If you’re looking for a nature-crafted travel destination that offers raw and largely untreaded landscapes, then keep Meghalaya on top of the list. This is nature’s beauty on a colossal scale.
Your explorations can include the unique living root bridges, peeping down glass-like clear rivers, an outstanding play of clouds in the wettest villages on earth and magical waterfalls. And that’s just the nature’s brush stroke. Culturally, the state is teeming with ancient traditions of the Khasi, Garo and Jaintia people.
The reputation of the waterfall cannot even come close to the actual sight. One of top Meghalaya’s sightseeing spots, the Nohkalikai Waterfall bumbles over a rock-bed, foaming furiously to leap down to the bottom. It plummets 1115 feet down to a small pool, leaving a misty haze in its wake. This is the tallest plunge waterfall in India.
The postcard image of travel in Meghalaya, the living root bridges are truly jaw dropping. The living root bridges of Meghalaya are made by villagers, who orchestrate the roots of rubber (mostly), trees to go through capillaries of bamboo, to bind together and form a solid bridge over rivers. The method is hundreds of years old; it takes almost 40 years for a bridge to get done.
Another one of nature’s fine work in Meghalaya, this relatively less man-tampered marvel is sure to amaze you. Downright gorgeous stalagmites and stalactites in the sensational setting of dark caves can never be captured on camera as they would in your mind. These are some of the longest cave systems in the world
For an unparalleled tryst with nature, swoosh down the highest zip-line in India at a dizzying height of 1200 feet. This aerial escapade is one of the most thrilling activities for adventure enthusiasts. Witness unhindered views of mountains and the valleys below from this vantage sweep.
Tourism has soared in Cherrapunjee, thanks to its majestic miles of greenery, cascading waterfalls and the photoshop defying Umngot River with crystal clear water. The river flows through the southern parts of Meghalaya at the edge of Bangladesh. Go kayaking in Dawki and Shnongpdeng to peer down the edge and look at the bottom of the riverbed.
The local food stalls, known as Jadoh stalls are a must for foodies. Mostly run by women, these dimly lit rooms with slim tables and benches offer dishes made from indigenous ingredients. Gastronomic adventures include dollops of rice served with different curries. Jadoh translates to ‘rice and curry’.
As the big day approaches, Shillong and other major cities of the state, don a sparkling avatar, drooping under the weight of lights and decorations. Cherub faced carol singers take to the streets with a festive ring in their voice. The cafes are crammed with people as local musicians take to the stage, and the midnight masses in different churches keep people on the streets till late at night.
The sudden dip from the rim of the honey-coloured Laitlum plateau makes for the namesake canyon that has been immortalized by Bollywood. Thanks to the movie, ‘Rock On 2’, this previously overlooked spot gets ample stomp of trekking boots. The joy of visiting Laitlum Canyon is superlative if you decide to walk along the steep ravines to a small hamlet called Rasong Village at the bottom of the canyon.
The Rainbow Waterfall lies at the end of the Nongriat Trek – the same trail that has the famous Double Decker living root bridge. The streams that feed this waterfall come gurgling from the high escarpments above you, eventually making a single curtain of water which is foregrounded by a rainbow. The trek to the waterfall is just as beautiful as one walks through the leafy trails, balancing over flimsy suspension bridges.
Spic and span streets, flanked by neat rows of flowerbeds and immaculate courtyards greet you at Mawlynnong. This has been declared Asia’s cleanest village, where each home has a functional toilet, and bamboo dustbins line the streets. Plastic bags are banned, and smoking is prohibited from the village. It is delightful to see this being followed with caution as locals own the tag proudly and are keen to maintain it.
Whether it’s pushing aside fears and taking to zip-lining or trundling into dark caves, Meghalaya offers a platter of adventure activities to satiate your adventure cravings. But even if adventure is not on your travel goals for 2018, the gobsmacking views from the edges of mountains, clouds racing each other to fill valleys and the cultural atmosphere give Meghalaya good reason to be on your list.