Meghalaya – a place where the rains make a constant rumble, where you can open your doors to the clouds, where the air is as pure as it can ever be. One of the Seven Sister States, it’s a country of the mountains and clouds.If you have been looking for the healing touch in your life, this is a trip you need to embark upon. For me, Meghalaya had long been on my list of destinations, but little did I realize that it would be one of the travel chapters that I would always look back to.
How I made it across?
It’s hilly and out of the world, but yet you would see one of the best infrastructures in the country, at least when it came to the roads. Meghalaya offers one of the best opportunities for road trips across India. If you are a rider of any sort, there is no other way you should be looking to travel. We had hired a Royal Enfield and a Honda Activa from Guwahati and despite the bad conditions of the vehicles, it was a smooth experience. I especially loved the road that connected Cherapunji and Dawki – it’s a ride through heaven! The visibility was low even in June when it is supposed to be summers.
Meghalaya road trip Itinerary
Day 1 – Started from Guwahati and took the NH 27 to Jorabat. After that, we continued on the NH6 to reach Shillong. Umiam Lake was on the way and if you had started early in the morning, you would be there by late noon.
Day 2 – Shillong to Sohra via NH106 and then through NH206, just after crossing the Elephant Falls. You will have to make another important turn at Umlympung to take the NH5 to reach Cherrapunjee.
Day 3 – Once, you reach Cherrapunjee, the itinerary can be pretty straightforward, depending on the places you would want to cover and the number of days you wish to stay. Our third day into the trip took us to the Double Decker Living Root Bridge at Nongriat. If you have faster feet and aren’t looking to stop too much for photos, make sure you put in some extra energy to reach the Rainbow Fall, another 10 kilometers from the Double Decker Root Bridge. The trek is completely through steep and narrow stairs and through an amazing wilderness. Make sure you aren’t carrying too much of weight. Small shacks along the way will always offer you Tea and Maggi!
Day 3 – The first place we went to was the Thangkharang Park, 10 kilometers from Sohra. This is the worst road condition we came across. You will have to drive for several kilometers over shifting rubbles. However, the view from the Thangkharang Park is enchanting. You get to see the plains of Bangladesh from the top of the hills. We skipped the Mawsmai Caves but took some time along the Seven Sister Falls. The next stop was the Garden of Caves at Laitmawsiang. To reach the Garden of Caves from Sohra, don’t rely on Google Maps. Look for road directions while you are just leaving the town. It’s not too far but is something you shouldn’t miss.
We were done with Cherrapunjee by noon and took the road towards Dawki. It will be a long drive but also one of the most amazing ones. Driving through these menacing Ghats is an experience all riders should have. We reached Dawki and took a home stay at Shnonpdeng.
Day 4 – It will be mostly trekking around the Umgot River. There’s a lot to see for someone curious. The waters of River Umgot are crystal clear and you would feel like everything is floating mid-air! For the best experience of the Umgot River, the recommended season is the winters. A half day trip along Shnonpdeng and Mawlinglong (Asia’s cleanest Village certified by UNESCO), we headed towards Jowai. Do stop at Amlarem and ask for directions to the Krang Shuri Waterfalls. This is again something you will not want to miss. The water puddle is completely blue here and not something you would be able to see anywhere else in India, other than Leh-Ladakh lakes.
Day 5 –From Jorhat to Guwahati.
5 days in Meghalaya will seem to be insufficient. I would certainly be back for a longer trip – probably a 2-week trip. Anyway, it will again be road trip like this time!
We didn’t have time to book for accommodations before. But that also worked in our favor. There are several home stays in both Sohra and Shnonpdeng that offer a good experience for a very low price. For a room in Sohra, we were charged INR 1000 per night for three people. This also included a complimentary breakfast!
Food in Meghalaya
Drink a lot of soup because you will need it! Road trips will make you shiver and look for warmth! Across Meghalaya, they make amazing soups and with a wide range of ingredients. Take your pick!
- Don’t go without rain coats!
- Cary as light a luggage you can. You won’t feel like bathing, at least when you are in Cherrapunjee! So, you won’t need a lot of clothes as long as you can keep a couple of sets dry!
- If you are hiring a vehicle, do check for its conditions. It’s not the road but the length of it that can take a toll.
- Be ready to trek a lot. Pain relieving balms would be helpful add-ons in your backpack.
- Be open to new foods and experiences.
- Rely more on locals for directions!
- People understand and speak English over here.
Have an amazing trip! Do share your experiences when you come back!