Hisham Barbhuiya Oct 30 2014

Cherrapunjee – The Wettest Place on Earth

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It may be not be unusual for you to love rains and showers for a wide variety of reasons. Especially if you are from a region which considers rainfalls to be a bliss, you would want a short trip or may be an eternal stay at a place where the heavens open up and shower the lands with blissful greenery, meandering streams and rivers. Though such areas are not hard to find, there is a place in India – Cherrapunjee – which has gained universal fame for all the right reasons.

Photo Courtesy - Wikipedia

Photo Courtesy – Wikipedia

Of late, a lot of confusion seems to prevail around as to which place is the wettest on earth. Confusion prevailed over whether indeed Cherrpunjee is the exact place or a neighbouring town called Mawsynram (79 km away). By virtue of lying close to one another, it can be rest assured that the region is a moist place to be around.

A rainy day (Photo Courtesy - galleryhip.com)

A rainy day (Photo Courtesy – galleryhip.com)

How to Reach

All you have to do in order to reach this picturesque place is reach Guwahati and then head to Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya, and then take a bus or Sumo to Cherrapunjee, located at a distance of 53 km south-west. Being in Meghalaya, hills will not be a surprise package for you, but the steep hills of Cherrapunjee coupled with the gorges and the green streams will be a treat for your eyes.

What to See

The hills are an ideal picnic spot for visitors. A stop along the roads to catch a glimpse of the beautiful sunrise/sunset in the mist-filled area is a never-to-forget experience. A clear sunny day will not disappoint you either as you will get to the vast plain expanse of the neighbouring Bangladesh, which will appear as a massive valley extending till where the sky meets the ground.

Bangladesh, as seen from Cherrapunjee (Photo Courtesy - flickr.com/photos/kenmak/2086568090/in/photostream/)

Bangladesh, as seen from Cherrapunjee (Photo Courtesy – flickr.com/photos/kenmak/2086568090/in/photostream/)

The weekly markets, called Iewbah, are a great place where locals converge from nearby villages with their products. It is a must see for you as a tourist as well as you may find a lot of useful stuff ranging from eatables like pineapples to artifacts to decorate your homes with. Besides, it a great way of getting a feel of the traditional rural Khasi lifestyle. Bear in mind that that these markets are social events for locals. The forthcoming Iewbah days for November will coincide on the 7th, 14th and the 23rd respectively.

The Root Bridges are a marvel which you cannot avoid visiting while you are in the area. They are usually formed over rivers and and streams, through secondary roots, facilitated by human intervention. Hollow betel nut trunks were made use of by the War Khasis to direct the roots to the other end, which in time became a natural process of bridge building. The tree in question here is Ficus Elastica. Tread along and click some memorable shots here.

Root Bridge, Nongriat Village (Photo Courtesy – Wikipedia)

Root Bridge, Nongriat Village (Photo Courtesy – Wikipedia)

The Nohkalikai Falls is the falls you need to visit not only for its natural beauty, courtesy the green pool below it, but also for the eerie story surrounding it. It is said that a local Khasi woman, Ka Likai, committed after her second husband cooker her little daughter for dinner. The woman ate after a long day’s work and uncovered the horror after discovering the little girl’s fingerlings. Nohkalikai translates as ‘Jump of Likai’.

Nohkalikai Falls (Photo Courtesy - Spo0nman, Wikipedia)

Nohkalikai Falls (Photo Courtesy – Spo0nman, Wikipedia)

Best Time to Visit

The heaviest rainfall occurs during the monsoon season, while no month is free from showers in Cherrapunjee. Monsoon will add more greenery to the looks, while the relatively dry season will give you an opportunity to see the surrounding areas as well on a clear day. So, no season can be described as ‘the right moment’ as it all depends on you as a traveler.

Where to Stay

A lot of hotels – budget, as well as expensive – are available in the town. Some of the options which are worth a try are – Cherrapunjee Holiday Resorts (tariff – Rs. 1,700 onwards), Sa – I – Mika Park (tariff – Rs. 2,000 onwards), Coniferous Resort (tariff – Rs. 1,200 onwards), Halari Restaurant & Lodging (tariff – Rs. 900 onwards), Sohra Plaza (tariff- Rs. 500 onwards) and others. With prior permission from authorities, you can even put up at the Circuit House.

Though, rainfall has dwindled a bit in the last few years, but it is still more than anywhere you come from. With captivating landscape and a rich history, Cherrapunjee as well as the surrounding villages will give you moments you will always cherish.

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