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Tue, 07 Apr 2020

Northeast Today

Sharing the Abode of Clouds

Sharing the Abode of Clouds
April 11
12:06 2019

NET Bureau

Solo traveller from Jammu, Prateek Sanyal writes in his eccentric poetic fashion, about his
experience of travelling to Meghalaya.

The beginning
My exploration of Northeast began with Meghalaya. I explored the villages of Khasi and Jaintia hills
(earning their names from the communities which live there) and came to know how both of them
were one until the British applied their policy of divide and rule on these people who have slight
difference in their dialect (yet comprehensible) and Jaintia hills have lower altitude as compared to
Khasi hills. As a traveller I cherish new experiences as it helps me grow. Living with the unique
people of the world who follow matriarchal society is in itself a delight. I was more than glad to
spend time with these communities which treated female equally with male within the society.


The journey
As one begins his ascend from Assam plains toward these hills, it is impossible to lose the company
of green grass shining like emerald dotted by magnificent pines. The moderate climate throughout
the year makes it a great destination to visit anytime, but during monsoon you will have to share this
beauty with its sole proprietor. These hills shrouded by mist during monsoon retain a sublime shade
unaware of parched sun. The hills are bathed by unpredictable showers unsettling any impurity that
tends to host upon these hills. The waterfalls are reinvigorated by clouds providing you with an
atheistic view of water flowing through emerald under the veil of thin mist. This region has well
maintained roads and the gentle gradient of hills makes the occurrence of landslide very rare,
making these destinations accessible even during monsoon. Treading on these roads one feels like
going into the bosom of nature and this is the place where nothing amazes you more than nature
and its wonders.

As I entered villages I was really mesmerised by the cleanliness. It seemed like a natural gallery
maintained by people living there. Well maintained roads lead to these villages and the villages too
have well maintained lanes marked by dustbins made of bamboo, adding to its charm. The entire
aspect of village administration is taken care of by members of village council, headed by
Rangbashnong (headman), who is elected by all the members of the village. These people are not

power mongers but honest people. At times they are given the responsibility of whole village against
their wishes, just due to reliability. The way they blend their traditional customs and the Indian
democratic setup, leads to an efficient implementation of policies. The character of the people is
reflected in their surroundings and staying there I realized how much they care for Mother Nature.
As most of the people in Khasi and Jaintia hills follow Christianity, Sunday is observed as holiday,
which means no shops or bazaars are open. Even those people who live in Jaintia region and follow
tribal religion (Paganism) observe Sunday as a holiday. I stayed in villages, taking help from headman
who guided me to pitch my tent in a safe environment. There are shops in village as well as on the
roadside where food is as cheap as Rs.30 for a rice (local red rice) meal with simple dal and a piece of
chicken can be found.


An expedition worth cherishing
The Scotland of the East is blessed with picturesque natural wonders, beautiful landscapes draped
with hovering clouds, historical caves, and beautiful sacred grooves. Maintaining a simple lifestyle,
these people take good care of their surroundings which is unmatched in entire north-east. I
travelled to various villages in all the districts i.e. Umkahduh, Mawsynram, Mawphlang, Mynso,
Borato, Naiwan, Tuber and Umkiang and had great experience being part of their simple lifestyle and
a healthy co-existence with nature.
(The author is a solo traveller from Jammu who is passionate about travelling, learning and exploring different
cultures, villages and unchartered lands of India on bike. You can find more about his journey
on  travelinghermithospice.in


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