One such natural wonder of Meghalaya is Dawki, which is known for its crystal clear blue water of Umngot river. Having seen a picture of a lone fishermen on his shikara or fishing boat on crystal clear turquoise blue water, we learnt that it was taken at Dawki, a border town in Meghalaya. This picture was fresh in our minds while planning our North East trip and we were dead sure that this place would definitely be in our travel itinerary.
The drive to Dwaki from the state capital Shillong is a blessing with beautiful curvaceous roads that provide stunning views of valleys and waterfalls on the way. The condition of the roads is unlike other North Eastern states which makes them less accessible.
Throughout the journey, tall, thin Betel Nut trees bearing bright orange fruit which is the main ingredient of North East folks favorite pastime "Chewing Pan," can be found in abundance. Betel nut cultivation seems to be pretty lucrative as not just the locals in North East India consume it in large quantities but it is also exported widely.
We could draw parallels to the amazing experience we had in Phuket while canoeing hidden lagoons. The only thing missing were the amazing caves.
Umngot river marks the separation between Khasi and Janatia hills. The river was more a natural border separating India and Bangladesh. An age old small suspension bridge runs above the river connecting the two countries. The amateur bridge can accommodate only one vehicle at a time and the road leads to Bangladesh.
A short drive from the bridge we reached the International border check post separating India and Bangladesh. The friendly BSF personnel patrolling the border were kind enough to let us in the no man's land giving us great assurance of the Indian Army having our backs. It was indeed nice to take a peek into Bangladesh, once part of Incredible India and then briefly married to Pakistan ended up getting an ugly divorce and since then has been consistently contributing mass illegal immigrants into India.
Considering the number of illegal immigrants in our nation from Bangladesh, it was quiet surprising to see this border pretty relaxed. The border towns here seemed to happily co-exist with not too much of security or fencing across the border. However, the reality seems different and of course the number of illegal immigrants speak a different story altogether.
This town also hosts a weekly market where people from both the countries come and sell their goods. It becomes difficult to keep a tab of the number of locals crossing the border to attend the market and also it seemed pretty easy to cross over the Umngot river and enter India with few officers manning the banks of the river. Wish we had stricter laws and more security at the border that would avoid illegal immigrants crossing over.
There is no reliable public transport to and from Dawki so it would be a wise idea to hire a private taxi from Shillong to Dawki. Also, keep in mind there are no places to dine or stay in Dawki. At a distance of 90 km, it can be done as a day trip from Shillong. On the other hand, you could also do what we did. Head to Mawlynnong, dubbed as the cleanest village in Asia, which has plenty of stay options and is only 40 km from Dawki.