A Weekend Getaway to Cherrapunjee: Exploring the offbeat Arwah Caves

So, are you a party-goer or a back packer? I’m definitely the second one. I’m not much into clubbing, I would rather get out, pack a few stuff and disappear for the weekend to a secluded place and dive into mother nature. But I’m obsessed with EDM though, if you get me a ticket to an edm concert, imma lose all my shit. I went to a few edm concerts, Sunburn was the highlight of all and I absolutely loved that experience, one of a kind it was!!

So this year I exactly did that, packed a few stuffs and went away. I know we are already half way into 2018, since I started my blog only in March so you guys have to bear with my late posts.

And also sincere apologies for not able to produce photographs much in this post, as I hate distraction while traveling (phones are a huge distraction). There are a few, please bear with me this too. So let’s get started!!!!

A Weekend Getaway to celebrate New Year

31-12-2017

For this new year, we planned on visiting Cherrapunjee and the Arwah Caves. I have been to these places before but nothing beats the chance of visiting these places with zero restrictions. So me, my boyfriend, Priyangshu and his friends (3 to be exact) started our journey late morning as I have already mentioned in my previous blog, my boyfriend is a lazy ass. We were suppose to leave at around 7 in the morning but we left around 11. We hired our own private vehicle, a Tata Sumo and left for Cherrapunjee.

In between Barapani and Guwahati, I don’t exactly know the place, near the highway, we stopped to have our breakfast at Sardarji De Dhaba, which served excellent Butter Rotis and Tandoori Chicken. I absolutely loved the food but was disappointed when I got to know they don’t have Lassi.

Next we stopped at Shillong to get another ride to Cheranpunjee, but as it was new year we didn’t have much option so we took the same Tata Sumo to Cherrapunjee. The sky was bright pink that day and it was a lovely journey with good music, my friends and obviously the enviable view of Meghalaya.

Beautiful Sunset on New Year Eve’s

We arrived late at our hotel, we stayed at the Seven Sister View Inn, just at a walk able distance from the Eco Park.

Got Acquainted by going on a Little Hike:

Our activities started right after we got into our hotel. We freshened up and went for a small hike just at the back of our hotel. It was my first time there but not for the others. So they knew the place well, it was really dark, we crossed a little river and went deeper into the jungle. It was a knee length grasses with sharp leaf blades rubbing against our face and body kind of hike night. After crossing the jungle we ended up on a field, there was less grass and huge stones and clear sky. The huge stones were Monoliths and the upright ones symbolized male warriors and the ones on the ground symbolizes female warriors.

It was very chilly but it was such a very beautiful night with stars shining bright. We stayed there for a few minutes and started back our journey to the hotel and we almost got lost. (Sorry didn’t got any good photographs due to the dark).

We got back to the hotel, all our clothes were soaked due to the long wet grasses and don’t even ask the condition of our shoes (smh).

 Ending the year with friends and a Bonfire

After getting back we requested a bonfire and the staff were very helpful with that. With the bonfire lit outside our room, warm and fuzzy under the night sky, it was really, really awesome. We ordered food, ordered Roti again accompanied by chicken. We leisurely enjoyed our fire till midnight when it was finally New Year. We went out again to the resting place just outside the hotel, near the road. It was on the edge and we could see lights everywhere, music all around. People passed by us and we wished each other New Year.

When we went back to our hotel, the staffs who were very friendly invited us to dance with them. It was almost 2 when we retired to our beds. We were all excited for the big next day, when we get to visit the Cave.

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Cherrapunjee

It’s finally 2018 and I was the only person who woke up early. So I went on a solo walk around the hotel. It was a cold, but a beautiful morning. I checked the river we crossed last night and also visited a nearby cemetery. The sky was the highlight of the day. As if it was welcoming 2018 with beautiful structured clouds, the sky was a painting on New Year Day. After my solo venture, I came back and woke the others. We again went to the view point which was on the edge, I was so scared (your girl got phobia for heights), I was sitting all the time, thinking if I lose my balance, I’d fall into the nothingness below.

Morning sky above the cemetery View from the Edge

After clicking photographs, we headed back. We had our breakfast and finally got ready to visit the Cave.

Accommodation

Hotel: Seven Sister Falls Inn

Service: Good

Staff: Friendly and very helpful

You can also visit Eco Park which is near the hotel we stayed.

We hired a Bolero, that will take us to Arwah Caves and back to Guwahati. Finally we had a vehicle with really good sound system (haha)!

Arwah Caves

Most tourist don’t know about this cave because of the hype around the more popular other cave in Cherrapunjee which is Mawsmai Caves. Though fairly hidden and above everything it’s not populated which makes its perfect for our little band to explore the offbeat Arwah Caves with mesmerizing views of the valley and the waterfalls on its way.

Where is Arwah Caves?

Arwah Caves is situated just outside the town of Cherrapunjee (Sohra), before entering the town. It took us more than 15-20 minutes from our hotel to reach there. As we traveled from the town we got a good glimpse of the little town, it was like entering another country, the houses built on the hills were a sight to see. With the cold wind teasing us and looking away into the fields with golden grasses made it a surreal experience.

Reaching Arwah Caves is a bit tedious as the condition of the road is not good with dust all around. But don’t let that get into your head as what lies ahead is soon going to be the best thing to experience. It will make your mood better to know that at the end of the road, you will find proper parking with restaurant and restrooms. Also a well built viewpoint looking into the valley. We got our tickets from the ticket counters and started our way towards the Caves.

The Beautiful Walkway to Arwah Caves

The walkway that leads to Arwah Caves is a beautiful wooden bridge. From this very point, you can forget everything and embark on an experience you never had before. As soon as you step into the bridge, you are transported to another place altogether with the views of Khasi Hills and the waterfalls cascading down. It is very beautiful, nature at it’s best. It is also home to the largest group of insects. Tall tress with many insects in their natural habitats, if you will listen closely you can actually hear many different sounds given out by the insects. There is also a resting place on the way to the cave, where you can stand and enjoy the view, click pictures or get on the swing.

Enroute to the Arwah Caves

View of the Khasi Hills from the Resting Area

We finally reached the entrance of the Caves. You are will be welcomed into the Caves with a flight of stairs which will take you to another flight of stairs which indicates the start of the Cave, getting our flashlights we descended into the cave. It is as usual dark, but be very cautious as the inside of the Caves is abundant in Limestone, which makes everything slippery. Plus you will find little streams of water everywhere, so please be very careful and be alert all the time.

Note: Please don’t wear heels and enter the Caves unless you want yourself to trip over and hurt yourself. Comfortable Shoes having good ridges are excellent for exploring the Caves.

Entrance to the Caves

The cave is only half discovered or full discovered, I don’t have that information as some of the sections are off limits to the tourists. At my first visit we only covered a very small portion. But with this trip I have all the freedom and so I led the way to the deeper parts of the Caves. Soon other tourists followed us too. As we went deeper the passage became narrow, as I am very tiny and short it was perfect and no fuzz leading the way. We went very deep until none of us could fit anymore. We found a lot of limestone structures inside the cave, they are all wet and some even dripping down.

Arwah Caves is a little different from the Mawsmai Caves as you can actually go through the cave and get out from the cave. Arawah Cave doesn’t have an exit so we have to come back through the same path.

Besides the joy of exploring a cave, and the thrill of descending into the unknown, Arwah cave is a hub to many beautiful limestone formations which makes it otherworldly and fossils cravings inside the walls of the Caves, fish bones and mollusk shells are the most prominent fossils you will encounter.

Little stream of water run throughout the CavesFossils seen on the walls of the Caves

Dwan Sing Syiem View Point

After satisfying ourselves with our little cave exploration, we finally headed back. Our last stop was Dwan Sing Syiem View Point, it is located on the way to Cherrapunjee and provides breathtaking view of Mawkdok Valley. We brought Bhutta (roasted corn) from a road vendor and entered the view point. The viewpoint give magnificent view of the lush green valley.

A secret Waterfall

We also went through a side stairway on the left of the main viewpoint that took us to the bottom, well not the bottom to the end where there is a beautiful waterfall. It’s my first time down there and although the stairways took all my energy, encountering such a beautiful pristine waterfall, made me feel super happy. The water is green in color and so clear, as it was winter it was shallow but still deep. We washed our face and hands in the cold water which send a shiver down our spines. We clicked a few pictures there and headed back.

Waterfall at the end of the stairs Looking back; The beautiful Mawkdok Valley

If you really love offbeat and less crowded area this waterfall is for you. As many end their sightseeing at the main viewpoint. Very few make the effort to go further below. I bet you won’t regret climbing stairs to have a look at this hidden waterfall.

Now getting down a stairway is very easy, getting up is a whole different level of pain in the ass. My good friend, Dip counted the stairs and it was 220 all total. Getting up really got me, I ran out of breathe every 5 stairs and had to take a tree branch to stabilize myself or else I would break my head and die probably rolling down the stairs.

Ended the trip with piping hot Soup

It took almost 20-30 minutes to get back, with my lungs exploding every step I took. Finally reached the surface, had Momo and chicken soup at the restaurant near the view point. Momo wasn’t up to the par, but gravy Maggie and Chicken soup was so good. Right from sitting down at the restaurant I could feel my hands and legs screaming in pain. I couldn’t eat my food properly due to the pain and I got depressed (because I’m a huge foodie).

There are other cafeteria to grab a quick meal, souvenir shops and restrooms. You can also click photographs wearing traditional Khasi attires just before taking the stairs.

It was almost dark when we got back into our car and started our way back home. I fell asleep on the way to Shillong and woke up to find my hands and legs totally beat up. I couldn’t move my hands and legs at all. Climbing all that 220 stairs brought this hell to my body. I just patiently sat in the car and was praying to get home soon so I can finally lay back and get a good night sleep.

I was sleeping all the way back and we reached back at around 10 pm. It got really late, and I was in so much pain, when I got back I even didn’t have my dinner and slept directly. It took me a whole day to get over my pain and finally to my senses.

So this was our little new year trip to Cherrapunjee and Arwah Caves.

And this is not only for a new year trip, you can go anytime, a weekend getaway is perfect for couples or family or group of friends. If you want to explore Cherrapunjee extensively, might suggest more than a weekend.

Hope you like reading the blog post, if you have any queries, feel free to ask in the comment section.

Stay tuned, for more travel posts are coming.

Love,

Nancy.

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