Saturday, February 4, 2017

Hello from Meghalaya and Assam Installment V

Fifth Day - 31 Oct 16

Leaving reasonably early we proceeded to Dwaki Lake which is part of Umngot river flowing from India to Bangladesh. Area under old british time Dawaki bridge (a old belly built by british around 1930 on a road leading to Bangladesh over) which is  part of the main river is  called Dwaki Lake (one of the deep section of the Umngot river). The journey to Dwaki is a long one on a dusty road which was being repaired) but the rewards are also commensurate.
View of the Valley during drive

Belly Bridge at Dwaki

Another view of the bridge

Dwaki lake is not just beautiful but mesmerizing. It is very rare to see turquoise green water in a lake on a flowing river. It is worth a visit though it is about 80 km from Shillong. Boating in the lake would be a wonderful experience but because of too strong a sun, we dropped the plan. 
A bost man in Dwaki Lake

Placid water. Note the reflections

Close up

See even the rocks reflect in the water

However, we enjoyed another facet of this place. Just after Dwaki, the river splits in to two branches. Both flow into Bangladesh but the left branch is interesting, in that, there is a sandbar after the lake on this branch whose leading edge is the boundary between India and Bangladesh. We saw many tourist on the sand bar and were surprised that they were all not Indian but Bangladeshi citizens.
Children on the bank (Indian Area)

See the Bangladeshi Citizens at Sand Bar

Crystal Clear waters

Sand Bar and river flowing into Bangladesh (leftwards)

Enjoying the Dawki and the peculiarities of Umngot river we started off for Living Single Root Bridge at Revai village enroute to Mawlynnong village. This visit was important as my mom and wife were not undertaking Double Root Bridge the next day and this was their opportunity to see a Living Root Bridge.

Living root bridges are a testimony to the wisdom and ingenuity of the generations of local tribes (making one bridge could take 100 years or more. It is task carried out by generations of people of a village or locality). It is also a marvel of an idea and an unbelievable sight. Even 50 or more people can cross these bridges at a time.

 It is a downhill trip by walk from the parking area. As we reached the parking and were about to get down, it started pouring. We waited for some time but then decided to take umbrellas and start our trip. This exercise brought another important input that umbrella can be hired at the parking, which we did as we were short of one. To reach that bridge one has to trek to the bridge by going down may be 500 stairs or more.

First Look
The pain of taking such big number of irregular stairs gets compensated by the sight of a marvel of the bio engineering created by the tribes of this remote area. Who must have thought that roots of a tree can be woven to make a strong bridge across a river? No building material, no foundation, no supporting columns, nothing, just the Strong supporting trunk  of the Indian Rubber Tree and its roots across the stream. It is a testimony of human ingenuity and patience and efforts of generations to weave the roots into a bridge, hanging across the river. If it is not a wonder, what else can be?

Another Angle

See the bridge, go across it, go to the stream flowing under it, photograph it, enjoy the setting, there is so much one can do. Double Decker living root bridge at Nongriat village which is about  three KM of tough trek from Tyrna village (off Cherapunji) is not every body’s cup of tea but visiting Rivai Single Root Bridge is possible for every one, except old and infirm (by that standard, by god's grace, my 80 yr old mom does not qualify to be old). My sincere request to visitors to Meghalaya is, at least visit Single Living root bridge.

River flowing down from bridge

Bridge up close
After Revai single root bridge (please wait for next natural wonder called Double root bridge which will be in the next part) we went to Mawlynnong village, which got its fame because of getting called cleanest village in Asia from visiting Christian Missionaries. Let me tell my readers that this village has acquired a reputation and has become tourist attraction but the fact is, every village in Meghalaya is either as clean as this village or may be a shade less.

We went to the village square which also is the parking spot for tourist vehicles. This is the place which has all the eateries of this village. After having a quick lunch we took a round of this village which is no doubt a very clean place. With the tourist inflow, there are many home stays now available in the village.
Children at Play

Take Rest during the visit. Benches are available

It is indeed clean
Post this village, it was a trip to Cherapunji Holiday Resort, a resort about 15 km beyond Cherapunji (or Sohara, as the place is better known in Meghalaya) and 5 km beyond Tyrna from where the trek to Double Root Bridge starts. We reached there by 1830 by which time it was pitch dark and even the resort people started asking the driver on mobile as to why we have still not reached.

After reaching there we were welcomed with a glass of water and a good hot cup of tea. In the lobby cum dinning hall a local troupe was singing local and western numbers we enjoyed their music. Post music session we had our dinner and retired to our bed.

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