North-east India known as the ‘Seven Sisters’ is an unexplored paradise. This place is blessed with culture, heritage, history, natural beauty and soulful experiences.
It was my first North-east trip and I choose to explore the Gateway of the seven sisters Guwahati along with Shillong and Cherrapunji which were very close by. We were a group of 11 people out on a 4-day journey to explore every nook and corner of these cities.
Day 1 – Guwahati
Guwahati is the largest and most commercialised city in the region and acts as the gateway to the seven sisters. This city is yet to gain its popularity among the tourists. We took a flight from Delhi to Guwahati that landed in the afternoon. Our hotel was at an hours distance from the airport and was very close to Paltan Bazaar.
Exploring the Old town and markets
Our day started with a visit to the Assam state museum. The museum displayed unique art and culture of the state like Assamese lifestyle, handicraft, art and archaeological pieces. Then we headed to the Old city bordering the Brahmaputra River. This place was a full-fledged commercial area with few residential districts. It was best to explore the place on foot and hence we walked around exploring the busy markets such as Pan Bazaar, Paltan Bazaar and Uzan Bazaar gulping the lip-smacking local street food and exploring the Bamboo arts on display.
Day 2 – Cherrapunji
After an intrinsic walk around the Old city of Guwahati, it was now time to explore one of the wettest places on earth. It was a long journey to Cherrapunji and it took us nearly 5 hours to reach.
Stopping by the Dympep viewpoint
This viewpoint falls at the beginning of Sohra district (local name for Cherrapunji). We stopped here to observe the breath-taking beauty of the Mawkdok Valley. After a 100 clicks, we continued with our journey.
Seeing the world’s fourth highest waterfall
Nohkalikai Falls was our first stop of the day. It was enchanting to witness the beautiful waterfall plunging down into a deep pool hundreds of feet below.
More waterfalls on the way…
The second waterfall that we saw that day was Nohsngithiang Falls, which is the fourth highest waterfall in India. This waterfall is also known as Seven Sister Falls derived its name from the seven streams that flow down the hill. It was a delight to watch the forming of a perennial rainbow across the waterfall.
The third and the last fall that we saw before heading to Mawsmai caves was the Dian Thlen Falls. The fall got its name from a mythological story of a python (Thlen) who was slaughtered by the locals on a flat stone near the fall. The view from this fall was spectacular.
Exploring the Mawsmai caves
Mawsmai cave is Meghalaya’s only cave that allows tourists to see the beauty of the naturally occurring limestone from inside. This is located 6kms from Cherrapunji and attracts a huge amount of tourists. We had to wait for an hour to enter the cave. The cave had a small stream flowing inside that made the rocks a bit slippery. It was amazing to see the stalactites and stalagmites within the caves in innumerable forms, shapes and sizes, leaving us to imagine as many life forms as possible.
Day 3 – Shillong
After all that adventure, today was the day of much relaxation. We headed to the capital of the Abode of clouds Shillong. We drove through the clouds to reach our first stop, which was the highest point of the city, the Shillong peak.
Walking in the clouds…
It was October month and the chilly winds had started to blow. We were at the highest peak of Shillong trying to make way through the clouds to get a sight of the city. For 10 seconds we did manage to get a beautiful view of the city. We stopped by the hawkers for some tea and fritters, as it was getting colder. We also bought some bamboo products made by the locals like a hand fan, pencil stands etc as souvenirs.
Exploring the waterfall of Shillong
Elephant waterfall is the most beautiful waterfall in Shillong and one of those that are accessible to the tourists. This waterfall had three layers; the first one was broad and was tucked between the dense trees. The second one was low in density, but as we went down further, we saw the most striking view of the fall. The third one was the tallest and we could see the water flowing like a sheet of milk over the rocks.
Relaxing in the lap of Mother Nature
Our last stop for the day was Wards Lake. This is an artificial lake amidst a mesmerizing botanical garden. We did boating for a while and took a stroll around the garden afterwards, before heading back to the hotel.
Day 4 – Shillong + Guwahati
It was our last day; we had to head back to Guwahati before evening to catch our flight back to Delhi.
Visiting the sacred place
We paid a visit to the Mary Help of Christians Cathedral in Shillong. The church is built on the same place where once the first church of Shillong stood which was destroyed in a fire in the year 1936. The gothic architecture of the church was captivating. From here we headed to our last stop in Shillong, Lady Hydari Park.
A stroll in the Japanese garden
Lady Hydari Park is a Japanese style garden with beautiful walkways, hedges and small ponds along with an impressive collection of flora and fauna. This place also had a zoo and a museum. It took us an hour to see around the place after which we started our journey back to Guwahati.
Visiting the sacred Hindu temple…
It was a two-hour long journey. Before heading to the airport, we had a short stopover at the Kamakhya Temple. The temple is dedicated to goddess Kamakhya and is one of the oldest and holiest places in Assam. It was a great way to end the trip.
As we headed to the airport, we had a heart full of contentment and mind full of curiosity to see what more North-east India has for us to see…