For anyone living in Guwahati (Assam), a trip to its neighboring state Meghalaya does not count as a “vacation/holiday”. It’s barely a 2 hour journey (provided there is no delay due to traffic congestion) and for those who have traveled there once or twice, the charm of the Shillong Peak and the wonder of the Elephanta Falls start to wane. Hence, on this particular 23rd of Dec, after extensive planning and arriving at no conclusion on where to go for the holidays, we decided to go to Meghalaya one more time. From dreaming about the snow-laden valleys of Manali, it was quite difficult for me to swallow my disappointment and look forward to this trip, but I decided to give it a try.Something is better than nothing, they say.
And was I wrong? You bet I was!
We thankfully did not visit either the Shillong Peak or the Elephanta Falls. But what we did visit was a lot better!
Our family trips are dominated chiefly by food – we have to try out the local restaurants and small eateries.Of course, for me , shopping plays an important part too, but I never dare mention it whilst everyone is hungry and willing to devour anything…!
We spent the night in a beautiful house set in the heart of the city, but away from the humdrum of city life.Houses in Shillong are normally made of wood and they give you a quaint feel.But the one we stayed in was made with cement and bricks – the regular way.As we went inside and navigated through the corridors to our rooms, I was aware of feeling overwhelmingly cold – it was as if the cold was engulfing me and biting my face (the only part which was exposed!).It was like sticking your head inside the freezer and trying to breathe.Thankfully, there were heaters functioning in full swing in the rooms which made it easier for us to bear the cold – only just!
One place we always visit is Cafe MOT – Matter Of Taste.It’s a small cafe which is located in Laitumkhrah and they have these amazing chicken and mushroom crepes – which are basically pancakes filled with a mixture of mushrooms and chicken and lots of cheese. A cup of steaming latte is a great way to go about it.
Cafe Shillong is all about good food, good music and just having a good time.All you need to do is get some good company to appreciate what’s around you.On weekends, they invite local bands of Shillong to play while you get to just sit back and relax.What more could anyone possibly want?!
The other integral part of a holiday in Shillong is its breathtaking scenery.As we embarked on our journey towards Upper Shillong, we were struck by the beautiful views and the serenity which came along with it.
The sacred groves or sacred forest is a wide expanse of greenery and the view is amazing.Fortunately for us, it was on a Christmas morning that we visited the place and not a soul was to be seen anywhere.We let ourselves in and went for a stroll at our own pace.I was struck by the purity of the air that we were breathing – I could actually feel my lungs being cleansed and just stood there for a while….just breathing.
Meghalaya is also home to a Living Root Bridge.We visited the one in Mawlynnong. The path leading to the bridge is quite difficult to follow; one has to be careful to not miss a step.But turning around a corner, as I caught sight of the bridge, I stood there for sometime and wondered about Mother Nature – there seems to be no end to the wonders that she throws at you!
Here we were, looking at this amazing bridge which is made of roots which must be God-knows-how-many centuries old,at some remote corner of the world.There is a stream flowing beneath the bridge and since it was a lot dry, we were able to step over the rocks and take a couple of snaps.
Well, this is pretty much what we did in the 2 days that we could manage.But, we are sure to remember it for a lifetime!
– Kasturi Saikia