Story By: Vidhi My trip to Cherrapunji was my first family trip – yes, we guys don’t generally go out together. And this came on the heels of a cousin’s marriage in Guwahati in 2016. I am from Delhi, and the wedding was just an excuse to visit this lovely picturesque place, which otherwise would have been lost only in history books.
Before visiting Cherrapunji, I had done extensive research on best places to visit in Cherrapunji (Cherrapunjee). I wanted to visit the Mawsmai Caves, the seven sister falls, Mawlynnong (the cleanest village in Asia), the living root bridges, and the elephant falls. To be honest, that looked like a lot when we started, and I wasn’t sure if we
would be able to complete all of that in such a short span of time.
A lot of people may not know, but Cherrapunji is also known as Sohra, and you’ll find this written on almost every street shop or public places. I don’t plan to elaborate my Guwahati stay and how to reach there from Delhi. Let’s get straight to the trip to Cherrapunji.
We started from Guwahati in the morning at around 7. We’d booked a private taxi which charged us 4,000 rupees for our entire one night, 2-day trip. Upon reaching Cherrapunji, we checked into Sa-I- Mika resort.
Situated on one of the Khasi hilltops, this resort offers a unique blend of traditional Khasi hospitality and a rustic lodging found nowhere else in India. And yes, since we went there in November (which is off-season), we got this place for 2,000 rupees per night only.
While we had limited time available and so much to cover, we headed out to see the Mawsami caves – a major tourist attraction. The Mawsami caves are enormous, but only 150 meters is accessible to the visitors. And yes, the entrance to the caves, I felt, was no less than an episode of NatGeo’s Man vs Wild.
The stalagmite caves reminded me of the Luray Caverns I visited in Virginia, US a couple of years back. The cave was well lit, with narrow passages. It was quite crowded and wet, and you could even hear the sound of dripping water. I was wearing canvas shoes that were completely soaked when I came out. So, make sure you wear water repellent shoes.
Outside the caves, away from the jungle were shops that served snacks like tea, Maggi, chips, etc. If I remember correctly, the tickets to the caves were 20-30 rupees excluding car parking. The caves are open till 5:00 pm.
Near to the caves is the Seven sister waterfalls, from where you can even see Bangladesh. Since we went during off-season, the waterfalls were a bummer offering nothing more than the marks of the water which flows during monsoon. We just saw the water marks left behind by the falls and a weak stream of water. It was almost sunset (5:30), so we decided to head back to our resort.
The next day was action packed as we still had to cover the Mawlynnong, the living root bridge and the Elephant Falls. It was bright and sunny, and we headed for the living root tree. In the interest of time, we decided to skip the double-decker living root tree bridge, as it is a long trek to reach the site.
After discussing with the driver and my sister, we concluded that we could see the single living root bridge. The way to the bridge was a walk inside the jungle. Before entering the forest, there were several shops selling stuff created from bamboo, fresh fruits, water, and everything that you can expect at tourist places. Make sure you bargain at these stores.
The living root bridge is a fairytale place. It is one of the best places to visit in Cherrapunji (Cherrapunjee). With a rivulet flowing below, the sound of birds chirping and trees everywhere, it is a hidden treasure lost in the forest of Khasi Hills. After walking on the bridge and the water body, we came back to our taxi. Very near to this wonderful site, is the Asia’s cleanest village Mawlynnong.
Mawlynnong is a small village nestled in the East Khasi Hills. It has a reputation of being the cleanest village, and it lives up to it. The place looks like a community, right from the gate of the village, the cobblestone walkway to homes, children playing and women cleaning their homes.
You will have to walk inside Mawlynnong. I am assuming this since I did not find any mode of transportation in the village and we could not take our taxi inside. While coming out of Mawlynnong, we came across a family selling handicrafts. I encourage everyone reading this to buy from there. After all, these family’s livelihood depends on such shops. Our last stop was the Elephant Falls in Shillong.
Elephant Falls is a three-step waterfall located in Shillong and out of Cherrapunji. Since we went in November, we could not see the water in full force. But it was worth the visit and you could spend hours and hours just sitting there. I strongly recommend you do all the three steps to get the full view of the falls.
There were a lot of destinations on my bucket list of best places to visit in Cherrapunji. I am happy that I was able to cover most of them.
Here are other pictures of my trip. I hope you find the story useful. Thanks for reading!
@Inside Sa-i-Mika – A must see place in Cherrapunji (Cherrapunjee)
@Living Root ( One of the best places to visit in Cherrapunji (Cherrapunjee))