It had been a long time since we last visited a state in the North–East India. So this summer when we planned to travel to the Khasi Hills of Meghalaya, I was excited.
Our train, Poorvottar Sampark Kranti Express, was scheduled to leave New Delhi Railway Station at midnight and it later got rescheduled to 2:30 am. It was annoying as the train was late from the start and also I am not an owl to remain awake so late in the night. On top of the delay, when the train arrived it was full of insects roaming around. It wasn’t clean.
When we reached Guwahati, our train was delayed by 9 hours and it reduced one full day from our trip. We had to skip Thadlaskein because of this delay.
Our first destination was Umiam Lake also commonly known as Badapaani. Umiam Lake is a reservoir located around seventy-five km away from Guwahati. It was created by making a dam over the river Umiam.
We took a taxi from Guwahati railway station and drove towards Badapaani. Our tummies were empty so we stopped at Makhan Bhog, a restaurant situated at the border of Assam and Meghalaya. I ate a tasty Plain Dosa there and it still waters my mouth. My thought process started and I wondered, they could have built this restaurant on the border and make a line in the middle and ask people where they would like to sit and eat, in Meghalaya or in Assam. It would have given a feel of both the states in the same restaurant 🙂
As soon as we reached the Orchid Lake Resort in Badapaani, my tiredness flew away looking for the waters of Umiam Lake. From the balcony we could only get a glimpse of the lake as most of it was hidden by the tall and towering pine trees.
The slanted wooden roof of our room had a lizard. The hotel-staff said don’t get scared of the lizard, because they let us sleep in peace with no mosquitoes around. They were right as there we slept peaceful nights. At other places Tanmay, my younger brother, used to say, “Our lizard friend is not here, if it would have been here, we wouldn’t have mosquitoes.”
Next morning we went for water activities and also for birding. The road outside the hotel went straight towards the lake. The way was beautiful and on the way we saw a Yellow Cheeked Tit and it attracted all of us but not Tanmay who was busy splashing in puddles and watching butterflies. I saw this colorful, small petal wild flower – Lantana.
While papa and I bought tickets for the boat ride to an island in the middle of the lake, Mom and Tanmay went to the banks for giving the pebbles a little bathe in the lake.
In no time we reached the island on a motor boat. A dog came to welcome us there. The rocks near the banks were slippery so we made our way slowly up the hill and went walking on a path which led us to a houseboat and from there it went winding up the hill to the houseboat’s caretaker’s house with the dog still behind us or sometimes even ahead of all of us. We talked a while with the caretaker and he showed us a new edible thing.
We all equipped ourselves with bamboo sticks to scare away the dog. We also changed our course of trekking, left the path behind to reach the hilltop within minutes, to leave the dog behind and also because there was no path ahead. But no, our plan was bad, the dog was now even swifter as he knew shortcuts on which we could not walk. We reached the top and could see the landscape wide spread around us and also decided which direction next to take.
While coming downhill we heard the calls of Black Francolin. It was their mating season. They have a call like this – paan-beedi-cigaret. The voce was not coming from far away but we did not want to get lost in that island.
We started down for the banks once again through tall grass. We walked along the banks throwing the sticks as boats into the lake.
The dog who had stooped following us, was now running here and there and the lapwings were shrieking. When the shrieks are louder, they are giving a sign to tell their kids to go run, hide and stay like a statue. As soon as the danger is over, lapwings call its kids in a much softer voice. The dog went mad with all the shrieking and went splashing in the water.
After a while we came to the starting point with the dog still following us but we paid less attention to him and had thrown all our bamboo sticks. Only papa held one for fun. There we met two people who knew the lake well and took me and my little brother to wet our feet.
We said goodbye to the island and went back like the way we had come. Papa and i continued the day for Lum Nehru park.
Nehru Park had much space to play and for walks it had paths along the huge pines on the either side of the park. It would be lovely to have a picnic there. The park could have been better if all the solar power and energy exhibitions were put to use instead of being just left there. Watching birds, we came to the end of the park. There was a statue of Jawaharlal Nehru at the edge and a wonderful view of the lake. You can even call it a viewpoint to see the sunset.
The sunset was magnificent! The Sun was partially visible and its orangish-yellow light fell upon the water, giving a beautiful reflection.
We went back to the hotel and slept.