Abode of clouds - Meghalaya!
Please excuse me for writing the final part of this journey after a gap of more than a month. Was caught up in adjusting with the “new normal” way of life and remote working.
There were struggles to get the groceries and seamless internet connectivity initially but now it’s all sorted. Meanwhile, I drove down to Raipur from Pune. 1000 kms in 20 hours with a co-driver. It was good fun.
Reading part#4 directly might not be good idea so please click on the below links to read prequels
- PART#1 – REACHING TAWANG FROM ASSAM VIA BOMDILA
- Part#2 – Tip toeing – Tawang and reaching Dirang!
- PART#3 – ARRIVING IN ASSAM – LAND OF TEA, TRADITION & ONE HORNED RHINO!
After spending 2 days in Assam, relishing local delicacies and meeting Rhinos it was time to hit the road again. Simanta was at hotel lobby with his innova, all neat and clean.
This time for a change, we started late. After lunch around 1:00 pm.
- Kaziranga national park to Cherrapunji
- Travel time – 8.5 hours
- Road Condition – Smooth and well consructed
- Stay – Saimika Resort, Cherrapunji
Lunch served to us @Bonhabi was full of taste and spices. Exactly the way we wanted.
The drive was pretty smooth, and we enjoyed the journey through the small villages, finally reaching the mountains from the plains. We stopped at Jiva Pure Veg to refill our tummies and this place is one of a kind. Very hygienic and full of taste. We ordered momos, noodles and some biryani. Reached at Saimika, resort by 10 pm. It seemed to be a deserted place wherein there was a security guard who led us to our twin-cottages (joined from inside).
Entering the cottages, our excitement reached next level. We had a fireplace inside the cottage. I have stayed in many resorts across India, but this was the first time I had this pretty thing inside the room. We asked the security to lit it up for us. Glasses clanged again with malt on the rocks. It was good fun and very relaxing. Woke up fresh next morning and opened the door of our cottage to be mesmerized by the beauty of this resort which seemed deserted yesterday. Resort is built on a cliff in acres of land, all construction is done using rocks which gives an ancient Roman feel to this place. Looked inspired by Harry Porter movie to a fair extend.
We had some quick sandwiches at the restaurant and left the resort to reach the entry-point of trek to famous “living Root Bridges.”
- living Root Bridges
- Travel time – Full day trek
- Trek level – Moderate to difficult
- Stay – Saimika Resort, Cherrapunji
At the entry point of the trek, you will meet local boys renting Bamboos and claiming to be guides.
My suggestion – Take Bamboos and not the guide. Because our guide named, Risk DID NOT guide us at all. He just kept walking ahead of us creating un-necessary pressure on us to trek down faster. Guide could be useful for getting some pictures clicked for sure.
Started off the hike and reached the,” single decker root bridge” after 1500 steps down hill.
It was tiring but we had some juice left in us so after some rest we moved ahead to the prime attraction of today’s hike – the double decker living root bridge. Another 2000 steps down hill, crossing a river, a few villages, lots of sweating and knee breaking efforts we reached the architectural brilliance, man-made, double decker living root bridge.
There is a stream flowing underneath it and thousands of fishes are waiting to welcome you from a small pond of fresh, crystal clear water.
We spend time relaxing by the pond side and eating the packed food that we carried from Saimika. Pranthas that were packed had lost the taste completely and I suggest to better order Maggie from small shops around the root bridge.
Some wiki gyan for you – A living root bridge is a type of simple suspension bridge formed of living plant roots by tree shaping. They are common in the southern part of the Northeast Indian state of Meghalaya. They are handmade from the aerial roots of rubber fig trees (Ficus elastica) by the Khasi and Jaintia peoples of the mountainous terrain along the southern part of the Shillong Plateau. Most of the bridges grow on steep slopes of subtropical moist broadleaf forest between 50m and 1150m above sea level. As long as the tree from which it is formed remains healthy, the roots in the bridge can naturally grow thick and strengthen. New roots can grow throughout the tree’s life and must be pruned or manipulated to strengthen the bridge. Without active care, many bridges have decayed or grown wild, becoming unusable. *
*Source – Wikipedia
We had to trek upstairs again. Although none of us wanted to but we did as we had to.
Knees, thighs and back hurted bad but we kept walking and motivating each other.
I will write another post on does and don’t while you take this tiring trek of Living Root Bridges. Finally reached the car parking after 7~8 hours to meet ever smiling Simanta.
Had maggie and tea and ditched all plans to see some waterfalls to reach Saimika resort so that we can enjoy this beautiful stay a little more.
Evening was set with a lovely bon fire outside our cottages where we enjoyed endless chats under the sky full of stars, zillions of them twinkling all night long.
Next morning was a lazy one, got up late and enjoyed our pre-ordered breakfast at the gothic Sai-mika. After quick check-out Simanta took us for some sightseeing around Cherrapunji and Dawki river. The water has no colour and odour is true in the transparent river which flows from India to Bangladesh and merges in Bay of Bengal via Sundarbans. Boating is a must here and if you are enthusiastic like us the do take a dip in the freeazing crystal clear water. Left Cherrapunji by 4 pm for our next destination which was just a night halt for us.
- Cherrapunji to Umsning, Meghalaya
- Travel time – 4 hours
- Road condition – Very good and scenic
- Stay – The Sanctuary Song Resort, Umsning, Meghalaya
All is well when it ends well. Reaching this serene resort, we thought to ourselves, what a showstopper trip end planned by the curator. Nested in nature’s lap within a forest, small stream flowing besides the resort and NO MOBILE NETWORK available. What else does a metro lad need!!
Some local strawberry wine was bought from the reception, bon fire was lit and the night went on and on till 1 am. Crashed in our cosy beds and woke up with chirps of birds, Trisha was the 1st one to wake up and got outside to greet the birds singing in a foggy cold morning.
Day#10 was finally here when we had to board our flight back to Mumbai from Guwahati airport, which is around 3.5 hours smooth drive from the heavenly stay on earth called The Sanctuary Song Resort. I leave you with some pictures here as we end this epic journey of a lifetime with a promise to come back again soon.
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See you soon again!