Tag Archives: Meghalaya

By

Inspiro India Official

Blog | Travel

23 December 2017

Journey of a lifetime, an epic bike ride to the ‘Seven Sister States’ of India

Having completed many bike trips, here is a breakdown of Ankit Negi’s ‘North-East India Bike Trip’ from earlier this year.

 

All excited for a trip to the ‘Seven Sister States’, he wakes up early, packs his stuff and is ready to roll! He sets-up the luggage on the bikes. Since it is Day 1, organising stuff becomes a hassle. The first halt is none other than Kaziranga National Park, the roads to Kaziranga are exceptional, with few initial ghats entire stretch is in plains with good quality of roads.

 

In no time, its time for breakfast, desi style mutter paneer, paratha, omelette and a glass full of milk at a roadside dhaba!

 

Trip meter reading is approximately 250 km on the NH715.

An evening jeep safari for the National Park has already been booked. A perfect timing of the year to spot wildlife, the guide mentions spotting a full-size Royal Bengal Tiger a day before!

 

The safari is successful, he spots greater one-horned rhinos, wild elephants, several species of antelopes and deer.

 

Day 6, approximately 310 km on the odometer, Ankit bids farewell to Assam and gears up for Meghalaya. After covering about 270 odd kilometres, he finally reaches Umiam Lake around 4.30 PM. The sun was about to set over the lake.

Almost dark, we leave the lake, Shillong is only about an hour ride from the lake.

Not a normal hill town, there is traffic everywhere, some complex to one-way streets with no parking to be found anywhere

Riding across from one street to another in search for some reasonable hotels, however, Shillong proved to be pretty expensive.  A guy on a ‘Hero Impulse’ bike spots him and helps in finding a budget hotel in the expensive town.

 

Arunachal Pradesh

Arunachal Pradesh

Assam

Majuli Island, Assam

Manipur

Meghalaya

Caves of Meghalaya

Mizoram

Nagaland

Tripura

Photos by Ankit Negi

 

Travel Day 7, the odometer now reads 650 km, a long day, today Inner-Line Permits for the remaining North-East States (Mizoram, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh) is secured!

Now the main challenge, riding back to the Shillong city!

The Sun is down and the temperature dip is significant, riding back in a single layer of clothing with freezing hands and feet is fun too.

 

 

Travel Day 8, 710 km, next location is Cherrapunjee!

The route from Shillong to Cherrapunjee highlights the dense rain forests, amazing waterfalls of Meghalaya.

The month of March and it has already started raining here, well it’s Cherrapunjee! The hike starts, the target is to reach Nongrait Village, where lies the infamous Double Decker Living Root Bridge.

First Living bridge!

The forefathers of Khasi tribe were the original architects of living root bridges. Khasi tribe is one of the prominent tribes of Meghalaya.

 

Day 9, trip meter reading crosses 700 km, the most challenging part of the trek is to climb more than 3000 vertical stairs! This is achieved in around 2 hours, less than average time is taken, not to forget!

 

Next day, reaching the underworld, heading for some serious caving exploration. There are many caves in Meghalaya, it also has the largest cave network found in the Indian-Subcontinent.

However, Mawmluh Cave is a network of 7 km of natural underground tunnels. We climb a bit to enter the underworld. We have no idea what awaits us!

Waist height water crossings, a bit of rock climbing, crawling narrow passage to move any further as well.

And to add, there are large water holes throughout the patch, one wrong move and you’re stuck!

The day is not over yet, a visit to the tallest plunge waterfall in India, ‘Nohkalikai Falls’, Cherrapunjee.

 

Leaving for Dawki, it is famous for its boating in crystal clear waters of the Umngot river. 900 km down, he reaches Dawki in the evening and finds the place too crowded, later realising tourists from Bangladesh visit too!

 

Planning to camp on the riverside, a secluded place away from most of the tourists. Shnongpdeng around 10 km north of Dawki proves to be the perfect place for camping! A local named James takes cares of everything, homemade dinner, bonfire, starry night and the soothing sound of the river.

 

Day 14, Unakoti, Tripura which is famous for its rock structures carved on hills! Many folk stories associated with it nonetheless.

Unakoti’s name refers to the number of Gods turned into stone by the angry Shiva. i.e one less than a crore.

Allowed to pitch tents in the tea garden of Tripura, next morning is made to explore the tea gardens.

 

2280 km, somewhere in Mizoram, an interesting observation, the number of kids spotted on the entire journey.

Day 22, offroading into Mizoram makes one tired pretty quickly, and what else is required than fresh fruits to regain the energy?

 

One suggestion from everyone right from planning days was never riding after dark in Northeast India.

 

Day 24, exploring the local market of Myanmar and a beautiful local monastery! 3 days later, Nagaland, leaving for Dzukou Valley trek which is one of the scenic treks in North East India. Surprised to find a fully functional rest house at the top of the valley, it starts raining heavily, a glass of hot milk with an omelette sandwich couldn’t have been any better at that stage!

 

Majuli – largest River Island in the world, day 30!

Situated in Assam, a river island in between the mighty Brahmaputra River and the only ‘Island District’ in India.

Owing to its remote connectivity from the external world, it’s a different world out here. Rich in its cultures and old traditions, this place is gold-mine when in terms of community or culture-based tourism!

 

Travel Day 32, approximately 3700 Kms, Ziro Valley, a place where one will find a unique culture of ‘Facial Tattoos’!

 

 

 

Travel Day 35, 4250 Kms, en route the Sela Pass, Arunachal Pradesh.

Suddenly, a clicking sound, the bike loses its power, the chain has broken! This is the first mechanical issue since in 30 days of riding! The day is saved with the help of Indian army and a returning biker group.

Now is day 36, Sela Pass, Arunachal Pradesh. Icy roads, skiddy tyres and chilly winds, managed to reach the notorious Sela Pass and take shelter in the Indian Army Cafeteria as the weather turns bad!

 

Travel day 40, 4485 km down, a quick selfie from the other side of India, Bumla Border Area in China.

 

It is day 44!

Trip meter reading is exactly 5127, Ankit Negi reaches Guwahati, loads his bike on the train and catches a flight back to Mumbai. The ride has been intense and also one of the most epic journeys of his life!

 

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By

Inspiro India Official

Blog | Travel

28 March 2016

Living Double Decker Root bridge by Asutosh Kashyap

During the midst of the year 2014, I went through the episodes of NatGeo Covershot, there was a task at the double Decker root bridge and according to the words of the contestants that task proved to be one of the toughest trekking task they have ever went through. So those verses stroke my mind to visit that natural phenomena ( the living bridge) . I waited for my exams to get over, and thus it ended and my urge was more to go for that tough route. I was very confident. It was a working day, I started my journey early morning, my driver said it’s a four hours journey surpassing the capital of Meghalaya. We went off towards my destination with music and negotiations with the driver, his experiences in driving and places he visited. I got to know that he was a driver at our Honorable Chief Minister’s Vehicle. We continued, the journey was pleasant because of the weather and the safe drive way roads and I would like to mention the beautiful natural beauty that we passed by. And by mid-day we reached Cherrapunjji.

 

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The place is beautiful, very beautiful indeed. Now ,there, we have faced a problem. It was the time tourist come across from all over the world and we were into a situation where we were out of hospitality and even food. We weren’t familiar to their environment. For another 3 hours we searched for a place to stay. We only got luxurious hotels costing 6000 bucks in Indian currency for only a day. We thought of sleeping inside the car. But while returning to a safe place for parking car we found a lodge, it seemed to be a normal lodge. I had asked a 2 bedded seat, and it costed me a 1000 bucks for a day, and I paid the bill, and at last I could take sigh of relief. We ate our dinner with two bottles of beer and some chicken wings. And the day ended with early night sleep. The very next day we were prepared, we started our journey at 5 o’clock in the early morning. The journey to the bridge in the car was very tricky, the route was pretty stiff and very dangerous on the hills of Khasi and Jaintia Hills. The environment was humid and comparatively colder. We had to put our car on top of the hill and we needed to walk downstream on the khasi hills towards jaintia Hills. The walking journey was totally on foot for atleast 5 kilometers. After few rounds on the khasi hills we reached the actual route towards Living root bridge, and the only way to reach there was to go through slippery steps

 

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But my confidence was much more than my phobia. I was dressed very casually and carried my camera, with some equipments and my wallet and my phone inside a small hand bag. I was walking and walking alone on the woods of khasi hills, and I could figure out lot of reptiles, amphibians, birds, etc during my walk through those slippery steps. And I was walking and walking, and world was not coming to an end. I climbed on a rope bridge, and again I was walking ahead with lot of water I consumed as I was exhausted walking for 3 hours. At one point, I was at the side of the khasi hills, I could see the jaintia hills on the other part and with the tiny water flow I figured out the root bridge and I was shocked and was totally petrified if i would be able to make it? Or this is my very last journey. With all these thoughts, I continued walking again. I reached an end where two rope bridges were in front of me and there I surrendered. I was exhausted and my whole body was in pain and sweating like my morning bath. I sat on a rock and was literally sleeping, then after some passing minutes, a short man with a dagger wearing very less clothes came from those rocks. I got real scared and the big knife frightened me more. I was shivering, he came towards me and spoke something in khasi and he mentioned root bridge, I directly said Yes! Without a thought in my mind, he waved me to follow him to the direction, I followed him but still I was little afraid. And after more than one and a half hour journey I reached my destination, and trust me this was triumphant. I took some shots and had a bath in the stream beneath the bridge.

 

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There, I negotiated with two foreigners – one from Australia and the other one from England. The village where it was located was Tyma Village. The people were very friendly but they didn’t know English or Hindi, they just knew Khasi. After some negotiation, I packed myself to get back to my car, the same journey repeated again and this time it was tougher as it was upstream, spreading all my energy on my feet.I walked along. At last, I came to my car and counted the steps, it was like 8000 steps in one way and like 4.64 kilometre into the woods . It was real exhausting, The bridge was made up from a rubber tree roots Ficus elastic. And ,thus,I returned to my home with memories.

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