Bike Trip to Northeast India: Ride of a Lifetime (Part 1)
Last year on Diwali, instead of staying home, my friend and I decided to pull-off an unforgettable 9-day road trip through North-East India. The string of holidays that you can bargain at work around Diwali is a good time to visit North east India. I rented a Royal Enfield for the entire road trip from Guwahati and the whole trip to Northeast costed me Rs. 30,000 (including flight tickets from Delhi).
Here’s quick day-wise account of my journey to the Purvanchal range. You can get a good glimpse of the fun I had, the places I visited (and you must too!) and best trip-schedule ever to visit the Northeast India. Given below are some milestones that helped me map my trip to Northeast.
Bike Trip to Northeast India – What to Visit
Of all the exquisite seven sisters, I covered Meghalaya and Assam. The gorgeous places that I covered on this breathtaking trip to Northeast are:
- Living Root Bridges of Nongriat
- Mawphlang Sacred Forests
- Kaziranga National Park
- and Majuli
For a 9-day trip, you can set these places as milestones to cover the most astonishing sites and activities. Now let’s now go through my journey day-by-day.
Day #1 – Flight to Guwahati
I took a morning flight from Delhi to Guwahati. My friend was coming the next morning, so I had this day to myself and I made the most of it. I had booked a room in the NTPC guest house through another friend of mine. After dropping my luggage there, I quickly started the search for my favourite thing – a Royal Enfield.
Internet has made the life a lot easier and I quickly found a bike rental shop online. I reached the shop, paid 20,000 rupees as a security deposit and I had wings :). Spent the evening in the markets and slept with an unexpected visitor – A rooster![caption id="attachment_432" align="aligncenter" width="576"] A guest in my guest-house[/caption]
Day #2 – Riding from Guwahati to Shillong
Getting up early on a trip is a must. It lets you observe cities sans people. This trip was no exception. I got up early and took my Bullet to the Brahmaputra river-front. It was not what I expected as the place could use some swatchh bharat abhiyan.
After this I started for Kamakhya Devi temple. This hill top temple is very famous among Bengalis.[caption id="attachment_435" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] The road to Kamakhya Devi Temple[/caption]
Now for an atheist like me, temples don’t make any sense, but this one did. Why? Because they worship the VAGINA of the goddess here! Don’t think of me as a pervert here. Since this temple seemingly defies social taboos, it deserved a visit.[caption id="attachment_437" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] The Kamakhya Temple[/caption] [caption id="attachment_436" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] What did I just see ![/caption]
It was already 10 in the morning and my friend was about to reach, so I also started back to the NTPC guesthouse. I met him there, we loaded our stuff on the bullet and started the epic journey.[caption id="attachment_434" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] Outskirts of Guwahati[/caption]
Our target was to reach Shillong (100 kms) by evening. The roads were smooth and we thoroughly enjoyed our scenic ride. But little did we know that the real calm of nature awaited us at the outskirts of Shillong.[caption id="attachment_452" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] Umiam Lake[/caption]
The Umiam Lake has a few resorts on its banks. If you are from India, you must be familiar with the popular AirTel 4G girl. Well, one of the commercials featuring her was shot here.
While entering Shillong, the two punjabis on a bullet got a bit surprised seeing all roads marked “one way only”. But who cares ? Burrraahhhh! :D
Our recklessness was duly checked when we were stopped by a traffic police man at the very next crossing. And surprisingly:
- He was very polite.
- A kind lady appeared from somewhere and requested him, “Jaane do bachho ko, guest hain hmaare…” (Let the boys go, they are our guests).
- He let us go without asking for any money.
Tears rolled down our eyes… Just kidding. #RulaayegaKyaMoment
We got ourselves a room in a hotel and then spent the evening roaming in shared taxis, because in Shillong you get one way roads only (so it seems!). We had already got lost in the city a little over too many times because of one-way roads. So it was better to walk or use public transport.
Day #3: Travelling from Shillong to Cherrapunji and the Sacred Forests of Mawphlang
Next day we left our luggage in the hotel and started for the Elephant falls. The falls lie on the outskirts of the city. It takes you around 30 mins to reach there.[caption id="attachment_473" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] Elephant Falls[/caption]
The angrej people named it so just because it was too difficult for them to pronounce the real name.[caption id="attachment_471" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] The real reason though[/caption]
We also visited some tea gardens nearby and bought a variety of tea unique to India.[caption id="attachment_449" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] Tea Gardens[/caption]
It was now that we realised that these falls fall on the way to Cherrapunji only and we should have brought our luggage with us. It would have saved us an hour of to-and-fro trip to Shillong city.[caption id="attachment_445" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] Roads of Shillong[/caption]
Anyways, we went back to the city, picked up the luggage and then rode back here. Only a few kms away were the Mawphlang Sacred Forests. There is almost a wall with a little passage to go in.[caption id="attachment_446" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] The Wall in the NORTH-east[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_448" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] Kabeele ka Sardaar[/caption]
These forests are sacred to the local people and they conduct all kind of religious activities inside these forests. We met a boy who claimed to be part of some society and offered to be our travel guide. The little jungle-boy shared a bunch of interesting anecdotes related to the dense cover.
Our destination for the night was Nongriat and we had booked a home-stay there. We were at ease as we thought that Nongriat is near near Cherrapunji only. It was near, but it was not accessible by road. It was a trek instead! By the time we reached Cherrapunji, it was already dark. So, we looked for a budget hotel in Cherrapunji city only and spent the night snoozing off.
To know how one thing lead to another before I found myself riding amidst clouds, read the 2nd and final part of this travelogue. But before that, here’s a sneak-peek into the breathtaking events that I share in the 2nd part:
- I walked across giant bridges made up of actual roots of lush trees. (The living root bridge).
- I also found myself balancing and crossing another scary bridges over shiny turquoise waters.
- My bullet’s chain broke… I spotted a rhino when least expected, took a terrifying boat ride, climbed up a tree-house, slept in almost floating huts and much more!
I hope this travelogue leads you to plan a trip to Northeast on your own. If you still doubt a visit to the majestic unexplored nook of India, do stay tuned for Part 2 of “Bike Trip to Northeast India: The Ride of a Lifetime”.
Meanwhile, you can watch: