MEGHALAYA, the abode of clouds
SANDIPAN K GOSWAMI
Known as the Abode of the Clouds, Meghalaya is famous for being the wettest place on earth. But it’s so much more than that! With lush green meadows, rivers clear as crystal, pine-covered hills, gorgeous waterfalls, lakes and majestic forests, this mesmerising state in the Northeast is truly a Nature lover’s paradise.The state is not just an abode of natural scenic beauty but also a cradle of the rich cultural and traditional heritage of the Khasi, Garo Jaintia tribes. Meghalaya is one of the cleanest states of India. Blessed by the rain Gods and abundant beauty, it is the responsible embracing of nature by the locals that has kept the state in a pure and serene condition. While the other larger states of India are failing in their “Swachh Bharat” bid, Meghalaya has always been on top of the cleanliness quotient. And the dwellers of Meghalaya need to be applauded for such a feat. It is no wonder that Meghalaya is one of the most popular summer tourist destinations in India. And tourists travelling to this state, engulfed by white buoyant clouds and lush greenery, just love their stay amidst a clean and pristine environment. Today, we take a look at some of the clean and unique beauties of Meghalaya. 1. Mawlynnong The cleanest village in Asia, Mawlynnong village is also known as God’s Own Garden and for the right reasons. It is a village in the East Khasi Hills District of the Meghalaya state in North East India. It is notable for its cleanliness. In the year 2003, Maylynnong was awarded the title of the cleanest village in Asia by Discover India. Alongside cleanliness, the village has achieved a lot including a 100 percent literacy rate and women empowerment scenario that the rest of the world can only dream of. All the waste is constantly collected by the locals in bamboo baskets which are used later as manure for their crops! Another impressive fact about this village is: here the usual Patriarchal hierarchy is not followed. The females are responsible for most important duties. 2. Umngot River It is the cleanest river in India. Umngot River is so clean that one can spot even the smallest stone lying in the river bed! The river is entirely maintained by the local villagers and they believe that anything that might pollute the river is cleaned up as soon as possible. Dawki is situated 35 KM away from Mawlynnong and boasts of a scenic landscape. The road journey towards Dawki is blessed with mesmerising beauty. You would be enthralled by the drastically changing landscapes, where the hills suddenly change into irrigable plain lands. There are points along the road where you can view the Bangladesh border. 3. Root Bridge The villagers of Nongriat have used roots of two Ficus trees to construct a natural bridge.villagers saw two trees expanding their roots in an unusual manner and they decided to help mould it into a transportable strong bridge. But, to view this rare natural wonder one has to trek for about 1.5 KM, from the base town of Tyrna. Not only this, 3000 steps have to be hiked to reach the bridge. Once you reach the living roots bridge all your tiredness would be quickly replaced by joy. The bridge is surrounded by a dense canopy and the sun rays burst through them to land on the water of the brook that flows below the bridge. You can witness the sparkling waters that contrast ideally with the green surroundings. 4. Nohkalikai Falls Nohkalikai Falls, unlike others, is a true blessing of nature to Meghalaya. The waterfall is located in Meghalaya, near Cherrapunji, one of the wettest places on Earth. It is India’s tallest plunging waterfall. The waterfall takes a 340 metres dive from the plateau into a pool below. A viewing gallery at the top of the waterfall gives you scenic views of the cascade and the deep plunge pool. The pool, which resembles a lagoon, changes colours from aqua to blue to green depending on the season. 5. Umiam Lake Umiam Lake is one of the biggest artificial lakes in Meghalaya that is situated about 15 km from Shillong. It is more easily recognised as Bara Pani, and covers an area of about 220 sq km. The surrounding Sylvan Hills and green Khasi pines add to the majesty of this vast lake, which was created when the Umiam river was dammed to store water for hydroelectric power generation. Though it was initially established as a dam or a reservoir, it is now a popular tourist attraction. It is also known for water sports and adventure facilities such as kayaking, water cycling, scooting and boating. Since the lake boasts picturesque and panoramic surroundings, it is often compared with the beautiful lakes of Scotland. There is a lovely garden near its shores called the Lum Nehru Park. Apart from being a popular picnic spot, the park is also known for its orchid house, aviary and sprawling lawns. It is dotted with huge pine trees on either side and has a lot of space So that was about Meghalaya. Although this place was not a popular tourist destination a few years ago, it has started attracting Nature lover’s attention now. Meghalaya sees considerably more footfall now as compared to the past.
SANDIPAN K GOSWAMI
Class: VIII, South Point School