NATION

Mesmerizing Meghalaya of the North East

An amazing mix of tradi­tional and modern life­styles is found in the state of Meghalaya, also known as the ‘Abode of Clouds’. This is one of the eight states that
28 Dec 2017 11:00
Mesmerizing Meghalaya of the North East
Nadi Editor Waisea Nasokia (back), with international journalists who visited the Mawphlang Sacred Grove in Meghalaya. Photo: Pradip Sahma

An amazing mix of tradi­tional and modern life­styles is found in the state of Meghalaya, also known as the ‘Abode of Clouds’.

This is one of the eight states that make-up the North East India region diversely multi-cultural, multi ethnic and multi religious.

It has great scenic beauty with undulating rivers, waterfalls, sparkling mountain streams, em­erald green lakes, gorges and pre­cipitous ravines and panoramic views from higher altitudes.

Exploring Meghalaya

Consisting of seven districts with Shillong as its capital, Meghalaya situated at an altitude of 1496 meters and is frequently visited by globe trotters including India’s domestic tourists.

One of the iconic skywalk build­ings in the city is the Don Bosco Museum (Centre for Indigenous Culture) in Mawlai dubbed as the largest cultural museum in Asia as far as North East Indian cul­ture is concerned.

History, galleries, weapons, at­tire and amazing collections are at home at the world class seven-storey museum showing cultural artefacts from the eight states of NE India under one roof. It was opened in 2010 as a premier aca­demic institution.

Director Father Manoj Churuli­yil, said, “every visit to DBCIC should result in increased cultur­al intelligence and cultural trans­formation.”

“We hope that DBCIC will pro­vide an ongoing education so that it becomes a powerful catalyst for strengthening the bonds that unites people.”

Remarkable sight-seeing

There are a variety of sight-seeing destinations in this part of India that will leave an incredible impression in the minds of visi­tors.

This includes the Umiam Lake (Barapani), which is popular for water sports activities where families visit for picnic or travel on boats to the other side to be all alone from the rest of the world.

Then there is Cherapunjee (Sohra) which is dubbed as the wettest place on Earth.

It is home to the Arwah-Lumshy­nna Cave in Pdeng Shnong which lies on the slope of U Lum Law­shynna Hill approximately one kilometre in length and adorned with different types of carvings and formations of stalactites and fossils that stood the test of time.

Interestingly a stream runs through the cave from the begin­ning to the end, making it feel like a walk in a stream.

The height is very high and the breadth is very wide, but it gets narrower and narrower as we move further. The trek towards the cave, has a majestic view­point, from where we can see the beautiful Wahkaba Falls.

Nohkalikai Falls (5km from Sohra) dubbed as one of the tall­est water falls in Asia – impres­sively – beautiful water gushing down from the top of the gorge to the mystical deep green pool below that is associated with a legend.

There are many of Living Root Bridges in this state. We visited one at Dorbar, Shnong. Mawkyrnot is testimony of man’s ingenuity.

Bridges can be found at the foot of the mountain plains where the locals coax nearby trees to grow into natural bridges from their ability to keep on growing, bear­ing and shedding leaves as the seasons unfold.

River rafting can be done at the river valley Eco Park in Shnong Pdeng where we travelled on a wooden canoe from one side to the other over the crystal clear river enjoying a hearty lunch on a dried banana bark.

For rural/eco-tourism the Mawphlang Sacred Grove, adja­cent to the Khasi Heritage village is the best preserved forest.

“This has been in existence for over 800 years and it is connected to the other forests as well,” said McDuff Blah, 28.

Mr Blah was our tour guide in the forest.

“The community does protect these forests and considers that deities lived here where sacrifices were hosted,” he said.

Near Dawki an international border between India and Bangla­desh exists, that’s a tourism sight­seeing area as well.

The Nohkalikai Falls in Sorha, Meghalaya. Photo: Waisea Nasokia

The Nohkalikai Falls in Sorha, Meghalaya. Photo: Waisea Nasokia

Annual festival

The group witnessed the Nong­krem Dance, still practised dur­ing an annual thanksgiving fes­tival held at Smit in the second week of December.

It is a unique traditional fes­tival of the Khasis (one of the three tribes in the state) display­ing piped music, drum beats and dancers intermingling with ritu­alistic ceremonies.

Prince Habapan Sing Syiem, doc­tor by profession took us inside the Ing Sad (chiefly residence) which was constructed in 1928 by Olim Sing Syiem, King of Hima Khyrim.

“It was built entirely of stone, wood, bamboo, and covered by thatched grass without using any steel or iron or even nails.

“This shows our traditional car­pentry passed on from genera­tion,” he said.

His uncle is the King of the tribe and dwells in the Ing Sad, during the festival they clear the inside of the residence for locals to enter and view the building.

Large architectural wonders, monuments and parks are also found in this state.

Meanwhile, there are many re­sorts being built to cater for the upcoming demand of tourists in this part of the world. This in­cludes the Bamaeri Resort and Jive Resort.

Edited by Percy Kean

Feedback: waisean@fijisun.com.fj

 

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