More Cherra photos here
Shillong is a NE India hill station situated in the picturesque Khasi hills. I really like the place but the traffic and air quality has become a serious issue. After a few days I needed to get out into the country and breathe. I made the short trip (though delayed about an hour with jam leaving Shillong, grrrrrr) to Cherrapunji. Cherra or Sohra as the locals call it, is most well known for being one of the wettest places on earth, receiving an average of 11 meters of rain per year! It is surrounded by very deep valleys and as you may have guessed, many rivers. On this trip, I wanted to see is the world’s only double-decker living tree root bridge. The living tree root bridge is unique to this part of the world. Some of the bridges have been in use for hundreds of years. It sure is a creative, eco-friendly way of getting across the rivers.
On arrival at Cherra I quickly checked in to my room, got my shiny new tiffin filled with lunch and caught a ride to the valley of the famous bridge. A sturdy path has been put in place which helps both tourists and locals get around. I was told it was a fair hike, at least a couple of hours one way but I was not expecting the incredible amount of stairs. The section down to the first village alone has around 3000 stairs. I did not see a single fat person in these lower villages. There are steel cable bridges along the trail which are interesting to cross as they bounce and sway ALOT and you can also see the raging river below perfectly, waiting to swallow you up if you slip up. There are quaint little villages on the way and the natives are friendly. Right past Nongriat village I reached the twin bridges and the sight was worth all the sweat and toil to get there, as the pictures bear out. I was famished at this point and tucked right in to my tiffin lunch. (A tip on Cherra, there is good food at Halari restaurant, especially the momos and pakoras.) I dipped my feet in the cool, clean water flowing past and was rejuvenated enough to resume my trek.
I went beyond the double bridge to a wide river gorge and crossed the scary long cable bridge over it. This was as about as far as I could go with the daylight I had so I turned around for the return trip, mostly uphill. I made it back in good time but unfortunately could not get a hold of my cab driver for some time and had to wait a good hour at the village closest to where the road ends. A few of the plentiful local kids came and chatted with me until the taxi arrived. I gave them Canadian flag pins when I was leaving and they were quite pleased. I arrived back at Cherra satisfied and exhausted. The next few days my calves were killing me.