If the rains spoil our picnics but save farmer’s crop, then who are we to say, that it shouldn’t rain? Rain is the sky descending to the Earth; there will be no life without rain. The sound of water drops, the voice of birds chirping and peacocks dancing in the open sky, is all we want, don’t we?
Monsoon tourism has been on a rise in the last couple of years, but with people not able to travel for the whole 2020 year, definitely with the travel restrictions easing, monsoon tourism would explode.
Enjoying nature’s beauty with abounds during the season, India’s favorite destinations and hill stations start blooming with greenery, soothing to the eyes and calming for the mind. The aroma of fresh mud, cool breeze, sighting exquisite monsoon birds while sipping coffee from the rooms, doesn’t that sound mind-blowing?
Sharing its border with Bangladesh, Cherrapunji is the second wettest place in the whole world. Locally named Sohra, is situated in the East Khasi District of the eastern state of Meghalaya.
The cliffs of Cherapunji receive heavy rainfall due to heavy monsoon winds blowing from Bay of Bengal. Lush Greenery, mystical waterfalls and beautiful landscapes are what you will find in abundance.
Known as the “Abode of the clouds,” Cherrapunji in Meghalaya surprise us with untold secrets. Visiting Cherapunji is all about exploring the unexplored nature, witnessing the locality’s spectacular waterfalls, travelling over the labyrinth cave systems and investigating the famous root bridges.
These visual sites have so much of impact on people, that some even say that this is the “Heaven” on Earth. The mountainous place, which is often shrouded in mist, houses so many natural bodes that it is practically impossible to explore each and every part of this mystical town.
Things to do in Cherapunji
Double Decker Living Root Bridges
Snuggled in the dense forests of Meghalaya, situated in the district of Sohra, the iconic Double Decker Living Root Bridge is blessed with rains for most part of the year. Partly created by the Khasi tribe, the 2 decks or layers are automatically created with the entanglement of the roots of age-old trees.
The second layer being 20 m high, gets difficult to climb on the top. Starting at Tyrna village, the bridge crosses the Umshiang river. A bit of a trek and hiking to reach this bridge, it is a whooping 3500 steps each way to the bridge from the nearest village of Tyrna.
One can never get enough of this place. It feels like it is straight out of the lost world.
Waterfalls have a certain wild beauty which manages to captivate even the staunchest of hearts. The tallest plunge falls in India, these falls thunder down a single fall from the height of 1, 115 meters. The spectacular view of the falls with lush green forests leave tourists speechless.
The Magnificent Panorama, located 5 kms from Cherrapunji, procures its alluring ale from the clouds. It is situated in the land of rugged mountainous terrain and is a gem hidden away from the clutches of the metropolitan life that we all are accustomed to.
Although Cherapunji is famous for the rains all year round, the caves in this place holds much importance. The natural formation of with stalagmite stalactite formations leads to the formation of great caves.
The river in Cherapunji disappears beneath the ground when you enter Kren Mawmluh cave. One can feel the water flowing beneath our feet. It is such a unique experience to wade through the alien looking cave.
With the total length of around 7 kms, it is the fourth largest cave in the Indian subcontinent. Situated at an altitude of 4503m, it is definitely a place to be checked out by adventure seekers.
What makes Kren Mawmluh interesting is the pond situated in the middle, formed as 5 rivers that make their way to this cave. It gets difficult to visit this cave in monsoon, as some parts are totally submerged under waters.
With only ¼ cave receiving the sunlight, this cave is a must checkout place when on a trip to Cherapunji.
Mawsmai Nongthymmai Eco Park
Mawsmai Nongthymmai Eco Park is one of the highly recommended ecological tourist places in Cherapunji. It is managed by the Meghalaya Tourism. This park is a picture-perfect paradise, with panoramic views of Green Canyons of Cherrapunji.
This park is unique in itself, as it provides views of Sylheti Plains of Bangladesh.
This is an ideal spot for people who love to explore forests with a day-out picnic with friends and family.
The weather in Cherapunji is almost unpredictable, as it is the home town of rains, and not humans. Cherapunji has lot to offer from root bridges, valleys, caves to breath-taking waterfalls.
However, when talking about exploring a place, what travellers actually look for is to get acknowledged with the local life. Being a rainforest and accustomed with heavy rainfalls throughout the year, it gets difficult to cultivate and lead a normal life in Cherapunji.
This ‘Scotland of East’ houses the Khasi tribe, the indigenous ethnic group of Meghalaya. There is no proper ‘city life’ in Cherapunji, and people living over here need to go to big ton of Shillong to get their essentials. Although, this is a famous tourist spot, but living here for a long period of time gets difficult specially in the monsoon season.
During heavy rains, farmers or “Khasi tribe” is unable to cultivate any crops as they are not able to withstand the onslaught. Even though local people are forced to remain indoors, it hasn’t given rise to any productive industry over here.
The thunderstorms and strong winds equals to intense precipitation, making clouds float around the valleys and making showers a worth living experience.
There is an endless list of places to explore in this city. One should definitely experience the auditory sensation of raindrops and misty forests even whisper unheard tales. In other words, all you need to do is to pack your bags, and visit this offbeat place, which will let you practice social distancing while travelling.
By Riya Jain