posted on 29 July 2015
Any tour of North East India would be incomplete without a visit to Meghalaya; and for fans of natural wonders this is a must-see destination.The mountainous state whose name literally means “abode of the clouds” in Sanskrit receives the highest annual rainfall on the planet. Hence, the wettest place on earth has many rivers which have carved out steep gorges and spawn copious waterfalls.
The town of Cherrapunjee in the Khasi Hills south of the state capital Shillong is known for the majestic Nohkalikai Falls. They are fed by rain water collected on the plateau above and plunge over 300 meters into an emerald-green rock pool at their base. The scintillating panorama from the south rim of the canyon stretches as far as the eye can see across the vast lowland plains of Bangladesh.
Thriving on abundant rainfall, the forests of Meghalaya are criss-crossed by numerous streams. To traverse them, people living in villages on the forest floor have created an alternative to wooden bridges by training the roots of live rubber trees to form living Root Bridges. Located 1.5 kilometres (that’s 1500 stone steps) below Tyrna village, the Ritymmen Root Bridge has a span of 100 feet and is the longest of its kind. Stamina is required to reach it but it is worth it!
Meghalaya also has an estimated 500 natural limestone and sandstone caves spread over the entire state including most of the longest and deepest caves in the sub-continent. The Mawsmai cave near Mawlynnong offers visitors a first glimpse into this damp, dark subterranean world. It can easily be visited in conjunction with some of the root bridges.
On a final note, Meghalaya also stands out by following a matrilineal system of family lineage and inheritance. Here the youngest daughter inherits all wealth, takes her mother’s surname and takes care of her parents. One more reason to exclaim, “Chalo – let’s go Meghalaya!”
Tags: Travel, Meghalaya, Cherrapunjee, Nohkalikai Falls, Living Root Bridges, Caves, North East India
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