This article, and the following ones in the series, are a detailed narration of my trip to the Northeast with my parents. The post below talks about the first two days of the trip, the arrival of my parents in Guwahati, and then our Guwahati to Cherrapunji road trip.
I had been living in Guwahati for almost a year before this trip happened. My so-called vacation schedule was unlike other students who went to their homes for their vacations. Instead of meeting my parents in my hometown, I decided to ask them to come to Guwahati and then take them on a road trip to several parts of Northeast India.
Our brief schedule was-
- Parents arrive in Guwahati – Day 1
- Guwahati to Cherrapunji – Day 2
- Mawlynnong – Day 3
- Shillong local and return, and catch overnight intercity to Dimapur – Day 4
- Kohima Hornbill festival – Day 5
- Kohima local sightseeing and return to Dimapur – Day 6
- Dimapur-Sivsagar and Sivsagar sightseeing and Disangmukh – Day 7
- Sibsagar- jorhat- kaziranga (jeep safari) – Day 8
- Kaziranga (elephant safari)- Golaghat- museum- return by overnight train to GHY – Day 9
- GHY local (kamakhya mandir, zoo) – Day 10
- Showing my college (IIT GHY) to my parents till lunch, and proceeding to NJP – Day 11
- NJP to Darjeeling and Darjeeling local – Day 12
- Darjeeling sunrise and Darjeeling to Pelling and Pelling half day – Day 13
- Pelling remaining half tour and Pelling to Gangtok – Day 14
- Gangtok Local. 10-point sightseeing – Day 15
- Gangtok to Nathula and return – Day 16
- Gangtok to NJP/ Bagdogra and return back to GHY/ Mumbai – Day 17
In the following posts, I will narrate the trip day by day and share some pictures.
Day 1 – Guwahati
Two days before the trip, I went to Nagaland’s house for ILP of Nagaland for 3 days. The office is located at 6th mile (towards Khanapara/Beltola) and the process is a quick one. You have to shell out 100 Rs/person, get some green color pages, wait for the security to fill our details, and do not expect a receipt of 100 Rs received.
Also, since I was at GHY, the car booking just near Paltanbazar (railway station) bus depot for Shillong-going vehicle hire was easy. The charge is too much here, maybe double that of vehicles from Shimla/Chandigarh.
Vehicles are hired on daily basis and not on kilometer charges. A small cab for Rs 3k/day was the first big cost of the tour (of course apart from the air tickets).
I also had booked some hotels in Gangtok, Pelling, Darjeeling, Cherrapunji, and Kaziranga before starting the tour.
All set and done, I hired a rick to receive my parents at the airport. For a longish ride of 2 hrs, I was just hearing comments of my parents about the life here- everything from the language, buildings, flyovers, shops and goats, dogs, buses, vehicles, and comments like- “why did you come so far here” and the final shock to them- the sun had already set at 4 pm?
We reached my dad’s friend’s house and waited for the night, with nice chats, and slept early; all ready for tomorrow’s beginning of a great journey.
Day 2 – Guwahati to Cherrapunji
Our cab driver- Azgaralli- came at 6.30 am (half an hour late). The journey began on the wide, straight GS road (GS= Guwahati-Shillong) transversing several flyovers. I showed the main building of the Assam secretariat to my parents. Finally, Khanapara arrived in just 20 mins time (as against 2 hrs during peak hrs).
Khanapara is the last stop of Guwahati city. Here, NH 37 bypass meets GS road, and for about 8 kilometers (up to Jorabat junction) we have Meghalaya on the right side and Assam on the left! The reason why all shops were concentrated on the Meghalaya side (including wine shops) was because of the very low taxes of Meghalaya.
The NH 37 is a wide, 4-lane hilly road up to the Jorabat junction. Here, straight road NH 37 goes towards upper Assam and right turn for Shillong side (NH 40). After filling petrol (of course on the Meghalaya side) near Jorabat, the car driver was engaged in a very nice chat with us.
The road had heavy traffic and we stopped frequently. Our driver narrated the harrowing experience when he was stuck on this road for 12 long hours in the night. of course, such traffic is justified because the same narrow road connects the entire Meghalaya, south Assam, Silchar, Manipur, Tripura to the rest of India.
The 4-laning of such a ghat-road was hence very much justified. This meant huge cutting, rock blasting, construction equipment at sites, thus making the entire road muddy. NH 40 turned merry and relieved after crossing a weighbridge in Ri-boi dist. of Meghalaya.
The first major town was Nongpoh- headquarters of Ri-boi dist. where we had a cuppa and proceeded for Shillong. En route, we had a lush green environment of Meghalaya occasionally dotted with blasted side cuts during road widening.
The first, awesome stop was Umiam lake- one of my college’s hostels is named after this lake. Since it was winter, the mist was prominent!
“Do you want to go boating?” I asked my parents
“No, we don’t have time for that. It is anyway very cold outside” was the immediate reply.
It was just 8.30, and after clicks from two points of the highway- one just before the causeway/barrage (where road towards Shillong airport splits) and one some 5 km ahead, we proceeded towards Shillong.
Approaching Shillong- its suburbs.
A major junction in Shillong city.
The road to the left goes to Jowai, Silchar, and further to Manipur, Moreh (Burma border), Tripura, Mizoram. We turned right.
It was surprising to note that all the vehicles followed strict lane discipline. Overtaking is strictly prohibited on a 2 lane ghat road anywhere in the northeast- if you are stranded in a queue.
Bypassing Shillong, we reached the Elephant waterfalls of Shillong. It lies on the road towards Cherrapunji, just at the junction on the roads going to Shella (Bangladesh border ahead of Cherra or Sohra- local name of Cherrapunji- and another going to west Meghalaya- places like Nongstion, Williamnagar, etc).
The parking is neat, prices are high and several unique items of Christianity-dominated culture start coming here at the local shops. The children listen to Bollywood, Hollywood as well as local songs, and Assamese songs as well.
Elephant waterfall of Shillong. The waterfall size was too less than that when my friends visited it in august.
Then we proceeded towards Cherrapunji (Sohra)- situated at a bit lower altitude than the capital. Shillong-Cherrapunji is some 90 kms and it took us 2 hrs.
Duwan Sing Syiem Bridge
The road to Sohra bifurcates from the main highway and now the road becomes a bit narrow. Tourists are welcomed at this bridge- “Duwan sing Syiem bridge” of Cherrapunji- 10 km before the main town.
This “Duwan sing Syiem bridge has its own viewpoint- the “Duwan sing Syiem viewpoint”- which has a huge “green wall” of mountain dotted with trees. It was cold here.
After further proceeding ahead, another point that I had noted during planning was “Dainthlen waterfalls”- a good 20 km detour- which made the driver grunt- due to the bad roads. The waterfall was mostly dry. But the river showed a great phenomenon of rock erosion and potholes.
It was almost 2 pm and all 4 of us were hungry. We stopped at a deserted hotel owned by the Meghalaya state tourism but it had no food to offer! The driver said that you will get food at the next waterfall- NohKaLikai Falls– the main waterfall not to be missed by any visitor to Meghalaya.
This is some 5 km south of the main town. There is a hotel nearby, and you needn’t pay the entrance fee for the viewpoint for waterfalls, since it’s very much visible from the hotel itself.
We had a light lunch and proceeded ahead to our hotel- Coniferous Resort, Cherrapunji. I had booked it for two days by paying 50% amount. We kept our luggage, refreshed ourselves after the sudden heat of Cherrapunji.
Unlike the picture I had got, Sohra was looking quite dry with yellow grass all over. The cold in the night wasn’t too bad. The hotel was decent and apt for the price. It had a tata sky TV also. It’s located near the Sohra fire brigade (no brigade, just two fire engines parked in the middle of nowhere).
The Seven Sisters Waterfall & Mawsmai Cave
It was time to proceed ahead for the Mawsmai caves- perhaps the only fully lighted caves of India which clearly show stalactites and stalagmites and very unique formations. On the way, we visited Seven Sisters Waterfall which was almost dry.
And yes, posing at this board is compulsory.
After a nice evening tea (at 4.30 pm) at the nearby shop, it was time to call it a day. We had a great hot steaming dinner of rice and noodles at the hotel’s restaurant. Thus ended our Guwahati to Cherrapunji road trip.
- Journey Ahead: Day 3- Cherrapunjee to Mawlynnong Village
Please click on the link above to continue reading the next part of the travelogue.
Guwahati to Cherrapunji Road Trip – Conclusion
I hope the travelogue, pictures, and information on Guwahati to Cherrapunji road trip were of help. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask in the comments section below and I will be happy to answer. You can also follow me on Instagram and chat with me live there or subscribe to my YouTube channel and ask a question there.