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Shillong to Dawki: The journey

Located at a height of 1496 meters above sea level, Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya, is a great destination that fits the dream of nature lovers and adventure seekers. The picturesque landscape of the hill station earns it the name ‘Scotland of East’.

Located on the Khasi Hills, the colorful city offers adventurous outdoor activities such as rock climbing and boating. Various different spots are also there to see like Ward’s Lake which is an artificial lake made by William Ward who was a British commissioner in the year 1894. Various etymological museum-like Butterfly and Don Bosco museum are also there to see. Markets of Shillong are beautiful during the evening time.

Among several other enchanting places, there is a town called Dawki which has been the centre of attraction in Meghalaya. It lies about 95 kms from Shillong and is just 2 kms away from the Bangladesh border. A journey amidst the hilly regions from Shillong will take you to this thriving centre. One can opt for a private or rented vehicle to go to this place. Taxi is also available.

Dawki is known for its pristine lush green surroundings, and it is truly a blessing. The town is not just a tourist attraction but also one of the nearest ‘Gateways to Bangladesh’. The best way to reach Dawki is by a rented cab or private vehicle.

Alternatively, you can also rent a motorbike all the way from Guwahati to experience one of the finest rides in the country. Your route to Dawki from Shillong will take you through spots like Shillong View Point (also called Shillong Peak), Elephant Falls, Laitlyngkot, and Pynursla. It takes 2 and a half hours to reach Dawki from Shillong.

Usually while coming to Dawki, people visit Riwai and Mawlynnong to witness the living root bridge and the cleanest village in Asia. The more you explore, the more you fall in love with nature in these two villages. The villages are filled with Khasi tribals who take care of these areas.

Among other things, the village has one of those famed living root bridges, the ultimate bioengineering spectacle of Meghalaya. The robust roots of ancient banyan trees are “directed” manually to cross over small streams to build these bridges.

Mawlynnong, a small picturesque village which overlooks the sylvan plains of Bangladesh, is unique in more ways than one. It has earned the sobriquet of ‘God’s Own Garden’ and the Discover India Magazine had given Mawlynnong, the status of being ‘Asia’s Cleanest Village’ in 2003. The achievement might be an old one, but the village folks continue to live up to it.

The lush green village, located in Pynursla block of East Khasi Hills district in Meghalaya, has around 87 environment-conscious families who make sure their abode is spic and span round-the-clock. Villagers take turns to clean the concrete roads, which are decorated with colourful creepers, natural stone structures and flowering plants of varied hues. In front of every house, there is a large rock with a deep crater in it, which is used by villagers to collect rainwater.

At every 30 metres of the roads, there is a bamboo basket placed where people can throw garbage. The garbage collected throughout the day is thrown in a large pit on the outskirts of the village and left to turn into compost. Littering is a punishable offence and plastic has been banned here.

The cosy houses on stilts are primarily built with bamboo and straw. All the households have a small garden of flowering plants and fruit-bearing trees. For tourists, the village has just one small eatery, Halathygkong, which serves tea, local noodles, puffs and pastries as well as local thali in the Meghalayan style.

There is a highway which goes to Dawki Tamabil. While going on the way, you’ll find a number of betel nut trees. The place is famous for its production of betel nuts. It is a smooth road drive, where behind the trees on the right, you can see Bangladesh. It’s a vast open land of sand and river.

Umngot enters Bangladesh from the Dawki side only. While going you have to see the traffic as sometimes the roads get so blocked that you can’t even enter the area.

At Dawki, you have to get down from the road to the beach area. Be careful on the stairs, they are pretty steep and when it is crowded be extra cautious while getting down. The place is calm and peaceful that only sound one could hear is the paddle of the boat.

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