January 23, 2017 by

They say, ‘ Fill your life with adventures, not things. Have stories to tell, not stuffs to show ’. Therefore, today i am going to put my storyteller's cap on and take out a leaf from my travel book.

Everyone has their own way of dealing with predicament. Mine being bag packing and going out to an unplanned destination, its beauty being that you can expect a lot of surprises and also discover your hidden potential to deal with obstacles that life places on your path.

 

It was 2009, I was sent to hostel right after my 10th. It was the phase, when my life flipped upside down and like every other teenager; adjustments and being rebellious was part of the routine. So one fine day, I packed my bags and left the hostel early morning. So much for a spontaneity. Isn't it? That is what i think recalling that incident now.

 

The journey begins

I boarded a city bus, still unsure of my destination, I reached Paltan Bazar which is a busiest market area in Guwahati. This is where you can find trains and buses to take you out of the city. There are also various locals with their commercial vehicle, willing to take you into nearby states like Arunachal, Shillong, Sikkim etc. on sharing or individual basis.

 

Destination decision

I chose my destination to be Mawlynlong, a remote village in Meghalaya which is famous for being the cleanest village in Asia and also for nearby “living root bridges”. This bridge is made out of roots of living trees which is carefully engineered by Khasi tribe (a majority tribe of Meghalaya). Not only Mawlynlong, but one can also find living root bridges near Cherrapunji and other areas.

 

Hitting the road

I booked a four wheeler and was welcomed by passengers from all walks of life. Someone was holding a baby, another was carrying a vegetable basket and a goat. The road was scenic and it takes 3 hours to reach shillong, capital of Meghalaya depending on the road conditions. But, mind you roads are hell especially during rainy season.

 

Meeting strangers

At about 10 am, I reached Shillong and had wonderful brunch at a tiny restaurant. I saw a group of kids with their three teachers. The kids were mostly 10 year olds and their teachers were having hard time controlling them. I befriended some of them and learned that one of the teacher was Manipuri and being a Manipuri myself we hit it off easily. I managed to convince them to tag me along to Cherrapunji as they were also headed that way. To be honest, I was short on cash and my plan was mostly to hitch hike. I reached Cherrapunji which is about 2 hours from shillong. I stopped there for a while and saw waterfalls. The beauty of Cherrapunji is that it rains mostly at night and it is the wettest place on earth. It experiences heaviest rainfall during April to August. It is advisable to go during September and November.

 

The ‘’ Living root bridge’’

So, coming back to my story, I managed to get a vehicle on sharing basis and set off for Mawlynlong. This time, I found a group of teenagers just like me going for a trip to see the living root bridges. Locals told me that the bridge can last up to 100 years or maybe more than that depending on the tree. The teenagers were heading for Dawki which is famous for its river. I decided to join them for the next day trip to Dawki river.

 

Resting for the night with village folks

I stayed in Mawlynlong for the night. The reason being was i didnt just wanted to see only the main attractions and leave. I wanted to go to some unexplored and least travelled places.

During a conversation with restaurant owners, I found out that it is possible to stay at a local’s home for some amount of money. A kind old man let me in along with other two girls from the group. The rest of the group managed to negotiate with the other locals. I had my best chicken stew that night in that old man’s place. Next morning, the grandson of that old man guided us to living root bridges and also various streams and waterfalls.

 

Falling in love with the river Dawki

At afternoon, we left for Dawki and after reaching the riverside, I found myself captivated by the beauty of the river. I didn't wanted to leave the place because it was so enchanting. The group did some water sports while I was busy exploring the area.

 

Returning with bag full of memories

At evening, we decided to leave and on the way towards Shillong, we stopped at the most ordinary looking restaurant run by an old lady and she served us the most tastiest meal ever. By the time I reached Shillong, it was already past 10. I called up a friend who lives in Shillong and stayed over her place for the night and headed back to guwahati the next day.

It was an amazing experience and made some really cool friends.

This was one of my unplanned trips and I have been traveling alone since then though in groups sometimes.

In the words of Lao Tzu, ‘ A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving ‘.

 

P. S- The trip was back before camera phones existed and i wasn't carrying a digital camera either. So i don't have any pictures of that trip.

Posted in: My Road Trips