When in Cherrapunjee, visit the spectacular falls, the caves and the canyon. But above all, remember to cross the living root bridge.
High in the Khasi hills, Cherrapunjee in Meghalaya is encircled in a blanket of drizzle most of the time. Till recently it was the wettest place on earth. Now the title has passed on to the neighbouring town Mawsynram which recorded the highest rainfall in the world recently.
Originally known as Sohra, which was pronounced "Churra" by the British, Cherrapunjee means ‘land of oranges’. It has a regular stream of visitors through the year.
The drive to Cherrapunjee, approximately 56 km, from Shillong is scenic, dotted with meadows and waterfalls. The Mawkdow Dympep valley takes your breath away. Riat Mawiew, the grand canyon is a popular spot with tourists. At Thangkharang park, on a clear day one can see the Bangladesh plains.
There is a lot to explore in Cherrapunjee. For accommodation there are snug cottages, and the eateries that provide delectable food. The bazaar is an interesting place to browse around. This place was once the favourite of the British and the monuments that dot the place are a testimony to the fact.
The highlights of the region are the waterfalls. Kynrem, Noh-Kalikai, Dain-Thlen and Noh-Sngithiang falls are the popular ones. From afar, these majestic falls appear as sheets of vapour rolling off the lush green mountains.Tales and legends
“The waterfalls here are some of the highest in the country. Each of the falls has a local legend attached to it. So do the Mawsmai limestone caves and Khoh Ramhah or the pillar rock,” says one of the residents.
A spectacular man-made structure to be seen in Cherrapunjee is the living root bridge. Thousands of stairs and a long trek later, one comes to a double-decker root bridge. In these remote areas these bridges serve as the only means to cross gushing streams.
Though the day trip is tiring, it makes for good memories and lovely photographs.
The sun sets really early in these areas, so equip yourself with many storybooks for the remainder of your evening when you return from the picnic.