As I had already mentioned in my earlier post, day 2 of our trip to Meghalaya would be equally exciting if not more. I could not have been more correct!!
From Sa-I-Mika Resort we went straight to a local attraction called Laitlum Canyons located at a distance of around 40 KM. It is a nice one and half hour drive but Google maps are not very trust worthy in these locations. This is a place that is rapidly gaining popularity in the recent years but still not that well known. We lost our way several times and by the time we reached the canyons at around 3.30 PM it was already kind of getting dark. Also that day was really foggy and we could not properly view the distant valleys from the canyons. We were told that on a clear sunny day that is a site to behold.
Sunny or not sunny, it’s ideal to reach Laitlum Canyons in the first half of the day!
The word “Laitlum” in the local Khasi language means “end of the hills” and it’s basically a beautiful hill top in Meghalaya made up multiple gradual incline peaks from where you can view the magnificent gorges and valleys till “infinity”. We enjoyed the canyons as much as we could, had hot tea from a local woman, fed her dog some biscuits and started out journey back to the next resort we booked in upper Shillong.
While the entire trip was great until now we had a rather harrowing experience reaching the resort. We got lost multiple times in virtually uninhabited and thickly forested hill roads in pitch dark!
To add further to our agony Google maps, satellite GPS and Apple ‘Siri’ were completely clueless and my fuel tank was almost entirely empty!
Anyways, we did reach our resort that night didn’t we? The resort we booked was called the Silver Brooks resort and that night we were just happy that we could get a bed to sleep.
After spending the night at this place we started our day early and headed straight for the cleanest village in Asia called Mawlynnong, idyllically located in the East Khasi Hills district of Meghalaya. But before taking you to the village with us, I would quickly like to point out that the Silver Brooks resort is no way similar to the Sa-I-Mika Resort I covered in my post on Cherrapunji, Meghalaya. I would say that the only thing common between the two properties is the word “Resort”. While the rooms are clean, they are tiny for the price of INR 4200 per night and it is like any other small town Indian budget hotel. I just wonder why they even call it a resort!
Coming back to Mawlynnong, the supposedly cleanest village in Asia. I must say, even the drive to the village is very pretty. The landscape and tiny villages on the way to our destination is so unlike mainstream India. The entire area is sparingly populated, the roads are simply excellent with minimal traffic and landscape around is very beautiful.
On the way to Mawlynnong you would pass through a small town called Pynursla where you should withdraw cash if necessary. There are no other ATMs around and none of the shops and eateries in Mawlynnong would accept card payment.
To get into the village you will have to pay a small entry fee of INR 100 per person and once inside you would immediately realize that the village is truly keeping up to its reputation. While there no activities as such in Mawlynnong you can actually try out an authentic khasi dish in one of its many quaint restaurants and of course climb a tree top on bamboo stilts. From the top you could view the Bangladesh plains far below and the price for that is INR 30 per person. Since you walk on bamboo stilts to climb up, the whole structure is not very rigid and that is why they would allow only 5 persons at one time. We had been to this place a couple of times before but it feels like a new experience every time. There are little memento shops scattered all around and you can of course spoil yourself with little trinkets that will remind you of the place for years.
Our next stop was the Living Root Bridge. Living Root Bridge is located in Riwai Village in Meghalaya and is very near to Mawlynnong. The bridge is a classic example of human ingenuity and natural wonder and we were told that its takes around hundred years if not more for such a bridge to become operational. As the name suggests, the bridge is made out roots that are still living and nourishing their parent trees on either side of the stream. There is an entry fee of INR 40 per person and INR 20 for a camera.
We have visited the Living Root Bridge a few times before. This time around we were sad to notice that the structure has become weak, thanks to massive influx of tourist in the recent years. So, now the authorities allow you to walk only once across the bridge and then cross the stream back using another man made bridge. The bridge is being supported from below with bamboo and wooden pillars and to be very honest, that exotic charm it once had is kind of lost. It has also become quite a struggle to compose a nice photograph of the ‘real’ bridge amidst all the man made structures and tourists photo bombing constantly!
The walk to the bridge is a bit strenuous, especially if the sun is up. However you will find lots of small village shops along the way that sell local citrus produce such as fresh pineapples and Pomelos. You will also find your good old Coke and Pepsi but we would recommend the local citrus “rejuvenators”. We refreshed ourselves with all the local citrus delicacies and started to drive back towards Guwahati.
Now when we look back we only have excellent memories to cherish for life.
Happy to inform that YOUTUBE Vlog of this trip is now up on our channel. Check it out here :
MEGHALAYA TRAVEL- Part 2 | LAITLUM CANYONS, MAWLYNNONG, LIVING ROOT BRIDGE | STYLE OVER COFFEE