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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Cherrapunjee Holiday Resort: A Great Landing Point to Explore all Living Root Bridges

The land of the clouds that is called Meghalaya

When I think of monsoon holidays, the land of clouds ‘Meghalaya’ comes into mind. And of course the hand guided living root bridges that are a Khasi tradition and one of a kind in the world. Meghalaya in the monsoons is a sensational experience with lush green surroundings, persistent rain like no other, descending clouds, fresh atmosphere and rich nature’s bounty. Recently, I was in the Cherrapunji area to explore the villages and the living root bridges in the monsoons. Initially, I thought that I would stay in a homestay in Nongriat, but given the wet and cold weather, I opted for some creature comforts and hence stayed at the Cherrapunjee holiday resort, a fabulous property located in the quiet village of Laitkynsew. The below hotel review is based on this recent experience of staying with them.

1) Even though the place calls itself a holiday resort, it feels more like a family run home as the local Khasi women who manage this place treat you like one of their own. These women are extremely kind, ever-accommodating and super helpful with any kind of information, guidance, etc.

2) The thing I really liked about this hotel property is that it is located in the quiet village of Laitkynsew where you can simply walk a few hundred meters from the property and meet and interact local villagers from the Khasi tribe. I played soccer with the local boys, prayed at a local church and spoke to many villagers while seeing them go about their daily lives.

A game of football surrounded by nature's bounty at Latikynsew, Meghalaya

3) And that’s not it! A lot of living root bridges – the double decker bridge of Nongriat, the longest bridge at Nongthymmai, the ones at Umunoi, Umkar and Laitkynsew are all not more than 9 kilometres away. You can simply walk to some of them, while for some, you need some form of road transport and then a trek. Then, there is the view of the many waterfalls from the hotel property and nearby, the view of the Bangladesh flood plains, the many stunning view points and the various tourist attractions of Cherrapunji (Noh Kalilkai falls, Mawsmai cave, Thangkharang park) that are not too far away. In simple words, unbelievable location.

4) The one thing that I felt while staying at the hotel is that the rooms might be a tad pricey for the state that they were in. May be, it is because of the persistent wet weather or may be because there is no competition, but I would have preferred a bit more luxury considering the fact that I paid between INR 3700 and 4400 for a room. This included breakfast and dinner.

5) Food is simple and delicious at the Cherrapunjee holiday resort. Breakfast and dinner have pre set menus and are included in the room tariffs, while lunch and other meals can be ordered from their a-la-carte menu. The chapatis here are really fresh and delicious.

6) The Cherrapunjee holiday resort stocks bay leaves, turmeric and wild forest honey that are collected from the neighbouring villages. Having bought and consumed them, I would definitely recommend buying these high quality local produce. Bay leaves cost Rs 25 per bag, turmeric (very fresh and very strong) costs Rs 100 per 250 grams and wild forest honey costs INR 700 per kilogram.

Waterfalls galore at Latikynsew, Meghalaya

7) The property does offer free wi-fi, but connection is a bit patchy. The same applies to your phone connections as well.

8) It is best to have your own mode of transport to explore the nearby villages, the living root bridges and other attractions, but the hotel does connect you with local taxi drivers for commute options. There are no buses here, but shared taxis are available in case you are looking for a cheaper mode of transport.

I loved spending my Meghalaya monsoon holiday at the Cherrapunjee holiday resort and would definitely recommend this place to all those who wish for some luxury in these beautiful villages. The only things to keep in mind for a monsoon holiday here is to take an umbrella, quick dry clothing and wear footwear meant for water (don’t bother with hiking boots).



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