If you are reading this blog then you must have either booked your festival passes already or are soon going to book them! Yes guys, it’s the maddening music festival again in the land of clouds and hills! If the only clouds you have seen at a chilled out music festival are smoke clouds, then it’s going to change for you as Meghalayan clouds are going to give a “run for money” to all the clouds and high your joints can ever give you!
The NH7 Weekender is a Happy Music Festival and the venue this year is at Thadlaskein, almost 2 hours from Shillong, Meghalaya. The dates for the festival are 2nd-3rd November.
Don’t spend an amazing Weekender lying lazily at your campsites or hotels waiting for the loud music and the fest to gear up.
Considering you have very limited time (maybe around 3/4 days with 2 days at fest)
- Thadlaskein Lake and Trychi Falls
Distance from Fest venue- 500 meters
Highlight- The beautiful man-made lake is gorgeous and perfect to spend some time. Because of the close proximity of the festival ground, the lake might be crowded during the day. You could instead visit here around sunset if you don’t mind skipping on the first couple of hours at the fest. Also take a short hike to the mesmerizing Trychi falls which is hardly half an hour away.
Distance from Fest Venue- 17 KMs/ 45 minutes Approx
Highlight- Nartiang Monoliths and a “hidden” Shaktipeeth/Durga temple. The Drive is extremely scenic and you might want to get off at one of the beautiful churches at Wahiajer. Be spooked up after listening to the human sacrifice stories from the Pujari at the temple and pose for a picture at the faded yellow rice paddy fields along the journey.
- Krang Suri Falls
Distance from Fest Venue- 40 KMs/ 1 Hour 30 minutes Approx
Highlight- My personal favorite, the waterfall is an absolute treat to watch and definitely worth squeezing out time to pay a visit when in when Meghalaya. Although the falls might not be as deserted during the festival, yet the green waters and bewitching falls are all you need to calm your hangover after a crazy party.
Distance from fest venue- 75 Kms/2 hours 15 minutes Approx
Highlight- With a campsite from Pioneer Adventures, if you have your own car and plan to remain sober or have a driver, you might as well book your stay here at least for a night. Wake up to the sound of the beautiful river and indulge in adventure activities.
Distance from Fest venue- 70 Kms/2 hours Approx.
Highlight- Indo-Bangladesh Border, Be awed while Riding a peculiar boat on crystal clear waters which appears as if you are floating atop the Umgnot River, (nicknamed as Dawki River), dive off a cliff (if there’s enough water) in the amazingly Emerald River.
Distance from Fest Venue-100 Kms/3 hours Approx. (With an off road connecting Dawki and Mawlynnong)
Highlight- Home to the mesmerizing Living Root Bridge and also known as the “Cleanest Village of Asia”, you wouldn’t be happy about it if you don’t pay a visit here. Check out awesome places of interests like the Balancing Rock, Garden, and Sky Bridge etc when here. Also be amazed at the efforts of the locals to keep the village clean!
- Umiam Lake
Distance from Fest Venue- 64 KMs/1 Hour 45 Mins Approx
Highlight- Extremely scenic lake surrounded by alpine trees. Lying on the way to almost anywhere in Meghalaya (if you come from Guwahati), Umiam lake, also known as Bada Pani is more like a pitstop. However, I would urge you to the lake side and spend some time dipping your feet in the chilling cold waters.
- Mawphlang Sacred Grave Forest
Distance from Fest Venue- 70 KMs/2 Hours Approx
Highlight- Considered religious by the local communities, they are extremely beautiful groves. Mystical and magical, the sacred grove forest holds many secrets in its womb and you would definitely have a little more love for nature once you step out from here.
- Laitlum Canyons
Distance from Fest Venue- 55 KMs/1 Hour 30 Mins
Highlight- Fall in love with nature if you spend some time here in the heart of nature. You will find rolling hills blanketed in beautiful golden covers with patches of green at this time of the year. Sit at any one of the edges and spend some time with self.
- Double Decker Living Root Bridge/Cherrapunjee
Distance from the Fest Venue- 102 KMs/3 Hours 30 Minutes Approx
Highlight- Double Decker living root bridge and the wettest place on earth with a number of waterfalls en route. Although, you won’t be able to come to Cherra and go back on the same day of the Fest, however if you have a day or 2 extra you must definitely visit here! Adventure lovers and trekkers behold as you will witness the most mesmerizing natural rainbow at Rainbow falls and double decker root bridges!
Ideal Route/Itinerary according to me would be-
Day 1 (Fri- 2 Nov)- Reach Festival Venue, en route Nong poh and Umiam Lake.
Day 2 (Sat- 3 Nov)- Take a trip to Nartiang amd spend afternoon at Thadlaskein lake.
Day 3 (Sun- 4 Nov)- Leave for Krang Suri falls in the morning. Head ahead to Dawki and over to Mawlynnong. O/N at Mawlynnong.
Day 4(Mon- 5 Nov)- Leave for Shillong/Guwahati. En route visit Mawphlang Sacred Grove and Laitlum canyons.
Since it’s Diwali and you must be having leaves (and you don’t mind missing out Diwali at home, extend it by 3-4 days and add amazing places to your itinerary.)
You can also visit other out worldly amazing places which Meghalaya has in abundance. Visit Cherrapunjee, Mawsynram, Lawbah, Mawphlanur, Nongkhum etc. if you have ample time for the same.
P.S. A few of these pictures have been taken from Google Images!