. For instance though I love travelling I too am restricted due to many reasons.But that doesn’t stop me from listening to other people’s tales about their voyages- good or bad. Thus, this time when I missed the opportunity to travel to Meghalaya with my aunt (due to exams) I was eagerly waiting for their tales and experiences. This is to be noted that the entire post is a guest post alongwith the photographs by my aunt Mrs. Urmila Majumdar who recently visited Meghalaya with her husband and her friends.

On a cloudy summer Kolkata morning, we set for the hills of Meghalaya, for a two days- three nights short trip, yearning for a cooler climate. Kolkata was burning like Troy and the hills promised a much needed relief. Kolkata to Guwahati is a short, less than 2 hours flight. Once we landed in the Guwahati airport, we had to speak to a cab counter for hiring a car, for our 6 member team. We were being charged much higher than expected but we could not see any other option. However once we came out of the airport, we found lines of similar cars in different sizes. It would be advisable for future travelers, to hire from outside, since there can be a scope for bargaining.

Soon the landscape of the city gave way to the red, rough face of rocks and lush green foliage. In half an hour we took a meandering mountain road, climbing towards the city of Shillong. As we climbed higher, the different ranges of Himalaya played hide and seek at every bend. The twists and turns came so frequently that it was better to capture them in memory than through lenses. Our team members soon gave up and I kept on clicking through the iPad, since it was easier to handle. The bends tended to be sharper, as we climbed higher and higher, we had to hang onto the car handles and sometimes to each other, to maintain balance.


The majestic beauty of Himalayas soon silenced us all, except the driver. He was going full force, enlightening us on the social situation of the Khasis, punctuating each sentence with a hearty, loud bout of laughter. It seems that the matriarchal Khasi women are very powerful than their counterparts. The driver went on to say that the men mostly work as shuttle drivers to and fro from hotels and airports and in the evenings they go out with bullets. “Bullets!” I was all ears now. Is he talking about guns? Not yet it seems. Bullets are bikes. It seems bikers go out in the evening to have a good time. Then our driver spoke a little about his personal life, that he is working to get his sister married and may be then he can go to the “jungles”.

We were hungry, so we stopped at a Dhaba. My energetic friends climbed the steep stairs of the road side restaurant and vanished inside to collect some food, while my husband and I waited at the car. The driver turned on some local music channel. The tunes were catchy and a few words of the local language resembled our mother tongue. Our friends came back with aloo paratha, chana and the food tasted divine, since it was late afternoon and we were ravenous. The serpentine path continued up and up and the weather cooled down. We devoured the food, continuing on the roller coaster ride, trying not to spill any gravy on each other.

We arrived at a picturesque location, Bara Pani. Here, let me divulge that this is my second visit in this area; the first one was when I was five. I heard from my mother that on the earlier trip, we had picnic on the banks of Bara Pani, so I had requested the driver to take us near it, en route to Shillong. The driver said we cannot go near, since it would be a total detour but he will get us a glimpse. I had read on the internet that it falls on the way, but did not wish to argue with him. We were already a little tired with his chatter and crazily continuous laughter. 


The view of Bara Pani was breathtaking. Little wafts of candy floss clouds floated over the vast expanse of water below, surrounded by greenery and layers of mountain ranges. It was magical. Our awe was shattered by the sound of some returning vehicles on the other side of the road. Looking at five ladies at the spot, volume of the latest Hindi racy numbers went high. I dragged the team to the car and the journey continued. 

Soon we entered the city of Shillong. It was not like how I remembered Shillong from my childhood – the beautiful wooden houses and the gardens of paradise; fragrance of wild roses blooming in fetching disarray. Now, the houses were mostly dilapidated but quite a number of them had a well tended garden in the front. Roses, Dalia, Lilly, Gladioli and some unknown flowers bloomed in myriad hues. The shops in between the houses were ill kept. However, the Himalayas guarded and veiled all with its splendid, countless shades of green cloak. It was monsoon and the hills had come alive. Amidst such beauties we lost track of time and before we knew it, we had arrived at our hotel.

The next day was quite pleasant. Satisfied with a hearty breakfast, all climbed onto the Toyota Innova for our day’s journey. We were on our way to Cherrapunji. The place holds the highest rainfall record in the world .It was not raining heavily but every now and then there was a very brief, light shower. It was so light that even an umbrella was redundant. 

We left the city and once again took the winding road with deep gorges on one side and steep mountain ranges on the other. The sky was a candy-floss carnival, gigantic clouds embracing medium and smaller baby clouds. Thin georgette veils of clouds drifted on our way. The name of the state, Meghalaya, is justified. As the car moved through the zigzag road, the sun played hide and seek and the tall mountain trees painted a poetic silhouette against the white clouds and the grayish blue sky. 

                   “I wandered lonely as a cloud
                                That floats on high o’er vales and hills”

We stopped on the way, to take some pictures. It seemed to be standard tourist take- a-photo point. Though tea baskets were kept for trash collection, it seemed people preferred the roadsides more for the purpose.

Next, we started for the Echo Park. It’s a partly natural and partly created park. Thankfully the natural beauty-the spring flowing through the park and falling at great depth below in hurricane force, was undisturbed. Beyond the boundary of railings, lay Bangladesh offering a picturesque view. In my mind I greeted my father’s land where I have never been.


Next stop was the Noh Ka Likai falls. I will refrain from telling the entire story behind the name, but it involved a suicide. Most of the falls in Shillong seemed suicide points and has associated stories. The falls itself have great heights but are a slim beauty. Mists surrounded this one, like a white translucent chiffon sari.


We were hungry with all the walking around in the park and wanted to have lunch. Our next destination was the nice round shaped, Polo Orchid restaurant just beside the Seven Sisters falls. We sat in the restaurant chatting and praying the clouds would move to reveal the lively sisters and soon they appeared. For the entire duration of time we sat there and had the delicious food, the sisters were appearing and disappearing like a fine magician’s assistants. They seemed more than seven, merrily dancing and sliding down the rough edges of the mountain, without a care for the onlookers, happy in their own company. I could have lived there forever, in a small log house perched on a mountain top, looking at the playful family.


Time was passing and we did not wish to be caught in the mountain roads, so with an unwilling heart, we started our journey to the next destination – the limestone caves. On the way, we were shown the entrance of a coal mine. Inside it was dark, with slippery stones and bats hanging.

 We decided to take a look at the Ward’s Lake. It was just a man made place, with millions of tourists taking boat rides, chatting, posing for pictures. Interestingly, most of the attendants in the park were women. They were wearing traditional dresses & velvet stoles & collected money for the cameras.

It was getting late and soon we left the park and entered the hotel.
Mountains, unlike seas, are silent after sunset and each day holds something new. . . . . . . . . . 

32 Replies to “Meghalaya Memories # Part 1”

  1. What beautiful pictures! I’m sorry you weren’t able to travel along! I miss out on a lot of travel right now too, due to my kids being so young, so I sympathize… We’ll get out one day!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ya i understand that when your kids are young, it becomes difficult to travel. but maybe I think thats the best time to tighten the travel budget so that when the kids grow up, you can take them to some of the best places of the world. 🙂


  2. That’s great that you had the opportunity to hear about the trip anyway – missing out on experiences because of exams is so annoying isn’t it? Visiting the Himalayas must be a breathtaking experience, literally. Such beautiful writing too – your aunt describes sensitive places and stories so well.
    lily kate x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes it was annoying . but then I had recently been on another vacation to Delhi- Agra-Jaipur with my family , and then again going for Meghalaya would have hampered by exam prep. so, I decided to give it a skip, But its on my list. . . . 🙂


  3. It is so sad to hear about the suicides but even the tragic deaths lend a kind of eerie beauty to Meghalaya’s mountains . They say the most beautiful things are often the ones steeped in morbid history!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I completely agree. more so, because the Taj Mahal, which is considered to be the monument of love has horrific and dark histories behind its making. But i guess, as u said it only lends a charm and beauty to the place/object.


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