Untitled Document

I Love The Hills

Known as “the Abode of the Clouds”, the rolling hills of Meghalaya impart a feeling of freedom that allows one to escape to a world of your own ― it is the ultimate getaway. The drive from Gauhati to Shillong along the winding road of NH-40 gives you a first glimpse of the change in scenery. Pine trees and small hills on either side of the road serve as the backdrop for the villages teeming with families going about their daily grind. The air becomes clearer and the weather cooler with the descent into Shillong, a city celebrated for its music, fashion, swagger and variety. The cosmopolitan and eclectic mix of the population and cultures makes it all the more special.

Shillong as the first stop is a good start. A day or two spent in the capital, with a dose of the established and well known tourist spots coupled with a walking tour, allows you to see for yourself the ways and means of a city with a rich history that is modernizing the present and the relevant. A trip to Meghalaya would not be complete without Cherrapunjee or ‘Sohra’, as it is known in the Khasi language. The world knows it as the place that receives the highest amount of rainfall in a year. However, reading about a place in a textbook on geography and actually being there are two entirely different things and everyone who has been around the sights and sounds of Cherrapunjee would affirm as much.

Firstly, the drive to Cherrapunjee from Shillong is by far one of the finest you will ever experience. There are the vagaries of weather and scenery - the fog, the clear blue sky, the grey, the wind, the sunshine, the drizzle, the heavy rains, the traffic, the open road, the heights and the depths of craggy knolls. A piece of history tells you that this was where Christianity first started in the North East of India and the Presbyterian Church here is the oldest structure of the religion in this part of the world. The fact that one can see the neighbouring country of Bangladesh just adds to the fun of the place while the awe-inspiring waterfalls of Nohkalikai and Dainthlen cannot but make one marvel at such majestic beauty. The way to the famous Living Root Bridges is a short yet slightly tough trek through forest cover and fresh water streams.

Mawlynnong in the East Khasi Hills should be the next stop in your discovery of the hills of Meghalaya. The warmth of the people in this village which prides itself on hygiene and cleanliness conveys a welcome to visitors that is unsurpassed in other hamlets. It is the best example of Khasi hospitality. The cleanest village in all of Asia transports you to a whole new different world and being lost in the land of the gods is absolutely priceless. It is something that money cannot buy. One needs to spend a whole day in the Jaintia Hills to truly understand and appreciate the essence of Khasi culture and its people. Nartiang in the Jaintia Hills is important, both from a tourist’s and historical perspective. The rich history of the Jaintia rulers holds a significant place in the hearts and minds of anyone who shares a special connection with the place.

One area which has been largely unnoticed by the tourism industry is Smit which is about 20 kms from Shillong. It is the seat of Khasi royalty and tradition. The Ing Sad, which is the equivalent of a most modest palace, serves as the centre of historical and practical knowledge of the place. The wide and open space of the Smit countryside is the ideal way to end your holiday in the evergreen hills of the abode of the clouds.
Meghalaya for all that it is and for whatever that it is not, offers you that perfect holiday. But more than anything else, it gives you that opportunity to get away from all the noise and the pollution and hopefully rediscover yourself. Together, we proceed…………………….