Post Mortem

Traverse across Meghalayan Terrain

Kamal Baruah, Guwahati | Publish Date: 8/10/2018 12:31:23 PM IST

 The sleepy hamlet surrounded by dense fog that never comes into limelight. They have woken up with early mesmerizing sunrises.  They live recreation with walking, hunting and angling.

There is exhilaration while headed out on an open road. Life looks good while long distance driving can be challenging. And I chalked out a plan facing behind the wheel. To fuel up, we carried healthy foods and well stocked water to stay hydrated. All I got to do was to tie my shoes and got out there in the wee hours. I pressed the clutch pedal down, cupped my left palm around the gear knob and moved the lever gently from one position to another. National Highways have opened up dimension for tourist inflow. My accelerator pedal kept pressing with steering wheel went magical turning on the curving lane at Jorabat, the place is sandwiched between Brahmaputra valley and Khasi Hills. However a long queue bothered to a halt at 2+2 lanes of Toll Plaza. Probably the peak hour factor had not been considered. 

A breakfast at Jiva Nongpoh felt refresh for the day. The vast scenic reservoir Umiam Lake attracts a large number of tourists. We clicked some interesting photo session.   GPS directed us to follow the airport road (NH 40). It was beginning to rain at Mookyndur village at the welcome gate of Jaintia Hills (the kingdom of Jaintiapur now in Bangladesh). Jaintia is surging rich in mineral deposits.  The Road Signs kept informing us the distance and directing along the side of the Myntdu River. Being Sunday, people were washing cars at nearby falls. The drive was quite quick and most fun because the road was clear. Long drives often lead to driver’s fatigue. My daughter had another idea to keep awake by playing FM. To stretch our legs, we got out of car to see rice cultivation at the lonely hills of the valley.

The rain hadn’t stopped for the day. The road goes to Cachar, Mizoram and Tripura but most of the cars were of AS registration only. Assamese love to move at the weekend. Meghalaya capitalised the opportunity for its tourism. Bikers zoomed off to the road. The Shillong bye pass (NH 6) joined us at Mawryngkneng. Finally the NH left at Jowai. It is the hill station of Jaintia Hills. Unlike Shillong, markets are open on Sunday. People were sitting by the side of the road. The huge congregation snarled traffic for some time. We realised they were guests of a function for waiting lunch. We had another idea of joining. As we journeyed towards down the hills, the landscape became rockier. Google directed us to follow a narrow passage. A bad road welcomed us through a hilly terrain. A falls at Thlu Amwi brought a few cars to a stop.  The weather improved and the road seemed nice to drive. We were following the winding road of the cool rolling hills of villages at Amlarem. 

Hilly people are renowned for its hospitality. At noon, our car received a warm welcome from a Nepali boy at parking. There were few eateries around the place. We were readied with backpacker. We hiked across a km on the natural multi coloured stones. My DSLR shuttered a couple of shots from a distance. Krang Shuri is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in mesmerizing Meghalaya. It is the answer to Shillong’s Elephant falls. A construction of gravelled footpath on the waterfalls has transformed the place into a tourist destination.  With that visitors ease to walk over water flowing and feel the beauty of its surroundings. It provides life jackets to swimmers to wave and float from the rapid currents. The breathtaking panoramic views of the thundering falls go flowing down from uphill. The sleep doctor says the rules to avoid driving between 1 pm to 3 pm when our body temperature is lower and people are naturally drowsy.  We utilised it easy with a packed lunch. 

It was mind blowing view of Bangladesh at Dawki the next day. The loaded trucks of stones were lining up at Tamabila Zero points, the border of international trade. The major export and import transaction take place at the Indo-Bangladesh Matri Dwar (Tamabil Road Tax Station Sylhet). There is no fanfare like Indo-Pak border at Wagah. We had water adventure at Dawki boating point and bought pickles from Bangladeshi at Jaflong Zero Point. The single span suspension Dawki Bridge connected Jaintia with Khasi Hills over the Umngot River.  The Songrampunji waterfall at Umkrem delighted us once again. We saw large number of betel nut grow in this tropical area. Chewing habit of areca nut (betel nut) has been described the neglected global public health emergency in Asia. 

Meghalaya has been of archaeological interest. It was splendid drive passing through deep gorges and ravines at NH 206. The sleepy hamlets surrounded by dense fog that never comes into limelight. They have woken up with early mesmerizing sunrises. They ride for recreation such as walking, hunting and angling. The cool breeze caressed our face and the Pine swayed to the breeze.  Cherrapunjee houses many unexplored natural caves that still waiting to be discovered. The cave enthusiasts from Meghalaya Adventures Association (MAA) are exploring. 7 km long Mawmuluh cave is of international standard. My wife enquired these people of their habitat at the hostile mountain.  Yes, Geologists have recently classified another youngest civilization called the Meghalayan Age runs from 4,200 years ago before 1950. A destructive draught lasting two centuries had severely disrupted civilisations of planet earth from Egypt to China (Egypt, Greece, Syria, Palestine, Mesopotamia, the Indus Valley, and the Yangtze River Valley). Geologic Time Scale defined Meghalaya the new age after Greenlandian (11700 y b2k), Northgrippian (8326 yr b2k) recently. 

At Pongtung, Cherapunji road joints us. Finding an eating joint for a tea is a thorny task. We found Cola without refrigeration and did not realise that there is no summer in upper Shillong. But travellers found fresh potato, tomato, cabbage and leafy vegetables at the street. We got irked at the heavy traffic jam near Elephant falls where Mawsynram Road joints. Sooner we left Shillong it was ease to drive down again. I believe it’s worth that long drive through the Meghalayan terrain.

 

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