When we embarked on our 4 days trip to Meghalaya, we had on our minds the usual places. Like the Living Root Bridges , the transparent Umngot River in Dawki, the cleanest village of Asia, Mawlynnong etc. But little did we know then that on our pursuit to these destinations, we would encounter much more. And that these encounters would make our trip memorable forever. Be it the unexpected encounters with the clouds while driving along the highway, the countless vast green meadows or the numerous waterfalls of Meghalaya. For, we visited Meghalaya in the first week of May. At this point of time, the pre-monsoon showers were generously greeting the state. Thus, covering it in a fresh layer of flora. And bringing volume to the gorgeous waterfalls of Meghalaya.
Thus, we felt our chapter about Meghalaya will be incomplete without a special mention of these waterfalls of Meghalaya. Let us introduce you to some of them.
Just outside the city of Shillong on the way to Cherrapunjee lie Elephant Falls. A massive waterfall of Meghalaya and a must see. The Elephant falls gorgeously cascade from uphill in 3 steps, all the way down to a pool. Travelers can take stairs all the way to the bottom where the falls finally form a stream of water. We visited here on the second day of our 4 day trip to Meghalaya while traveling to Cherrapunjee. I was really expecting the falls to have some resemblance to an elephant given their unique name. But, I didn’t see anything like that. Then I heard that the Elephant Falls were named as such by the British because it was difficult for them to pronounce the original local name of the falls 🙂
Seven Sister Waterfalls
Another must see waterfall in Meghalaya is the 7 sister waterfalls. One can catch a glimpse of these waterfalls from the highway when visiting Cherapunjee. They are very near to the Mawsmai caves. The waterfalls are seen as a cascade of 7 different tall streams falling from the steep mountains in front. Although when we arrived here, we had to wait for 30 minutes before we could get the first glimpse of the Seven Sister Waterfalls of Meghalaya. Since the dense clouds and the weather Gods had planned to blanket the valley between the highway and the mountain. Thus blocking the views of the waterfalls from us.
While we waited for the clouds to clear, we ventured to the other side of the road. Here, a few steps down the main road, there was another gorgeous stream of water flowing. This must as well be a result of some waterfall at a distance. The stream was crystal clear and soothing cold. Many were taking bath along the stream while some liked clicking pictures of the water cascading with great force. While for me, I was kind of hypnotized. All I wanted to do was listen to the sound of the stream and stair at it forever.
Bophill Waterfalls in Dawki
On the third day of our 4 day trip to Meghalaya we visited the Living Root Bridge, Mawlynnong Village and then proceeded to Dawki. We passed several gorgeous waterfalls on the way. But the one which was most massive of all was the Bophill Waterfalls, just near the river. The volume that this waterfall was carrying was enormous. The water droplets were coming on to the highway, which was easily more than 500 meters away. This itself is enough to speak about the power of this waterfall. I guess in the month of monsoons, this can easily be one of the most massive waterfalls of Meghalaya.
Waterfalls along the sides of Umngot river in Dawki
As we descended to the Umngot river in Dawki and started sailing in a small boat through the river. We passed through numerous waterfalls along high cliff that bordered the sides of the river. Some of these were small streams, cascading from the cliff. Some guarded the entrance to the caves that they fell in front of. And then there were some simply gorgeous one, producing a fairytale like sight, like this one:
As we sailed through one side of the river and reached the other side, we spotted a beautiful rainbow across not one but almost all of the waterfalls on this side. Sometimes, even double rainbows!! I guess the timing of the day, the angle of the sun and the place was just perfect. Just imagine for a moment that you are sailing along a tropical river. The water is emerald and clear. And the high cliffs guarding the river are covered with dense patches of greenery. Then there are these cascading waterfalls along these cliffs producing a constant soothing music and unbeatable scenery with the rainbows. Could you imagine such a place on earth? Well that is where you reach once you start sailing on the Umngot River and experience the numerous waterfalls along its sides.
Random gorgeous waterfalls on the way
As mentioned earlier, our tryst with the waterfalls of Meghalaya was not confined to specific location. We encountered several of them on our way – to just anywhere in Meghalaya. Some of these were so gorgeous that we couldn’t help stopping by them. We even invented a small game of spotting and counting the waterfalls as we covered the journey from Mawlynnong to Dawki, which was a little over 30kilometers. To our own surprise, we spotted more than thirty waterfalls on this route itself!! Some were accessible and some were not.
To some of these watefalls, small pipes were added at the end and the water diverted to the side of the highway. People stopped here to refill their bottles and containers. While some other waterfalls that cascaded right besides the highway were used to wash cars and cloths. We saw people washing cloths and taking bath along side some of these.