Shillong / Cherrapunji, A glimpse of North East – Part Two

To experience the full essence of a place, you need more than a 4 days, 3 nights trip. Not everybody is lucky though, to get that much time. Before travelling to Shillong, I spent days perfecting my itinerary. To make sure that I don’t miss out on any important experiences. Twitter and Blogs helped me a lot. So this is my way of taking it forward. Sharing with you my experiences, so that you could benefit from them and also add in some facts which I did not find on the internet.

Guwahati: Guwahati is the largest city of Assam, largest urban area of the North East and also the gateway to the other states of the North East. There are lots of places to see in and around Guwahati. Guwahati is smattered with temples and wildlife sanctuaries. The very famous Kamakhya temple, Umananda temple, Navgraha temple (It is known as a city of temples for a reason), Brahmaputra River, Saraighat bridge, Assam State Museum, Assam State Zoo, Deepor Beel, are some of the places you can visit. The best way to reach Kaziranga National Park (The land of the Rhinos). If you don’t have time to visit Kaziranga, you can visit Pobitro Wildlife sanctuary, which is known as miniature Kaziranga.

Kamakhya Temple, Umananda Temple, War Cemetery and Kaziranga National Park were on my itinerary but due to certain reasons, I ended up going only to the Kamakhya Temple.

The distance from Paltan Bazaar is approximately 8 Kms. I took an Ola cab from the hotel, which dropped me till the hill top. You get a very picturesque view from the hill top. From the parking spot, the temple is at a short distance & you need to climb steps to reach. There are shops lined up on the way selling puja items. If you buy something from there, you can get to keep the shoes for free else you can keep your shoes near  the temple. They charge around 15 bucks (Taaka as they say) to safeguard your shoes. Reasonable if you are going to be in the normal darshan queue as it might take hours. I did not want to spend my time standing in the queue so I opted for the VIP ticket (500 rupees) Do not fall prey to the pandits over there as they would charge double the money.

Apart from flower offerings, people also sacrifice birds and goats as an offering to the Goddess.

Birds for sacrifice 🙁

They have shared taxi services which will take you to the main road from the temple. They charge 10 Rs. per seat. From the main road, I took a private bus (Rs. 20/-) to go back to Paltan Bazar. On my way I spotted Gateway of Assam None of the must visit blogs refer to this place. I regret not getting down to explore the place.

I roamed the market area for a while, drinking in the sights and smells of the place, specially the vegetable market. Was looking for something different than what we get in Mumbai. The laukis were huge in size but the eggplants were long and delicate.

After a sumptuous breakfast, i checked out of the hotel and started my search for a share taxi for Shillong. Full cab charges is 1500 Rs. Ola outstation rentals also provide service from Guwahati to Shillong. Shared cab costs you 300 – 350 Rs.

The distance from Guwahati to Shillong is roughly three hours and the drive is very scenic! You would be tempted to get out of the car and take pictures or just stare at the view, mesmerised.

Shillong: Shillong is a famous hill station and capital of Meghalaya. It is also known as Scotland of the East. The weather in Shillong is pleasant and the air is so clean! It is a joy to walk in and around Shillong as it is a very walk friendly place. I went there end of April and it rained couple of times (not heavy rains, just a drizzle) The temperature drops to 12 – 14 degrees. There is lush greenery all around. Whatever the season, do not forget to carry umbrellas and warm clothes with you.

Police Bazar: Police Bazar, also known as PB, is the heart of the city and a very noisy and crowded place. The shops close down at 9 PM. The office of Meghalaya Travel Corporation is here, where you can book helicopter and bus services to various places. Right across the big building, there is office of Meghalaya Tourist Corporation from where you can get bus / cars for various tourist points. You can also get private cars / Sumos from Police Bazar

Rhino Heritage Museum: Disappointed by the fact that I had to drop my plans for Kaziranga, I was happy to know about this museum. Fun Fact: This museum has nothing to do with Rhino, the animals. It is all about the soldiers of North East, particularly Assam Rifles, who call themselves Rhinos. It is a beautiful tribute to the soldier. There is a silver Rhino outside the museum and a garden with seating area on the backside. There is also a tank placed outside the museum. A pleasant way to spend the evening!

The Bada Bazar (Burra Bazar / Lewduh Market) is nearby but I missed to visit as I had to book the tickets from MTC.

Dawki & Mawlynnong: Dawki & Mawlynnong tour conducted by MTC covers 5 points. Canyon Valley, Living Root Bridge at Riwai village, Mawlynnong, Dawki and the Indo Bangladesh border.

Canyon Rngain Valley View Point: This is also known as the Deep Dark Valley. The view is simply spectacular! Wherever you look, there are green hills and deep valleys!

Living Root Bridge at Riwai Village: Next stop was the living root bridge at Riwai Village. The bridge is a miracle created by man and nature. The roots of the Rubber tree are weaved in such a manner that it creates a natural bridge. The bridge was created to join two villages, which were separated by a river. You need to climb down 200-250 stairs to reach to the bridge from the parking spot. The bridge is delicate and it is advised not to stand on the bridge or click photographs standing on the bridge. You can walk on the bridge though. The way is lined with small shops selling refreshments, berries, bamboo products, support sticks and other paraphernalias. One more fascinating thing was bamboo trash cans (annoying thing – tourists still threw the trash here & there as if the world is their dustbin)

Mawlynnong: Known as the cleanest village in Asia, Mawlynnong was our next stop. It is 2 Kms from the Riwai village. As per the guide, there are 100 houses in the village. There is a person charging 20 bucks to show Bangladesh border from a structure on a private property. Found it funny. Rest of the people had lunch and roamed around the village while I got myself clicked in a typical Khasi dress. The dress is worn by Khasi Hindus during religious functions. The girl asked me where were my friends and was surprised to know I was travelling alone. She didn’t know Hindi nor much English but we still managed to communicate somehow. At that moment, she was my friend. 🙂

Indo Bangladesh Border: From Mawlynnong we moved on to Dawki. By this time you get used to the beauty of the surrounding areas and silently enjoy it. Even with closed eyes you can feel the lush greenery around you! To reach the border, you need to cross bridge on the Umngot River, Dawki. Dawki is between India and Bangladesh. Even part of the Umngot river belongs to Bangladesh. It was really funny to see people excited to go to the Bangladesh border. We crossed the Dawki bridge to go to Tamabil (Bangladesh village near border). The bridge is patrolled and at a time only one vehicle can pass through. It was exciting to see Indian soldiers and the Indian flag and Welcome to India board filled me with a sense of pride! The Muktapur milestone (this side of India) reminded me of Mukti Bahini.

Umngot River: The most beautiful river I have ever seen! The beauty cannot be described in words. We were so enchanted by the river! When the boatman said, the river is muddy right now (the water was clear) and you should come in winter to see the real beauty, we were pleasantly shocked. If the river is so clear right now, how it would be in winter!! There are tenting, fishing and kayaking options available too. You can stay over to enjoy the mesmerizing beauty of the river.

The journey will continue in the next part…


Delhi has always fascinated me. It is a place which exudes power. After all the fates of a billion odd people is decided by a handful of men in Delhi. Apart from that fact, Delhi has more or less been the centre of power, especially since the invasion of Mughals. Delhi is also known for its fabulous architecture. Delhi is rich in history and culture (Yes, I am a Mumbai girl and no, I do not hate Delhi) Also, Delhi 6 (a movie by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra) had fuelled the desire to visit this city.

Though I love experiencing new places, I have not travelled much. I had decided to change that fact and planned to travel as much as possible. There had been a one odd weekend trip to Pune in 2015 and after that life was a bit messy and the travel plans were on hold again. This year, I got an opportunity to visit Delhi. It was an impulsive decision. Due to twitter, I have made good friends all over the country and also outside it. While planning the trip to Delhi I realised so many friends in Delhi!

I got a good break during the Easter holidays & to everyone’s surprise, I landed in Delhi. It was supposed to be horribly hot. Not gonna deny it. The heat was horrible indeed & I had to keep guzzling water. As a result, could not taste much of the famous food of Delhi.

It was a good experience meeting all the friends from the online world. But it was more satisfying to actually be in the place you only heard about or read about.

When you look out of the plane in Mumbai, you can see only shanties / slums. In Delhi I could see lots of cars (which looked like ants crawling in search of food) and lots of lights. The proverbial Bling Capital! 😉

The first step out of the airport in itself was mesmerising. The air was filled with scent of the trees. This continued till the end of the cantonment area.

The roads are very good in the national capital (the reason is obvious in the statement) Also, lots of greenery. The people on road are very rude though and there does not exist words like Excuse me, Please or Sorry. Everybody behaves like they are the king of Delhi. There was a lack of common courtesy and no care about fellow beings. Only in Delhi you could find this kind of notice. (The top line says do not molest women, nor let anyone molest women) Truly the sign of being an unsafe city for women. One thing that also fascinated me was super connected metro lines. This is the best way to travel in Delhi. The metros are connected to almost all the historical places in Delhi.

The most beautiful place in Delhi is the Humayun Tomb. I had seen pictures before and was in awe of the structure. The Taj Mahal is supposed to be inspired by Humayun’s tomb. Apart from Humayun’s tomb, the entire enclosure also includes smaller monuments, like Isa Khan’s tomb. Read more about it here: Humayun’s Tomb 

It did feel creepy to take pics of the tomb. The place is very beautiful though and you can get lost in it for hours.

Next Stop: Lotus Temple. It is one of the best designed buildings of the current century. The lotus shape fills you with awe. I also got to learn about the Bahai religion.

I also wanted to visit Akshardham Temple, another architecture marvel, but didn’t have the stamina to go through all the security rigmarole.

In the evening I visited India Gate. Nothing exciting though, Gateway of India is much much better than this place. You should visit for the Soldiers memorial though. The experience was surely humbling!

Visited the Sarojini Market for some fabulous earrings but was disappointed. Had thought to gather a loot at throwaway prices. We get better stuff in our local markets in Mumbai. Even the clothes we get at Linking Road / Fashion Street / Colaba are much better than this market. Anyway had great fun at Haldiram’s enjoying all the northern goodies!

The evening turned out to be a lot better! Spotted Bangla Sahib but couldn’t visit due to time restrictions. Next time for sure!

And then finally I was in Delhi 6! That means Chandni Chowk, Red Fort & Jama Masjid. You can not imagine my excitement! i was like a kid in a candy shop! I got to know the story of sheesh ganj and rakab ganj gurudwara. You can read about it here: Sis Ganj It was enthralling to move in the lanes of Chandni Chowk. Spotting Red Fort (I did not know that Red Fort was so near to Chandni Chowk) Jama Masjid! The best part  of the evening was a visit to Mirza Ghalib’s Haveli!

As explained above, couldn’t sample the famous food of Delhi inspite of being in Chandni Chowk and near to Parathewali Gali. I did get to sample aloo tikki, gol gappas and the very famous Jaleba! Also had one of the best momos & Fruit Beer at Dilli Haat.

Post my visit to Delhi, I read William Darlymple’s Last Mughal and realised how many more places I had to visit. Someday again for sure!

I know the title of this post says Delhi but I do need to add something about Agra as well.

I had kept one day entirely for Agra. The Taj Mahal, Agra Fort & Fatehpur Sikri were on my mind. Also shopping for Pethas! I just love them *multiple heart eyes* Had to skip Fatehpur due to time constraints. Instead got to meet a very lovely tweep from Agra, who taught me how to sit on a bike / scooty!!

What to say about the Taj? Words fail at it’s beauty. It is definitely one of the most beautiful monument in the world! So mesmerising! You have to see it to believe it. The Agra fort is very beautiful as well! Exploring the fort was an enriching experience!

View from Agra Fort

Some places can not be explored in 4 days, 3 nights kind of travel. Delhi / Agra are those kind of cities. It was truly an awesome experience, which I would like to go through again. Au Revoir!