Last month I was at the foothills of the East Khasi hills. A sudden chance trip to “the abode of clouds”- Meghalaya came my way. Trapped in the busy schedule of work and entrance exams, I hadn’t planned a vacation for a long time. Then, suddenly I had a chance acquaintance with the Indian Cherry Blossom Festival. Before this, I had little idea that this Japanese festival happened in India. Apparently, it did happen and that too in autumn.
[Note: This was my first stop way to Shillong from Guwahati. The restaurant has a handicraft store downstairs. A hearty breakfast at Jiva Veg empowers you for the journey. I shared a masala dosa and a plate of aloo parantha with my mother here.]
While the world prepares for departure Shillong prepares to welcome the blossoming of life. So, I couldn’t afford to miss this opportunity and immediately headed to the land of clouds. Much like any other natural event, the blooming was unpredictable.
By the time, I landed in Shillong on 8th November, the honking, and bustling Himalayan city had prepared itself for the festival – a 3-day long affair celebrating life by the soothing cherry trees. While the blossoming trees were hardly seen, the festival was bustling with life – traditional music, rock concerts, food and wine festival, handicrafts –all were there. Even, the Meghalaya Chief Minister, Purna Sangma gave a surprise performance, a scene which I hadn’t encountered in any other Indian city.
The Rock Band Performance at the Festival
The Fountain of Love and the children surrounding it, at the Lady Hydari Park, Shillong
People enjoying local cuisines at the Food and Wine Festival.
The handicrafts and local produce for sale at the polo grounds.
As I made way through the East Khasi Hills, the hills came to life.
By this time, the cherry blossom had begun and the Scotland of the East, transferred into a pink city.
Parched at the top of Shillong peak one gets an ethereal view of the pink city.
It’s as if autumn and spring kiss and goes their separate ways here.
2 worlds exist in the same place – the blossoming cherry flowers fall on heaps of autumn leaves and as you move towards Dawki, Cherapunji and Mawsingram you come across small huts and villages tucked in the hills.
The Elephanta Falls in Shillong
Along the way, you find Mylliem, a region in the East Khasi Hills where children frequent hillside graveyards to offer their condolence. It’s as if they are waiting for a story to unfold. Mylliem is that story-teller, she tells the tale of regions – waterfalls, canyons, footbridges, and crystal clear shimmering water.
It’s a fortune teller’s land.
The Pied Piper of Mylliem is waiting to enchant us here with her spell of magic – in the land of the fortune teller.