This feature is titled Meghalaya – the bridges that breathe, but allow me to let you in on a little secret – I was left breathless for most of the trip. To elaborate a little further on that point, I was breathless looking at the natural splendor that was before my eyes, and also I realized that I am breathless just walking around. My stamina gave away on the very first day, but I preserved because I did not want to lose out on seeing the beauty this marvelous place had the offer.
Meghalaya is popularly known as the Scotland of the East, and rightly so. The lush green meadows, calm and chilly weather, great food and lovely people make Meghalaya a trip of a lifetime, but one aspect which particular leaves you in awe is the Living Root Bridges or the ‘Bridges that Breathe’ as I call it.
Traveling through the state, you will find these bridges at many places like the jungles around the town of Pynursla or in the village of Kongthong, but the Umshiang Double-Decker Root Bridge on the Nongriat Village trek is the one you have to see when you visit the Scotland of the East. The trek, however, is a test of your stamina and will power. It takes 3000 steps to reach the natural wonder, and the walk can be tiresome. So a word to the wise, give yourself some exercise before embarking on the trek. There are smaller living root bridges along the trek that keep you motivated till you reach the destination.
Did you know, the members of the local Khasi Tribe have grafted and trained the roots of the rubber trees native of this region to grow and create these bridges. This region receives a heavy amount of rainfall, and the living root bridges are a stronger alternative to the wooden/metal bridges that rust and decay.
The Nongriat trek can be completed in a day, but we were a group of slow travelers, so we decided to stay a night at a local homestay. We trekked to Rainbow falls the next morning, which as the name suggests had rainbows all around the waterfall, until we climbed another 3000 steps to reach back to base.
While you are in Meghalaya, you can also visit the beautiful cafes of Shillong, chill around Cherapungee, walk up to the Indo-Bangladesh Border, do the historic David Scott trail, see the Arwah Caves and Mawsmai Caves, visit the Asia’s cleanest village - Mawlynnong or go boating on the clear and transparent waters of the Dawki river.
EXPLORE KASHMIR WITH AWARA FEET
How to reach:
By Air: The nearest airport is at Guwahati, which is around 104 km from Shillong.
By Rail: Meghalaya has no rail services and the nearest railway station is Guwahati.
By Road: You can book yourself a cab for the entire trip to ease your commute, as traveling from one place to another takes time in Meghalaya.