Trek in the rainforest of Nongriat village in rain-kissed Meghalaya

Author: Sriparna Samajdar
Date: 2021-11-29

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Lush green rain forest, mesmerizing Himalayan ranges, myriad natural waterfalls, and secret lagoons—imagine all these rolled into one magical place! Meghalaya’s Nongriat village is one such hidden wonder where nature takes you by surprise, reminding you that often things that remain isolated and unheard of can be for their own good.

As I and a friend made our way to Cherrapunjee, a famous attraction of Meghalaya, my mind was ecstatic about one fact: I was stepping into one of the wettest places in India as mugged by my childhood self from a geography book. But as I explored Cherrapunjee within a short span of two days, I realized that it was much more than just the “Land of Rainfall;” it was the home of living root bridges and villages, which exhibited how harmoniously humankind can live with nature.

Storybook perfect landscape of Cherrapunjee

Storybook perfect landscape of Cherrapunjee

Cherrapunjee is locally known as Sohra among the natives here. Arriving here on a sunny afternoon in a car from Shillong, the February sun was pleasantly shining; and the winding, rolling green hills were giving nothing short of European country road feels. By the time we reached the main town of Sohra, it was close to sunset. Wanting to fully utilize the time since our arrival, we headed towards the famous “Nohkhalikai Falls” for a spectacular mountain sunset along with a serene waterfall before ending the day.

Mesmerising sunset in  Nohkhalikai Falls

Mesmerising sunset in  Nohkhalikai Falls

A memorable trek to the double-decker living root bridge

The next morning at 6 AM, we left for Tyrna. The trail to the double-decker living root bridge begins in Tyrna Village, which lies at a 1-1.5 hour distance from the main part of town. Upon reaching there and before starting the trek, we decided to take a local guide for the day, who was a village native and knew his way around the forest. The next 5-7 hours was a journey to remember forever.

The entire trekking route takes you through villages where you can observe how the local tribal communities have a very deep connection with nature. All the houses in the forest are built of bamboo and mud. The main occupation of the villagers in the area is mostly farming exotic spices and fruits, which are found in abundance in this hilly forest area.

The entire trail from Tyrna to Nongriat consists of around 3600 steps. Gradually descending the steep staircase, you will first come across a diverged route towards the single-decker living root bridge. You can visit this before continuing the further journey towards the double-decker root bridge.

First view of the single decker root bridge

First view of the single decker root bridge

The single-decker root bridge is narrow and worth experiencing for its one-of-a-kind phenomenon. Lying in the lap of green forest trails and gushing streams, walking the shaky mossy bridge makes you realize no matter how big your problems seem, you will always overcome them.

Continuing your trek, you will cross two suspension bridges, both made with sturdy iron rods, giving you less edgy feels. However, the landscape is too gorgeous to stop you in your tracks. A deep blue stream flows beneath the bridge, and crispness in the air can be felt while you listen to the birds chirping blissfully. Your body and soul will experience peace, and the tiredness of the trek surprisingly vanishes.

The much talked about double-decker root bridge

Once you reach the 150-year-old double-decker root bridge, you will be teleported to a utopian era where man and nature co-exist. Surrounded by a peaceful view, natural water falling everywhere in creeks and corners, a small lagoon pops up with the clearest water; so clear that you can spot fish swimming in it. Upon it lies two natural bridges made of trees and covered in green foliage.