As I sit down to pen my thoughts of my three day trip in Meghalaya, I stand bewildered as to where should I start. I guess from the beginning.
Day 0: 27th September, 2018
So my boyfriend decided to celebrate my birthday this year in my hometown. He came all the way to Guwahati from Mumbai on the morning of 27th September. Having spent the last 7 years in Mumbai, I felt like a tourist in my own city. I picked up my boyfriend from the airport in an Uber and headed to an authentic Assamese restaurant in Ulubari named Khorikaa. We ordered a fish thali and a Hilsa fish dish. The thali tasted pretty good but the Hilsa dish didn’t reach the standards of my taste buds.
After filling our bellies, we went to the serene Gauhati War Cemetery at Chenikuthi. Constructed between 1939 and 1945, it holds the graves of Commonwealth soldiers during World War II. Earlier, there were graves of Japanese soldiers as well until they were taken by the Japanese government.
After that, we went to Belle View at Kharghuli. On the way, we stopped by Eggsotic (earlier called Exotic) to have a chicken sandwich and a pastry, before riding to Kharghuli Noonmati road. It is a very nice quiet place to chill away from the noise of the city. The curvy roads with hills on both sides gives the impression of a hill station. There is one small park where the road ends towards Noonmati.
It was dark when we reached the Dighaliphukhuri park, swarmed with couples like bees. Every few yards were a couple doing its business in the dark. So we headed to Fancy Bazaar to have some amazing puchkas. There are numerous other hangouts places which we skipped so that we head home early to prepare for our trip to Meghalaya the next morning. I had planned an itinerary for two days.
Day 1: 28th September. 2018
I was up and awake by 5 am. By 7 am we were in my dad’s car with our driver off to Meghalaya. We reached Shillong around 9 am. But while in Shillong, beware of its traffic police. They are always on the lookout for penalizing interstate vehicles.
We had breakfast at the Orchid Hotel around 9:30 am. The hotel is situated overlooking the clear Borapani (also called Umiam) Lake. The aura there truly justified the title of Shillong being the “Scotland of the East”. But the downside to this place was its food which costed us a bomb. The hotel charged 546 INR for just three plates of Puri Bhaji, 4 eggs and 2 cups of tea. I wouldn’t recommend it to the backpacker who travels on a shoestring budget. But those of you who who want to relax without minding to burn a few holes in your wallet should definitely go there. They have a breathtaking view with a pool inside. There is a park nearby with boating facilities of heavy charges, somewhat like:
|No of people||Duration in minutes||Price in INR*|
*The prices are a bit approximate as I don’t remember the exact figures.
We didn’t take any of the rides as there will be plenty of boating opportunities on what I had planned ahead. Instead, we clicked beautiful photos (there was a couple doing its pre-wedding photoshoot there) and sat beside the calm lake.
Shillong Peak or Shillong View Point
Earlier there used to be free access to the Shillong peak. Now, there is an air force base there. So we had to deposit our identity cards. The beauty of this spot is that you can view the entire city from there. A tower nearby, housing a giant binocular telescope attracted a few people. One should definitely eat the blackberries, pomelo, and pineapple as it costs around 10-20 INR per packet and totally worth it.
Laitlum Grand Canyon
After visiting the peak, we came back to the highway towards Shillong, when we realized that we had taken the longer route. So we went back towards the air base camp. On the way, one can buy fresh vegetables (cabbages, carrots and potatoes) from the many stalls that were lined up. Take a right from the base camp and head towards Laitlum. The road is quite narrow with stones sticking out. We reached the canyon sometime around 3 pm.
It was so foggy that we thought there was nothing to see. We roamed around a bit until we reached the view point. Of course, we couldn’t see anything courtesy the fog. The scene would have been entirely different on a sunny day I guess. But there we were, floating among the clouds. There was also a dysfunctional ropeway nearby. Just next to it, runs a long flight of stairs down to the next hill. The air was chilly, the place empty and give the two of us. Added to it was the drizzle. In ecstasy, my boyfriend started running shirtless down the steps. Oh! what a romantic moment it was. Now when I look back, it feels it was our Ygritte and Jon Snow cave moment in GOT.
There were two-three stalls but only one was open serving some snacks. The momos were exhausted by the time we arrived. So we settled for Maggi noodles. I was a bit skeptical in the beginning about its taste as our driver had ordered for a fish thali which didn’t look so appetizing. But boy! it was the tastiest Maggi I ever had (except one other time I had in Mumbai near NGMA). We spent around two hours before heading to Krang Suri at 4:30 pm.
…to be continued.