Friday 18 January 2019

Traveloguge of Shillong:Scotland of East,Heaven in Clouds

We started our journey to shillong by online booked tickets of ASTC.Bus left at 8.00 Am from Bus stand in Palton Bazar of Guwahati.Fare from Guwahati to Shillong was fairly reasonable at Rs 145.00 each. The roadway from Guwahati to Shillong is very beautiful as the road passes by various hill tops, the most amazing part of this journey.
Adventurous Shillong
The entire journey from Guwahati to Shillong was an exciting experience. No sooner the City border of Guwahati was crossed; nature suddenly seems to put its best face. All along the road, a sequence of scenery continues to unfold in its true captivatingsplendour, and viewing points are hoisted to vintage heights.

On the way to Shillong, we enjoyed a breakfast at a Dhaba, consisting of the chhole bhature, Aloo paratha and lip locking hot coffee. Shillong is only 100 km away from Guwahati.Bus reached at 11.30AM and stopped at bus stand.
There are many similarities between shilling and Scotland.Shillong’s rolling landscape, sky soaring hills laden with clouds and mist, lush green hill slopes meadows, high roaring waterfalls.On a cloudy day the mist-laden pastures look nothing less than a paradise. 
Breathtaking view from Guwahati to Shillong
In Shillong we find us between the hills, where dresses, scenes of nature, climate, style of buildings, eating habits. Life style, road side views and language all change so much. Which gives a feeling of newness. 
First Day in Shillong
Police Bazar-Shillong
As per our itinerary with excitement to experience some of the grandest waterfalls and Lakes of the region. We stayed in Hotel Heritage in Police Bazaar, at a distance of 250 meter from bus stop.After refreshing and lunch, we moved to Ward’s lake on a shared taxi, which charged Rs 10.00 each. We realized that Maruti 800, Alto, Tata Indica, and Hyundai i10/20 are a common mode of transport 
Ward’s Lake
Ward’s lake a man made, at a distance of 1.6 Km from Police Bazar.Ward’s Lake is a refreshing pool surrounded by beautiful gardens in the heart of the city.
Ward's Lake
 The lake was named after a British officer, Sir William Ward, who was then the Chief Commissioner of Assam.He was the one with the initial plan.Colonel Hopkins who oversaw the Lake completed in 1894.
Ward,s Lake
The serene lake and the cool shades of trees around,makes it a nice spot for sightseeing and boating.lake surrounded by patch of land with some exotic trees.A stylish white wooden bridge suspended in the middle of the lake is the most recognizable feature of Ward’s Lake.
Boating facilities are available in the lake. It has a wooden bridge at the middle. A cafeteria is there to provide refreshment.A fountain dancing to the tunes of song is also there. 
Ward's Lake

We stayed there for about one hour.walked around this lake on the cobble-stone path and admired the colorful floral beds in the garden, relaxed with a cup of hot coffee with Potato chips from cafeteria in side lake complex and back to hotel on foot for rest. It is special to mention that whenever one plans a trip to North East; one must keep in mind that the sun sets here around two hours before the rest of the country.
Police Bazaar of Shillong
First day in Shillong ended with a stroll in police bazar and dinner in Madras Café.Food was not good, but ambience OK.They needs to improve food quality.
 The same area converts into a non veg grilled and smoked food items like kebabs, special chicken,fish and mutton Den by evening. Mouth watering, smoked and grilled chicken on road side stalls were tempting.We could’t kill the urge to feast our tongue. There were lots of fruits available including oranges, bananas, strawberries and pineapples
Police Bazar-Shillong
 Police Bazar of Shillong is a famous shopping haunt. The market is considered ideal for leisure seekers, shopping enthusiasts and food lovers. It is a modern market that has a number of hotels, shops and eating joints, catering to varied needs of every visitor.
Police Bazar- Road side Food Lovers
It is a shopping heaven for girls as they can find indigenous ornaments and apparel here, and experiment with different products of fashion. Police Bazar provides an excellent opportunity for photography.
Police  Bazar-Road Side Food Lovers -Paradise
 Police Bazar is always crowded but one could find the real market with its most vivid products and food items during the winter season.Many streets performances are thus scheduled, the number of food stalks increase during the winters. Always crowded, one can spend hours at Police Bazar.

Second Day in Shillong
The next day as per itinerary with excitement to experience our road trip to tourist attractions near around Shillong.From police bazar we hired two Alto taxi for an adventurous trip @Rs 13oo/= per taxi.This was cheaper than innova and scorpio.

 Air Force Museum Shillong
The Air Force Museum, located in 7th mile, upper Shillong.The museum is a part of the Indian Air Force Eastern Command in Shillong. It displays the technologies used by the IAF Eastern Command, their missiles and aircraft, portraits of air chiefs, and defence photographs of the Indo-Pakistan and Indo-China war. Helicopters that were used in the ‘60s by the Indian Air Force for the bombing of Eastern Pakistan are displayed outside the museum.

Air Force Museum-Shillong
 A section of the museum also displays the uniforms and badges of army personnel. Information related to the posts of the IAF personnel, along with awards, ranks and medals are also displayed in the galleries of the museum.The museum is an excellent insight into the culture and history of the seven sisters’.
Air Force Museum-Shillong
Elephant Falls:
From Air Force Museum, we drove to Elephanta Falls at a distance of 3.00KM through clean, green cantonment area.On way we saw tea plantation gardens.This fall is very near to city, this caused it always over crowded. The taxi stopped at a parking lot surrounded by souvenir shops and small tea hotels.
These stalls were selling tea/coffee, buttered corn, momos boiled eggs/omelette and souvenirs. Photographers were there to print out instant pictures of tourists with options of wearing Khasi dresses and then posing for pictures. 
Notice board--description of this Elephanta Fall name history
 The Elephant Falls was very picturesque.As I reached the first fall,I found a notice board that narrated: The original Khasi name of the falls was ‘Ka kshaid lai pateng khohsiew’ (three steps water falls). Because of the fact that the water falls in three steps.
A beautiful view of Elephanta Fall
 The British renamed the falls because there was a rock resembling an elephant near the left side of the main falls.However, that rock was destroyed in an earthquake back in 1897.
 The bottom tier was the most impressive. In silence, I was hearing the sloshing sound of the waterfall.The walking path gently descended from the entrance. You have to ride down quite a steep flight of steps.It’s a top down descent and climbing down 150 rather slippery steps is not an easy task. The last and the third waterfall is the tallest. Elephant Falls is characterized by clear water flowing over dark jutting rocks with no particular forms.
The Final view of Elephant Waterfall at bottom-below about 175 feet from top
Shillong Top
Located at a distance of 10 km from city we reached here after a 20 minutes drive from Elephant Falls. Shillong Peak/Top is the highest point of Shillong and offers panoramic views of the city, the waterfalls, the Himalayas, the lush green surroundings as well as the Bangladesh plains.
A view from Shillong Top
It is situated inside air force base and features a radar station.Due to security reasons, heavy checking is done at the gates.ID cards are must for entery.Photography is not allowed till reach the point.Entry fee for tourist is Rs. 30 per head.It is a treat to visitor’s eye and camera.
 The peak is at height of 1962 m, above the sea level.To reach here; we passed through deep and dark wood and zig-zag road.We were inhaling fresh and virgin air in our lungs.
A Panoramic  View from Shillong Top

We climbed a flight of stairs to have a view of a wooded valley, cloud and mist.The wide horizon offered a panorama of crowning glory.Shillong was visible amidst Pine Oak, orchid and rocks.It was an incredible experience. I wish I could stand there for ages to witness the colour of nature’s wonder.

Lady Hydari Park
In return journey from Shillong Top we stopped at Lady Hydari Park at a short distance of 2.5 km from Police Bazar. Lady Hydari Park is a lush green belt that stretches up to a kilometre in the heart of Shillong. It was quite clear that “The Lady Hydari Park”is maintained with great passion.This garden is an ideal place to spend some peaceful time to relax in between nature.
Lady Hydari Park-Shillong
Named after the first lady of the province, Lady Hydari, wife of the Governor of Assam.Meghalaya forest department is the administrative authority of this park and looks after its maintenance. The Park is best known for beautiful bed of roses that blossom here in various colours. 
A Mini Zoo in Lady Hydari Park-Shillong
The park has a a special play area for kids that offer swings like sea-saws,slips and other small rides for children.Besides all this the park has a wide variety of local flowering plants and orchids, and is landscaped in Japanese style.It has a small zoo and white pelicans playfully floating in water ponds were treat to visitors eye. 
Lady Hydari Park-Shillong

Pelicans playing and floating in pond in Lady Hydari Park-Shillong 
By the time we reached our hotel, we were exhausted yet energized; we had breathed the untouched undiluted, glimpsed the elegance and felt the frenzy of raw nature all together.

Second day itinerary of shillong ended with a high dinner in Eden Restaurant in Police bazar.Here we feasted us with Chilli Garlic Fish, Chicken in Hot Garlic Sauce, Butter Tandoori Roti.The value of money was very good and it was not expensive.
Eden Restaurant in Shillong

Loved the taste and the dishes quantity.It was a memorable dinner in Shillong, as here we got foods of North Indian recipe.After dinner, we walked on roads and to get more energy we consumed sweets from Delhi Misthan Bhandar.

Posted and photographed by Engr Maqbool Akram, with help of some materials and photos from other sources available on net, with thanks.

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