Meghalaya: The home of clouds-for endless delights

We were excited and nervous about Ri Kynjai: the resort where we were booked for the next many days. (a) We didn’t know anyone who had been to this resort or even the state of Meghalaya! (barring one colleague who absolutely loved Meghalaya) (b) Were very nervous about the service and expectations at the resort if the online reviews were anything to go by. On the other hand we were very excited and looking forward to being far away from the city chaos, in mysterious Meghalaya which is also known as Scotland of India – in the lap of cool climes.

Ri Kynjai, the resort which was to be our home away from home, was delightful! Serenity by the Lake - ‘idyllic’. Once we were shown into our cottage we were left alone to enjoy our haven! Ensconced in the beautiful large cottage, sitting out in the spacious balcony overlooking the lake Umiam (also known as Bara Paani) – watching clouds gather, I wished for rains. As if on cue a light rainfall seeped through gently from the clouds at first, soon the sky darkened, and serious unabashed rains took over the evening. We were happy to be bound indoors, enjoying the glorious new experience- the feeling is indescribable –almost spiritual – a peace, calm and stillness had taken over.

BY nightfall we stepped out for dinner to a rain drenched earth. Windows rolled down, moon light in the sky, the air cold, crisp and refreshing! With anticipation we headed towards Centre Point Cloud 9 (central market area of Shillong)

To our delight the 60year old maverick musician Lou Majaw (who is to Meghalaya what Madonna is to America) was in the house and that evening cannot ever be wiped out of our memories. What energy! Not for nothing is Shillong known as the rock capital of the country. Many International and homegrown bands perform here and we now understand why : )

Over the next many days we experienced delightful places. Lady Hydari Park was pretty, Ward Lake was blooming with vivacious colorful flowers, we even spent some time sitting on the well manicured gardens and sipping coffee. Joyous! Cannot remember the last time I must have sat in a park like this in Mumbai- hang on do we even have such parks in Mumbai?!:)

The Elephant Falls were touted as one of ‘the sights’ in Meghalaya! We reached there to realize they were small trickles flowing through ridges, but marketed well by Meghalay- after all tourism makes the world go round! We folks living a tired life in the urban jungles are never mindful or ever appreciative of our natural surroundings. Its people living away from the humdrum of city life who take delight even in the smallest waterfalls ( this was’nt like an ‘o-my god-sight’) they have amidst themselves – but it is most definitely was a tourist spot! Small streams accumulate at the pinnacle of the hill and come trickling down the terrain to rebound again, only to cover a short distance and once again leap into a daunting gorge. It is a natural pandemonium that one witnesses – and the joyous part for me was the surrounding basin sheltered by the sky like green vegetation providing a perfect backdrop to this enchanting picnic spot.

One of the other disappointing views which was touted hugely by the locals was at Lire Kor – a beautiful winding long drive to reach the highest point of Shillong. One gets practically the whole view of Shillong city from here. It was a dump a far as I was concerned. Filled with tourists, buses, cabs etc- if you are looking for serene alone time then please stop short of this touted view. Because the view from many parts of this drive- affords one the whole of Shillong city- panoramic, pretty, nestled in the mountains-minus the crowds.

Shillong the city was a slight surprise by day time. A hill town, with narrow winding roads meeting big city with its buses, choked traffic and teeming office goers. We were delightfully surprised to realize it is a big centre for education (boasts of IIT & IIM) –but the traffic jams are so so so not pleasant! There is no way of avoiding the jams as there is just one road to cut thru to go in and out of the city.

Evenings would see us soaking in the golden sky from our perched balcony above the Umiam lake - bird calls resounded in the natural amphitheatre while butterflies fluttered here and there. We’d be transported to Alice in wonder land; completely lost in our own world once again.

One post is simply not enough to speak on Meghalaya- so the next one coming up soon I promise.


A/J (ajit narayan) said...

when did you go to meghalaya? and you click pictures too?some awesome snaps you got! did you meet any of the kings?

Mee said...

@Ajit-What do you mean 'you click pictures too?':) Doesn't everyone?:)

Visited Meghalaya 4-5 weeks ago:)

sabith khan said...

I was in Shillong in 2001. My favorite city in all of India. Interesting post mee. How have you been ?

the weather is great here in Upstate NY. Spring is just incredibly beautiful, even though I am heart-broken. Me and Joanna split btw. Not sure i told you.


Mee said...

O God! Sabith I am so sorry to hear this. Hope you are doing ok? Will write you a mail soon

I can understand why Shillong must be a fave with you:)

Payal said...

The pics are stunning!! Never really thought of Meghalaya as a holiday spot...I so want to go there now

Mee said...

@Payal- definitely must add Meghalaya to the 'travel list' - absorb the tranquility, the mountains, ravines, lakes, early mornings, evenings, the many moods of Meghalaya- it is nature at its best.

RavneetSingh said...

Hey. Didnt see any mention of Happy Valley that you mentioned to me !The very steep falls?

Mee said...

@RS -The post was getting too long- so skipped it:)

Happy fall or Sweet Falls is far far away from the touristy world- and you have to have an adventurous car driver who will take you to this point bad and at places non existent roads! One of the most beautiful waterfalls around Shillong, and an ideal location for a day's outing. One had to be a wee bit careful there as there are no barricades and the rocks are nearly always slippery (due to rain or dew). And added to that we had bike racing youngsters for company who obviously were checking their speed limits on this barren stretch:)

ashish said...

A tiny state and a charm of India, so nicely tucked away between Assam and Bangladesh.

My impressions of Meghalaya remain unchanged as I read your post. It feels like nature has poured in abundance the gifts of rain and sunshine into this state. It has umpteen spots to explore, where you can cherish its glory along the way.

Meghalaya is nestled between clouds, lush green forests and smoky hills, which I can tell enchanted you thoroughly

Did you explore the many caves of Meghalaya. It has as many as 780 caves -1 state alone! And still many to be explored.

Happy to see this post.

Nisha said...

East India is still in my list. Looking for a travel companion this time. :)
I have just come back from solo backpacking to Malaysia & Thailand.

What do you think would be a good time frame to do east India? Can we do it al together? seven states...

Nisha said...

Btw, your photos are great !

Mee said...

@Nisha- Was backpacking in Malaysia and Thailand fun?:) Aren't you glad you are not in Thailand at this very moment with the chaos going on there? Some dear friends of mine are stuck there in the hotel for the last 2 days

I would have happily said 'yes'to travel in the East- but have just come back from there, and dont think I have much lose change left to travel back thr in a hurry!:)

Best time to do East-especially Meghalaya-Kaziranga-Darjeeling-the winter mnths Oct-Feb

Have fun- will watch out for your posts.

Mahua said...

Again revisited all those places...n yes the traffic jams there flashed back as well. Was so disappointed to see that this time. When i went there many years back (even before my last trip)...i remember it to have a very romantic sadly become very commercial :( But still is my fav retreat. That place n the people have a certain rawness, which i find very very intriguing :) Am so glad you took this trip...wat lovely pics you've captured :))

Shvetal said...

Hey, whats the secret? How do you find so much time to travel to such exotic locations? You are making me envious...

Mee said...

@Mahua- thankyou for sharing your wonderful visit with me- which catapulted us into that direction:)

Sad- about the commercialization part- -needed for development and growth, provided it does not cost in turn and create an imbalance

@Shvetal- dude- one simply has to make time for oneself-its as simple as that:)

Mahua said...

Hehe...your welcome Mee :) Hoping i will make some more discoveries in NE (maybe) this year as well n share them with you yet again :)