The north eastern state of Meghalaya is nature’s home more than it is of the people who live here. Its inhabitants, after all, live as the clouds and the sun let them.
Days start early here, two-three hours before the rest of India. The moon ascends sooner, too; so while there are still shades of orange and yellow across the sky in the rest of the country, Meghalaya is pitch dark.
Across the district of Cherrapunji, which is locally called Sohra, light clouds keep moving swiftly all through the day and night, leaving pecks of water on everything and everyone they touch. It is palpable here why Cherrapunji is the second wettest place on Earth. The wettest place on the planet, Mawsynram, is not too far from here.
In this nature rich state of India, even bridges, used for crossing streams, are made of the roots of the trees. Meghalaya’s living roots’ bridges, which are an ingenious way of surviving in these wet lands have now become popular tourist attractions. For hundreds of years, locals have been weaving roots of rubber trees in the hollows of areca nut trees and making strong bridges that last longer than a concrete bridge would in the humid climatic conditions here.
Another natural experience lies in exploration of limestone and sandstone caves, found aplenty here. Meghalaya is also home to Krem Puri, the world’s longest sandstone cave, which was recently discovered in the state; but if one’s idea is to while away some time under the sun and amidst rolling grasslands while also indulging in one of the favourite hobbies of the locals- fishing- head to Nongkhnum river island, the second largest river island in Asia.
Roaming around, tourists can also learn about tea plucking and processing at Meg Tea estate in Upper Shillong, pray at beautiful churches like the Cathedral of Mary Help of Christians or shop souvenirs at Mawlynnong, which is Asia’s cleanest village. There is indeed much to unravel in this state of the Paradise Unexplored.
Ras Al Khaimah