Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Travel to Shillong



After the Raïka, the Poraja and the Santals, here I am with the Khasis, a community settled in the Meghalaya, a region of very humid hills that borders Bangladesh. As soon as we set foot in Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya, it was impossible to ignore that we are in Khasi land as most restaurant signs indicate the presence of Khasi dishes on the menu. I do not promise to taste all the local specialties, like the Jadoh, rice cooked in pig blood!

The saris are also rarer, often replaced by dresses, skirts or a checkered fabric shorter than a sari, knotted differently. Shillong is a wonderful city, but is very, very cold here! This is a kind of mantra that feels a bit everywhere here in the North East, but the city is actually much less beautiful than what is described. After 3 hours of travel by taxi, we arrive when it is already dark and we quickly choose a hotel. After a night spent, we explore Shillong.

After a good meal in a downtown restaurant, we take a Taxi to tour the city and visit interesting sites. Anyway I spent there a week of pleasant idleness, fooling around the town. I especially liked the young and carefree atmosphere, very different from the typical Indian cities. I met many interesting people, tourists from Calcutta, clubs, students, military, and I ate really well.

Shillong is the state capital which was long the headquarters of the British colonialists in this area, which at the time was all in the state of Assam. The British famously resented the tropical climate of the Indian plains and found Shillong a very similar place like Northern Europe, with a cool climate in summer and quite cold in the winter and an almost alpine vegetation.

After independence the city unfortunately rapidly transformed into the classic Indian concrete jungle and many of the historic colonial-style buildings were practically swallowed up by the forests of ugly apartment blocks or adapted to barracks or government buildings. No doubt, however compared to other Indian capital cities, it is very enjoyable and still retains a British tone, with beautiful parks, tree-lined streets and a few colonial-era villas.

What attracts tourists here is primarily the modern, fresh and civil atmosphere. The main attractions are the numerous waterfalls. On my first day in Shillong, I was struck by the ubiquity of churches and Christian symbols. I could see that the mass was held both in English and Khasi in the cathedral of the city.

There is still a museum to visit, the Don Bosco museum. It highlights the tribes of the northeast and is the largest museum of this type in this part of Asia. We visit the Shillong Peak that offers a panoramic view of the city followed by the Elephant Falls is a waterfall nearby, the Catholic Church and several other less interesting stuff like the Lady Hydari Park Zoo and the Wards Lake.

We visit the extraordinary bara bazaar market interlacing with lanes which each has its specialty like fruits, vegetables, tobacco, iron, fish, meat, textile, bamboo and sugar. Here is played a unique game called the Siat Khnam which means pull-bow in Khasi language. Every day thousands of players bet a number on each round. There are 2 rounds. At each turn around 20 players simultaneously shoots dozens of arrow on a bamboo target for about 3 minutes. Then each arrow that reaches the target is grouped and then counted, and the last two digits of the total of all the arrows is the winning number.

We also attend the Nongkrem Dance festival, the annual big festival where the Khasis thank God for the harvest, with many songs and dances, as well as sacrifices of roosters and goats. The unmarried girls wear magnificent silk garments for these dances.

As the driver offered us a competitive rate and he was friendly, we leave with him immediately to Cherrapunjee.
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50 comments:

shadows said...

first of all. thanks for the comment on my blog. secondly very amazing post... and thirdly the blog design is fantastic.
I love travelling and to be honest cherrapunji is one of those places i would love to visit within the next couple of years. very nice photos...
:D

kankana said...

guess what i was born in Shillong and spent 20 years of my life in Shillong .. my fav place in the whole world. Cheerapunji is one such place we used to visit so often. You have captured beautiful photos. nice post.

kalaiselvisblog said...

wow... what a place...

superb snaps. as u said, it needs patience 2 cover such beautiful nature...

Shadows said...

hi,
Well inspired by your website... i have spent an entire day bugging myself over how to make a menu bar... that looks great... :D thanks for the inspiration

Kala said...

Gorgeous framing!

Pavan Kaul said...

beautiful colors...lovely image!

Tanvi said...

Lovely, I so want to see this heaven! Very very beautiful and serene :)

Cheers,

Megha said...

Only heard of place ...about the rains,....never been there..would like to go there

Charles Ravndal said...

Very picturesque! It's fabulous vacay destination in the future :)

Rohini said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog and for your generous comment... Your blog is very remarkable, both in its presentation and content.All the best... :)

magiceye said...

bright and colurfully beautiful!!

Neha@ All things beautiful said...

Lovely shots! Its such a beautiful place...I visited when I was a kid...I have faint memories of the place!
PS: Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a note. Hope to see you again.

Leovi said...

Nice photo, I like these flowers.

Shanthi said...

Hey Kalyan!!!! Thanks for stopping by homeShanthihome. And you have the honor of being the first male member who commented on any of my posts. I will remember that and your photo in this post is gorgeous. That is one part of India I never ventured into. Hopefully one day soon I will land there :-). Thanks again.

Ms. Becky said...

oh, what a beautiful land! I' fascinated by the Living Root bridge and how it's made. that is amazing. thought I think I would be hesitant to walk it! thanks for stopping by my blog and saying hello, I truly appreciate it. happy day to you.

Magia da Inês said...

♥♫♪
°º✿
º° ✿✿♥ Olá!
A foto é maravilhosa... um lugar com uma vegetação dessas... montanhas como essas... é simplesmente exuberante.
Bom fim de semana!
Beijinhos.
Brasil
♥♫♪
°º✿
°º✿✿♪♫° ·.

Carletta said...

Beautiful capture!
Nice DOF!

Thanks for your visit this week. :)

Sylvia K said...

What an incredibly beautiful place! Love the colorful flowers and what a breathtaking capture! Hope you have a wonderful day! Thank you for your visit to my blog and your kind words!

Sylvia

Kay Ellen said...

Lovely photo on the mountain range and landscape!

Thank you for your visit to my blog too:)

Kay Ellen

chubskulit said...

Gorgeous!

karren said...

Your photography is brilliant! This photo is so beautiful... I thought it must be in Hawaii and then I see you are in India. I did not know that it is so gorgeous there. Thank you for visiting my blog.

Pieces of Sunshine said...

Nicely done. It must have been amazing to be there.

~*~ saskia ~*~ said...

THat's a gorgeous shot!
Happy day

Riet said...

What a beaytiful photo. Thank you for your visit.

Seraphina´s Phantasie said...

A wonderful photo with a beautiful view over the mountains and the waterfall.
Great colors !

Bob Bushell said...

Lovely landscape.

Irina said...

So beautiful and colorful blog, reminds me of spicy India.

Matteo Taffuri said...

Grazie!
Have a wonderful Sunday
greetings from Italy
Matteo

Art said...

Beautiful capture, i like it!

Desiree said...

Until reading this wonderful post and being immersed in your outstanding pictures, I had no idea of the existence of this remarkable place! Thank you so very much for sharing it!

Amelia's De-ssert said...

Thanks for dropping by my blog. You had a very nice blog and very beautiful picture.

annemarie said...

Loveley photo and thank you for visiting my blog.

Erika said...

Thanks for visiting my blog. This place is wonderful!!!!Thank you for sharing with us the beauties of your country.
I like also the graphics of your blog.
Ciao from Italy.
Erika

Rajesh said...

Beautiful landscape.

Abraham Lincoln said...

This is a beautiful portrait of the area. The colorful plants makes it all the more interesting.

Malar Gandhi said...

Beautiful. Never been to NE India, its always on my wish list. Thanks for sharing the picture with us.

Gretchen said...

Looks like a gorgeous place!! Love all the waterfalls... and the colors of the flowers! =)

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

It sounds like a magical place.

Sandra said...

very beautiful

RuneE said...

And Rhododendrons - my favourite flower.

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

thank YOU for visiting me this morning and for sending such beauty my way via this fabulous VIEW! Ahhhhh.....what a place...I may never see, but thanks to Blogging, we can visit one another. Have a peaceful day, Anita

Babs said...

Beautiful photo. Thanks for visiting my blog. I appreciate your nice comment.
Please visit again.

Halcyon said...

Beautiful view!

ladyfi said...

The sound of rain is joyful! Lovely shot.

Sivinden said...

Beautiful scenery - great composition!

TexWisGirl said...

beautiful photo. lovely bright colors against that lovely backdrop.

don said...

The vivd colors of the close greenery makes a fine setting for showing us these cloud covered mountains in the distance. Well done.

imac said...

Now, that does sound and look like Heaven.

Thanks for your visit and nice comments.

Rae Walter said...

Beautiful photo and thanks also for your comment.

anthony stemke said...

Incredibly beautiful and picturesque photographs of a very lovely piece of geography. That's a lot of rainfall. huh?