Meghalaya is also known as the land of clouds and it surely stands loyal to this name. The state located in the Northeast of India looks more astounding only when you actually stroll through its rainy plains and hike through its thickest of forests surrounded three sixty degrees by gigantic waterfalls.
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Forests and clouds are everywhere but where it rains all day long, making the land covered in deepest of the green and people simplest in their hearts, it would be an altogether different experience.
You only know a place as you travel and you will only know Meghalaya as you step right under its cloudy skies while listening to the most melodious sound of rain.
The Northeast of India is home to one of the wettest places on earth where there is literally monsoon everyday of the year. Mawsynram is the wettest place in India and on the planet too, receiving an average rainfall of more than 11000 millimeters during the monsoon months in India. Located in the East Khasi Hills of Meghalaya in the Northeast side of the country, Mawsynram is India’s own Amazon, with the thickest forests and vegetation found in the region.
As if a lot of rain in one part was not enough, Cherrapunji, known as Sohra locally, is also one of the high altitude towns in Meghalaya, which challenged Mawsynram for the title of the most rainy place, although the world record is still held by the former, with only the difference between the two towns being just four inches of rainfall.
It is not without reason that Meghalaya is called the land of clouds, where the literal meaning of the Sanskrit word Megh translates as clouds. How practical!
It would be no surprise to witness the waterfalls in a land where it rains almost everyday. But the waterfalls of Meghalaya flowing amidst dense jungles and creating beautiful gorges and streams along the way, is something refreshing for the eyes to observe for real.
Nongkhnum river island, is the second biggest river island in Asia, is home to sandy beaches and Langshiang Falls, which is one of the largest waterfalls in India. The island is formed when Meghalaya’s longest river splits into smaller tributaries, creating a green canvas at the center. The nearby village in this region has comparatively low tourist footfall. Nevertheless, who needs concrete structures amidst nature’s crafts!
Majority people of Meghalaya speak the Khasi language and belong to the Tibeto-Burman race, apparently the only people in India who speak Khmer language famous in regions of SouthEast Asia.
One of the unique traditions of the Northeast side of India, probably not found anywhere else, is their matrilineal system, where the youngest daughter of the family gets the inheritance and lineage is traced through women generation after generation.
The people of Meghalaya are deeply connected with their abundant nature which is reflected in their practices of worship for the forests, flora and fauna, considering them as nature’s gifts.
While travelling across Northeast India, more than umbrellas you are more likely to encounter the beautiful bamboo hats woven with bamboo sheets by the local women. And they do keep the rain away!
From handicrafts to cuisines the use of bamboo is widespread in the region of Meghalaya, with pickled bamboo shoots being used alongside many dishes.
To witness the village life up close, a visit to Chandigre village, a small resort town in the west side of the state is the best way to learn as you experience the local ways of life.
A peaceful walk through the surroundings filled with vegetation and rare plants of the area while going on a trek to the nearby Nokrek Natural Reserve, it couldn’t get more green and lovely than this!
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Meghalaya is considered as one the most popular destinations in India for its eco-tourism. The state offers a way of travelling that would connect with nature more than ever.
For many generations in the past, the culture of the state has been deeply rooted with nature, with the Living Root Bridges being one such example.
As the name goes, the Living Roots Bridges are nature bridges created by connecting the roots of rubber trees, which when tied together form a bridge to cross across rivers and has been used by the people of the villages of Northeast for many years as a way of naturally forming a crossing across the forest streams.
On an average, a single Living Roots Bridge takes fifteen years for the roots of the trees to grow and form a complete bridge, although some of the bridges in the region have been damaged due to lack of proper care.
The Nongriat village located in the East Khasi hills is a tourist friendly town, showcasing these structures of nature, some even a hundred years old. A trek through dense jungles and mini waterfalls leads one to this raw work of art.
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A boat floating in the air is an illusion one can get while witnessing one of the cleanest rivers in India, the Dawki River, also known by the name of Umngot River. Although the river is famous for many other water activities, the simple sight of the crystal transparent waters of the river is all you need to experience the word breathtaking for real.
A short trek through the river would lead one to a small river island with a gorgeous waterfall, where your only company could be the sound of water falling into the deep gorges. As mesmerizing as it sounds, the Umngot river looks unreal, more like a glass laid over tiny pebbles, which is also one the most photographed locations of Meghalaya.
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