- Sauvik Biswas / autobot: 54UV1K - https://sauvikbiswas.com -

Day 7: A tourist trip in Sohra and back to Shillong

How much mod can a Maruti 800 take?

I had written earlier that Shillong and Sohra practically commutes in Maruti 800. Gowri Sankar pointed out that the following vehicle, which belonged to Heprit, is actually a Maruti 800!!!

This is a Maruti 800!!!!!!!! [1]

This is a Maruti 800!!!!!!!!

Heprit's scooter is as colourful as him. [2]

Heprit’s scooter is as colourful as him.

Tourist spots in Cherrapunjee (Sohra)

There are quite a few tourist spots in Sohra. These are well maintained. The access points to these places, as well as those  inside, have been re-landscaped in order to allow the tourists to enjoy the views. Before leaving for Shillong, we decided to stop by two spots as tourists and not like backpacker-travelers. Bit, the same guy who took us to the concert earlier, escorted us to a viewpoint for Nohkalikai Falls and Arwah Caves. Nohkalikai is nothing more than a stream during the winters – a distant shadow of its monsoon form that one can find plastered on a tourist helpdesk or a hotel in Sohra or Shillong. During our stay in and around Sohra, we often came across groups of school students who have come to visit these places as part of an excursion. These kids often come in buses and dance to really loud music. Next time if you hear loud music and cheering inside a bus that passes you by on the streets of Sohra, you know who they are.

School kids enjoying an excursion at Nohkalikai Falls. [3]

School kids enjoying an excursion at Nohkalikai Falls.

Nohkalikai Falls from its touristy viewpoint. We had seen it from a non touristy viewpoint two days ago. [4]

Nohkalikai Falls from its touristy viewpoint. We had seen it from a non touristy viewpoint two days ago.

This was an interesting installation at the falls' viewpoint. [5]

This was an interesting installation at the falls’ viewpoint.

A school bus carrying more children for excursion. [6]

On my way out, I came across a school bus carrying more children for excursion.

Arwah caves have been made accessible to common tourists by doing a lot of landscaping. This has been funded by the government and is responsible for generating some local income. The road to the caves have a bifurcation sign at the beginning. Feeling a bit adventurous, the other two guys wanted to take the rugged route. Although, my right knee disagreed, I decided to follow the guys. The rugged route turned out to be a long and winding trail to the cave entrance that was barely 250 meters from the bifurcation sign. At that point I felt like Amol Palekar from Chhoti Si Baat.

The diversion. We were fools to choose the rugged path. [7]

The diversion. We were fools to choose the rugged path. Image courtesy: Gowri Sankar.

The interiors of the cave is well lit in many places and is far easier to access than what we had been through earlier. The caves, apart from young limestone stalactites in places, also had a lot of fossils preserved in the walls. Despite repeated notices prohibiting scribbling on cave walls, tourists have scribbled their names. Thankfully, the scribbling is restricted to the open areas near the entrance and not in the interiors.

Fossils like these are visible throughout the interior walls of Arwah caves. [8]

Fossils like these are visible throughout the interior walls of Arwah caves. Image courtesy: Nitesh Nandy.

Ill formed stalactites. These are new caves. [9]

Ill formed stalactites. After all, these are new caves. Image courtesy: Gowri Sankar.

Edit: My cousin is a geologist. He explained that the caves were mostly limestone. The weathered limestone walls are characterised by their slippery surface and the feeling of cold when touched. Sedimentary rocks like sandstone preserves fossils very well. These fossils are of Gastropods [10]. The leaf like fossil is actually a longitudinal slice of a gastropod.

Back to Shillong

When we returned back to Shillong it was drizzling and the temperature had fallen quite a bit. I had to stop and pull out my Raincoat which I had tucked away at the bottom of my rucksack since there had been no rains in the last few days.

Nandy and Gowri Sankar with their rainwears on. [11]

Nandy and Gowri Sankar with their rainwears on.

By evening, the drizzle intensified. [12]

By evening, the drizzle intensified.

Gowri Sankar had stayed in the Youth Hostel at Shillong a few days ago. We reached there hoping to get three dorm beds. The manager was out and he wouldn’t have been back before 7:00 pm and until that, we wouldn’t be knowing if we could avail a bed for the night. There was a huge group of Bengali tourists who had booked Youth Hostel earlier hoping that the accommodation will be like a hotel. The ladies, who were well past their mid-life crisis, on finding out the open arrangement, threw a tantrum. A poor fellow who was probably in charge of the accommodation for the group was on the receiving end.  Here was a large group of people, who did not want the accommodation they had got and there we were, ready to accept anything that we would have found. It felt kind of like the bipolar division of wealth in our society. In the end we rented a lodge room near Police Bazaar. I wanted to go to Deja Vu, a well rated restaurant in Shillong. It was difficult for me to convince the other two guys. Gowri Sankar got excited about a dosa shop (we ended up in a South Indian cafe). Nandy was too hungry and felt too lazy to move (we ended up gobbling a lot of stuff in and around Police Bazaar). I was too full to go anywhere after that.

A mobile street food van in Police Bazaar. [13]

A mobile street food van in Police Bazaar.

What’s next?

Gowri Shankar is headed for Guwahati tomorrow. Me and Nandy still have to figure out our itinerary. But we know one thing for sure. Shillong is expensive. We have to get out this place tomorrow.

Day 8: Finding the cheapest and the most comfortable way to Nagaland [14]
Day 6: Eat, sleep, meet travelers and do nothing [15]