The Gem of North East India : Meghalaya
India is indeed Incredible, right from snow, desert, lakes, sea, caves, dense forests to waterfalls, it has all in its girth. And one such gem is the North east India, full of lush green fields, and lots for the backpackers to explore. North east India never failed to amaze me. It has always made me feel proud of its heritage, culture and the environment. We basked in this beautiful part of India, Assam and Meghalaya during our New Year’s. And nothing could have been a better treat as a family. It is a grandeur charisma, which pulls the roamer across the world.
Though, all of the places we explored, will have a detailed review on our Travel blog FOTW, this post will highlight why you need to ensure that Meghalaya is in your Bucket List for 2019.
Interesting facts about Meghalaya :
- Women and Girls have a strong foothold here, it is only state which follows matrilineal system , in which a person’s lineage is traced through women. Perfect example of women empowerment!
- Did you know that Meghalaya’s Sex ratio is 986[F]:1000 [M], which is much higher than India’s average. Kudos
- Meaning of Meghalaya is “abode of clouds”, as you’ll witness walking in the clouds if you visit it during the months of June – October .
- Cheerapunji and the village near it “ Mawsynram” receives the highest rainfall in the world.
- Meghalaya also has India’s longest cave in the Jainita hills, which is said to be 22kms long, whoa!
- Its Sacred forests are rich in biodiversity and are yet unexplored. Explorers, are you listening!
- It borders with Assam and internationally with Bangladesh. You can view the Bangladesh border from various spots in Meghalaya.
- It has Asia’s Cleanest village “Mawlynnong”, Let’s cheer out loud.
Let’s take a virtual round why you need to visit Meghalaya as a family :
For the love of Lakes :
Who doesn’t loves the tranquility of watching the sunset over the waters? Meghalaya, has ample beautiful lakes for you to witness.
Umiam lake (Barapani Lake) : very close to the capital city of Shillong, is spread over 220kms. Surrounded by Khasi Hills, it is really picturesque. The panoramic views kept us mesmerized for every single moment. There are some water activities as Boating, kayaking, Speed Boat , cruise also for some adrenaline rush.
Once you are through with the boating options, simply play the music, enjoy the beautiful settings and indulge in some twisty moves right amidst this thrilling lake. After all, it is often compared with the Lakes of Scotland!
Dawki Lake : Located In the southern part of Meghalaya, bordering Bangladesh (2kms away from Bangladesh), Dawki town encapsulates a precious masterpiece, Dawki Lake or Umngot lake. Have you ever witnessed a boat on completely transparent water? May be on Social Media? Well, that’s what this happening place has got to offer. It is one of the cleanest rivers. Look at the boats sailing from a distance, you’ll be tempted to exclaim wow.
Surrounded by Jainita and Khasi hills, this river is a box full of magical surprises. We opted for boating here, to witness the serenity. Our lil boy was amazed at the underwater views (fishes , stones and sands), all so crystal clear in the blue green waters. While boating, you’ll witness the last edge of India and a big stone on the other side which demarcates India and Bangladesh. It’s a perfect setting to view the sunset too.
Explore the hinterland of Caves :
So how would be the thrill of walking through the unknown be? Meghalaya has some of the longest caves in the world.
Did you know that out of the 10 longest and deepest caves in India, 9 are in Meghalaya?
Most of these caves are formed of limestones and some might even need one to swim to enter inside. It was the first Cave exploration for us, and we opted to cover 2 caves, Arwah cave [ comparatively new discovery], Mawsmai Cave, both near Cheerapunji . These caves will leave you spell-binding for sure. Both caves are unique in their own way, while Mawsmai Cave is well lit on one part, its another, comparatively very narrow part is not lit at all. As you enter more and more, the passage become narrow, dark and really scary. You’ll have to creep, squeeze to fit in some of the openings and that’s what the real adventure is!
Caution : Get into your slimmer self. Peek-a-boo with the underground world is something you’ll cherish forever.
Highlight of Arwah Caves, were the fossils and limestone streams. Watch closely and you’ll be able to spot Mollusk shells and Fish bone fossils over here. Does that sounds exciting enough for an adventure trail with kids?
A deep gorge between the surrounding cliffs, usually with the river stream is something worth witnessing. The weathering process, erosions, movement of rivers, create Canyons naturally. One of the Meghalaya’s Natural wonder is the Grand Laitlum Canyon. The views will leave you awe-struck. But their is a catch! Most of the times of the year, it is engulfed in thick clouds making it difficult for tourists to witness the real beauty. We were lucky enough, as it a perfect winter sunny day, with no cloud patch coming our way.
The walk along the stairways, looks like a path to heaven, it is so breathtaking. Viewing the canyons are the scenic hill slopes, and the dazzling meadows. Bask in some sunlight, play with kids and sip some tea and binge on Maggie. Perfect holiday plan, right? Kids will have lots of fun running around these slopes and spotting goats.
Living Root bridges :
These are perfect examples bio-engineering, how innovative man can be wrt Natural wonders. Deep into the dense forests, with huge rocks and river streams, these bridges are made from the aerial roots of rubber fig trees.
These man-made bridges are formed by guiding the pliable roots of rubber tree across the stream and then allowing them to grow over the years. They can also be twisted together to gain more strength. Over the years, these roots strengthen till they can bear the human weight.
Meghalaya is a home to many such Living Root bridges and one of the marvel is the Double Decker root bridge. It involves a strenuous trek up and down 3000 stairs through the forests. And, we did that, with our 4yo kid. The sight of the marvel, gave us an immense satisfaction. Pristine, tranquil, masterpiece, ever step towards this bridge is worth what you get to witness.
Tree houses :
Are you longing to climb Tree house and witness the majesty? Then Meghalaya has ample of these. Mawlynnong Tree house is one, which we climbed to witness the Sky view of Bangladesh. Usually these are made out of Bamboo and hay stacks. Climbing to reach the top of the Tree House itself is a fun for kids [for adults too, as I too enjoyed].
So are these 5 reasons convincing enough that your bucket list needs to be amended now? Pull up your socks, ensure that you make yourself fit and embark on this adventurous journey. Have you been to Meghalaya before, then share your experiences in the comment section.
Read more about our Goa experiences!
Much Love, Jhilmil!