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Meghalaya

[ Travel date : April 2024 ]

Guess who finally made it to the enchanting Northeast of India? That's right, yours truly! After countless daydreams and postponed plans, I finally embarked on this epic adventure to Meghalaya, and let me tell you, the anticipation was palpable!

As I set foot in this mystical land, I couldn't help but be swept away by its breathtaking beauty. From verdant greens to tranquil blues, and clouds that seemed to dance beneath my feet, every moment will remain etched in my memory forever, like verses in a poem.

MEGHALAYA !!!! The mere mention of this name conjures up images of cascading waterfalls, lush valleys, and a charm that's as timeless as it is captivating. Throughout this blog, I will take you through on an exhilarating journey through the cleanest village in Asia and the mystical caves of CHerrapunji that beckon with their secrets. Imagine crossing the living root bridges, marvels of bioengineering, where nature itself seems to welcome you with open arms. We’ll chase waterfalls and hike through dense forests, discovering a world where nature reigns supreme and every vista takes your breath away.

So buckle up, fellow adventurers, because it's going to be an unforgettable escapade filled with laughter, wonder, and a whole lot of love for Mother Nature. Let's dive in! 🌿✨

Why Meghalaya, you ask? I would reply, why not? This place has so much to offer. For me, it felt like Meghalaya holds not one but countless precious gems hidden throughout the state. To truly experience its magic, one must delve deep into its heart and soul.

Places in Shillong 

Guess what? The day I reached Shillong I had a whirlwind romance with this place that lasted for half a day. You know those fleeting encounters that leave you wondering if it was all just a beautiful dream? Yep, that was my affair with Shillong.

So, a bit about Shillong: it's the capital city of Meghalaya, nestled in the East Khasi Hills, is a delightful blend of natural beauty, colonial charm, and a hint of quirky local flavor.

Now, I must admit, if you ever asked me whether I'm a sunrise or a sunset person, I'd probably respond with an existential crisis and a side of indecision. But as my loyal readers know, I have an incurable addiction to sunsets. No matter where I am in the world, I make it a mission to chase that golden hour glow. And Shillong, my dear friends, did not disappoint.

It was one of those impromptu decisions that came with a sprinkle of spontaneity and a dash of wanderlust. On my way to Shillong, an idea struck me: "Why not witness the sunset from Shillong?" I pondered. A quick search on Google and a name popped up – Laitlum Canyon. Intriguing, right?

Laitlum Canyon, which translates to the "End of Hills," is about 25 kilometers from Shillong, and let me tell you, it felt like I was journeying to the edge of the world. But oh, what a world it was! As I arrived, I was greeted by a panoramic view that seemed straight out of a fantasy novel. The clouds, my friends, were not just floating in the sky; they were making a grand entrance, rolling up the hills like they had come to personally greet me.

And then, the sunset. Oh, the sunset! Words fall short to describe the magic of that moment. The horizon blazed with colors, and there I was, on top of the world – literally above the clouds. I felt like a child again, running, smiling, and dancing in sheer joy.

I half expected to see fairies and unicorns pop out any moment because it truly felt like a land of enchantment. That spontaneous decision to visit Laitlum Canyon? Best. Decision. Ever. If you ever find yourself in Shillong, even for just a few hours like I did, make sure to catch the sunset at Laitlum Canyon. It’s a serene escape, a beautiful adventure, and a memory that will make you smile every time you think of it.

The Rock beach at the end of the White Town street caught my attention the whole time I was there. In the evening, I sat in front of the beach watching a mesmerizing view of the Bay of Bengal. The sea was a rippling blanket of blue, swirling with dormant strength, as gasping waves awaited full tide.

 

Rock beach, also known as Promenade beach extends over a 1.5 km path along the shoreline with monuments, statues, town halls, war memorials, and other attractions located on the opposite side of the street. One can spend hours at the seashore or in some café eating food while taking in the beautiful view.

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And, without a doubt, I spent my birthday morning on the beach too. This time we went to Auroville beach. The sky was clear and the sun was shining brightly on the beach's crystal clear water. It was less crowded being on the outskirts of the city. There were not many people around, especially in the morning, just few fishermen sailing in the sea and casting their nets. As I walked along the seashore, I felt the waves kissing my toes and playing a background music as they hit the shore. While gliding towards the sea, the sand felt smooth under my feet and had a soothing texture, like stepping on candy floss.

Despite the fact that sunsets cannot be seen from these beaches, this location has a completely different vibe in the evening. There are many beachside shops & stalls along the way, as well as cafes & restaurants to stop at while you're roaming around.

 

I loved going to "Le Café" by the seashore, listening to the waves as the ocean rolled into the shore and enjoy sipping hot coffee in the cold windy weather while watching the moon rise over the horizon, changing color from dark orange to milky white. You wouldn't even notice the passage of time.

Le Café, Rock beach
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MOONRISE from

Le Café, Rock beach

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Cycling around the French quarters

 

Bicycles can be the most fun way to see this beautiful city. Explore White town on a vintage bicycle and discover the historic lanes and learn about this place's heritage and architecture.

 

There are many options for guided tours. One can book a guided tour for 2-3 hours for around 1000-1500 Rs. If you are more interested in exploring on your own, then picking up a bicycle is the cheapest option and will cost you around 200-300 Rs. We did the same and rented bicycle for two hours in the morning.

Religious attractions

Apart from the magnificent beaches, this city is also about prayers and beliefs. With old Romanian architectural churches, intricate carvings on temples and mosque and spiritual community of Aurobindo ashram, this city offers immense faith for many who pray to be free of all ailments.

When you search about Pondicherry, you'll also come across Auroville - an experimental township in India. Auroville is a must-see attraction in Pondicherry, known to be a place where people of various nationalities, cultures, and beliefs coexist peacefully. The Matrimandir, a modern structure with special significance for integral Yoga practitioners, is one of Auroville's main attractions. Though it's a must visit but due to extreme hot temperature and timing issues, I couldn't visit this place. Maybe I'll go the next time I'm in Pondicherry.

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Best Places to eat

 

In Pondicherry, food is strongly influenced by French culture and there are many fabulous food outlets to choose from. For a food lover, this place has a wide range of delicious and mouth-watering dishes that will leave your taste buds hungry for more. It's also one of the main reasons people come to Pondicherry.

 

  • Visit Le Café - in the morning to see the best sunrise while having your breakfast, and in the evening to see the beautiful moonrise while having your coffee.

  • Enjoy the ambience in Coramandel café with garden as well as a giant living room and try their pizza/burgers along with delicious dessert. This place is mind blowing when it comes to food.

  • Do not miss to taste the famous ice-cream of Gelateria Montecatini Terme (GMT Ice Cream) parlor. It is one of the oldest and the best one in Pondicherry.

  • Try gluten free pancakes of Bread and chocolate. One of the best I had till date.

  • Café des Arts - known for its "instagrammable ambience." Personally, I thought it was a little overhyped in terms of food. The food may not be to your liking.

When & How to reach

 

If you don't want to die from extreme heat, plan your trip during the winters. I went in the month of December and still, the temperature was really hot and around 30 degrees.


If you want to go to Pondicherry, you can fly to Chennai (the nearest airport) or any other major airport, then take a bus or cab.


Distance from major cities - 

  • Chennai (148 km): 3 hours drive

  • Bangalore (341 km): 7 hours drive

Where did I stay

You can find the best and budget-friendly places to stay in Pondicherry via Airbnb. There are numerous excellent options for homestays, private accommodations, and villas. If your trip is already planned, I would recommend booking your accommodations as soon as possible because good stays often sell out quickly, leaving you with limited options.

 

 

Due to unavailability during the peak holiday season, we booked two separate stays for my week-long trip. We stayed at a place called "Sunrise View Apartment" for the first three days. It was a terrace apartment with a single room in the core of White Town and near the beach. Best place to stay if you are planning to visit for more than a week or even if you are traveling solo. And for the next three days, I stayed at "Le Aham," which is about 6 kilometres from White Town and at a walking distance from the Auroville beach.

 

In short, if you are traveling solo or want to stay for a longer period, it's best to find a good homestay in White Town, and if you want to stay near the beach, there are good private villas or beach houses near Auroville or Serenity Beach.

If budget is not a problem, here's a link to the best places to stay in Pondicherry that I might recommend - Click here

 

Do share the article if you like it. Feel free to share your Pondicherry experiences below in comments for other travelers.

 

Until next time...

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