We were unable to visit the Indian Air Force museum the last time and were pretty disappointed so this time the first thing that we did was head to the Indian Air Force Museum in Shillong. The museum provides a lot of insight into the weapons, technology and the valor of the Air Force. The first thing that gathered our attention was an aircraft ejection seat with a dummy pilot strapped to it. We saw missiles, bombs and other weapons on display. Apart from the pictures from the Indo- China war and Indo- Pakistan war, the museum houses uniform, medals and portraits of Indian Air Force personnel portraying their heroic tales as well. The massive aircrafts on display outside the museum are a delight and maybe the closet that we could get to these beasts. The museum is within the premises of the Indian Air Force Eastern Command, Upper Shillong and also houses a souvenir shop. Do remember to carry valid ID proof for entry into the museum.
Located 12 km from Shillong is the well known and easily accessible Elephant Falls. These falls ere named Elephant Falls by Britishers as there was a stone that resembled an Elephant adjacent to the falls. However, the stone was destroyed later in an earthquake. The local Khasi name for these falls is "Ka Kshaid Lai Pateng Khohsiew" meaning three steps waterfalls. A flight of steps from the parking area led us to the first layer of these falls that are wide and pretty much hidden among the trees. At the second layer, the water levels recede and we crossed a small bridge to reach the third layer which was the most impressive of all with milky white water gushing through on massive rocks and falling in a pool and continuing downstream.
The second day we decided to head to Cherrapunji. En-route was one of the most recent and stunning attraction- "Arwah - Lumshynna" cave to the already decorated and exciting Meghalaya tourist hub- Soraha belt. This massive cave, of which only 3 kilometer is mapped, is a wonder in itself. Compared to the other cave 'Mawsmai Cave' this cave receives very less tourist footfall. This particular cave is a few kilometers away from the highway and these few kilometers are stone paths with no tarmac which serves as a reason for most taxis to avoid visiting it, we would definitely mention that this cave is worth every trouble. Right from the parking area the trek path is beautifully paved and give you a feel of exploring the jungle. The neatly paved stone trek path seemed like a beautifully put jigsaw puzzle and massive greenery surrounding the trek path gave us a feel of walking into the jungle. We could hear the sounds of insects and birds and catching beautiful views of waterfalls around the valley was the icing on the cake. If this was not enough all through the trek path colorful butterflies fluttering their wings and hovering over our heads gave us directions.
There are several water channels that we encountered on our trek path and as we neared the entrance of the cave we spotted small openings that gave us an insight of what lies within the cave and the gurgling sound of water dripping and falling on rocks gave us an adrenaline rush. Upon entering the cave we could see water dripping slowly drop by drop from every opening possible. This cave is very wide with lots of room to walk around and what adds more beauty is the crystal clear water flowing every where and crisscrossing the boulders laid for visitors to venture further into the caves. The best part about this cave was the fresh water creek that kept company leaving us perplexed of its origin. The ice cold water and the magical sound of water dripping from the ceiling and joining into the unknown hidden paths gave us a glimpse of the life of cave explorers and the ray of hope to explore the unknown. The further we went in, the caves opened up stunning views of massive stalactite formations.
There are many deviations in between but be cautioned not to venture into pathways that are not lit as they are not meant for visitors and help maybe a distant dream in case of a mishap. The end point of the mapped path is a narrow path that leads to two massive rocks on either side blocking your path and the only thing that you can hear is water gushing throughout the narrow passages and flowing in full speed further into the unknown. The highlight of the cave lies just near the entrance on to your left. A slippery path led us to a massive but calm and still water body with turquoise blue water. It looked like a river in the cave with tree trunks sprouting out here and there. It reminded us of one of the scenes from the Harry Potter movie. Clearly, it was one of kind experience.
And of course the sigh seeing in Cherrapunji brought back some fond memories. The many cab drivers who took us on lot of tours made sure we had the best of time. Our recommendation from personal experience would be "Norlha" phone 9089616876. A knowledgeable, safe driver with a very comfortable car.
We went to Mawlynnong as well the next day and to be honest the village is beautiful but what was equally important and made us revisit it was the food. Yes, the food that was served in our home stay earlier was so yumm that we could still feel the taste of it linger in our mouths so there was no way we could skip the home stay and we were so glad to have found a room there. The Home stay and the local restaurant there as well serves the best meals in Meghalaya.
On our way back we even visited Dawki and it was fun to experience the beauty again and be content as Meghalaya was one place that we were sure we would definitely revisit and were elated that this wish was fulfilled.