Trip To Shillong With A Crazy Bunch

Author: Hitaishi Gautam
Date: 2018-12-07

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A group of extremely energised third year college students with equally active teachers as guides are a wonderful lot to go out with and explore a new place.

On a chilly morning, such a hopeful group of people carrying huge suitcases but bigger expectations walked out of the Guwahati train station. We were thirteen in number, including the two teachers, all set to explore the beautiful city of Shillong as the part of our excursion programme. It was around 5:45 in the morning when we were comfortably seated in a school bus of St. Anthony School, Shillong, driving up to the Pastoral Centre where we were to lodge for the remaining days.

Driving in the open highway, through the wonderful dawn, piercing the cool wind that slowly lulled most of us to sleep, we made our way into the “Scotland of the East” Shillong. It was about 8:00 in the morning when we reached the Pastoral Centre, our eyelids drooping with sleep, and the cold getting the best of us. We had about an hour to get refreshed and ready for the wonderful day that lay ahead. A warm shower and some hearty breakfast later, we were all geared up for the day ahead. We kicked off our excursion with a quick visit to St. Anthony School. We went around the campus, each one documenting their journey in the form of photographs, selfies, etc. After about 45 minutes, we were out on the road again, driving off to our second destination. We reached Don Bosco Museum and were extremely thrilled about the huge building that stood before us. The most striking part about the building was its spiral architecture, marvellous in its physical beauty. Its numerous galleries showcasing the cultures of the North East, Don Bosco Museum is a treasure trove for a culture enthusiast.  For a good few hours we walked through the museum, carefully looking at the articles in awe and wonder. Adding the cherry to this wonderful cake of the museum experience was a skywalk that was set on top of the seventh floor. An open walk facing the beautiful city itself took our breath away. After a few group photographs and single hand documenting of the walk, we were quickly checking off the museum from our list of places to visit.

By mid afternoon, extremely hungry yet full of energy, we reached the NEHU campus. After a few minutes of strolling across the campus and about hundreds of photographs later, we headed towards a local restaurant to stuff our faces. We were soon back on the road, driving towards our next destination, a huge park. The main attraction there was the boating facility. We were soon running towards the ticket counter and then making our way to the boats in groups of fours and twos. Although it wasn’t anything spectacular, everything is always different with a group of crazy companions. We were racing, shouting our group mantra “HAKUNA MATATA”, clicking pictures, cracking joking, laughing, and mostly enjoying our time doing the most basic recreational activity. Our final stop that evening was the St. Anthony College, where a few sporty people from among us suited themselves to a basketball game with the students from there, while the rest of us simply sat cheering, talking, and enjoying our time. We were tired and ready to go back but a surprise came in the form of Dylan’s Cafe. We were hungry and the cafe was a treat. Bob Dylan-themed cafe isn’t an everyday affair. The place was buzzing with people, and we felt more than happy to join in.

The next day came in with major travelling and better places to see. It was yet another sunny day, and we couldn’t be more thankful for it. We were heading to Cherrapunji. Our first stop was Elephant Falls, a majestic set of waterfalls of extreme beauty but which can only be reached after a tiresome amount of steps. Tired but extremely refreshed, we headed to a viewpoint and a good one. We could see the wild and the untamed that was so very endearing and wonderful. We entertained ourselves with a little walk down about the view point to a smallish waterfall, which was the highlight of the place. An almost hidden waterfall in the wild and the thrill that came with it is unmatched.

Because it was a long travel, we soon left for another place called Thangkharang Park, another ordinary experience made unforgettable. We were quickly striking off places from our lists as the day passed by. The next stop for us was the Mawsmai Cave and that had to be the highlight of the second day. The adrenaline rush was unmatched while we walked through the dark cave discussing the good old English text “A Passage to India.” After a good walk through the cave for several minutes, we were heading towards a local restaurant with growling stomachs. A good, filling lunch was followed by a long way back to our Pastoral Centre. It was quite late when we reached the place. After dinner, we still weren’t quite done with the day, so we decided to walk down to a cafe and grab some coffee. Cafe Shillong warmly welcomed us. With some good coffee and better chats, we ended day two.

Day three came fast. Late night gossips didn’t allow us a lot of sleep, but we weren’t complaining. Day three, the final day, took us to even better places. We travelled more but all of that yielded returns in a magnificent way. The day was full of extremely beautiful destinations. The first place was the Dawki Bridge built over the Dawki Lake. Boating in the blue water was something that cannot be put into words. The huge lake with clear blue water, the huge rocks that made a magnificent surrounding, and numerous old wooden boats made the experience not only beautiful and fulfilling but also in many ways spiritual and soulful. After the soulful boat ride, we strolled in the surrounding sand for a bit after which we slowly tore ourselves from the place and headed back to see yet another natural beauty. Our next stop was the very famous root bridge, the Double Decker root bridge. It stood in front of us as a fresh image of natural strength and the diverse power of nature. Branches entwined together to form a bridge is not something that one sees every day. The awe and wonder in the eyes of everyone who stood there looking at the bridge was very clear. It is such a wonder of nature. After we were done looking at every nook and cranny of that place, we headed back to our vehicle very much ready to visit the cleanest village of Asia, Mawlynnong. Though just a village, its beauty and fame lies in the fact that it is beautifully maintained. To maintain an infrastructure with hundreds of employees is a big task, but to maintain a village, amidst nature and all its odds, without employed staff but just with the help of the villagers is an even greater task; and people there are willing to do it. Going to this village is not just a part of recreation but a greater part of learning about cleanliness and its importance. We also grabbed a quick homely lunch in a local village restaurant and soon set off on the journey back to the Pastoral Centre.

The following day heralded the end of our wonderful excursion. We took off pretty early after thanking all the fathers and other staff of the Pastoral Centre for assisting us throughout our stay. The final place that we had to visit was Assam Don Bosco University. The university had a huge campus and was a beautiful place; a treat to the eye but merciless to the legs.

The day went by pretty slowly, and we were soon heading to the Guwahati train station. The fact that we had thoroughly enjoyed our trip and didn’t want to head back home was very clear through our sad faces. It was around midnight when our train arrived, and with all our baggage we hurried off to catch it, pushing and pulling in the crowded train station.

What we finally took back home were memory cards full of photographs, bags stuffed with lots of goodies, and heads overflowing with cherished memories of our trip. 

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