At times, escaping into the unknown and wilderness can provide solace to all, but it mostly satisfies those souls that are seeking peace and tranquillity. This travelogue is about a place that weaves tree roots to bridges, casting a magic spell every time you visit; a place to feel one with the nature, leaving you amazed with its pristine beauty. Go for serene surroundings and quietness to Nongriat, Sohra, respecting it in all its natural grandeur and the soul that the village offers.
At the Rainbow falls.
First time around
Visited around Feb 2014 with friends and was aware of the strenuous trek, but still moved forward. We drove from Shillong until Tyrna village in a 2 and half hours drive. Once there, we walked down the paved stairways to the then getting popular ‘Double Decker Root Bridge’. It seemed easy at first, but became steeper as we went down. Easy was and will be for the first timers just thinking of walking down the stairs. But no, you will be proved wrong as your legs start feeling wobbly with more steps taken down. You either cry in pain or just laugh it off and continue the trek 3500 stairs!
Crystal clear fresh pools viewed from the hanging bridges.
After almost giving up, but continuing to walk and trek through the paved paths, we saw three hanging bridges built entirely of wires, bamboos and planks to conquer. Challenging, yet possible even if you are afraid of heights. You will notice crystal clear fresh pools with a few waterfalls surrounding you, as you cross the bridges. For the adventurous souls, an exotic escape paradise to be at, witnessing the unusual wild vegetation, beautiful skinned reptiles crossing paths, attractive butterflies flying around, while witnessing small to large rapids creating teal fresh pools luring you to take a dip. Once at the sight of the double-decker living root bridge, a feeling of pride and joy overtook as we just stood still, watching the beautiful, natural architecture intertwined above the clear running water. The small dam-like space with flowing water and a space for respite to dip your tired feet is all you will need. But wait, that’s not all, be welcomed by a natural spa treatment, as small fishes nibble away dead skin off your feet, a ticklish yet rejuvenating experience!
Double-decker living root bridge and directions.
Following the stairs beyond the bridge, taking the path of trails will bring you to the only football field of the village. Across the field lies a path leading towards Mawsaw bridges, another two-wire hanging bridge, out of which one is a semi-living root bridge. Beyond this is the path to few fresh water pools, where a few of us enjoyed a swim and dip for few hours. Ahead of this lied a path leading to a secretly hidden beautiful waterfall, which only the locals knew about then, the Rainbow falls. Unaware of this magnificent fall, we returned the same day after the strenuous trek back of 3500 steps again! We were sore for few days to function. The aftereffects of the unforgettable and yet wonderful trek.
Beyond the Mawsaw bridge.
This time around
You know it’s a long way down by experience or stories heard. Yet it imprints memories of good times or reasons with your instincts to challenge and be adventurous. It’s a calling you respond to, never to regret. This time, to make it all more adventurous, it was just us two girls traveling the local way. All packed, we left from Shillong in a shared sumo from Bara bazar till Sohra for a 2 hour drive at Rs.70 per head. Once there, shared taxies are available for Rs. 40 per head till Tryna village, where locals will offer guide services across the trek for a nominal fee and children will most happily offer long sticks for your long trek ahead – a suggested recommendation to consider.
The Rainbow falls and natural feet spa treatment.
Since we missed getting to the Rainbow falls last time, we had to be there this time! Beyond the Mawsaw bridge, the path leading towards it is about 3000 steps of strenuous trek up or down, through uneven ground filled with dried leaves, crossing partial views of teal river flowing. The best time to visit is pre-noon to early afternoon. This is when the waterfall true to its name is visible and viewed at its best. One of the beautiful and divine waterfalls in the state, the bottom of the fall is accessible to wade into after trekking the difficult rock terrain. The mist of the waterfall close enough to feel within a certain area, is accessible from the point of view. It is so grand and majestic, that it will leave you in awe of its pristine beauty – An experience that made me forget the tiresome trek and a sight I will remember all my life.
Our lovely cottage, living root bridges and jack fruits in sight.
Just a partial view of the stairs to be conquered, up or down.
The village and the Rainbow falls in sight from far beyond.
Points to remember if you are planning to visit Nongriat or Rainbow falls.
– Not all of us will be fit or strong enough to make it all the way to the Rainbow falls and return the same day. Hence, booking homestays and guests houses should be a consideration well in advance
– There are just few tea stalls with limited stocks of beverage and food. Getting your tucks and food supplies – whether or not staying for the night – is highly recommended.
– Basic requirements for supplies while camping is strongly suggested. You should always carry torch, mosquito repellent, first aid, etc.
– Home to just a few residents, this is a village of a wide space in the jungle. So, please take utmost care of not leaving behind carbon footprints and make sure to keep the place as pristine as it is.
You will be painfully sore after the trek for few days. Brace the experience and after effects. It’s all worth the experience.