Nothing in this world is probably more fulfilling and exciting than exploring the Abode of the Clouds – The Majestic Meghalaya during the monsoon. And when you have two of your closest buddies accompanying you, everything else seems insignificant.
It was in the month of August when we (me & my 2 closest buddies, Arijit and Debobrata) took the flight to our dream destination. From romancing the rain to soaring high on an adventure to exploring the unexplored, we had our plans set. The trip was very close to my heart not just because I had my ‘brothers from different mothers’ as a company, but I promised them a trip of a lifetime.
So, here’s a peek-a-boo to the land that is distinguished by its treks, root-bridges, caves, and tribes. Before I go on to let you all tour the land through our eyes, I would like to extend my gratitude to Kari Kharkongor (the Encyclopedia of Meghalaya) without whom the trip would have been incomplete. It’s hard to contain the magic of Meghalaya in one post. And our 9-day trip allowed us a luxurious escapade; so, let’s talk about each destination in turns.
Mawphlang (Maw – rock, Phalang – grass or “Grassy Rock”)
Nestled on the way to Mawsynram, this small village in the East Khasi Hills is 25 km away from Shillong and is a paradise for nature lovers. The sun was about to set when we reached Mawphlang. And what welcomed us was the breathtaking view of the setting sun, which I believe transported the 3 of us in a dream world.
As our illusion broke, we headed towards Maple Pine Farm (the only resort in the village run by an Indo-Canadian guy Mr. James Perry), our stop for the night. As we proceeded towards the farm, two things left me awe-struck; we had to cross a stream to get there and unlike the conventional welcome of the city resorts, here we were greeted by the music of John Lennon. And to this, I must add Meghalaya is truly offbeat and is sure to leave you spellbound.
Visit to the Sacred Groves
Next morning, we decided to take a walk and explore the village. But before trodding the pathway, we visited the Sacred Grove – the star attraction of the village. One of the most outstanding features of the Khasi Hills are the Sacred Forests, which have been retained by religious sanction since the ancient times. The Mawphlang Sacred Forest home to a wonderful life form of orchids, flowering trees, plants and butterflies is the most popular one.
An ideal destination for nature lovers, the Sacred Groves can be essentially referred to as “Nature’s Own Museum”. Standing in sharp contrast to the grassland surrounding the village, the groves are bordered by a thick growth of Castanopsis kurzii trees, forming a protective shield to the encroachment of Pinus Kasia (Khasi Pine), which overshadows the region outside Sacred Groves. Within the outer rim, the ground is densely covered by humus gathered since ages, which is now home to a wide variety of plant life that is unique to Sacred Grove. The trees here are piled with an epiphytic growth of ferns, orchids, pipers, and aroids.
Exploring the David Scott Trail
A visit to Meghalaya is considered incomplete if you don’t trek one of the oldest and most popular trail – The David Scott Trail. Whether you are an adventure lover or a nature lover, this is a must. The trail named after David Scott (a British Officer) spreads over 100km and takes around 5 days to be covered. The entire trail is further divided into smaller routes and the one between Mawphlang and Lad Mawphlang has gained popularity for it covers the beautiful terrain of Eastern Khasi Hills.
This comparatively smaller 16km trekking route can be covered within just 4 hours. The entire trail is a repository of natural wonders. From cascading waterfalls, mountain streams, sweeping meadows, to beautiful khasi villages, you name it and the trail has it. We just couldn’t have enough of this trail and decided setting up a camp here and treating our eyes to the imposing views of the picturesque Umaim Valley. A special mention here deserves the snake, which we encountered in the middle of the trail, but nothing made us take the reverse gear.
A tip for future travelers – Do not let go of the opportunity to capture some truly captivating shots here.
Our guide Bahn (one of the nicest guys I have ever met) helped us explore Mawphlang in the best way possible. The trek ended with an adorning view of Cherrapunji and we just couldn’t wait reaching there. Our journey to the Majestic Meghalaya took off just as we had imagined ; we three went crazy,retrospective, and even daring as we meandered the wonderland.
I don’t want to stretch it anymore. Next up camping in Cherrapunji.
Getting There :
From Shillong to Mawphlang 25 km’s and It will cost around 1500 INR.
Staying Options :
1. Maple Pine Farm (Probably the best one)
2. Keanen Guest house
3. Mawphlang Heritage Village (Local arrangements)
Best Time to Visit :
October is the best time to visit. But If you want something extra you can come during the Monolith festival in Mar-Apr.
Local arrangements and Guides - Sanborlang Lyndoh - +91-96158-84327 Ban - +91-9856114764
For the contacts feel free to contact me.