Hi, Hope you guys liked my Meghalaya Roadtrip (Part 1) blogpost. Now I’ll start with day 4……
Day 4: (Mawlynnong to Cherrapunjee) 81km
We woke up early morning in this beautiful village ‘Mawlynnong’, located in East Khasi Hills. It’s a small village with population of 500 known for it’s cleanliness. The interesting fact about this village is their ‘Matrilineal society’. Here, the property and wealth is passed from mother to the youngest of her daughters, who also keeps the mother’s surname. There was a lush green jungle and a stream behind our homestay. We spent some morning time in our balcony facing the greenery with background music of flowing stream and then went to explore the village. Most of the things open at 9am. Luckily we had some cakes and biscuits which we had for breakfast. It was a quiet little village, very clean and planned, almost like a garden. No wonder it is called as ‘Asia’s cleanest village’. People had just started their household chores. All houses had a garden in front and their typical cane basket (cone shaped) dustbin. There are two tree houses from where you can see Bangladesh plains. One of them it just a viewpoint and other one is a proper tree house. Both were on treetops with bamboo stairs. The bamboo stairs were slippery and loose at places. It was a bit scary toward the top. It was secured with a bamboo thread……. But the view from the top was amazing. We took some chips and juice at the tree house. It was a nice place for picnic. Since it was early morning, we were the only ones there. It was a morning well spent. I even bought their traditional checkered cloth which ladies wear daily. The yellow silk one which they wear occasionally, you can see in the part 1 of the blog. There is a balancing rock, a huge boulder resting on a smaller stone in Mawlynnong. The structure has remained like that for ages. Cyclone, storm nothing could disturb it. Isn’t that amazing? But since it was closed till 9am, we couldn’t see that. We had to leave for cherrapunjee. There’s single living root bridge at Mawlynnong but we skipped it cause we wanted to do double decker living root bridges at Nongriat near cherrapunjee. So, we had to reach Cherrapunjee before 12pm for the trek to double decker living root bridges. Trek to double decker living root bridges in Cherrapunjee is difficult with appropriately 3800 steps. So, if you are not physically fit, travelling with kids or don’t have much time, I would suggest you to do living root bridge at Mawlynnong which has only 300 steps. Road to cherrapunjee was very scenic. We had quick lunch at a restaurant on the way and headed to village called Tyrna where the trek for double decker living root bridges starts which is about 20km from Cherrapunjee. Road from Cherrapunjee to Tyrna was very narrow but very scenic. We reached Tyrna exactly at 12pm, took a guide and started the trek. The guide din’t know either English or Hindi, so was not of much help…… Double decker living root bridge was on our bucket list for a long time. Living root bridges in Meghalaya are tangles of thick roots, which have been intermingled to form a bridge that can hold several people at a time. These are made in Ficus elastica tree. These bridges are still alive and growing. It was a difficult trek till Nongriat and back. You have to climb down approximately 3800 steps (7km) and climb up to go back. Worst part is that the steps are of different height, sizes and really steep at places. You have to even cross two suspension bridges out of which one was quite scary. There are shops selling chips, biscuits, maggi, cold drinks, fruits etc. There are even some homestays at Nongriat if you don’t wish to do the trek in one day. We reached Nongriat at 2pm, clicked lot of pictures at living root bridges. Best part was the waterfall and natural pools facing the bridge. We spent some time in the waterfall. It was so relaxing!!! I think it’s a must after the trek. There’s a changing room also. I’m glad we carried our swimwear. After spending an hour at the living root bridges, we started our trek again. We had maggi, fruits and aloo muri on our way back. The trek was very exhausting….. not for the faint hearted. Make sure you are physically fit to do this trek. We reached back at around 5pm just before the sunset. There’s single living root bridge also nearby but we skipped it. After this we went to Polo orchid resort, Cherrapunjee. This resort is pretty hyped in Meghalaya. So we went with a lot of expectations. It is supposed to have a good view in monsoon. You can see seven sisters waterfall from the restaurant. But we couldn’t see the waterfall cause it was dry season. We stayed in a plunge pool villa. Actually after the trek, I wish there was Jacuzzi or at least a hot water pool. But it was a cold water pool. So we couldn’t use it at night. Room was nice with the mix contemporary and old style. Loved the turquoise blue detailing in the room. They gave some complementary refreshments and wine and an umbrella. It was a nice gesture of giving umbrella as a memory of a (previously known) wettest place on earth. After taking some rest, we went for dinner. Restaurant is decorated with umbrellas on the ceiling. It was beautiful. Food was good but was very happy with the menu. They din’t have any local specialities. So, we had soup and fried rice and went back to room.
Day 5 (Cherrapunjee to Shillong) 54km
As usual we woke up early morning to see beautiful sunrise over Bangladesh plains. Balcony was the best part of the room, it was overlooking Bangladesh plains. We had our morning tea admiring the view. Then went for breakfast. Breakfast spread was decent. View from the restaurant was nice. But we could not see seven sisters waterfall since it was post monsoon. I really want to visit Cherrapunjee in monsoon someday. After breakfast, we went back to the room. By this time it was quite hot and was perfect for a dip in our private plunge pool. And the view from the pool was amazing. Then we checked out from the hotel and visited Mawsmai cave. There are many caves in Meghalaya. But since the Mawsmai was near our hotel, we went there. I was a bit hesitant cause I’m claustrophobic, but it was not difficult. It’s a well lit cave. You just have to bend at places but don’t have to crawl. For the first timer like me, it is great. It was slippery at places. It’s takes 15 mins inside the cave. After this we went to Nokhalikai falls, it’s the tallest plunge falls in India. It’s very beautiful. We could even see the rainbow. Rainbow made the falls look more beautiful. After spending lovely time in Cherrapunjee, we headed to Shillong to attend ‘cherry blossom festival’. It was well organised festival at different venues in Shillong. Bloom was delayed because of the rains this year. So we could see only buds(pinkish hue) at some places, difficult to see in pictures. We spent some time at the stalls and registered for cheery blossom run where we met their district sports officer and organizer of cherry blossom festival Mr. Albert Chiang. They were very kind. Initially we were a bit upset about not being able to see the bloom. But after meeting them, we felt nice. After all it’s nature! Sometimes it’s difficult to predict nature. We also visited bara bazaar. It was like Crawford market in Mumbai. Very very crowded. There were stalls selling silkworms which is a delicacy in Meghalaya. And there were many other strange and colourful things. We spent the evening at Ward’s lake, another venue of the festival. It is the best place in Shillong. It’s a beautiful lake surrounded by trees. Though we couldn’t see the cherry blossom, fall colours were amazing. So romantic! In the night, we went to Police bazaar for dinner and had Khasi thali and rice & corn cakes at Trattoria, a local restaurant. Then we went to Cloud 9 lounge at Police bazaar. Before going back to hotel, we bought some cakes from Eee cee bakery. Cakes were yummy.
Day 6 (Shillong to Guwahati) 100km
Woke up early as usual…. our days in Meghalaya always started at 4:30am. Got ready for cheery blossom run. We were already tired after living root bridges trek. I had very hard time climbing down and the run started on the top of the hill and we had to run downhill…… It was a big task for me. Running 6km felt like ages….. but we completed the run. By the way our picture also got featured in Shillong newspaper which we found out later. After the run we were invited for the breakfast with officials and organizers. Had lovely time with them…. very warm people. After that they dropped us to the hotel and since we couldn’t see any cherry blossom at the venue, they told us the exact location where it had started blooming. We were glad that we could see atleast some blossom. After clicking pictures with Cherry blossom, we drove back to Shillong. On our way back we grabbed lunch at Jiva veg restaurant. We picked up veg puffs. Best ever puffs…… So fluffy!!! And finally we reached Guwahati and returned the car. It was hassle free. They completed the formalities in just 10 minutes. And we headed back to Airport with lovely memories.