Off the beaten path to Nongkhnum Island, Meghalaya
A little trek crossing seven rolling hills, tiny Island in middle of remote village, white washed sand by the river, hidden waterfalls and not to forget, the gentle breeze that sways along as you walk past the meadows and verdant landscape – I promise to take you to one of the least explored off the beaten place in West Khasi Hills of Meghalaya. 🙂 🙂
As I sit at 1.30 am on Tuesday Night writing about the road less explored, I feel a part of me satisfied yet longing more from the picturesque destination. Yes, not playing guessing games anymore – It was a drool worthy, mind fascinating and eye-popping trip to Nongkhnum in West Khasi Hills of Meghalaya, as offbeat as it can get and remote – “Let’s talk about it” – the cells in my brain silently whisper.
How to Visit Nongkhnum Island?
Nongkhnum is a small hamlet hidden in West Khasi Hills. Thank God, to my undying desire to explore Meghalaya more like a traveller and less like a tourist that took me to this unexplored realm of paradise. Nongkhnum Village is located around 14kms from Nongstoin which is the head quarter of West Khasi Hills. Nongkhnum Island is the second largest river Island in Asia after Majuli Island in Assam but unlike Majuli, it is not inhabited by people.
The place is inhabited by a handful of people, dominated by Khasi tribe and usually, they do not understand any other language apart from their native ones. The marvellous natural landscape is a treat to eyes, a delight to the soul and undoubtedly a photographer’s paradise.
Planning the itinerary to Nongkhnum Island can be little tricky. There are two things that you can do – Hire a taxi from Shillong for the day and head back the same day post exploring Nongkhnum or club the Nongkhnum Island delight with Mawphanlur. Being a religious follower of budget travel, I keep a count of every penny I spend (Duh! I work hard for it.) I clubbed my plan for this off the beaten road with Mawphanlur and a weekend beautifully spent, I boast of it like a spoilt braggadocio.
So, here is the short itinerary I followed, I recommend you do:-
Day – 1
I started my journey from Guwahati early morning and reached Mawphanlur changing various public transports and shared cabs. Read the complete itinerary and budget way to reach Mawphanlur along with information on accommodation. Stay overnight at Mawphanlur. The blog on Mawphanlur has all details regarding transportation, food, accommodation price, booking contact number etc.
Day – 2
Wake up early, grab from bytes and leave for Nongkhnum Island as early as possible. Well, assuming you are a budget traveller, you can request drop service from the accommodation at Mawphanlur which of course is chargeable. Well, you will be dropped to Markasa which is nearly 5kms away and is a quaint village beside the main road. There are a number of local taxis available for hire that will take you vagabonding in Nongkhnum Island. Keep your second day for exploring Nongkhnum Island and head back to Mawphanlur. There is no accommodation available in Nongstoin and Nongkhnum Island. There are little cottages in Nongkhnum but it was not functional during my visit.
I recommend contacting Dopaal, very humble and friendly cab driver. Plus, full on Bollywood music for bonus – Contact Number – 09615839453.
Day – 3
Explore Mawphanlur and perhaps, head back to Shillong or Guwahati.
Exploring the Adulating Beauty of Nongkhnum – What to see?
How about the pleasure of green pastures, gentle meadows and a place so remote yet vivid? Yes, there is a splendid feeling walking barefoot on the grass, gobbling wild berries and playing hide & seek with drops of rain. A sandy beach by the river side, a river Island, enchanting rolling hills and a magnificent waterfall – Someone, take me there again. The journey from Mawphanlur to Nongkhnum Island was a visual treat – hues of green as far as your eye take.
“I would rather step out with my hair messed up than shutting the windows. Ah! These roads are not meant for air-conditioners, put down the window pane and feel the air, that’s where the magic is.”
Walk to the beach
As soon as you reach Nongkhnum, get ready to open yourself to appealing view of green pastures, rustic life and sounds of nature. The place is beautifully maintained and the moment you reach there, you will see the river beach. Take a stroll, for it is a garden walk, and enjoy some beach time by the white water washed sand. The beach has natural rocks, plenty of them. Explore the beach and feel the wind kissing your face.
Take a boat ride to Nongkhnum Island
We were very unlucky because the boat guy was not there and could not make it to the island. If you are lucky, get hold of the boat guy or watchmen and ask him to row you across the river to the beautiful Island. One of my friends managed to go to the other side (She was lucky for her cabbie knew how to row a boat) and she was mesmerised by the beauty of isolation. The island is not inhabited by people but has some beautiful waterfalls.
Hike to Weinnia Falls
It is a magnificent waterfall that you reach after hiking and crossing seven rolling hills. The verdant landscape engages you in its drooling captivity and the hike is not very tiresome. It is more like walking in a garden. Such sway with the moment and enjoy the hike. Oh! Here is something for refreshment. How about I tell you that you can pluck juicy, yummy berries from plants and pop them in? It takes near about half an hour to reach the waterfalls but it is worth everything. As you see the massive waterfall and feel the splashing waterfalls, it instantly makes you feel alive.
Well, we mismanaged the time and left from Mawphanlur at around 1.30pm which left us with very less time to explore the place. It was pitch dark and almost walking under the light of moon and stars by the time we returned where our car was parked. Make sure you leave as early as possible to explore Nongkhnum Island. If you love taking the road less travelled, off the beaten paths and has instincts more of traveller and not tourist, this place is perfect to satiate the wandering gipsy soul in you.