The state of Meghalaya is a relatively unexplored region with the exception of its capital Shillong. It is a vast expanse of valleys dotted with various hamlets that remain obscure from the mainstream lens of the world. Even the Meghalaya that tourists know of is one of enchanting hills, enigmatic caves, rapturous waterfalls and placid rivers. But people end up exploring just the tip of the iceberg and take home the incomplete rendition of the state. Maybe that in itself augments the beauty of Meghalaya: its solitude. Moreover, apart from its root bridges and clear Dawki river, Meghalaya has many places that escape the eyes of a tourist and sometimes even its locals. There are various beautiful and unexplored places that maintain its aesthetics without the insertion of man’s interpretation. But we’ve got you the answer to explore offbeat Meghalaya. Here is a list of activities you can choose to do post lockdown to rediscover your love for travelling.
While you still continue to miss your daily favourites, we have listed some offbeat recommendations that are in your budget, crowd-free and unique.
BEST THINGS TO DO IN MEGHALAYA POST LOCKDOWN
The article lists activities that are offbeat attractions within the state. It helps provide a more holistic understanding of the state. These activities have been selected after considering factors such as time and budget. You can take a weekend off or a day off to explore Meghalaya.
Spot Elephants in Garo Hills
The Garo Hills derives its name from its inhabitants of the Garo tribe. These densely populated hills are with rich biodiversity that even includes rare endemic species of birds and animals. These hills come under the project of Garo Green Spine who seek to preserve the culture and environment of the region. One of the most notable projects is the conservation of the wild animals such as elephants in the area. The Nokrek Biosphere Reserve is one such translation of their goals where you can find elephants and various other animals. Moreover, Nokrek is the highest peak of the West Garo Hills and provides a great view of its surroundings.
A trip post lockdown to the Nokrek Biosphere Reserve will help you spot elephants of the Garo Hills and provide a greater understanding for the conservation of their habitat. The Garo Hills Elephants Reserve has been actively trying to develop and execute a conservation action plan for the declining numbers of elephants and their habitats for the past 25 years. You can witness their efforts to save these creatures and gain knowledge about the precarious conditions of nature at this age.
Have A Thrilling Trek Through Mawryngkhang
If you’re a highly adventurous person who’s up for a difficult challenge, then the Mawryngkhang trek post lockdown is perfect for you. It is one of the scariest treks in Meghalaya and for good reason. Nevertheless, the thrill and excitement of this trek is what sets it apart from the rest in terms of experience. The trek begins at a small village in the East Khasi Hills navigates through various interconnected bamboo bridges laid out over mountain ridges, gushing rivers and broomstick farms. Furthermore, the recurring element of bamboo that makes most of the trek is what gives it the name of ‘Mawryngkhang Bamboo Trek’.
The trek is also popular as it takes you through the King of Stones in Wahkhen Village which packs a rich historical legend. The rendezvous point is Wahkhen Village from where the trek begins. However, the highlight of this trek is not the end but the journey. It weaves through beautiful valleys and natural blue pools as you walk along the bamboo bridges built by the locals with hard work. It is an opportunity that you should not let go of!
Hear The Song Of Names In Kongthong Village
The Kongthong Village will definitely spike your interest because of the unique cultural practice they follow. People dub this village as the whistling village or the singing village due to this practice. Why do they call it the Whistling Village, you ask? This village has passed on a beautiful and equally intriguing tradition where the mother composes a tune or music for their children’s name. This is known as jingrwai ïawbei in their local language. Every tune is unique to the individual as it refers to their identity. The village has around 650 people which is 650 unique tunes of names.
Moreover, these tunes do not consist of any words and are merely hums. The creativity that spells out this practice is quite fascinating. This tradition is so unique even amongst the tribal practices that people have attempted to preserve it. After all, it’s not often that you find a village full of people that address each other in song. The beauty and distinctive practice is something that you would love to see in reality post lockdown.
Catch The Process Of Silk Weaving In Umden
One of the vibrant livelihoods present in Meghalaya is the silk production or sericulture practices. Umden is a village of silk weavers that are widely known for its eri-silk production. The journey to Umden is one through beautiful valleys spread out over a long distance. But, the visit to the village is worth it. It is a beautiful settlement that harbours sericulture as its prime source of livelihood. Umden is situated in the picturesque Ri Bhoi district of the Khasi Hills.
You can witness the process of silk production which would be quite an enlightening experience post lockdown. Eri or Edi is the type of silk that is a by-product of silkworms that feed on castor leaves. Further on, the villagers follow the practice of ‘ahimsa‘ in their sericulture as they do not kill the silkworms during the extraction process (setting it apart from the conventional practice). Moreover, the process of silk weaving is done by the women of the village by utilising traditional machines.
Swim And Boat Through Clear Umngot River At Shnongpdeng
Shnongpdeng offers a diverse palette of activities. It can range from the adventurous activities of kayaking, ziplining, cliff jumping and so forth to less adventurous activities such as boating and swimming. The thrill of adventurous activities are undeniable but a calming boat ride through the clear waters of Umngot River will help you revel in its beauty. The Umngot River is also known as Dawki due to its location at a small town of Dawki bordering Bangladesh. However, due to its popularity, crowd often rushes to Dawki. So, why not opt for a lesser crowded option post lockdown?
The Umngot River is a fascinating sight for locals and tourists alike as it represents the mystifying element of nature. The river is extremely clear and has a greenish hue that makes it quite striking to its visitors. A quiet boat ride along this river will give you the opportunity to experience the feel of the river and its beauty more closely. Moreover, the boat ride will also give you a better experience of the valley at a reasonable price.
Check Out The Laitlum Canyons
The Grand Canyon of the United States is a highly popular place known the world over but an offbeat attraction of India is its very own Grand Canyon. It packs in the wonderous element of a popular natural phenomenon with lesser crowds – an ideal for offbeat travellers. The Grand Canyon in Meghalaya is known as Laitlum Canyons. Laitlum translates to ‘end of the hills’ which describes the canyon perfectly. The canyon stretches as far and wide as the eye can see and makes for a distinct and fascinating scenery. The viewpoint is a perfect place to chill and even has Maggi stalls that contribute to a nice experience post lockdown!
You can witness the breathtaking gorges and the winding pathways that escape into the lush valley below. These scenic hill slopes of Laitlum are called the amphitheatre of Meghalaya – they’re a mish-mash of brown and green that tower over a river that snakes along the valley. Furthermore, the trail to Laitlum offers an exciting journey for trekkers with canyon views being the cherry on top. Under the mountain sunshine and across the sprawling meadows, the trek experience is one of a kind.
Dig into the Local Khasi Food at Mylliem
To experience the local food at Meghalaya in its authentic fashion, we advise you to make a stop at Mylliem post lockdown on the road between Shillong and Cherrapunji. Mylliem is the perfect place to experience great local food with the addition of the local rice wine – kyat. Moreover, the best way to eat food is to visit the quintessential eateries of Meghalaya – the Kong Shops. The Kong Shop serves local Khasi food and is popular among the locals for tea and jingbam which are snacks. Locals know Mylliem for its smoked meat – especially smoked pork. These shops usually don’t have a menu and serve whatever is the food for the day.
Two of the most popular dishes of Khasi cuisine are Jadoh and Dohklieh. Jadoh was originally rice soaked in pork blood and cooked with meat but the version served at Kong Shops is one where you’ll get rice cooked in pork fat. Dohklieh was also originally a salad that used pork brain as dressing but is now a boiled pork salad with ginger and onion dressings. Another popular delicacy you’ll find is Black pudding or Blood sausage. You may even try tungrymbai – a fermented soybean paste – and tungtap – dried fish chutney – along with rice and dal to enhance the dish.
Witness the Breathtaking Weinia Waterfalls
Weinia Waterfalls of Meghalaya are incomparable to any waterfalls that you have seen before. The waterfalls lie on River Kynshi and have an intense drop during the monsoon season. During summertime, the sunlight engages with the scenery to form a rainbow. Weinia Waterfalls’ aesthetic lies in its distinct flow which is quite massive and intense during the monsoon season. Furthermore, the vapours that rise from the bottom of the fall make the scene more enticing to its visitors.
On one side of the fall, you can see the natural formation of step-like agencies that is quite fascinating. Structures of rocks varying in size, shapes and colours surround this waterfall. These natural wonders mesh together to form an iconic and picturesque landscape for those who are lucky enough to witness it. We recommend you to check out the Weinia Waterfalls post lockdown for its roaring beauty.
Treasure the Solitude of Nongkhnum Island
Nongkhnum Island is one perfect example that contradicts the popular notion of the journey being better than the end. The island is solitary in nature and isolates itself from human touch. The lack of human presence on this island is quite startling and even comforting for those who love quietude. Under the shapely clouds, bright blue sky, this island stays as a hidden gem from the rest of the world. The blue waters and vast expanse of land that only hears the cacophony of nature will definitely leave you speechless.
Moreover, it is the largest river island of Meghalaya that has evaded the prying eyes of commercial tourists. We believe that it is a dream destination for the lovers of offbeat attractions and unconventional places, especially post lockdown. The bifurcation of Kynshi River into two tributaries that are Phanliang River and Namliang River forms the island. You can opt to camp at Nongkhnum Island and explore the journey of Kynshi River through the deep gorges and the natural biodiversity of the island. The Island has a white sandy beach as well and exudes an aura of tranquillity which makes it perfect for a weekend getaway.
Explore Your Adventurous Spirit at Mawlyngbna
For the adventure seekers, we have the adventure hub of Meghalaya at your service. Mawlyngbna draws the adventurous spirits all over the state and country. One of the most fascinating aspects of it is that it has fossils that date around 200 million years. Mawlyngbna embraces the adventurous side of you so get ready to let loose! You can explore Mawlyngbna through short hikes here and there which will take you to lovely waterfalls and insightful fossil parks.
The region used to be under the seabed years ago which makes it an even more exciting place to explore. Mawlyngbna has a farm of pitcher plants where you can taste the nectar of the plants. Furthermore, you can head towards the Um Kha Koi Reservoir for activities like kayaking, angling and cliff jumping. If you wish to stay, you can opt to camp in the jungle for a fun and thrilling experience. Do remember to carry your own food or opt for a guide!
On another note, Woovly requests the countrymen to stay inside their houses and follow the guidelines issued by the government. In these times of need, please help the needy and do whatever is under your capabilities to help the country.
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