I stood there panting. The mist played hide and seek with the silhouettes of the trees. And although my blue umbrella had long given up, my hardy rain jacket was a still putting up a fight against the relentless rain. Telling myself that it was my own doing – that I had chosen to visit Cherrapunji and Meghalaya in the month of July! – I looked upwards, licked a few drops and decided to weather through the gossamer mist surrounding me.
There are these places you read about in school books – and you picture them in your mind’s eye, resolving to visit them some day. And while it has since lost the distinction of being the wettest place on the planet to the neighboring Mawsynram village in the East Khasi hills of Meghalaya, Cherrapunji was the place to be, for me. Like an old hand trying hard to regain its lost glory, Cherrapunji kept unabatedly releasing its monsoon might down on me.
Here are a few outtakes I managed from my travels through Meghalaya in monsoons. To experience the monsoon in all its glory, head to Meghalaya this year!
Monsoon clouds as viewed from the aircraft. I landed at Guwahati airport before embarking on a 3 hour long drive to Shillong, the capital city of Meghalaya. While the journey should ideally take 2 hours, it does take a bit of time entering Shillong city with single file traffic.
The paraphernalia in my taxi was an interesting distraction. Shillong cabs are known for their eclectic interiors.
Ominous clouds greeted me as I neared Shillong
Umiam Lake is a man made reservoir about 15 kilometres away from Shillong. Spread over an expanse of 221 square kilometres, Umiam translates to ‘water of tears’. I stopped by to admire the panoramic vistas.
Deciding to break the journey at Shillong, I was up and about at the crack of dawn, all ready to drive down to Cherrapunji. This was a pit stop en route at the Mawkdawk (or Duwan Singh Syiem) Bridge.
The Mawkdawk bridge disappearing into the mist ahead. A few enthusiastic athletes were getting ready for a marathon in the rain.
The day after, I trekked down to the single decker living roots bridge at Mawylnnong. Monsoons and an early start to the day meant I had the entire bridge to myself! The monsoon-fed stream underneath was at its vociferous best.
I was craving for a hearty breakfast when I reached Mawlynnong village. Locals greeted me, wearing warm smiles and knups. Knups are traditional Khasi umbrellas, sturdy enough to stand up to the incessant rain and strong winds.
Nirvana! I tucked into a traditional Khasi breakfast of rice, pork curry and coriander chutney.
And just before I left Mawlynnong, got a profile-worthy photo clicked.