Day Two of North-East India Ride: Cherrapunjee Sightseeing & Places To Visit in Cherrapunjee
Welcome to the second day of my travelogue to north-east India. As shared in the previous article, I was traveling to the state of Meghalaya and reached the town of Cherrapunjee on the first day evening. When I reached Cherrapunjee, I got to know that the original name of the town was Sohra (soh-ra), and it was pronounced as “Churra” by the British. Over the period the word “Churra” evolved into a temporary name, Cherrapunee, meaning ‘land of oranges. During my school days and all the Quiz competitions I participated in, I knew only one name, but today I got my facts corrected. For today, I planned to explore the local places in and around Cherrapunjee with the best utilization of time and distance. I had already made my itinerary before reaching Cherrapunjee, but after talking with locals, I got an idea that I won’t be able to explore all the places I planned. My earlier plan was to start the day with Noh-Ka-Likai Falls and then visit the famous caves in Cherrapunjee. I also planned to visit the famous places within the town, but locals suggested me to go for some unexplored areas first and then head for the known attractions of the Cherrapunjee town. So in this article, I will be sharing the places to see in Cherrapunjee, a list of waterfalls to see in Cherrapunjee and how effectively explore the town of Cherrapunjee.
Places to See in Cherrapunjee/Sohra
The town of Cherrapunjee is predominantly famous for its natural beauty, caves, and waterfalls. The later two can be found in abundance in the town. The major waterfalls to see in the town are:
Wei-SaDong Waterfall: A three-tiered waterfall situated around 12Km from the city. It is one of the spectacular waterfalls in Cherrapunjee town.
Dainthlen falls: It is a two-tiered plunge waterfall situated around 5km from the town of Cherrapunjee.
Nohkalikai falls : The highest plunge waterfall in India. It is a plunge waterfall with water falling from a distance of 340 meters.
Khoh Ramhah or Maw Trop: The waterfalls from a giant fossil rock formation which represent the basket of Khasi People.
Kynrem Falls: Kynrem Falls is a three-tiered waterfall with water falling from a height of 305 meters. The Meghalaya Government Tourism website suggests that the waterfall is highest in Meghalaya.
Rainbow Waterfall: Probably the best waterfall to visit in Cherrapunjee. The waterfall is accessible after a trek of 4 hours, which makes is less crowded and exploited.
Caves to Visit in Cherrapunjee/Sohra
Meghalaya is famous for its cave and to be honest entier north-east India have caves in abundance. Out of the ten longest caves in India, nine are situated in Meghalaya. These caves are predominantly limestone caves acting as a tourist attraction while there are many more yet to be explored. Major caves in Cherrapunjee are:
Arwah Cave: Situated en route to the Shillong-Cherrapunjee road, the cave is one of the many found in Meghalaya with fossils marks on the rock. Required a trek for around 2 kilometers to reach the entrance.
Mawsmai Cave: They are the most commonly visited cave in Meghalaya. It is one of the centers of tourist attractions in Meghalaya.
Mawmluh Caves: Another limestone cave situated on route to Tyrna village in Nongriat. Tourists less visit the cave in comparison to the other two and therefore, an ideal place for someone seeking quiet movements.
Double Root Bridge: A double-decker bridge formed by the roots of trees. It is one of the major tourist attractions in Cherrapunjee.
Single Root Bridge: A single bridge formed by the roots of the plant. It is similar to the double-decker root bridge; it’s just the bridge is single.
How I explored Cherrapunjee (Sohra) Town:
As discussed with the locals, they told me that it is impossible to cover all the places in Cherrapunjee in a day and though I agreed with their statement my intention was not to cover all the areas in one day yet my itinerary was a bit complex. Though I had the advantage of having a motorcycle allowing me to navigate between two locations swiftly. I was also traveling solo, thereby reducing the time consumed in groups. Anyways I gave up my plan and decided to rely on sites suggested by locals, and the first recommendation I got was to visit the Wei-Sadong waterfall, and the Dainthlen falls. The Wei-Sadong waterfall lies some 12km from the town of Cherrapunjee and Dainthlen falls en-route Wei-Sadong falls. So I started my bike from Sohra town and after a short breakfast reached the Sai-Kamaka resort. From the resort, a straight road leads to the Wei-Sadong waterfall, and it will take hardly 15 minutes to reach there. To see the Wei-Sadong waterfall, I had to trek for around 15 minutes, and once I got a glimpse of the fall, I was amazed by its beauty. I had seen a lot of waterfalls in my short period of traveling, but this was something exceptional. A three-tiered waterfall surrounded by dense jungles. The water was flowing at such a speed that it looked like someone is controlling the flow of water, neither slow nor turbulent just enough current to make it beautiful. After taking photos and spending considerable time near the waterfall, I trekked up and headed for my second destination, i.e., Dainthelen Waterfall.
The next stoppage was the Dainthelen waterfall, which lies a few kilometers from Cherrapunjee town. Most of the waterfall in Meghalaya has some history behind the there name, and Dainthelen falls no exception. The waterfall is named after a giant python, and formed by small rivulets converging at one point. The waterfall is around a hundred plus meters in length, and the flow of water was quite high compared to the Wei-Sadong waterfall. I trekked to the nearby hill from where the waterfall can be seen in its best form. After a short photography session and tea break, I headed for other places to see in Cherrapunjee. After visiting these two waterfalls, my next plan was to visit the Arwah caves as they were on my route to the hotel where I was staying.
The Arwah caves lie en-route the road towards Cherrapunjee. There is a Meghalaya State Tourism Board at the entrance gate of the Arwah Caves. From here I rode till the parking point of the Arwah Caves, parked my bike and started walking towards the entrance of the cave. I took 30 minutes to reach the entrance of the Arwah Caves from the parking point and then entered in the caves. The caves were sweeping with water, and the walls were full of limestone patches. I went till the last end in the Arwah Caves and returned. The entrance and the exit of Arwah cave are the same; therefore, it gets congested if tourist flow is high. I was lucky as I visited the caves in the afternoon time when most people go for lunch or rest. After Arwah caves, I headed for my homestay for a 30 min break as I was traveling from the morning, and now the body was in dire need of rest.
After taking a short break, I was back on my motorcycle riding seat, and my next destination was Mawsmai Caves. In the morning I got recommendations from locals that it is better to go for Arwah Caves than Mawsmai as tourists jam-pack Mawsmai caves. Still, I thought of giving a visit as I won’t be getting a second chance to visit these places. Keeping this in mind, I started riding for Mawsmai Caves. Mawsmai caves lie some ten kilometers from Arwah caves and 7 kilometers from my homestay. After a 15 minute ride, I was at the parking point of Mawsmai caves. I paid entry fees of 60 rupees as I was alone and then entered into the cave. Mawsmai caves had structures similar to Arwah caves, but they were big. The cave is some 250 meters long with a small outlet for the exit. To my surprise, I found a reasonable amount of tourists, not the picture presented to me by locals. I can recognize a few faces which I saw during my visit to Arwah caves. After completing my visit to Mawsmai caves, it was time to visit one of the highest waterfalls of India, i.e., Noh ka Likai falls. I started my bike and headed towards the road leading to Noh ka Likai falls.
Noh Ka Likai falls is some ten kilometers from the Mawsmai caves and took 30 minutes to reach there. After parking my bike and paying the entry fees, I headed for the Noh-Ka-Likai Falls viewpoint. The waterfall is the highest plunge waterfall in India with water falling from a height of 350 meters. Noh-Ka-Likai falls drive its name from a story as the previous waterfalls in Meghalaya have but to be honest the best thing I saw today was Wei-Sadwong Waterfalls. In my view, it was something spectacular as I have read about most of the waterfalls in India, but Wei-Sawdong came out of the box. The Noh-Ka-Likai waterfall was surrounded by fog, making it difficult to get a good view of the waterfall. The fast-moving fog made it difficult to get a clear shot in-camera. After waiting for a good photo for around 15 minutes, I decided to go for tea, hoping the weather will clear in the next 30 minutes. I was already 4:15 and knowing sun sets early in the eastern part of India. I was skeptical if I will get a good view or not. Anyways after a short tea break, I saw the sun coming out and ran to the waterfall viewpoint again. This time I was lucky to get a good photo of the waterfall and I double-checked if the picture is there on the camera. At the Noh-Ka-Likai falls I met a group from Guwahati and decided to go with then for a short walk around the area. During the walk, I clicked the photo of signboard stating “Sohra The Wettest Place on the Earth” and many more. We went to the nearby hill and discussed various topics for around one hour. As it started getting darker, I decided to bid AIDEU and head towards my homestay.
After reaching the homestay, I ordered tea and local snacks. I saw few more guests coming to the homestay, and in the night, homestay owner lit a fire for us. I along with other guests, sat there for an hour, and we discussed topics like why we are here, traveling companion, reasonable traveling, and others. I checked with then, and they had a similar plan of visiting the Double-Root Bridge for tomorrow, and I asked if I can join then for which they agreed. I always love the conversations and tried my best to make this trip less solo by engaging with travelers traveling in the same place. After a heavy dinner, I went to the room in the hope of experiencing something different tomorrow.