Ashwin Mudigonda saw the BBC’s Human Planet, and was awestruck by the living root bridges of Nongriat (watch a video here). He decided to make a trip to Meghalaya and see the bridges. Here, illustrated by beautiful photographs, is an account of his thrilling adventure, which started with a flight to Shillong from Kolkata aboard a tiny turboprop.
Approaching Shillong, one can see why Meghalaya was named so – the abode of the clouds. One feels as if one is flying over an Amazonian rainforest, with the lush vegetation and languid fluffy clouds.
After spending the night at Shillong, I took a shared Sumo to the market in Sohra in Cherrapunjee. From here, I took a Maruthi 800 taxi to Cherra Resort. It is here that I was told that a stairway descends into the realms of the magical root-bridges.
The Cherra Market is a lively place where farmers, vendors from the area come together to sell their wares. The succulent oranges of the area are famous for their sweetness and distinctive taste. They burst in your mouth on contact and release the most delicious orange juice you have never tasted! I purchased a dozen to keep me satiated and hydrated for the journey ahead.
The farther you go away from the winding and maddening streets of Shillong, the calmer you begin to feel. After a point, it was just sheer poetry – the chilly mountain air, the rolling green meadows, the warmth of the Meghalayan sun suffusing you. Small wonder that the British christened Shillong – The Scotland of the East.
The single childhood geography trivia rushed to my head – I was in Cherrapunji, the wettest place on the planet. Yet there was not a drop of rain in sight. My slow ride to the Cherra Resort was peppered by these tidbits of information on giant boulders.