ENTHRALLING PARALLEL UNIVERSE OF NONGRIAT
An abode in a parallel universe amidst paradise on Earth amongst travellers across the world in a home away from home – Yes!! It is the perfect description to start my blog about the place that gave me tons of beautiful experience, NONGRIAT, Meghalaya. A place where country music soothes your nerves and goodness steps out of every person in the village is so far the best decision of my vagabond impulse to walk approximately 3000 stairs and stay at NONGRIAT for 2 nights.
Every step I took towards reaching Nongriat was plethora of pleasure to see nature bestowing us it’s most amicable and incredible side. Be it the living-root bridges, clear blue water or the spectacular Rainbow waterfall or carrying your heart in mouth feeling while crossing the suspension iron bridges, I was left mesmerised. My silent stare towards everything I saw aggrandized with every step I climbed or descended.
ABOUT NONGRIAT VILLAGE!!
The infamous double-decker living root bridge is home to the spectacular place and trusts me when I say you would want to stay there forever. It is located in the state of Meghalaya – known as abode of clouds and is located 14 to 15 kms from Cherrapunjee (Sohra). It is a small hamlet with few houses and is surrounded by hills of Meghalaya from all directions. You need to cross couple of other villages to reach Nongriat.
HOW TO REACH NONGRIAT?
Travelling leaves you smitten when both the journey and destination takes you to the next level of euphoria. The whole journey was a massive starter to what I was to witness and I could not hold my breath throughout. Being driven through the countryside terrains of Cherrapunjee to witnessing valley that left me awestruck to mist kissing my face, everything was unbelievably and infinitely insane. The smooth roads spanned by brown grass on both sides satiated my forever lust for countryside arena. The journey left me wanting more and more of it, I still m thinking about it and dreaming to get back there.
The journey to fall in love with
Well it is a bit tricky to reach Nongriat and since I travelled from Guwahati, let me pen down the complete itinerary I followed. I am writing the blog taking into consideration budget travellers seeking public transportation.
Guwahati – Shillong – It is the first part of your journey. There is ample number of shared cabs that ply to Shillong from Paltan Bazar Railway Station at Rs 300 per person. The route is smooth as butter with view of Uniam Lake enroute, expect to reach Shillong within 3 hours.
Shillong-Cherrapunjee – There are many shared Tata Sumo that ply to Cherrapunjee from Sumo Stand near Anjali Cinema in Shillong. Everyone knows about the place and you can also request your cab driver drop you there. Charges per person till Cherrapunjee is Rs 70/- in shared Sumo but it will be packed with people.
Cherrapunjee-Tyrna – There are very few buses that ply to Tyrna Village and beyond and one of them reaches Cherrapunjee around 9-9.30am. I suggest you take a cab to Tyrna Village from Cherrapunjee which is the start point of trek to Nongriat. The cab would probably take Rs 300-400 or less depending on your bargain skills. On reaching Tyrna Village, you will have to start climbing down to reach Nongriat.
(Alternatively, you can also hire a cab from Shillong to have you drop at Tyrna Village near the starting point of the trek. The charges will be around Rs 1200 – 1300/- but try to bargain the first price the driver mention).
Tyrna-Nongriat – Tyrna Village is a very quaint and clean village through which you can reach Nongriat Village. If you take a hired car which I did, the car will drop you at start of the trek which has 3 or 4 sign boards and the path is very easy with no diversion. Oh!! You have to climb down 2000 – 2500 stairs, cross two suspension bridge that will mesmerise and scare you both at the same time, one small root bridge and a 200 to 300 stairs up climb to reach the home-stay. But the journey is completely worth it. So it took me approximately 2 hours to climb down and around 2 ½ hours to climb up.
SERENE HOMESTAY is not a place you take as accommodation but your second home, a place you will never feel away from home and trick you in perfect homecoming. 🙂 🙂 The quaint, lovely and very homely place is owned and run by Byron Nongbri and his beautiful family. He is the man who can call out for everything. With classic music running in the kitchen, his five sweet little kids playing around and becoming friends and magical location, a two day stay minimum is must at NONGRIAT. The home stay is shared accommodation and per bed charge is Rs 250 per head. Byron left no stone unturned in giving the best ever hospitality and his kids are out of the world lovely. I can’t stop bragging about my experience but it cannot be realised and understood in words until you felt it for yourself. The food is very basic and simple but definitely lips smacking and freshly prepared.
Contact Number – 09615252655 / 09436739655
E-mail – firstname.lastname@example.org
Make sure you make a call prior for booking as the place is usually full and flooded with visitors.
WHY VISITING NONGRIAT ONCE IN YOUR LIFE IS A MUST?
I mentioned at the very beginning of my blog that the place is a parallel universe with sound of gurgling waterfalls, surrounded by mighty hills and nights so starry. The pristine calmness of the place is a steal for heart and food for soul and to experience the best of the place you need to be there physically, the beauty cannot be described in words. I was left speechless the moment I found myself walking down the village and I am still out of words because nothing can explain the serenity of the place in words. 🙂 🙂 But these are the things you get to see, experience and enjoy in the tiny hidden piece of paradise.
Oh!! Coming back to why you must visit the place at least once is the profound memories you carry in your heart while returning back. Here is what makes the place so extravagant organic.
Infamous Double Decker Living Root Bridge also called Jingkieng in Khasi Language is a made of root of a specific plant. It was weaved for years by natives using the roots of the tree and today the structure stand strong as bridge for daily commuting of villagers.
Taking a dip in the small stream of waterfall just below the root bridge is the best you can help yourself with. The water has vitamins and minerals with crystal blue colour reflecting its purity.
While in Nongriat, get the best fish pedicure in the most natural way without spending a single penny. The water stream below the double decker living root bridges is home to fishes that are used in fish pedicure. So dip your feet, tune to sounds of nature and relax.
Feel home away from home with Byron and his family with his five lovely kids and beautiful wife. They give you the perfect feeling of homecoming. Play with the kids, talk to them and also don’t forget to read the journal about the place Byron wrote. Make sure you stay for two or more days to enjoy the place. 🙂 🙂
Take a hike up to Rainbow Waterfall and the crystal clear blue water will drive you insane with wanderlust. The water fall on a big rock and on a bright, sunny day you get to see a rainbow formation around the waterfall. It will take you around 1 or 1 ½hour from Double Decker Root Bridge. If there is no sun, there is no rainbow formation.
The suspension bridges made of iron are something really exciting but being a first time will scare the shit out of you. There are two such bridges that you need to cross to reach Nongriat and one to reach Rainbow waterfall. Don’t think much and simply get lost in the blue waters flowing under it.
Don’t sit back and waste your time sleeping in such a village place but take a walk around the village, know their culture, talk to people, walk up to the church and feel at home. Sleep early but not without gazing at the stars scattered in the sky. Sit anywhere in the village and drool over the massive starry sky. Explore the village and you will love it even more.
The place has such magical aura that will melt within you and give you memories for lifetime; probably you will always want to go back there. The clear blue waters I haven’t seen in ages, the sound of streams and waterfalls, the goodness in the heart of people, beauty of living root bridge and time with the wonderful family is so far the best time I ever had. I can’t wait to go back to such zenith of euphoria again. 🙂 🙂