It was the last fag of winter and a hazy day, but the sun shone bright as we drove past upper Shillong. Our driver warned that most waterfalls were dry or had very little water. Despite that, with minimal hope, added a few waterfalls to the itinerary. The car made its way meandering through hills, vantage points and open grasslands which had turned a shade less green. We did stop at a couple of view points which offered spellbinding vistas of the Khasi hills. The first major break was at Mawkdok view point, a popular one where most visitors take a break. We walked down a few steps to enjoy the endless views of the green canopy covered hills which turned into different shades of blue the farther they were. The deep valleys lay sandwiched and many a time I wished there was a path that led to its depth.
|Mawkdok view point|
The car snaked its way past more vantage points, intermittent tiny tea shops and a few dry waterfalls which was disheartening. We did stop by one of such falls for some tea and a break. Wakaba falls despite having very little water looked beautiful with the dry rock patch between the greenery which would have been a breathtaking sight during the monsoon.
|View from Wakaba falls|
The road further led to Cherrapunji locally referred to as Sohra, a little town oblivious of its world popularity. The first point of interest was the ever popular Nohkalikai falls, one of the tallest plunge falls in India. Nohkalikai gets its name from a Khasi lady, Likai, who jumped off the cliff. A wide swathe of rock patch stood clear of the green carpet over the flat hill top while the Nohkalikai flung itself into the turquoise plunge pool 1115 feet below. A few tiny falls on either side of the Nohkalikai were visible as a trickle. The frame turns into a magical one during the rains when numerous falls gush their way through the canopy into the valley. How I wish I was there during the monsoon! Silence, serenity and a warm breeze is all that prevailed over the place as we stared at the gorgeous landscape in oblivion. The only visitors apart from us were a Dutch couple riding their bike all the way from Thailand to Netherlands. Inspirational!
From caving we were back on the plains of Thakhrang ecological park to enjoy the distant hills and deep valleys. Plains of Bangladesh showed a hazy glimpse of itself from the view point. The park which is a picnic spot is laded with trees, foliage and lawns for kids to play. The next pit stop was Koh Ramhah, a short drive away which offered a better view of the expansive plains of Bangladesh. Koh Ramhah is popular for its impressive monolithic pillar rock. As I gazed at the rock and the distant plains, Bangladesh seemed so near and yet so far. Re-kindled memories of my visit to Mae Sot in Thailand, where Myanmar was just a few steps away.
|Thakhrang eco park|
|Plains of Bangladesh|
|Koh Ramhah rock|
The sun had begun to descend and we drove back the same winding roads through the hills. Seven sister falls, a popular water falls was completely dry and way below a watermark made its way through the lush greenery. This would been a sight to behold after the rains. A quick stop to gulp down a few momos at Mawkdok point, and we drove back to Shillong as the day light faded over the horizon with a sudden drizzle. That was a pleasant surprise. How could a visit to Cherrapunji be devoid of the rains?
|The dry seven sister falls|
Getting there: Taxis are available from Shillong which is 60 Kms away (1.5 hours drive)
Accommodation and Food: There are guest house/ home stays in Cherrapunji (Sohra) which are not expensive. Hotels/ restaurants are present at Mawkdok, Mawsmai caves.