A date with clouds – trip to Cherapunjee

I went to Cherapunjee for the first time in 2013 with two of my closet friends. It is just after the winters here and the falls were lean and mostly dried up. So when Barua Sir asked me last week, if I would accompany him to Cherapunjee I didn’t give a second thought to it. But I had one small problem. My brother was ill and I had to go home with him. So I had to postpone the program for a week and last Sunday, him, me and one guy from our office went out early morning.

People advises August – September as the best month to visit Cherapunjee as after monsoon falls are at peak and gushing down with full force. But I feel its always at it’s best be it summer or winter. We left at 6:30 in the morning as we wanted to maximize our experience at Cherapunjee. For people who want to visit, there are plenty of rented cars going from Guwahati and communication is not an issue at all. We stopped after Nongpoh to have some breakfast at Restaurent Excellencia. Its nice place to stop by in case you are heading towards Shillong from Guwahati.

We stopped at Barapani to get a view of the Umium lake. Its beautiful and Picturisque. There is boating facilities also but we were on the trip for a different destination, so we didn’t waste much of our time there and headed towards Shillong. By 10 we crossed Shillong and headed towards Cherapunjee. It was as if clouds came to receive us as we were driving towards Cherapunjee. We were driving inside clouds with visibility of 15-20 meters and it was a chilling experience to see cars emerging from fog just 20-25 meters away from you.

Umium lake from view point above

We drove through the fogs enjoying the misty scenery outside. Being Sunday it seemed like the tourists have crowded all the places. After some time the temperature was such that we were feeling cold inside and it was July the hottest month here. It started drizzling and soon that transformed into light shower. It was tough driving through the rain and fog with unusual traffic and comparatively narrow track but then our Baruah Sir was a terrific driver.

We stopped at a few view points on the Sohra-Shella road. The views are breathtaking from all viewpoints though it got little obstructed due to heavy clouds. We had different things in mind for the trip so we stopped only for a while at these viewpoints and took some shots where possible. We headed towards Thangkhrang park. There is a viewpoint in the area that oversees the end of the Meghalaya platue towards Bangladesh. The plains of Bangladesh are visible from the viewpoints if weather is clear. When we entered the park it was so foggy that nothing was visible beyond 50 meters. We walked inside the park and it seemed to be horror movie set with white fog and dark trees. But soon it started to clear and the mesmerizing view of Kynrem falls was before our eyes. For sometime it was a hide and seek of clouds and the falls but then it got clear. The majestic fall seemed to be at its best with the monsoon rains feeding its flow.

Kynrem falls and road below from the Thangkhrang park viewpoint

The view was so calling that we cold not but decided to drive to the bottom of the falls. We asked the people there and we came to know that it was around 7 kilometers towards Shella, the boarder town with Bangladesh. The road was really bad in some places and not good altogether. Finally we reached the falls. just before the Kynrem falls, there are other falls in the vicinity one of them is quite noticeable. We drove past that falls and reached at the foot of the Kynrem falls.

Kynrem falls from Sohra-Shella road

To see the head of the falls, one really need to look straight up and it feels like the waters are falling from the sky. At 305 meters it is one of the tallest waterfalls in India. Being monsoon season, the waterfall was plump and was falling with strong gust. The falling water splashed on rocks below and water mist rose from below giving it a heavenly touch. The clear blue sky with pure white blobs of clouds and a sky high waterfall with crystal clear water was enough to made our day. 

Kynrem falls from below the falls

We came back from the falls and went to polo orchid resort that overlooks the seven sister falls. The view of hills behind with a blue swimming pool  in the front creates a scene that must captivates its guests. But we returned without having lunch as they said it would take some time and went to a nearby restaurant.

View from Polo Orchid

After lunch, we headed towards Wei Sawdong falls on Dainthlen road. Its about 7 km from the Sohra-Shella road.  The road was little bumpy at places by better than that lead us to Kynrem falls. We drove past Saimika, an well known eco-resort of the place, and moved towards our destination. On the way we could see the Dainthlen falls to our left. Finally we reached our much coveted destination, Wei Sawdong.

Wei Sawdong is hidden from the plain sight from road by the forest of the hills. Direction said we need to trek downhill to the falls. It was already getting dusk with high probability for rain. But then we came so long to see it and we couldn’t go back from so near. We started to walk the steep trekking trail reinforced with some wooden makeshift stairway where the slope is too steep. Its not long but its quite steep but we gathered some ‘josh’ and reached the spot which seemed to be anywhere 150-200 feet below the road. The small yet tiring trek was rewarding though. The falls with surrounding lime stone walls with holes in them, dark green jungle covering the stream and the waterfalls looked as if mother nature has carefully hidden one its treasure out of human sight.

Wei Sawdong falls in the very lap of nature

By the time we climbed up it was six in the evening. It was getting dark quickly. we drove back through the same road and was lucky to get some shot of the western sky and the stream red with setting sun. Soon it became too dark for taking any photo. So we simply drove with variety of music playing along and talking about the places we were from morning. Our return journey was painful though. We encountered heavy traffic, courtesy we the tourists, in upper Shillong and reached Guwahati at 11 pm, late by more than two hours.

Overall it was a enriching experience to be within nature that has always been so close to us and a nature that we are pushing away from us every day.

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