India’s Switzerland and much more… – 2
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India’s Switzerland and much more… – 2

December 26, 2022

Travelogue: North-East Indian States By Bhamy V. Shenoy

[Continued from yesterday]

In comparison to Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya has far more attractive sight-seeing places. Cherrapunji, the rainiest place in the world with an annual precipitation of 463.7, is one of them. In Cherrapunji, Seven Sisters Fall is a tourist spot. However, when we were there, there was no water. However the majestic Nohkalikai Falls in Cherrapunji was worth the effort of driving on rough roads. With a single fall down a height of 1,115 ft, it is the tallest plunge falls in India.

Near to Shillong the capital of Meghalaya, there is Elephant Falls. It was Britishers who named it because they seem to have seen a rock which looked like an elephant. Rock was destroyed in 1987 due to earthquake. But the name continues. The original Khasi (tribe in Meghalaya) name for the falls is Ka Kshaid Lai Pateng Khohsiew, which translates to “the three-step waterfall.

Seven Sisters Fall

Three other attractive places in Meghalaya which we visited were the Living Root Bridge, the cleanest village in Asia and the clearest river Umngot in Dawki. The natural marvel of Living Root Bridges are found mostly in Meghalaya. They were developed two centuries ago by veterans of Khasi tribe by  putting rubber tree roots into hollow canes of areca nut palm. These are recognised by UNESCO as a world heritage. Some of the root bridges are over 100-feet-long and take 10 to 15 years to attain the perfect shape.

Once fully grown, these roots last for as long as 500 years. There are double-decker and single-decker bridges. We saw only one single-decker bridge near Mawlynnong village. We took so many photos that we never got tired. Root bridges are good enough to hold 50 or more people in one go.

Elephant Falls in Meghalaya
Single deck Root Bridge.

Mawlynnong village with 900 residents and 90% literacy is definitely the cleanest village. I was waiting to learn how it achieved this distinction. When just about every other house is a home stay and with so few residents, it is not a typical Indian village. It was not easy to locate a toilet.  When I located one, it was nothing much to write about. There were three churches and a school. When Travel India magazine published an article declaring it as the cleanest village in India in 2005, it was catapulted into a top tourist spot in the region. I felt that the cleanest village promotion is just a tourist hype. But it is working. By one estimate village income has increased by 60%. 

Cleanest village in Asia

Dawki or Dauki is a small border town between India and Bangladesh, set in West Jaintia Hills district of Meghalaya. There is a beautiful suspension bridge built during the British time. After hearing about the Morbi Bridge tragedy we were scared as we were going over it. The gorgeous green and blue water of Umngot river looks stunning. One can see fish and pebbles easily. Boat seems to glide over the river as it is claimed by some.

Clearest river in India – Umngot

Visit to Shillong is not complete without visiting ultra modern and ultra clean Don Bosco Museum. One can easily spend one whole day in this seven-floor museum where we can see the progress of homo sapiens from prehistoric to current era. Special emphasis is given to depict the rich and multi-cultural lifestyles of indigenous people of North East India. There are several different galleries — agriculture, art, basketry, ornaments, fishing and hunting, food, housing, historic evolution of mankind, mission and culture, musical instruments and religions. This was opened in 2003.

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[To be continued tomorrow]

2 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “India’s Switzerland and much more… – 2”

  1. Questo says:

    “Cherrapunji, the rainiest place in the world with an annual precipitation of 463.7, is one of them. In Cherrapunji, Seven Sisters Fall is a tourist spot. However, when we were there, there was no water”
    n out history lessons in those days, when we really had braod education, not the preparation to be cheap IT techies to do cheap labour, Cherrapunji was one of the favourite questions in history exams.
    You see @Barmy Shenoy, there is no water even in Cherrpunji areas. What does that suggest you, coming from the highly dense Mysore city, thanks the likes of you invading it, in 1980s, and destroying the natural beauty of the city? India is massively populated, and this area has its share of massive population too. It is no Switzerland, which is lightly populated for a start!

  2. Ajay Goyal says:

    If there are no year-long snow views it is not “like the Swiss Alps”… this rules out the Deccan and most of NE, HP etc..
    I have a Cabin near Pauri, Uttarakand, at 6,000 ft .. barely a 7hr drive from Delhi.. with a 20/20 View .. 20 SNOW PEAKS OVER 20,000 FT… ( Uttatakhand Tourist Dept. actually lists 60 Visible Snow Peaks above 20,000 ft.. FYI)..
    This view puts The Swiss Alps to Shame as Mt Blanc, the highest peak in Europe is <17,000 ft only…
    JUST HIT THE ROAD FOR PAURI (40 minutes from Devprayag..) and get ready to "Beat and Out Swiss … Switzerland" … EASILY.. as you enjoy some real "cool" weather too.. but beware of Pollution "hiding the peaks" in summer… !!!!

    For the Religiously inclined… get a Pujari to perform a Puja/Havan to ALL FOUR DHAAMS (Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri, Yambotri..) at the same time…. (no need to risk or torture you body by going to 14-17,000 ft Elevation to these Dhaams by road/foot either) ..
    India has it ALL.. but you must want to Search-n-Enjoy too.. !!!


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