“Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer” – Anonymous.
The pandemic had caused havoc in many of our lives. Then the new trending term was coined and we fell prey to that too.Guess the word. “Revenge Tourism”.
The plan of revisiting North East part of India had always been on the cards and thanks to my dear friend, Abhishek , the flame was rekindled and lo, the plan was on, with meticulous planning considering the two kids,along with us, this time.
Note: I will try to capture as many details as possible about the trip as we had researched thoroughly for each and every place, customized to our needs.
Disclaimer: The links of the stay and restaurants have been updated after having personally tried and tested and is not for any promotion.
Aku,Nishu, Srini and I boarded the boo pane(blue aeroplane, as per Nishu) which landed in Guwahati at around 9.10 AM. A taxi driver took us to Mahalaxmi Homestay, which was right on the banks of the majestic Brahmaputra river. The Peacock Island (worlds’ smallest island) where Lord Umananda dwells was also visible from this hotel. Capturing some quick pictures , we headed off to seek blessings from Maa Kamakhya. The temple was about 5 kms and used Nataraja service[:)],an electric bus and an auto on return.Finding out the entry to the temple was a tough task, darshan was even more difficult. After a 3.5 hours of waiting in the queue, we were fortunate enough to touch the holy water and the idol of the Devi. This is one of the 51 shakti peethams. It was pitch dark when we stepped outside the temple, and we were surprised to know that it was just 4.50 PM. Just next to our hotel was the Chakreshwar temple, where we attended the aarati and ended the day.
Jai Maa Kamakhya!!! Jai Chakreshwara!!
- Stay: Mahalaxmi Homestay – https://www.google.com/travel/hotels/s/sfmXF
We hired a car with driver ( Pulak Bhaiya- Contact number- +917086414909), ( totally reliable and well versed with all the places in Meghalaya and Assam), who arrived at our homestay as expected. It was fascinating to see that a divider on the road was the border between Assam and Meghalaya and we had to enter Meghalaya to fill up petrol which was on the other side and then back to the Assam part of the road to go ahead.The drive from Guwahati to Kaziranga took about 5 hours with a fabulous breakfast at Hotel Anuraag Dhaba on the way. It was different to see a thali of puris and rotis, along with many vegetables (bittergourd, cluster beans, ladies’ finger, potato, cauliflower) on the platter. We reached DRDA Guesthouse, Oriole, Kaziranga and were happy to see a cute, small stream and a bridge across it. The rooms were named after birds.Our room, “Cuckoo” was very commodious with three beds and had all the facilities necessary for a family, including hot water even in the shower guns and wash basins in the bathroom.
We refreshed ourselves quickly and Shantanu drove us in the Jeep safari to the Central range. We hired binoculars on rent for Rs.250 and proceeded through the wild trails inside the Kaziranga jungle. The jeep ride was fantabulous with Shantanu, patiently stopping by and helping us spot each and every animal, which we might have easily missed to notice. The world famous one-horned rhino, the bisons, deer ,wild elephants, turtles and some migratory birds were all spectacular to be seen through the natural lens as well as the binoculars. The jeep safari took 2h 45m to complete and hot ambrosial veg pakoras awaited at the guesthouse.
- Breakfast- Anuraag Dhaba- https://www.tripadvisor.in/Restaurant_Review-g12105738-d13322799-Reviews-Anuraag_Dhaba-Nagaon_Nagaon_District_Assam.html?m=19905 – Rs.100 /plate(unlimited with 8 sabjis)
- Stay: DRDA Guesthouse, Kaziranga – https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Product-service/DRDA-guest-house-567472659938311/
The slot for the elephant safari was at 7 AM and the kids were all up and ready for the joyous elephant ride. We sat on Chameli, the 45-year old elephant, who took us inside the deep bushes in the Western range of Kaziranga National Park. We spotted one-horned rhino and a baby elephant with his mom, quite upclose, as close as 3 metres. The sweet Chameli also collected the spectacles, the phone, etc. which kept falling off the elephant and greeted us with beautiful ,pink, rhino flowers. (The rhino flowers, got its name from the rhino. The funny fact behind this is: The rhino poops in one particular place only for 3 months and in that place , these flowers bloom and hence the name). We all enjoyed the bumpy , yet happy ride and later, the kids fed some bananas to Chameli.
Garama garam delicious breakfast awaited at Hotel Anindita at the entrance of the park, after which we checked out the guesthouse and proceeded to Shillong. We stopped at the serene Umiam lake and enjoyed the nice weather there. The journey to Shillong was smooth and we reached Latei Ville Inn. The cozy blankets and the hot shower rejuvenated us, despite the long day. Police Bazaar was our next stop. We completed the day with awesome Veg Chowmein from one of the street stalls .
- Breakfast – Hotel Anindita – https://xn--11bunzmsdr5h2fbz.com/Food_&_beverage/Kaziranga_National_Park/3.14.25/Hotel_Anindita/114937449057938/en/
- Lunch – Rajasthani Bhojanalaya ( Veg restaurant, at the border of Assam/Meghalaya)
- Stay – Latei Ville Inn – https://www.facebook.com/lateivilleinn
As we started early morning from Shillong, the roads were misty and it was a pleasant experience to travel through. The roads were empty and we happily took breaks to click some fog-ful selfies and headed towards Dympep View point. We climbed down 404 steps to have a glimpse of a beautiful waterfall .By the time we were back up, hot Maggie and Puris were ready to be served in a shop nearby. The next spot was Dainthlen waterfalls( the name derived from the word, “Daant” in Hindi, as it looked as if there was water between the teeth). Arwah caves , Nokalikhai , Seven Sister Waterfalls and Mawsmai caves were our other stops of the day, each having its own sheen and glamour.
Nokalikai falls is the tallest single-plunge waterfall in India.
The caves helped us bend every muscle, as we had to crouch/crawl in some places . The happiest part of this day was in Mawsmai caves where all the four of us, dressed up as Khasi people with their costumes on rent and clicked some lovely pictures. After a tiresome day, we were welcomed by the humble “Kong” ( sister in Khasi language) with a sweet smile in Nisibon Nongrum Homestay. We were given one whole house with a kitchen, which was antiquated, yet had all the amenities including a room heater.
- Lunch- Orange Roots, Cherrapunji- Veg restaurant – https://cherrapunjee.com/orange-roots/ – Rs.200/Thali (with S.Indian/N.Indian varieties), Dosas were also available.
- Stay: Nisibon Nongrum Homestay – https://www.agoda.com/nisibon-nongrum-homestay/hotel/cherrapunji-in.html
This was a big day as this was the day when we headed to Tyrna village and started our trek to the Double decker Living root bridge. The trek consisted of 3500 steps down to the Nongriat village. With the help of a guide , who helped us with lifting Nishu, on and off, we managed to reach the destination in 2h 15m. The whole process was worth it. The Double decker living root bridge was one of its kind, unique and strong. We had a dip in the waterfalls next to it while the kids splished and splashed and also enjoyed feeding the shish(fish, Nishu’s term). Maggi was served for lunch in Charlie homestay, a comfortable one, which was right next to the bridge. We spent the entire day near the bridge and the waterfall which also had a shop which sold hot tea. Dinner was hot rice, dal, sabji ,pickle and salad.
- Stay- Charlie’s Homestay – https://www.homestaysofindia.com/meghalaya-nongriat-homestay/
We bid farewell to our wonderful host, Mr. Charlie and headed up the steps which took us down the previous day. Thanks to the snacks we had carried and some lemon juice cups on our way, the kids were motivated and we were able to reach the top in 2h 45m. Yay, we did it!!
Off we went to Mawlynnong, Asia’s cleanest village for lunch and had a stroll around the village. It seemed like a page from the fairytale, or a part of a dream, the roads, the flowers, the houses, the people, all of them.
Every day was getting better with each place alluring than the previous place visited. Our next one was the last destination of our itinerary and the most beautiful too, Schnongpdeng. Even more lovely was the homestay which was on the bank of the clear, transparent, Umngot river. We concluded the day with a small bonfire which , especially, the kids enjoyed.
- Stay- Brightstar Homestay-Toshan Guest house – https://m.facebook.com/Bright-Star-Camps-Home-Stay-Shnongpdeng-Village-Tourist-Place-636218953252889/
We were told that it is very difficult to get good vegetarian food in Schnonpedng. But who would have thought that amazing breakfast, lunch,dinner were to be served outside on the river side, in huge hot packs. This day was a day full of adventure for Aku, Srini and me as we tried every possible sport available.(Snorkelling, Cliff jumping, Ziplining, Boating, Kayaking) I would say that this was THE BEST BOATING experience I have ever been through. We were able to see the base of the Umgot river, which was about 70 ft deep along with the huge boulders submerged in the water, which was crystal clear. The bridge overlying the river, gave us a view of Umngot which was unimaginable. The boats appeared as if they were floating in the air. Wah! What moments to think about ! Aku loved kayaking in this river so much that he went another ride kayaking down.
- Brightstar Homestay-Toshan Guest house – https://m.facebook.com/Bright-Star-Camps-Home-Stay-Shnongpdeng-Village-Tourist-Place-636218953252889/
Schnongpdeng was one place, we just didnt want to leave. A few more clicks and then off we went to Hotel Brindavan, Guwahati. We had one last evening for a quick shopping and street food in Paltan Bazar. Mekhala Chodor, the Assamese traditional attire , is a must-buy from the market. Also, the unheard bamboo pickle and some short cinnamon barks were purchased. We enjoyed samosas, kachoris, Mishti Doi, Gulab jamoons, lechhas, malai curry, to name a few, all these next to the Nepali Radha krishna mandir.
- Lunch- RN Sharma- Pure veg restaurant- https://g.co/kgs/rQU5Sp
- Stay- Hotel Brindavan – http://www.hotelbrindavan.com/
All is well that ends well. We boarded our flights to Chennai via Bengaluru and reached home safe carrying with us a lot of sweet memories which can be cherished forever.We thanked God for all the gratefulness and making this happen as planned and the whole trip was a good value for the money spent.
Nevertheless, Ublai Meghalaya(Thankyou, in Khasi). We wish to meet you again.