Say hello to the East of the East!
My motherland is east of the East: Meghalaya. Recording the highest rainfall in India, this tiny state will fill you up with a sense of peace you might just be longing for.
Follow me on a trip I took. I think you’ll love it.
Start from Kolkata, the capital of British India – the city of joy where every second boy is an artist or a writer. We headed east from Kolkata, to Assam – the tea state. Guwahati, the capital of the state, is about a 2 hour, 15 minute drive from a tiny little town called Shillong. This place will remind you of those little vintage quiet towns by a valley.
Language is never a problem here, since most people speak English. The town has developed over the years, but to make most of the vintage scene, go straight to Pinewood castle. The wooden décor and fireplace will take you back to 1960s. Adjacent to the beautiful quiet lake, up the hill, is the resort. The dining place and food there is extraordinary. Christmas at the Pinewood is still one of my favorites.
Don’t stop there though, the main attraction of this place is yet to see: Cheerapunji – about an hour and a half from Shillong.
A few miles away from the main town is the Cheera Resort. This resort has a view of the entire mountain range. It is a perfect place for campers and trekkers. It not only offers room accommodations but also has the feel of camping inside the forest. The owners of this place were very friendly and warm when I was there; it felt like a second home.
The best part about my trip was the trekking. It was one of the best trekking trips I’ve ever experienced. There is a unique thing about this place – the double-decker root bridge. It’s a natural bridge, made of strong living roots.
During the long, beautiful trek, we crossed three remote villages. The people were very nice and they were so excited to see us. The entire stretch is disconnected from the main town, so be careful – there is no room for emergency vehicles. These root bridges once connected one village with the other.
Cheera Resort had organized campfires and local dances for us. The food is worth trying and people are so genuine and helpful that you will want to come back.
10 Quick Traveler Tips:
- Carry an umbrella; it is the highest recorded rainfall area. If you’re from London, you already know the drill.
- Try visiting this place during winters. Christmas is a beautiful time here, and winter is the season of oranges. Also, do not miss the fireplace action in Pinewood.
- The bakery in Shillong is outstanding. Pardon the extra pounds, but you deserve these carbs.
- Do not forget to try momos (dumplings).
- Ask the resort owner for trek details; he is very helpful. Also, take a guide. Chances are you might lose your way.
- If you’re camping, be careful about spiders and carry a lot of antiseptic.
- Avoid the market area of Shillong, unless you’re shopping. It’s very crowded and kills the feel of the place. The outskirts are the best place to stay.
- Fly direct from Kolkata.
- Carry your swimwear for the trek; there is an amazing natural still-water pool.
If the hospitality of the place draws you back, please invite me!