Sleep in!! After a few early mornings and busy itineraries, we were given a luxurious departure time of 9.30am. Though we struggled to sleep past 8am, the rest was welcomed. We didn’t really know what today had in store – generic sightseeing of waterfalls, caves and viewpoints was the description from our tour guide before he departed, so we’ll see!
We’ve been going to bed so early here, it’s been awesome catching up on the sleep. But when you wake, you’re famished and eagerly awaiting the breakfast buffet at Cherrapunjee Holiday Resort!
Off in the car again. Poor Matt. He’s been such a trooper with all this driving around for someone who gets really quite motion sick. Today would be shorter stints in the car so that should help. I did ask the driver to stop on the way past this beautiful little town. It was actually the place we started our walk to the Living Bridges but from high above on the cliffs it looks like a little toy town and it makes me smile.
First stop was the Mawsmai Cave. As often happens in India, we went to look at a tourist attraction and became one. I knew people would LOVE Matt’s hair and they sincerely do. He always gets asked for photos first and as I stand back and giggle they say “Maam, Maam you please” and I’m also included in the picture.
We managed to get a break from the big group and had the narrow caves to explore all to ourselves. Unfortunately, this cave was really rather… well… dead! It has been touched, poked and walked on so much that it’s no longer living and growing. It still looked interesting but Matt explained it should be a lovely white colour and that, it certainly was not. It was wonderful having a science buff with me to explain a lot of what was going on.
We did find one other small cave which still had living parts and was a lot whiter and more vibrant. It’s nice to share these sights with people but it’s hard to ensure they are adequately respected and cared for.
Our next stop was the Eco Park. The name baffled Matt as strewn all around the place, including down waterfalls, was rubbish. It’s a big problem all over India and although the messaging from communities and local Governments is “Care for the environment”, it’s not really practiced or enforced.
Sohra, near to Cherapunjee and where many of the sights we were visiting, is one of the wettest places on earth. We just happened to be there in Winter aka the dry season. We were also informed that due to environmental changes they are not receiving anywhere near the amount of water they used to and hence some of the sights look quite different to what is advertised.
One such site was Seven Sister Falls. This is all that there is of the waterfall at this time. We weren’t too disappointed as we had been forewarned not to expect much. It’s definitely inspired me to come one time in September, soon after the monsoon to see it in its true glory.
We walked all around the park. There were some amazing views of the valley and we could see where the waterfalls and rivers would usually flow. It was kinda cool walking across what would usually be a gushing waterfall and is currently a trickling stream. There were lots of locals nearby washing their clothes in the river. Always a fascinating sight to me.
We continued on to the next attraction, another cave. Arwah Cave. Each attraction had a bit of a walk which was good to stretch the legs (though we are still in so much pain from our epic trek to the living bridges). It was a beautiful winding walk around the valley under a thick canopy of jungle greenery. We spotted another waterfall as we walked and some lovely water features along the way.
It was definitely the big cave. We climbed down into this cave which was lit in parts along the way. Matt said this cave was definitely still alive and active. There was water running through the bottom and some of the features were clearly growing. We climbed up stairs and crawled along passages. We walked quite deep into the cave and at one point I did feel a little short of breath, we were inside the hill after all. Although bigger, I liked the intricacies and shapes of the Mawsmai caves better. But interesting to visit all the same.
Our final stop for sightseeing on this day was the Nohkalikai falls. I’ll share another blog on the interesting history of the naming of these falls and some more about this area. In short, Noh Ka Likai means “Leap of Likai” after the woman by the name of Likai leapt off the falls. Grim but interesting tale. We wandered around the grounds and I did actually LOL when I saw this sign. The irony!!!
This was probably the most active of all the falls we had seen and we could only imagine how impressive it would be in the height of monsoon season. A beautiful turquoise pool of water formed at the bottom that was ever so enticing – apart from the epic hike down to the bottom. We found a small lookout which offered a better view of the falls. It also had some stairs, which we assumed led to another and better viewing platform. So we walked. And walked and walked. Instantly regretting our decision on this never-ending quest for better views.
Matt was in pain from the trek and his muscles ached so he decided running down like a lunatic would help that pain… ok.
We gave up after a while and settled for q pretty incredible view. Not too shabby. Then we walked up, and up, and up… again!!
Our sightseeing day ended at the famous Orange Roots restaurant. It’s the partner restaurant to our lovely hotel, Cherrapunjee Holiday Resort. They appear to be the most esteemed tourist venues in this area. We opted for a thali as you get a little bit of everything and we were rewarded with a tasty meal and excellent service.
They even have a bell so you can tell them just how good you thought it was. “Ring if you liked it”. So I rang it!
That brought a close to our lovely day of sightseeing. I think in all honesty we could have crammed the one extra day into the others and had two days of travel and two days of sightseeing. However, it’s also nice sometimes to have down time – something my itineraries often don’t allow.
One last sunset. One last delicious buffet meal with our gorgeous Cherrapunjee Holiday Resort staff. I just had to have a photo with these gorgeous women. Again, Athiti Devo Bava.
If you would like to follow our journey on Instagram, please check out @Lovellyem and search the #tag #EmmaMattyIndiaSing2017.
Written on Day 9 of our 24 Day trip in India with stopover in Singapore.