Meghalaya – Create your own Jungle Book Stories — Tripoto

Meghalaya – The foothills of Himalayas, people also call it the Abode of Clouds. After I finished my trip to Darjeeling – Sikkim, it was the time to move to Guwahati. I reached Jalpaigudi again to catch an overnight train so that I reach Guwahati in the morning. In Darjeeling – Sikkim, every time whenever I used to tell someone that my next destination is Meghalaya. They used to warn me saying “Are you sure, you want to go there alone? Do you know that those areas are famous for Naxalites? & I used to just listen to their horrifying incidents which had happened in the past.

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I was at Jalpaigudi station, but thinking whether I should go there or not. Whenever I travel solo, my safety is my 1st priority as I can see my parents face in front of me every time I make any decision. However this time, I kept my hopes & positivity alive in my heart. Without thinking much, I took a train to Guwahati. When you’re not sure about some place then you don’t feel happy from inside. The same thing was happening to me till the time I reached Shillong – The capital town of Meghalaya. Again I took a shared Sumo from Guwahati to Shillong. On the way, I could see a different culture; it looked like as if everything from costume to language, from food to house structure has taken a 360 degree turn altogether. I was searching for some Naxalites in those dense forests as there was just naxalites word floating in my mind that time. I couldn’t think of anything else.

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Shillong Peak

My eyes were experiencing something which they had not seen before. I felt like, I am entering into Mowgli’s Jungle book stories. Suddenly all my wrong thoughts disappeared when I reached Shillong. As soon as I reached my guest house, I laid down like a dead body on the bed. Then I went to my window & what I see, a beautiful street with Vintage Street lights covered with colorful flowers. The manager of the hotel told me that there are no issues of Naxalities in Khasi hills as they are based in Garo hills. Main tourist attraction is located in Khassi hills of Meghalaya & you’re surrounded by the best people. I immediately called the taxi driver who has dropped me till my guest house. Whenever I plan sightseeing tour, I only prefer going to few places out of so many places. Usually every tourist place has its big list of places with overpriced rate card. However I only opted for elephant falls & Shillong peak point. Taxi driver charged me 600/- for those 2 places, I agreed also as what else I will do if I will try to save money. My taxi driver was a Khassi. This community is in the majority in Meghalaya. They’re similar to catholic community I feel. Throughout the journey, he only talked as I was just enjoying the serenity at its best. As soon as I reached Shillong peak, it was extremely crowed but the whole view was heavenly beautiful therefore the crowd didn’t bother me much. Shillong peak is located near the Ariforce quarters so you need to submit your residential proof before entering & photography is prohibited till the time you cross the Ariforce area. From there, Elephant falls is another half & hour journey. I must say, Elephant falls could be the best place in Shillong if it remains less crowed. You can’t do anything about the crowd so even I enjoyed my own time & photography. Recently Narendra Modi Ji has visited Elephant falls so you can see his picture as well at the entrance. After wandering, I came back to the guest house again.

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As soon as I reached my guesthouse, the manager told me that there is one girl who would like to go to Mawlynnong & Dawki. I was lucky to meet a girl from Bangalore as I again got someone to explore the place. In one day only we both had become a good friend as even she was solo female traveler. Next day, early morning we both started with Mawlynnong & Dawki. We first decided to go to Dawki to explore Umngot River which remains transparent during winter season. We were lucky as we didn’t face heavy rainfall however on the way to Dawki, it started raining heavily & our dream of experiencing the transparent river died at the same moment. So we decided to first take a move to Mawlynnong – Asia’s cleanest village. As soon as we reached, I took my umbrella & ran towards a small place where Mawlynnong ladies were serving delicious food. I saw only women at the canteen, as I had mentioned earlier also, Khassi community is a kind of community where women are being treated as head of the family. They work whereas men take care of the Family in most of the cases. Their younger daughter is eligible for half property in the family & younger daughter’s husband is expected to stay at her place to take care of her parents. The villagers of Mawlynnong collect 50/- from each visitor to maintain the cleanliness of the village. Mawlynnong village looks like a garden where they have made small wooden huts. It’s so beautiful & clean, you feel like you’re visiting some foreign place. We went on to see single Decker living root bridge which is located nearby itself. You can explore tree houses as well at the same place. After exploring this green village, we moved on to see Dawki & Umngot River. We saw Indo – Bangladesh border where you can even click the picture at the check post because of the friendly boding we share with Bangladesh.

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Mawlynnong Village

We saw two beautiful waterfalls on our way to Dawki. Finally we reached Umngot River & started with our boat ride. I personally never felt so good before at any place as it was purely the green water, me & the wooden boat. Yes, the river has become muddy because of the rain but it was clean & peaceful. The best memories of my Meghalaya tour I would say.

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Umngot River – Dawki

The journey from Guwahati – Shillong – Cherrapunji – Mawlynnong – Dawki was a treasure hunt as every time it gave me a pleasant surprise with its beautiful sceneries. It’s raw, unusual & one of the best states of North – east India.

Do watch the Video which I documented & edited for my Meghalaya tour. Like it & subscribe it for more.

Reblogged from Meghalaya – Create your own Jungle Book Stories — Tripoto

Originally authored by Preeti

 

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Top 10 Tourist Destinations of India

India has been served for various kingdoms and empires. There are many more places to be visited in India. India is also one of the most visited tourist attraction and you can reach India by air if travelling from outside. From India travelers can reach to these tourist destinations by car, by train or by […]

via Top 10 Tourist Destinations of India — My Taxi India Blog

Photographing Kazakhs in Mongolia and the Importance of Tea

We sat on the ground around a low wooden table waiting for the day to begin. It was overcast, threatening rain and the ger was dim, throwing everything into monochrome. A pot of boiling milk sat on top of a battered wood-burning stove in the center of the room and I watched as steam rose […]

via Photographing Kazakhs in Mongolia and the Importance of Tea — The Insatiable Traveler

GoIbibo to launch ‘goCars’ an inter-city ridesharing service

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Travel services aggregator GoIbibo in an attempt to expand it’s portfolio and tap new areas is introducing inter-city ridesharing service goCars. Although the website is live, the service is yet to be launched. Ibibo Group already launched a similar service Ryde and now goCars, it is a redundancy to operate both. We have to wait and see whether Ibibo will rebrand Ryde as goCars and introduce the service or keep both.

Until then lets have a look at what GoIbibo says about the new service

Goibibo says that the user experience with goCars will be something unheard of before, and much much better than its competitors. Of course, you will be able to share the journey with fellow passengers who’re traveling between the same two cities, thereby saving money and time.

The company also says that the pickup and drop points will be near to the passenger, the driver will have a good background check and verification before they enroll for the service. Since you’re traveling with other people, you’ll be paying just for your seat, and not the whole car.

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GoCash can be used for availing rides on goCars, company says. However, it is still not clear whether you’ll be paying one-fourth, one-third or half the price of the full car. It is also not yet clear whether there will be some fixed points in the city where the cabs can be taken from.

It looks like a really good idea, and an untapped area right now. However, if the company wants to focus on user experience, it must ensure the drivers are properly verified, can drive for long hours without fatigue and the cars are in good shape for our Indian roads.

This new service can be exploited by frequent travellers who otherwise take buses and trains to travel between two cities. For example, the number of daily travellers between Chandigarh and Delhi, Mumbai and Pune, Bengaluru and Chennai and Gurgaon and Jaipur is quite high and this service can specifically benefit such people.

We’ll be able to analyze more as the company releases more details of the service. If priced right, this service could actually rival the existing offline inter-city taxi and buses services.

via: Trak.in

Why we need to Travel often

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When we travel, when we go to new places, we meet new people.

When we meet new people, our minds are open and are at full activity.

When we meet new people we are receptive to many new thoughts.

When our minds are open for what others have to say, we will learn new things.

When we learn new things, we will grow.

When we travel, we make new friends belonging to different cultures.

Traveling will expand our perspective of the world and the people.

With renewed and expanded perspective, we can lead a better life than before.

Traveling is an enjoyable way to grow up and enrich our lives with new vigor. 

Rural Tourism – Myths and Reality

In the last one year that we have been working in Rural Tourism, we have come across many questions from our travelers that makes me understand the need to answer them on a public forum. Rural Tourism is still a new concept in India, and, as expected there are many questions around it. Here are answers to come common questions or rather myths –

1. Rural tourism is unsafe: If someone was destined to get mugged, it can happen in a flashy metropolitan as well. Over the last two years since I have been traveling to villages, I have found them safer than the cities. I have grown up in Delhi and can clearly see the difference in safety, hospitality, warmth and a sense of community in a city and in a village. We have had solo female travelers, couples, children and families who have felt safer in villages.

It also depends on the organization you are traveling with and the amount of ground work they have done with locals before sending you. Usually, it takes months if not years to train locals in tourism and its aspects.

Tip: Check the authenticity and professionalism of the organization you are traveling with. Look for their sustainability and training practices.

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Intercultural interaction between students from Dublin and local community in Kumaon

jungle-walks-rural-travelIndians also prefer it in large numbers and find it safe

2. Rural tourism = Discomfort: Rural does not always mean a dilapidated shack where you will have to sleep on the floor under the light of an oil lamp. In the last point I spoke about training. A responsible organization will always train locals on sanitation. Emphasis will be given on clean beds and washrooms. Rural tourism is a great way to give sustainable living to locals. And cleanliness is one of the basic requirements that any responsible Rural Travel company will take into account.

Tip: Check the facilities and photographs and ask your questions freely

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Intercultural interaction between students from Dublin and local community in Kumaon

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I find such places more peaceful and clean to stay at rather than a hotel

3. Rural tourism costs nothing, so why charge for it: What I mentioned in last point about sustaining local communities brings me to the next point on charging. Most of the Rural population is currently being trained under western education system on learning computers and English and moving to cities. As a result cities are over burdened and villages are getting empty. Rural tourism is not different from any other form of tourism where you pay. The only difference is, your money goes directly to a local family and immediate community. A responsible community based tourism initiative will always give entrepreneurial opportunities to locals so that they do not have to migrate to cities. As a result, many art forms, languages, music, dances, and cultures are preserved. Rural tourism has the power to make these aspects an asset rather than a burden.

4. World is moving towards urbanization, why villages?: We are not against urbanization. It is just that we see the impacts of it in the form of cut-throat competition which leads to increasing crime, struggle for limited resources, degrading levels of cleanliness, impacts on our health and stress levels and a constant question in everyone’s mind as to who they really are. After having lost connection to our roots, we are neither completely western nor Indian. Moreover, we are loosing warmth and sensitivity towards our people, trust, love and responsibility towards our environment. Mahatma Gandhi once said – “The future of India lies in its villages”. This does not mean we remain backward, uneducated or poor. Everyone has the right to live a beautiful life. But only till the time that lifestyle does not begin to take a toll on those very humans it was meant for.

Rural Tourism is a tool to create a balance between urbanization and Rural lifestyle. This is very important for us to sustain.

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Intercultural interaction between students from Dublin and local community in Kumaon

5. The food and water will be below standard and unhygienic: Really? These days we are putting water purifiers in our homes and depending on mineral water because our rivers are too dirty to supply clean drinking water. Fruits and vegetables supplied in market are rubbed with oil to make them shine and injected with artificial colors to make them look beautiful. Our children are getting dependent of medications at an early age. Cancer has become as common as headache. The air we breathe in cities is so poisonous that many species of birds that once thrived have now either migrated or become extinct. Our children fall ill if they are left to play on a street. With each passing day, they are getting dependent on air-conditioned homes only.

On the other hand, I have seen 60 year old women climb a mountain daily and still manage to stay fit without any medicine. They do not need cosmetics to look beautiful or to prevent their skin from sagging. I don’t suggest that we should leave our homes and all migrate to villages. The point is, we are living in a myth. I have had some of the best organic food in villages cooked in homemade spices and butter. I have drank water from rivers and waterfalls and have never fallen ill. And I have played in mud and it only increased my immunity.

Rural Tourism is a way to bridge this gap. We do not want you to leave cities. We want you to become sensitive towards environment, our impacts on it and on how we can become responsible.

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Intercultural interaction between students from Dublin and local community in Kumaon

6. What is the difference between you and a Travel Agent: No difference except that – we give our heart and soul in making this country a better place to live using travel as a medium. We design training for villagers to enable them to earn a living from their own skill. For us, building relationships is more important than just getting a cheque from a customer. And that most of us left our plush corporate jobs to do this work.

Author: GAURAV BATNAGAR  

Reblogged from: THE FOLK TALES