Meghalaya is divided into 3 main regions. Khasi Hills, Jaintia Hills and Garo Hills. In the previous episode, we enjoyed crystal clear river water in Dawki. We did local sightseeing. And we reached Jowai late at night. In this episode, you will see us doing local sightseeing in Jowai. Then we reached Shillong late in the night. For your information, Jowai is the district headquarters of West Jaintia Hills region. Namaskar friends! Welcome to Visa2explore! This is your host, Harish Bali. Right now, we are in the West Jaintia Hills area. Last night, we stayed at the CTC Orchid Inn hotel. We paid Rs 2600 as tariff on a double occupancy basis. Although, this property is spread over a large area, but they have only 10 rooms to hire. Our stay was quite comfortable! Breakfast is included in this tariff. Shillong is 55kms from here. Right now, I am standing just outside the hotel. This road looks lovely. One more thing that I want to highlight for you about the landscape of this place….. …is that it is quite different and pleasant. Like I am standing here and there is a small lake in front of me. There is greenery everywhere. Overall great experience! The weather here is also very good. Though last night we had to keep our ceiling fan on at low speed but … even if we hadn’t done that, it would’ve been very comfortable for us. Now let us go for local sightseeing. After that we will spend the night in Shillong, which I told you, is 55kms away. After covering a distance of 14kms, we’ve reached our first destination – Ialong Park. This is a really awesome natural environment! Absolutely neat & clean! I can hear slight sounds of animals and birds around. There is the Sacred Forest on the left hand side. Just see where I am standing right now…. …there are mountains at a distance of about 1km from here and in between, there is farmland. You can just stop here and enjoy this beautiful scenery. Watch the clouds above. Awesome! We will go a little more up. Wow! Ultimate! The view that I’m enjoying right now is really awesome & exclusive! I can see these farmlands from up above, with water snaking around its edges. Really good & see the clouds in the front! The slight breeze feels so good against the skin. What is strange is that at this moment, apart from us, there is nobody else in this Eco Park. So, I feel that if you will come here…. …you will appreciate this view as much as I am doing right now. Amazing! I can see 3-4 cars parked down there, along with a hut. I am assuming that farmers must be living there. We will spend 10-15 minutes here and then move on. There is a tree at every 4-5 meters of distance here. There are different varieties & species of trees here. I can see a lot of bamboo trees here. We have been roaming around here for 2 hours now. I don’t feel like going back. I am feeling like spending a couple of hours more here but if we do that…. …our further programme will get delayed. So, we will leave here half-heartedly! And continue our journey further. The view that we were examining down below from the Eco Park…. …somebody told me that this road is there… …on which we can travel one and a half kilometer down to reach that spot. Now we are driving down to that spot to see how it looks. A while ago we were looking down from Eco Park to this spot. Now when we are down here, it feels good! Look at the clear waters here. I can see other tourists here as well. There are cars parked here so tourists must come here. Tourists are enjoying picnic. And the house right there is a homestay, I guess. Let us go there and find out some more information. We have with us the owner of this homestay. I found out from her that this is a relatively new homestay. Rs. 1000 is the tariff for each room. One or two persons can stay in a room. The view from this homestay is awesome! The weather is good as well. She also told me that on Sundays, a lot of people come to this side to spend half or full day here. And if you want to eat here…. …she will cook traditional meals as well as the usual home-cooked food too for you. I’ve put her details in the description of this video. Thank you very much! Khub Lei! Khub lei! Bye-bye! Though I couldn’t observe it from above, but on coming here, I got to know that this is Myntdu River. We will spend 10-15 minutes more here. After that, we will go back up. Inside, I found out that they serve non-veg food here. In veg food, they have just salad available. On inquiring more, I’ve found out that I can eat red rice here. I can take it with some salad and chicken. They have boiled chicken available here. I have already placed my order and now I am waiting. Red rice is the local produce of this area. This is the raw form of red rice. Rich source of fiber! Let me tell you what I have on my plate here. This is called Pusain. It is made of rice. Rice is powdered and then Pusain is made of it. I saw them cooking Pusain here. Tomato-cabbage salad, red rice and cooked chicken. First of all Pusain! With chicken soup! One thing that I’ve noticed here….. …the traditional method of cooking Pusain…. …means that Pusain is a little raw on the inside, here. You can feel by touching it. It is slightly sticky here. But it is perfectly cooked on the outside. So, I’ve had a bite of it to experience its taste! If you eat it 3-4 times more, you will develop a taste for it. Well, some locals have told me that its best combination is with pork. That is what the locals enjoy more. The traditional style of cooking rice here has simplicity in it. And this chicken has also been cooked with a huge level of simplicity in the process. I mean to say this chicken has a little ginger, some salt and just a bit of garlic. That is it! And a bit of black pepper! Nothing else! Khub Lei! We will go to Jowai after finishing our meal. We are at the Bypass road right now and from here, Jowai is 5kms. We will do some local sightseeing and after that….. ….we will look for more local places to visit in the vicinity of 10-15 kms from Jowai. Then, towards the evening, as I’ve told you already, we will leave at around 5.30 pm….. ….to go to Shillong, so that we reach there by 7 pm or so. We’ve reached Syntuksiar. For your information, there was a prominent freedom fighter from Meghalaya. Kiang Nangbah! This place is a memorial for this valiant hero. There are innumerable brave heroes who laid down their lives in the Indian freedom struggle. They fought for the country. We’ve reached the memorial of one such brave fighter, Kiang Nangbah. Here, I read and understood about him. In 1862, the Britishers tricked him and captured him. And he was hanged till death publicly in Jowai. You can come to this memorial and pay homage to this brave soul. Now, we will leave here. Our next destination is a waterfall. It will take us at least 20-25 minutes to reach there. For your information, when you come here, do refer to the Google Maps, because…. …there are turns after every 200-300 meters and without Maps, it would be difficult to reach here. This path will lead us to Tyrshi Waterfalls. Since it has just rained, the path has become a little slippery. So, we cannot take the car further. We will go on foot from here. It will take 10-15 minutes to reach. We will see the waterfall and then come back here. Tyrshi waterfall? Okay! How far from here? 10 minutes! Wow! See, the water is flowing down at high speed. But in comparison to the huge waterfalls that I’ve seen in Meghalaya so far, this is not much. But you know, waterfalls look lovely, whether they are huge or small. Though this is the month of September. If you come here during monsoon season, June or July…. …there would be more water in this waterfall. And more than this waterfall, I’ve liked the view from this place. This is an exclusive view! There are so many shades of green in front of me that it seems that this view has been designed. And I cannot believe my eyes, this view is so beautiful. The farms below are light green, dark green, with criss-cross of naked clay in between. Amazing! This is an ultimate view! We’ve come back to the main road after visiting the waterfall. Now, we have to go to Nartiang. I am checking Maps to see how far it is. It will take 33 minutes to cover the 19kms distance. The time is 4.30 pm. I had told you that the sun sets early here. So we must leave without further waste of time. Although, it is feeling very good to stand here on the road. But if we stay here any further, we will be very late for our next destination. We’ve reached Nartiang. We’ve come here to visit monoliths. Let us go inside this gate and find out if there is any person or guide who can tell us more about this place. There is no guide available here right now. But reading this board, I can understand there are two types of monoliths. Men monolith and Women monolith! The local name for women monolith, it is written there, is Moo Kynthai. The largest monolith structure among men monoliths is 8 meters high and 18 inches thick. These monoliths were erected during 1500 A.D. These were erected to commemorate few special events of Jaintia Kingdom. If you look carefully, you will see two kinds of stone structures. One kind is that of stone structures erected straight like these. The second kind is flat stone structures. As per my understanding, the straight standing structures are men monoliths. The flat ones are female monoliths. Though, I may be wrong. If you have detailed information about this topic, do share with us in your comments. You will get to see Monoliths at many places in Meghalaya. But this place, where we are standing right now, Nartiang,…. …there are lots of monoliths around here. And from what I read on the board about the tallest monolith among these,…. ….which is 8 meters in height,… ….so looking at all these monoliths, I think that is the one, 8 meters in height. And this monolith is quite wide as well. It felt good coming here and I gained a good amount of historical knowledge as well. Now we will leave here. About 5 minutes from here, there is a Durga Temple. Let us go there. After travelling for 5 minutes from the Monolith structures, we’ve reached the Durga Temple. I’ve paid obeisance inside the temple. The temple priest is not available here right now. I have with me his sister, instead. Can you tell us something about this temple dedicated to Ma Durga? Yes, of course! This temple is similar to that of Ma Kamakhya in Guwahati. There are 3 such temples in the Northeast. Kamakhya, this one and Tripur Sundari! In Tripura? Yes, Tripur Sundari! This is a place where Ma Durga’s left leg fell, when her body was divided into 52 parts. This Shaktipeeth is dedicated to the left leg of Ma Durga. There are 51 Shaktipeeths in all. We had visited the Shaktipeeth in Haridwar. We visit Shaktipeeths, wherever we go. So, this is one of those Shaktipeeths! Not many travellers are aware of the existence of this place. If you want to come here, you can put ‘Durga Temple, West Jaintia Hills’ in Google Maps. The map will guide you and bring you here. Thank you! Jai Ma Jayanti! The Priest’s sister told us that it was their 30th generation, which was serving at this temple. It felt good to be here. Now we are leaving here to go to Shillong. It is a distance of 65kms, which will take us 2 to 2.25 hours to cover. It is already 6.15 pm. You can see how dark it has become. For your information, whenever you go to Shillong, avoid the peak traffic time. Peak traffic time is around 8 am and between 6 and 9 pm. Since the volume of traffic is high, you may get stuck in a traffic jam. Though it will be peak time when we will reach Shillong, I am hoping we won’t have to face too much traffic. Come, let us go from here. We reached Shillong at 9 pm. We booked ourselves rooms at Aura homestay for two days. On double occupancy basis, it cost us Rs. 3650 for a two-day stay. The room is a bit small, but cozy. When we had reached Guwahati, we began our Meghalaya journey from Shillong. We had planned to half of the local sightseeing on Day 1 in Shillong. After that, when we would be going from Sohra to Jowai,… …we planned to come back to Shillong to do the rest of sightseeing. Now, let me tell you something about the next episode. In the coming episode, you will see the Laitlum Canyon. This is one place, which must be included in your itinerary. It is a mind-blowing place to visit. For some time you feel as if floating above the clouds and… ….sometimes, you will feel below the clouds. At other times, the clouds are floating right in front of your eyes. In Shillong, we explored very tasty local food and enjoyed it. We visited the vegetable market and towards the end of our stay, we went to Umiam Lake too. I hope you are enjoying this Meghalaya series. After travelling through Khasi Hills and Jaintia Hills, we also went to Garo Hills. You will see that journey in the coming episodes. We will meet again soon. Till then goodbye! Thanks for your time!