Hey there! First of all, I came to know about Nongriat through Rachita Saxena instagram stories. (PS: She is definitely a person to be followed on Instagram). We travelled with Thera Para Travels. Yes! You heard it right. Many of my Malayalee colleagues had asked me the same, “Thera Para Travels !!!! Is that a real travel agency???” At some point, even I have asked the same question. But here I am, writing about them. So next time when you hear Thera Para Travels, Just close your eyes and say “Yes, I’m in”.
So let’s get back to the trip. We were a group of 14 and none of us knew each other, but everyone knew Rachita. I’m skipping the part where we all landed at Guwahati Airport and from there to Nongriat.
Let’s start with Nongriat, We reached around 4pm at the top from where we had to climb down 3200 steps to Nongriat village. Some of us brought sticks to help climb down. At first, only a few steps were visible. I thought “One step at a time” and started to descent. We had a tourist guide (Phayas) who was only 16 and was earning his share for college. How cool is that?
On the way, Phayas told us that he needed only 20 minutes to climb down and 45 mins to climb up. I was wondering how he could walk like that. As we moved down, the number of steps kept on increasing and it was more like a labyrinth of steps. We saw many people who were climbing up. They were sweating and tired, stopping regularly to breath. This made us worried. By now, Bindi, myself and Phayas were the only ones visible.We continued to walk..walk..and again walk.
As we walked, Bindi told me that she had a thing, a competition in her mind had already started and that she should reach first at Nongriat before anyone else could reach, NOT EVEN ME!!!! And we reached Nongriat before anybody else and you can guess who reached first.
The feeling when you complete a target cannot be said or written, but should be experienced atleast once in a lifetime.
When we reached the place, my expectations were blown off. I was expecting a place without electricity, and was hoping to live in a bamboo hut. But I saw small concrete structures and there were more tourists than the Khasi people.We were so thrilled and then Phayas pointed to a hill and said that we came from there.
We sat down on the steps, waiting for the others. Then a small kid came over to Bindi and asked for candy. Bindi told that she would give her a candy if she gets to see some magic trick. Then the small kid told that she knows magic and planted a kiss on Bindi. These kids have a way of getting things done (Be prepared to play with them if you’re planning a Nongriat trip).
Our group was to stay in different homestays. Myself, Sree, Rachita along with Gurvir went to a house which was near the double decker root bridge. As it was night, we couldn’t get a good view of the bridge. So I made a mental note to wake up early and visit the double decker first. When I reached the homestay, I heard Malayalam, which reminded me of the fact that there would be at least one malayalee where ever you go in this world. Later I got to know that they were medical students from Trivandrum Medical College and they were visiting Meghalaya after coming from Nagaland.
Next morning I woke up around 5:15 am and the sun was already up. I was so excited that I went straight to the double decker bridge and started exploring the place. It’s so good to be in a place where you can find yourself. The water is so clear that you can see small fishes and if you put your legs in the water and stand still, you will get a natural fish pedicure. I just walked through the narrow path for sometime listening to the sound of jungle.
We had a long day ahead. We were going to the Rainbow falls after breakfast, so I went back and got changed for the trek to Rainbow falls.
We started the trek around 9am. There were more steps, bridges and hills ahead of us. After an hour and a half, I could hear the sound of a waterfall. As we neared, I couldn’t believe my eyes as the water was plush blue in colour (I have heard about blue lagoons, but never believed it). It’s so beautiful that my heart skipped a beat (probably due to the long trek). We had to descent down to reach the Rainbow falls and there were no steps, but only a narrow lane of rocks.
Some people who were nearby the falls showed signals to descent slowly. We did the same and reached the Rainbow falls. When I was there, I just wanted to take off my t-shirt and jump into the water. A few minutes later, Sree came and jumped right into the water, but got out of it quickly. The water was so cold that he had to come out.
The people in there asked us to stay in the water for sometime, so that our bodies could adjust to the cold temperature. We did the same and it worked. Around 12, we descended back to the village and on the way back, we had some delicious Maggi. By the time we reached back, everyone was so tired that no one wanted to leave the comfort of their houses.
Our homestay owner had 7 children and each one of them was naughty, but one got very close to Rachita and Sree. She was hanging on to either Sree or Rachita all the time. The children there are so crazy that if we taught them a trick, we had to continuously do it until they’re tired (Mostly Sree was the victim). When Rachita put on her sweater to go outside, the little girl went inside and brought her sweater asking Rachita to help her put it (she was trying to be like Rachita). These kids have magical powers that they never get tired. Even when they fall down, they don’t cry but rather just get up and walk like nothing ever happened.
Around 6:30pm, we went to the other homestay where the rest of the team was staying. On the premises, kids were playing carroms and they played like professionals. As I watched the kids play carroms, they started to sing BONEY M- Brown girl in the ring ( shalalala ). It’s good to be with kids.
Then I asked our team if anyone was interested in playing carroms to which they all said yes. Myself and Rachita were a team and the other team had Srujana and Sree. Srujana said that she did not know to play and we told her that we would help her out. Once we started to play, she started to point out the rules of the game and gained coins for her team. But obviously myself and Rachita won the game.
We went back to our homestay and talked for sometime. Everyone was so tired that we started limping by the end of the day. Now we knew why we shouldn’t skip leg day at the gym.
Next morning we had to start our climb right after breakfast. I woke up early and went to the double decker root bridge and sat on it for a while. I didn’t want to go back. My mind was saying to stay there for a month. I convinced my mind that I will go back and stay there for a month.
It’s so sad to leave a place which you love. After breakfast, Bindi and Srujana told that they’re going to climb up early and asked me if I’m joining them. I said yes, grabbed my bag and started to climb. I didn’t want to look back. That would make me even sad. So I just walked towards the steps without turning back.
All of us were worried to climb up as it demanded hard work and more patience. Anyway, everyone started to climb up(There is no other alternative). Srujana had breathing problems and was stopping regularly to control her breathing. I also stopped and waited for her. After an hour we reached the top. I was not that tired the way I expected it would be. I guess stopping for Srujana helped me as well.
When we reached the top, Bindi was already there. She told us that she lost her way and had to walk extra. We waited for everyone to reach and said goodbye to Nongriat, the place of root bridges, blue lagoons, waterfalls and the happy people.