Saturday, July 16, 2011

Shillong To Mawlynnong- The Journey

Upper Shillong
Mawlynnong was on top of our travel list for last couple of years . Had to hold our plans earlier for various reasons .Finally came the day when the time was right as everything was perfectly placed. We were on a five day trip to Shillong.My mother -in-law and dear Suniti ( our housekeeper Dulal's wife) offered to look after my kids for the day so that Chandan and i could visit the place. Pranab ,Chandan's childhood friend and Dulal accompanied us to this unforgettable journey. Mawlynnong is  an over hundred years old  village situated in the pristine East Khasi Hills of Meghalaya ,India. In the year 2003 it earned the distinction of being the 'Cleanest Village Of Asia ' declared by Discover India Magazine .Though this beautiful and little village attracts visitors from all over the world throughout the year i would still prefer to call it under explored . A large part of North East India still remains undiscovered and there are very few travel guides to help the visitors coming to these parts .I will be posting my travel experiences through my pictures as a
Beautiful paddy fields in outskirts of Shillong
series. In my view Meghalaya is one of the most beautiful , peaceful and safest place in India. No inner line permit is required to travel here. The nearest airport and railway station is approx. 128 km away in Guwahati . The state capital Shillong is well connected to rest of India through regular buses/taxis from Guwahati(Assam) .Mawlynnong is situated about 90 km from Shillong. Except for Sundays ,rest of the days it is well connected from Shillong through private taxis/sumos (at Khasi Hill Sumo stand Bara Bazaar). It takes about two and half hrs to reach there . We had our own vehicle and it took us about three hours to reach there as we stopped at many places throughout our journey.The drive was extremely picturesque.
Meghalaya has many rivers. Most of these are rain fed and are therefore seasonal
We started our journey at 8.30 am  .Being the most wettest place on earth Meghalaya is known for its unpredictable weather .Raincoats or umbrellas are must.We  carried along drinking water ,some fresh local fruits and a good stock of snacks like biscuits ,sweets ,dry nuts and chocolates .The scenic drive from Shillong to Mawlynnong offers a spectacular view of changing landscapes .
The road diversion : right goes to Cherapunji and the left to Mawlynnong
Starting early was a good move as we had enough time in our hands to stop at every beautiful view. The cloud covered mountains below prove that it indeed is The Abode Of Clouds , the literal meaning of the word Meghalaya .
cloud covered mountains
We were lucky to have a clear view of beautiful surroundings as in monsoons most of the times it is obscured by thick clouds.
Beautiful waterfall cascading down hill slop
The state  possess numerous waterfalls with mesmerizing surroundings .The heavy rainfalls have created many natural rock formation and waterfalls ..Meghalaya has some of the thickest surviving forests in the country and therefore constitutes one of the most important ecotourism circuits in the country today.
A small but  beautiful church
We came across numerous churches on our way .I clicked this picture from moving car.The state has a Christian majority with 70%  of the population practising Christianity  .One of the unique features of the State is that a majority of the tribal population in Meghalaya follows a matrelineal system where lineage and inheritance are traced through women.
Rock textured hill
      As i mentioned earlier the landscape abruptly kept on changing ,it was like nature's own slide show .
The Church At Wahlyngkhat
 I had to share  picture of this beautiful isolated church . We stopped here and spent good twenty minutes ,exploring the area around . I have a tip for those who love photography ( not on photography skills) ,please bring extra batteries as one is not enough.
 The weather was getting warmer. We were about to reach Pynursula .
We halted here to buy more bottled water .It is a very small town and half way point of the journey.Those who travel by private taxi services get a fifteen to twenty minute tea break here.
Road to Pontung Villge 
The road which leads to Pontung village also is the road towards Dawki .The road was under heavy construction .It was bumpy  but not uncomfortable but same could not be said for private taxi/sumos who follow a faster speed.
 After driving another 15 km we reached to this diversion .The way straight was towards Dawki and the right lead to Mawlynnong .Now the road ahead was very narrow . Both sides of the road were covered with ferns and thick shrubs.
 Crossed this rusty old bridge over a small river .
 Another breathtaking view .
 The road had many diversions  and with no sign board we took a wrong turn .We met these two good men who explained us the direction in fluent English.Throughout our journey whenever we asked for direction ,the response was in English.I almost forgot to mention that these gentlemen(don't go by their clothes) were here for fishing and they had the most advanced fishing equipments with them.
 Finally we were about to touch the prettiest village we had heard so much about .
As planned we decided to see the Living Root Bridge of Riwai  first.It was one of the most amazing thing that i had ever seen in my life 
the one way distance between Shillong and Mawlynnong as per our car meter

                                                      To Be Contd. Click on the links below for next parts :
                                                              Sky View Mawlynnong 

                                                             Living Root Bridge Of Riwai 

                                                              A Day In Mawlynnong : The Cleanest Village Of Asia


  1. Another fascinating photo essay on Meghalaya.
    I wonder if the landscape has changed since the early 80s.

  2. beautiful narration & lovely photographs Kavita.
    as i kept reading & scrolling down,it felt as though i was on dis journey too :)
    relished ur trip - thru ur post
    awaiting d next episode

  3. That's lovely Kavita! It was a fun trip with you! Thank you.

  4. Cleanest village'? Nice!

    Love the picture of 'cloud kissing mountain' It really does!

    'matrelineal system' is followed in Kerala too!

    All these hilly places were used by the Britishers and so English is prominent, I think, isn't it, Kavita?

    Anyway, waiting to go further with you, Kavita! Beautiful pictures!

  5. Beautiful. Loved the way you took us through this journey. Would love to visit these parts someday. I hope its someday soon.

  6. Gorgeous photos, Kavita! You are lucky blogspot permits you to post enlarged pictures. I cannot do that on the wordpress format I use. Love the greenery and the rivers and waterfall. Looking forward to seeing more!

  7. Wishing to write an original thought here, I am frustrated on several levels. the foremost being, "HOW CAN I EVER GO THERE?" It will have to wait. A picture(s) of India I never would have known, other than your posting this blog.
    LOVED it all! Such beauty. Nature.

  8. Thats wonderful post kavitha,loved the pictures and your narration.Pictures are awesome.....

  9. you know what! I just want to visit this place asap!

    God this place is so beautiful! I loved it and wonderful photography kavita!:)

  10. Travelling with you along with your description was very good. The photographs makes us feel as if we are already there with you. I love the cloud covered mountains of Meghalaya.
    Beautiful trip can't wait for more.

  11. What a beautiful place and your pictures of your journey were great. No wonder you wanted to see this place of beauty. I always enjoy your descriptions of the places you visit.

  12. such a beautiful place,lovely scenery and water falls...its like visiting the place itself with such description and wonderful pictures.
    have a safe trip.

  13. wow wow!!

    what an amazing trip!!

    wonderful images and lovely commentary too!!

    eagerly awaiting the next part!

  14. Kavita, your pictures of your wonderful trip are just incredible!
    I so enjoyed this post and thank you for sharing your trip with all of us here!

    Margie x

  15. Oh, WOW! The photos are absolutely amazing, love love love the scenery. Thanks for taking us on such a lovely trip, I really enjoyed it.

    Just dropping in to say Hi, I hope the weekend is a good one for you.

  16. wonderful post and photographs, on places in India that i have never seen.....would love to visit ! Can't wait for the next part of your travelogue ....

  17. Spectacular place, breathtaking pictures and a passionate narration. If I visit the North East, I will be sure to email you before I plan my trip to know which places to visit. Meghalaya is so beautiful. You are bringing it to life for us.

  18. the continuation ASAP.....getting restless for the next upload.......great !

  19. great journey!

    Aloha from Waikiki;

    Comfort Spiral


    > < } } ( ° >

    < ° ) } } > <

  20. Very real and fascinating travelogue worthy of all praise and rewards. I already said before and behind it. I wish you all the best !

  21. We people who live in the south always dream of exploring the north east. But its so distant to most of us. We cant afford to take so many days leave, travel that far. Your pictures tempts me a lot. wonderful, you made this road trip in the rains. It would have been definitely heavenly.

    Living roots bridge - I watched a tiny documentary on NGC or Discovery recently. I was spellbound. Waiting for your post on it

  22. That’s more than a pleasure ride… and the picts speak it all…

    a journey that everyone will enjoy..

  23. fascinating, so beautiful and lush green!

  24. Wonderful and serene pictures!!

  25. Hi kavita,

    Nice post , It give me glimpses of my native place (Uttrakhand) where I lived most memorial days of my childhood.

    Lovely ! .

    Take care
    have a great week ahead :)

  26. Beautiful picturesque place. There can not be better place with so much greenery.

  27. Kavita ba, just read your beautiful post, Nice to read it.Thanks for the beautiful photography.Hope soon I visit this place.Thanks for the post.

  28. Very beautiful pictures of Shillong with nice description. I was remembering my Shillong trip which I had about 12 years before. I enjoy your each and every post.

  29. Photos say it all. Amazing shots and a beautiful place indeed. Reading your travel posts is a thrilling experience. Waiting for the next set.

  30. Seems like a heavenly drive to the place :)

  31. beautiful and informative journey kavita.It was like a story with life(photo and narration).Waitng for more to see.Good luck.

  32. beautiful post about a beautiful place.....during this summer i have been at Mawlynnong while our Shillong was really a wonderful place to visit...

    thanks for sharing it here..

  33. Will you take me to this place? :)

  34. Lovely! I was thinking of visitng Meghalaya when I came to Mizoram. Love the north-east!

  35. WOWO.. I love them ..

    Please tell me you will take me too to all thee places :)
    I so want to visit :)


  36. Good post and beautiful pics you have uploaded, well m from guwahati too and i run a photo blog, and recently i went to Cherrapunjee, so do check my post also..

    Best Regards

  37. beautiful green clean place
    nice pics

  38. Awesome travelogue with fantastic pictures! Loved the journey! :)

  39. Wow...I loved the second,eighth and tenth pictures..who told you don't know photography..!!!..i love to travel and love to read day i will sure visit Meghalaya..thank you for your lovely narration.

  40. When I think of India, I picture only the crowds and congestion that my son's photos showed me when he went through on the way home. I'm so glad you're showing us the other side of India, the beautiful, exquisite side. With so many people speaking English, it sounds like a comfortable place to visit.

  41. I see it from your eyes
    and words have casted a spell

    falling in the world of yours
    weather dew, drops or smell.

  42. Thanks a lot to all of you my friends for your visits and kind comments.

  43. Simply superb!
    Is it best to travel by private vehicle in northeast vs. public transport in terms of safety?

  44. @Neeraj : welcome here .Neeraj ,Meghalaya is a safe place to travel both by private or public transport.Only that the private transport gives you much more freedom of seeing a place at leisure.

  45. I Simply Can Say "WoW" Cant stop my eyes on those pictures....I love to visit...

  46. Lovely and breathtaking. Going for the next post.

  47. What a nice post. The pictures are awsome! Mawlinnong and Meghalaya as a whole is really beautiful. It is like a heaven.
    For more picture, you can go through:!/2010/11/on-way-to-mawlynnong.html

  48. hi
    Can you tell me how to go to kongthong...i am not finding any to go there.."In an age where cell phones are to be found everywhere, the inhabitants of Kongthong, a small village about 65 kilometers from Shillong, still uphold the tradition of calling out to each other with tunes that are composed by their mothers after their birth. In fact, every inhabitant of the tiny village — comprising 108 families according to the last census — has his or her own unique calling tune. They do have official names, but when it comes to hailing each other, the members of the tribe coo the tunes rather than call them by their names."