06 Sep Meghalaya – Clouds, rain and fog – II
Meghalaya is a little jewel tucked away in the North-eastern part of India. As one can infer from its name, this place is indeed the ‘Abode of Clouds’. You can read the first instalment of the post here – ‘Meghalaya – Land of the clouds, rain and fog – I’
Arrival of the monsoon brings in an amazing transformation to Meghalaya. The low mountain range formation along the Shillong plateau known more commonly as the Khasi hills, truly comes to life. The southern slopes of these hills receive an unprecedented amount of rainfall during the peak of the monsoon, averaging at around 12,000 mm. Comparatively, Bangalore’s average is around 970mm. This should give you an idea. All this rain soak the hills up and start flowing down as small streams and rivulets. These in-turn dot the landscape with a multitude of waterfalls ranging in all sizes and intensities. The sprawling, verdant green hills, the rain clouds adorning the skyline, fog carpeting the valleys below and water cascading down the slopes is a sight one can see all around.
Look at this house with a view. Imagine waking up every morning to a scene like this !
This is waterfall country and one can encounter a plethora of them while driving along the meandering roads. In this post, I will quickly cover a few of the must visit ones in the region.
A short drive away from Shillong lies a small town known as Jowai. Hidden in there is this truly magical waterfall known as Krang Shuri.
A short trek down through a beautiful forest patch takes one to the foot of the falls. The cascade drops down from a rock face which has a cave like formation underneath. As it falls, it forms a beautiful little pool of lovely emerald blue colour.
A definite place to chill out under the cool, crystal clear waters….
Also, a great place for making some beautiful images. Worth spending some quality time there.
Next destination is Cherrapunji ( locally known as Sohra ), one of the wettest places on earth. Saying that this place is sheer magic will be an understatement. One has to visit it in person to truly experience and understand the feeling.
There are so many wonderful waterfalls in Cherrapunji. Many touristy ones and many not. One of the most well known is the Nohkalikai falls. It is the highest plunge waterfall ( falling down vertically without touching the underlying rocks on the way down ) in India, gushing down from a height of 1115 feet. How it gets its name has a very depressing story to it. Won’t go into the details. You can read about it on Wikipedia here This is a great place to visit especially in the evening, around sunset time. The sun descends below the hills right behind the falls. A glorious sight to behold.
And as most tourists do, don’t rush away just as the sun disappears behind the horizon. The twilight time is also a beautiful time to enjoy the landscape and also to make some lovely images.
And so is the blue-hour, post sunset. Never leave a location until it becomes completely dark. Even then, it is a tough decision for a photographer to leave a place like this :-)
Then, there is the falls known as Dainthlen. The drive to the cascade is also very scenic. Worth a visit. The landscape around and near the falls area is fabulous and augurs well for photography. However, the real jewel lies a few km down the road from the main falls. A narrow, slightly steep trail leads one down to a cascade known as Wei sawdong. This place is sheer magic. The first stop is a view point where one gets to see the three levels of the falls, so beautiful to see and photograph.
A little more adventurous people can head further down the trekking path to the bottom of the falls. The cascade, the rock formations around it and the clear water, all make for some breathtaking imagery.
Next up is a place known as the ‘Garden of caves’. Beautiful place with wonderful cave formations. Water gushes through many of the crevices and holes in the caves creating little puddles below. This is a great place to make some lovely images. ( In fact better during the peak monsoon as water flow is more )
Very close to Nohkalikai is another trekking path which takes one down to another beautiful cascade known locally as the Tlai falls. This is not usually open during the peak of the monsoon due to the path being very slippery and very rocky. A little late in the season, one can access it. I was just stunned by the beauty of this. The water gushes down a multistep formation into a small puddle and flows down to form another larger plunge. Both these levels are just beautiful to see and photograph. The place is a bit slippery, so, one has to be a bit careful. But, worth ever bit of effort.
This by no means is an exhaustive list of waterfalls from this region. Have given you just a glimpse of them, a few of the most popular and lovely cascades that I have been to. Still, a lot more to explore in the wonderland of Meghalaya. Hope you enjoyed this quick overview. Let me know your thoughts below.
I try to visit Meghalaya each year. If you are interested in joining me, do look out for my photography workshops to the place, usually in the month of September/October. You can find the listings and details here. Or, you can also drop me a mail ( [email protected] OR [email protected] )