Wettest Land on Earth - Capital of Rains - Cherrapunji
Cherrapunji's has a place in the Guinness Book of Records for being a place with heaviest rainfalls across the world. Situated at about 4500 feet above sea level, this home of Khasi clan is a year round tourist destination. The climate is pleasant for most part of the year and visitors can enjoy the ridges and crests amidst the beauty of nature at any point of time. There is no month of the year when the place does not get rains and hence can truly be called a land of one season – monsoon! With average rainfall over 11,000 mm annually, this small hill-town of Meghalaya can thus definitely be called the “Capital of Rains” in the world. We may know it as Cherrapunji, though it was not always that the town had its present name. Earlier the place was called Sohra, which was pronounced "Churra" by the British and was an in-formal capital for the Khasi tribe. Gradually the place got its current name which actually means “land of oranges”.
Our next stop was Mawsmai Cave, one of the few caves in the area that have been fully lighted and developed as tourist spots. Limestone caves with stalactites & stalagmites, these are called Krem Pubon in local language. This 150 m long natural formation starts with wide and spacious entrance but later only provides low stooping passages for tourists but that does not deter anyone from even experiencing the seeming impassable parts. The wetness of the region does not leave you even inside these structures where one could often find their feet submerged in water or droplets pouring from above. Towards the end of the cave, there is a lot of greenery and the exit is practically amidst bushes. After these caves we covered a couple of other waterfalls and then proceeded to our last destination of the day. Before that though we also visited the place which is technically what makes this town the wettest place – Mawsmai Falls. Along with falls lesser in height but no less alluring, the spectacular, cascading 1,035-ft-high Mawsmai Falls-the are fourth highest in India.
Finally after about half an hour of travelling we entered the boundaries of the Eco Park. This is an ecological reserve established by the Meghalaya government and hosts a number of indigenous and hybrid orchids. However, it is not that this which makes the place interesting. The Eco Park offers beautiful view of distant Sylhet Plains of neighboring Bangladesh. Moreover, the place provided close view of a serene waterfall reaching a deep gorge and this was what made us decide to spend good time there. The view of water flowing through the steep slope disappearing from eyes before hitting the deep gorge was nothing less than breathtaking. The cool breeze carrying the droplets from this water made the entire area heavenly and the clouds around were simply a bonus for us. Tired after the long two days we stayed laying there on the rocks, chatting about the wonderful weekend we were about to end and enjoyed the site to its fullest. None of us wanted to leave the place when someone from us reminded that we still had the return journey to make and everyone got up hesitantly. We took one last view of the perfect setup on earth and bid the region a good-bye. We began our return journey to Guwahati with each one promising themselves to return to the region in future with more time in hand and plan to go deeper into the place.