We heard a lot about Dawki, specially the Umngot River and it’s crystal clear view. Thanks to the images at Facebook and Instagram!! After experiencing heaven on earth at Double Decker Living Root Bridge and Rainbow Falls, our plan was to proceed towards the beautiful Jaintia Hills of Meghalaya. But before proceeding for the same, we still had remaining few destinations in Khasi Hills which we planned to cover on the way. The most famous of it being Mawlynnong, which is popularly known as Asia’s Cleanest Village.
This post is a continuation from Offbeat Meghalaya – David Scott – Cherrapunji – Double Decker – Rainbow Falls
Anyway, before proceeding further, for those who have landed up here directly, we are on our 16 Day Tour to Meghalaya and Manipur. And we are following the below itinerary…
24th Sep : Reach Guwahati. Halt at Guwahati
25th Sep : Guwahati – Mawphlang. Halt at Mawphlang
26th Sep : Mawphlang – Mawlyngbna. Halt at Mawlyngbna
27th Sep : Mawlyngbna – Mawphanlur. Halt at Mawphanlur
28th Sep : Mawphanlur – Sohra. Halt at Sohra
29th Sep : Sohra Sightseeing. Halt at Sohra
30th Sep : Nongriat Trek. Halt at Nongriat / Sohra
1st Oct : Sohra – Mawlynnong – Dawki – Shnongpdeng. Halt at Shnongpdeng
2nd Oct : Shnongpdeng – Amlarem – Jowai – Ialong. Halt at Ialong
3rd Oct : Ialong – Shillong. Halt at Shillong
4th Oct : Shillong sightseeing. Halt.
5th Oct : Shillong – Guwahati – Imphal. Ima Market & Local Sightseeing
6th Oct : Andro Village & Loktak Lake
7th Oct : Moreh Border
8th Oct : Deperture
Day 8 – 1st Oct : Sohra – Mawlynnong – Dawki – Shnongpdeng. Halt at Shnongpdeng :
We had a long way to go today and thus as usual we started early at around 7:15 AM in the morning. Accordingly we already finalized our bills last night, to avoid any uncertain circumstances today morning. However all our wishes to experience Nohkalikhai Falls and Seven Sister Waterfalls went in vein as it was still raining. With a broken heart, we proceeded towards our first point for the day, Wah Kaba Falls. There are 2 steps at Wah Kaba, one is smaller falls and another one is bigger. However with a broken heart for missing out Nohkalikhai Falls and Seven Sister Waterfalls, none was interested going there. And as it was raining heavily, I decided to just walk upto the smaller one and returned back as one needs to climb down a lot to experience the bigger one.
Post Wah Kaba Falls, we started proceeding further and stopped by Mawjngih Lapynshongdor Veiw Point for our breakfast at around 9 AM. Though we didn’t went to the view point as it was all whitish out there, and thus it makes no sense to pay the entry fee for nothing. The restaurant being the only one there, was totally full and crowded. But in the end, after waiting for a quite some time, when we got the breakfast, we were more than pleased, as the Tea was just supurb. A pleasant cup of Tea in the morning can definitely compensate the pain of missing Nohkalikhai and Seven Sisters 😛
Finally with a fresh mind, we started proceeding towards Riwai Village. But when we were about to reach there, Bimal Da took a different lane and told us, if weather is clear a surprise is waiting for us. Rains were stopped by then, so we started cheering a bit for the same. He stopped the car by Nohwet View Point. First he took us to a homestay, named Nah I Mei, and informed us that, The Queen of Malaysia stayed here once. The place was really lucrative, well maintained and super clean. Although our excitement didn’t last longer, as the weather was totally whitish to see anything. Although we couldn’t view anything, but the owner there, offered us organic Hookah!! It was a nice experience I’d say!!
Next we walked a bit ahead towards Rani Falls. Though one need to cross the bridge and go further to actually see the falls, but after last day’s trek to Double Decker Living Root Bridge and Rainbow Falls, we were not in mood to walk more!!
On the way to Riwai Village, we had to face a hell lot of traffic, more than that we got on our way to Shillong. Thus we decided to take a walk instead of waiting for the traffic to be cleared. On our way we noticed 4-5 Tempo Traveller, and then we understood the reason behind this traffic jam. Although after doing Double Decker, Single Root Bridge at Riwai was of no interest to me. But as dad and my wife didn’t went there, they wanted to experience this.
Finally after navigating through the crowd, we thought of having our lunch at a nearby food joint. Post lunch, we went ahead towards Mawlynnong and stopped by Balancing Rock.
Though after reaching Mawlynnong, we were like, what the hell am I supposed to see here. Yeah it was clean, but then there were other places too which were clean like Mawlyngbna. Entry Fee of Rs. 50/- was a waste I’d say. Although lot of tourists were just roaming around, but we really didn’t find anything interesting there. Thus without wasting much time, we proceeded towards Dawki. On the way to Dawki, one can even spot Bangladeshi Tourists by the river side. Just before leaving Khasi Hills and entering Jaintia Hills, one could experience the vivacious Borhill Falls and on the opposite, one can see beautiful Bangladesh Plains.
Post Borhill Falls, we drove to Bydrow Falls
My dad was mostly excited to see Bangladesh, as he had lots of childhood memories from back there. It was already 4:30 by then and the sun started hitting the horizon, gradually reducing the daylight. One can also choose to do boating at Dawki in Umngot river, but we were upset to miss the crystal clear view of the same due to the rains. After a breif halt at Dawki market for Tea and Snacks, Bimal Da asked whether we’d like to go Tamabil. We all exclaimed yes!!
It was a great experience standing at Tamabil by the border checkpost. One step and you’d be in Bangladesh. Lots of Bangladeshi tourists were also there on their tour to Sylhet. They were surprised to see that we could speak Bengali. Few had no idea, what’s the state by the border, so we informed them it’s Meghalaya. We discussed various things and clicked pictures together. One realization that we all could feel is how, just a pillar has divided us. In the mean time, we could feel what India is and felt proud of our country. Before leaving, we experienced the Flag hoisting by Indian Army.
Finally, at around 6 O’ clock, we reached our shelter for the day, Halatong Tourist Homestay at Shnongpdeng. Upon noticing us, the owner, Mr. Manbha came forward welcoming us. The homestay was just beside the main road and in a matter of second, we just loved it. Actually we fell in love with the very basic infrastructure of the place and the environment out there. Bimal Da pointing towards the cieling and table fan there, informed us that, it’s going to be warmer here. The temperature was bit high, but definitely not warm. Comfortable I’d say, more on the cooler side though.
After getting freshen up, we went for a brief walk along the village. We met one gentleman on our way, who walked with us and asked us to come by the bridge nearby early morning. Finally after chitchatting for some time, we returned back.
Rest of the evening we spent chitchatting amongst ourselves over the drinks!
Day 8 – 2nd Oct : 2nd Oct : Shnongpdeng – Amlarem – Jowai – Ialong. Halt at Ialong :
Our day started with a spectacular view of Umngot River and beautiful landscape around it. We walked by the iron brige and spent some time soaking ourselves in the lap of mother nature. After spending some time exploring the village, we came back and got ready. With a ray of hope, called Chanmiki for any scope of adventure sports, but he denied considering the condition of Umngot. He frankly said “You guys won’t be able to enjoy, as the view would not be clear“. Ahh forgot to say, Umngot and it’s crystal clear view is heaven for water sports during winter or summer season. One can choose to do Scuba, Snorkelling, Zip Lining among various others. Various adventure tour operators and homestay owners arrange these. One can also choose to do fishing there.
After having breakfast at a nearby restaurant we started our day at around 8:35 AM. It took us around an hour to reach Amlarem. Bimal Da was not much sure about the route to Syndai Cave and Rupasor Bathing Ghat. Over a cup of tea, we got hold of one local guide, Trey, who happens to be from a nearby village close to Syndai Cave. He informed us that, one needs to drive further Krangshuri Waterfalls on Muktapur road. He approached us for a favour to drop him at his village and in return he’d help us explore Syndai Cave and Rupasor Bathing Ghat. We happily accepted the deal. He’s actually a truck driver, but being a local, he knows a lot of history about the place.
Our first stop was Krangshuri Waterfalls. Trey really acted like a guide and helped my mom climb down to Krangshuri Falls. Although after going a bit further, there’s a view point which offers the view Krangshuri Falls. Rest of the team decided to stay there as they didn’t wanted to walk further considering they have to climb all the way up again. While me and Akash proceeded. Wow!! Believe me, the view from that viewpoint is no where close to what it actually looks like. Anyone who’s also thinking the same, I’d definitely suggest to climb all the way down to the Falls. This kind of greenish water body is hard to spot.
Post Krangshuri, we proceeded towards our next point, Syndai Cave. Karikor helped us a lot to spot this while on Amlarem. Trey informed us that, the route through this cave goes to Bangladesh and previously the Jaintia Kings used to take this route through Syndai after offering a Puja. We came to know from Karikor that “The Jaintia Kings had two capitals. One is Nartiang during Summer and Jaintiapur (which is not in Bangladesh) for Winter. In Syndai they use to take bath and rest as they travel on their journey“.
Trey informed us there’s a ruins of temple nearby if we can trek down further. We agreed and proceeded with him.
Trekking down further, one can see Bangladesh plains. Really without this guy Trey, it’d have been not possible for us to spot all these on our own. First of all, these places are really interior and no one would doubt to trek through such steep downhill bushes on their own.
Next we went ahead towards Rupasor Bathing Ghat, a Royal Bathing Ghat back in old ages. On our way to Rupasor, we spotted few small yet beautiful waterfalls. However Rupasor didn’t felt much interesting to us.
After spending some time there, we proceeded towards our way back to Amlarem and dropped Trey at his village. We also payed him Rs. 500/- for his guidance. Though this was not discussed, but we felt like paying him for his dedication. A broad smile on his face indicated he was indeed very happy for receiving this bonus. Well, even though he’s a truck driver, but his knowledge about the place and it’s history is something to be recognised. More than that, he behaved like a professional Guide. Helping my mom on the way to Krangshuri Falls, helping me and my dad climbing down steep rocks through the bushes to the ruins of Temple and etc. Moreover, we were glad to be a part of developing local livelihood. Believe me, these kind of support and appreciation can give him confidence of being a Guide, part time during his off time.
On our way to Amlarem, we skipped Laskar Dam, as one needs to drive few KM’s off the road because we thought how much difference it’d make to miss a Dam. Were we wrong? Only god knows!! We decided to have our lunch there at Amlarem before proceeding further.
Karikor informed us to stop at Thlu Amwi Falls and Stone Bridge, on our way to Jowai. He also informed us to drive slow, as it’s not a big falls, and as the highway is so smooth, it’s easy to miss. Though Google Maps came to rescue here, and we could spot the same and accordingly helped Bimal Da to stop at the spot. Karikor was right, the highway was so smooth, it’d have been an easy miss. One needs to walk a bit from the highway to reach the falls and is best enjoyed from the top.
And on the opposite, there’s a Stone Bridge. Although we didn’t bother to go down to the Stone Bridge as it was scenic anyway.
Finally we proceeded towards Jowai. The drive to Jowai through such smooth highway was really enjoyable. Jowai seemed to be a huge town of Jaintia Hills. Our shelter for the day is situated a bit outskirts from Jowai at Ialong Park. The Traveller’s Nest is situated inside the Park. Ialong Traveller’s Nest have 3 Cottages as of this writing, and we had opted for all three of them.
Mr. Budki, had already shared us the number of his manager-cum-caretaker Mr. Sonar. He’s a very jolly person and we quickly became friends. After reaching there, it felt like, the place is really well maintained. We decided to went for a brief walk. The park seemed to be a quite offbeat spot. There was a Sacred Forest too and locals informed us to take a walk to the viewpoint. Sorry it was already dusk and I couldn’t click any good picture. Locals informed us to drive downhill to the river stream if we want to take a bath which would be really enjoyable experience.
Ahh I must mention, Mr. Budki is a local MLA there and is very friendly and responsible towards his guests. We noticed few guards outside Traveller’s Nest and upon enquiring we came to know, Mr. Budki always deploys them when guests are there.
Bimal Da again decided to cook for us that night and as usual it was finger licking, specially the coriander chutney!! Rest of the evening we spent chit-chatting amongst ourselves over the drinks before having dinner and hitting the bed.
Day 9 – 3rd Oct : Ialong – Shillong. Halt at Shillong :
Though we could have started a bit late, but Bimal Da suggested us to start early, so we’d get some time in Shillong to enjoy the evening and explore the market. Thus we started our day at around 6:45 AM bidding goodbye to Mr. Sonar who was really helpful throughout our stay. Infact in such a quiet short time, he became a friend to us.
Our first point of the day was Tyrshi Falls. The route to Tyrshi Falls is still kuccha and Bimal Da expressed his doubts of driving on that route. Although upon asking him several times, he tried driving on that route, but it was literally skitting on red mud. Thus we decided to take a walk to the falls and asked him to wait for us instead of taking such risk.
The walk to Tyrshi Falls was really enjoyable through beautiful meadows.
Although I believe, we needed to go down further, as the spot we reached had blocked views of Tyrshi Falls.
Next came Thadlaskein Lake, but it really failed to impress us specially after such beautiful spots we have been to. Thus we decided to drive further without wasting time there.
We reached Nartiang at around 9 O’ Clock. Nartiang is one of the most fascinating spots in Meghalaya. Those stones are back from the stone ages and were carried by people and erected here to mark the victory. Few stones were quite large and quite heavy, which we can only guess nowadays about how a man would have carried such on their back.
Next we went ahead towards Nartiang Durga Temple which is one of the Sakti Peetha and a 500 year old temple. Devi’s left high is believed to have fallen here.
Bimal Da, told us an interesting story behind his temple. Previously humans were used to be sacrificed here in the old ages. And once upon a time, no one was ready to be sacrificed, but as per the norm, someone had to be sacrificed. Then a rooster appeared and asked to sacrifice himself instead of humans. And from then onwards, they started worshipping the rooster. Although I can’t verify this story line, but seemed quite interesting to us.
Finally we crossed Jaintia Hills and were back to Khashi Hills once again. Before reaching Shillong we took a left turn towards Smit and drove towards Laitlum. The view from Laitlum was breathtaking.
On our way back Karikor put his 100% effort to make us identify Rapleang Peak, Rashi Falls, Lawai Falls, Mawlyngot Organic Tea Farm etc. These places seemed to be a bit offbeat and thus we couldn’t spot them in Google Maps. Although Karikor at that time was more efficient than Google Maps directing us turn by turn. However at one point it started raining badly such that it was hard to see anything. And as Bimal Da was not aware about the route, and we were proceeding following the signboards directed by Karikor, it was nearly impossible to follow him.
Thus after waiting for sometime, we decided to return back. Our next point for the day was Sweet Falls. One needs to pass through Gorkha Rifles Training Centre to reach Sweet Falls and thus one needs to take permission from on duty officer in order to proceed. Though Bimal Da informed us that it’s just a formality and no one has ever been denied.
Upon reaching Sweet Falls, it seemed like to be Mud Falls instead!! Forget the colour, but it was vivacious!!
Post Sweet Falls, we stopped at Ever Living Museum. This Museum is a personal museum owned by Mr. War. He himself personally provides a guided tour to all of his tourists. I must say this man is a gem. His collection is something to lust for. And surprisingly, we came to know that, he still doesn’t gets any support and recognition from Meghalaya Govt. He said, recently Central Govt. was kind enough to put a signboard recently, but nothing else than that. I really wonder, how the hell he’s protecting such rarest of rare collection there which is worth Crores. He’s an explorer himself and claims to have collected all these on his own and not only that, he’s enough knowledgable about preserving the same. As preserving such things, polishing and various other tasks requires impeccable amount of command on such skills. I really pray, may god bless him.
Finally Bimal Da dropped us to our shelter for next 2 nights, El Dorado Guest House, by 2:45 and left for the day. We were hungry like hell, and thus we deiced to have our lunch at their in house restaurant only.
This post is continued at Offbeat Meghalaya – Shillong
Halatong Tourist Homestay, Shnongpdeng : Our stay at Halatong Tourist Homestay at Shnongpdeng, was one of the unique experience throughout our stays in Meghalaya. It’s most basic yet warm and cozy surrounded by scenic beauty. Mr. Manbha, the owner is very friendly and always smiling person. Tourists opting to stay here, must understand the condition he/she’s going to be in beforehand instead of making a fuss later on. The arrangement is very basic and washrooms are not attached. The homestay is situated just beside the main road which poses an unique experience. Being situated nearby the plains, lizards and some other insects are common here. Thus beds are equipped with mosquito nets. They have 2 Double Bed Room and 1 Four Bedded Room as of this writing and each room is equipped with Mosquito Repellant machine due to obvious reasons. One can also choose to camp by the Umngot River. The place is very well maintained and rooms and washrooms were clean enough. The food is nothing fancy yet tasty. However Manbha lives on the other side of the river and thus the services are limited to max 9 PM.
Ialong Traveller’s Nest, Ialong Park : Ialong Traveller’s Nest is situated inside Ialong Park, a bit outskirts of Jowai, a offbeat destination. The property is really well maintained by Mr. Sonar, the manager-cum-caretaker of the place. They have 3 Cottages as of now and each Cottage and Washroom is very well maintained and neat and clean. Although that night Bimal Da decided to cook on his own, so I won’t be able to comment on the food prepared by Mr. Sonar. However Mr. Sonar is a very friendly person. We really enjoyed our stay at Ialong. One must understand, being a remote destination, frequent power cuts are common here, however candles are provided accordingly. Mr. Budki owns this place and is very friendly and responsible person. Although we couldn’t meet him in person, but throughout our interaction he was very nice to us. He even deployed few security personnel by the property for us. This is something unique we experienced throughout our travel life.
Nah – I – Mei, Nohwet : Although we didn’t stayed here, but the owner Mr. Hali being friend of Bimal Da, he took us there. The property is really well maintained and one of the best homestay we have ever seen. The rooms were very clean and very well maintained. One looking forward to stay at Mawlynnong, may choose to spend their night here. Nearby is the Nohwet View Point which offers spectacular view on a clear day.
Hali, Nah I Mei Homestay, Nohwet : +91-89745-91430.
Manbha Kongwang, Halatong Tourist Homestay : +91-96157-62788 / +91-87310-96536
If visiting during right time and interested in water sports, one can contact either of the below operators for various water sports at Dawki / Shnongpdeng. I was mostly in touch with Chanmiki, however except Snorkelling, he offers everything else same as Pioneer Adventure Tours. So if you are interested in Snorkelling, you have to opt for Pioneer Adventure Tours which is very popular and well known operator in this belt.
Pioneer Adventure Tours : Website : Pioneer Adventure Tours
Mr. Budki Mulieh (Owner), Ialong Traveller’s Nest : +91-96152-36508 / +91-89748-06528 / +91-96124-69815
Mr. Sonar (Manager-Cum-Caretaker), Ialong Traveller’s Nest : +91-94021-59390
Bimal Modak (ML 05P 2532) : +91-96137-75855. Bimal Da drives white Enjoy. He’s actually Pradeep Modak’s brother. Pradeep Modak is very well known in Meghalaya specially for offbeat circuits, but as he drives a small vehicle himself, he handed over this tour of us to his brother and assured us his full assurance!! Bimal Da is a very jolly person and quickly can be a great friend of yours. He has great experience in cooking. On three instances he cooked himself for us and it was finger licking. I must say, without Bimal Da and Pradeep Da, our trip wouldn’t have been such enjoyable.
Pradeep Modak : +91-98630-87418 / +91-82599-64634. Pradeep Modak is the person you need if you are venturing out to Meghalaya, specially any offbeat circuits. He being an explorer himself, keeps exploring various destinations. He’s the one who keeps exploring places and guides his brothers. Above all, the person is very honest and speaks his heart out. Money is not the first thing that matters to him. On various instances we found his responsibility for his guests is something to salute for. Believe me, with him around, nothing can go wrong. They are in total 6 brothers, but 3 of them are in this driving line and without him his other brothers wouldn’t have been what they are now.
Day 8 :
Entry Fee at Nohwet View Point : Rs. 100/-
Entry Fee at Riwai Root Bridge : Rs. 30/- (Rs. 10/- per head)
Entry Fee at Mawlynnong Village : Rs. 50/- (per car)
Entry Fee at Shnongpdeng Village : Rs. 50/- (per car)
Accommodation at Halatong Tourist Homestay, Shnongpdeng : Rs. 2000/-
Food Bill at Halatong Tourist Homestay, Shnongpdeng : Rs. 2130/-
Day 9 :
Entry Fee at Krangshuri Falls : Rs. 40/- (Rs. 20- per head)
Guide For Syndai Cave and Rupasor Bathing Ghat : Rs. 500/-
Entry Fee at Ialong Park : Rs. 20/- (per car)
Accommodation at Ialong Traveller’s Nest : 6000/-
Food Bill at Ialong Traveller’s Nest : 1700/-
Day 10 :
Parking Fee at Laitlum : Rs. 30/-
Parking Fee at Sweet Falls : Rs. 80/-
Entry Fee at Ever Living Museum : Rs. 350/- (Rs. 50/- per head + Rs. 50/- Camera Fee)
NOTE : I have omitted costs of personal nature for easy interpretation.
Special Thanks To :
- Karikor from TripAdvisor Forums and Indiamike Forums. Without him this trip would not have been possible.
- TripAdvisor Meghalaya Forums
- Indiamike Meghalaya Forums
This post is continued at Offbeat Meghalaya – Shillong