Travel is perhaps one of the best form of education that one can have and we at Style Over Coffee have decided to dedicate 2017 to exploring new places and cultures to the maximum.
Holidays are at the top of our priority list and right at our doorstep lies the state of Meghalaya, the abode of the clouds.
It’s capital Shillong is the perfect gateway to feel the mountain chill on your skin and laze around in the midst of greenery, absolute serenity and numerous crystal clear lakes. Thanks to its weather that can change in a jiffy, Shillong is also known as the “Scotland of the East.” Located just 89 kilometers from our hometown, the drive to Shillong through the winding mountain roads is as amazing as the place itself. Well, when it comes to the driving, Sarmistha might not fully agree with the former statement but she still enjoyed it none the less compared to our other drives. We have visited Shillong quite a few times before and this time we decided to visit a quaint little village called Shnogpdeng , located around 80 kms away from the city. For those of you who are yet to visit this beautiful hill station, there are some amazing tourists hot spots in the city that cannot be missed. The Ward’s Lake, the Elephant falls, the Golf Links and the Shillong View Point never fails to charm us even though we have seen them hundreds of times.
The little village called Shnogpdeng came out of obscurity only recently when someone discovered the spectacular Umngot river that flows by its side. The river is “Crystal Clear” very literally and you will be able to spot a pea lying on its bed easily.
Furthermore, on the other side of the river lies Bangladesh and as we took a serene boat ride and went past the other bank, people from that country greeted us and inquired how things are going in our country. We are not allowed to land on the other side without a visa and this really put things into perspective how the geography has been altered with imaginary man made political boundaries. Anyways, Shillong was our base camp during this trip and we stayed in a beautiful little home-stay called Traveller’s Nest. We stayed here before and last time it was a wonderful experience. However, things have changed a lot. The place seems to have lost its soul and there is no real care in maintaining the property. Since Shillong will definitely crop up in our itinerary again for our holidays we have decided to skip this place in future.
Majority of the inhabitants in Shillong are the Khasis and they all go to the Church! Thanks to the western missionaries who came to Meghalaya in the 18th century with the British, Khasi, the dominant tribe of the state, are Catholics and there is a distinct western vibe in the city. The Khasis know how to appreciate their music and their food is simply amazing.
Did you know that the Khasi society is matriarchal which means that after marriage the girl takes the boy home! I wonder what they make out of all the humdrum of women empowerment in the rest of the world!
Sarmistha was spoilt with choices when it came to finding locations for her shoots. Beautiful back drops, no weird looks from the cool locals and perfect blue skies! What more could she ask for? She admits that of all the holidays that she has taken in India, Shillong is perhaps one of the best for her photo shoots. During one photoshoot a group of local kids came around and became a part of the frame and they all looked super cute.
Shillong has some amazing cathedrals and the Catholic Church is a true jewel. Its Mediterranean blue walls perfectly complemented Sarmistha’s multi color outfit during one of the many shoots we did in the city.
Sarmistha is a foodie in true sense and this time around we decided to explore some new places. I love sizzlers and so does she and this place called Jiva Sizzlers right at the city center was awesome. My jerk chicken sizzler was cooked to perfection and Sarmitha’s bland-sounding roasted Chicken also managed to taste perfect. We also drove to a hilltop in a place called Dhankheti in Shillong to explore the Royal Heritage Tripura Castle club. We heard good reviews about the place and decided to gave it a try and we were not disappointed. Our garden table had just the right view of the distant mountains and city below and even the afternoon mountain chill felt magnanimous as we sipped our Bloody Marys with flickering sun rays on our faces through the swaying pine leaves and cones.
When it comes to us taking holidays, this one was just perfect in every sense. We had some amazing drives through snaky mountain roads, discovered a new spot that is spectacularly beautiful and had some mouthwatering dishes to aspire for.