How and why it began
I have been to Guwahati several times mostly for work. Thus when I got the offer to travel to Sylhet Bangladesh from Guwahati along with my wife by car I was exhilarated. We must travel through Assam and Meghalaya to reach Indo Bangladesh border at Dauki. Clouds, rainfall, mountains, lakes and most importantly escaping the regular schedule that what we will be served.
To Guwahati and Night stay
Kolkata to Guwahati Flight
We had an evening flight from Netaji International Airport at Kolkata. Our driver dropped us there at time. I had a dreadfull experience with the airline staff declaring our ticket was using free miles and may not be allowed to fly. We contacted our sponsors and by about 40 mins the issues were sorted and we were on plane.
Eventually we arraived at Guwahati on time (7:30pm). A cab driver known to me from earlier visits was waiting at the Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi international Airport. As we knew our sponsors had arranged an hotel adjacent to airport. Accordingly a man with an car was waiting too. As we were already agitated by the flight incidence I asked the known assamese driver to follow the hotel personal on car.
Guwahati Hotel Stay
We reached a place with almost no lights and very bad roads, basically a construction site behind the airport runaway. The man showed as a homestay for the night with no checkin facilities. Though I was in a fix we left the place. My known driver took us to a hotel 500 metre from airport where i had previously stayed. Luckily enough we got accommodation.
After being refreshed we decided to take a stroll to the local market in search for evening snacks. Chiefly we had tea and pakoras as cofee was no where available. We returned to hotel for some rest and decided to get some assamese food on dinner.
After some search and chat with a local pharmacist we had dinner from an adjacent restaurant by 10 pm. We preferred teki an assamese preparation with tamarinds. My wife got early to sleep. But I kept awake watching rain amongst the lamboo trees from the hotel window.
Guwahati Morning and rapid sightseeing
As on tours I was awake early and got bedtea. I took my wife to the Kamakhya Temple by 6 am. We took some snaps from the watch point on road. I also photographed each temple engraving in details.
This temple is famous for it’s Tantric endeavour. Historically the chief priests being bought by the king of Assam from Guptipara in Bengal. Several Tantra followers used to visit the temple and few others in North Guwahati. That is a story of another travel to be told some other time. I may visit the mystical and magical Mayang village sometime. We used the toilet facilities.
We didn’t had time for the Lankeswar Temple.
Brahmaputra River and Deepor Bill or Lake
On way back I tried to click a photo of the Deepor lake famous for the round weed plantations. It is also the Deepor Bill Bird Sanctuary.
Guwahati Airport again
Our known driver dropped us to the airport after we checked out from the hotel.
Rushing by 8:18 am we were in the Bordoloi Guwahati airport. We boarded our slated car upon arrival of 3 more copassengers.
Assam and Meghalaya
Guwahati to Jorabat by NH27
We stopped at a place on VIP Airport Road near the Airport before VIP Chowk at around 8:30 am to collect some biscuits for the trip. We kept on moving eventually crossing Gurchuk and Balaji Temple of Ahom Gaon as the scenic beauty of Assam kept on unravelling itself.
Crossing Lokhra we reached Sarusajai along NH27. At Beharbari Lalmati no public transport to be seen except jeeps and trackers. Reaching Bojora we could feel the highway going through lush green hills. We refuelled our car at an oil station near CRPF DIGP Office and used the toilet facility. We were moving on a stretch of NH27 left side being Assam and right being Meghalaya.
Jorabat to Byrnihat by NH 6
Reaching Jorbat we took right to appear on NH6 leaving NH27. I reached Kamarkuchi and Upper Tapesia in Assam.
Byrnihat to Garikhana Shillong by NH6
Byrinhat to Umium Lake
At Sambagla people were selling pineapples along the roadside. By the time we appeared at Sumer Meghalaya the pollution has decreased much. The sky was fine blue with clouds .
We travelled through Mawlein Mawkhan, Meghalaya. We were at Mawlyngkhung .
Umium Lake Watch Point
Soon we were by the Umium lake or Barehipani. The sky and the lake waters were wonderously blue. The lake had picturesque houseboat. I pledged to return sometime for a night stay.
Umium Lake to Garikhana, Shillong
We travelled through Shillong along NH106 for a short but time taking stretch. Surroundings of Shillong is beautifull but Shillong itself seemed congested for me. And also having traffic jam at times.
Garikhana, Shillong to Elephant Falls Road start by NH106 (Mausingram Shillong Road)
We were travelling along NH 106 and reached Upper Shillong Tea Garden on left under Government of Meghalaya. The Upper Shillong Forest on Khasi Hills remained on our left behind the tea garden. We continued on the highway ignoring the right hand road to Mattilang Amusement Park at Laitmynsaw.
After crossing the Shillong Air force Airport and Eastern Command HQ we left the Mausynram Shillong road to take left NH 206. We missed the Elephant falls which we could have reached taking a small right side road at the start of NH 206.
Elephant Falls Road Start to Umtyngar By NH 206
East Khasi Hills, Marbaniang till Mylliem
Just after crossing Shilling Airport we left Mausimram Shillong Road NH106 to start with NH206. We saw several places bearing testimony to landslides from adjacent hills. The wooden houses were so close to the land slides death and destruction was eminent.
But Humans have a strong urge of survival. Those locations had been used as stone foundries and at places cultivation too was good there. Probably because the fertile mineral rich undersoil was exposed to the top soil. We evolve constructive instincts amongst destructive situations !
Mylliem to Umtyngar
Arriving at Umtyngar we crossed the comparatively silent Umtyngar river for the first time moving along NH 206.
Umtyngar to Dawki by NH206
Umtyngar to Laitkynsew
From Umtyngar we started climbing hills. It was constantly raining as we travelled through a narrow road in the mountains. So dense was the fog and rain we couldn’t see own hands if protruded out from car window.
It was a mostly oneway road with single lane at most places. Steep mountain wall on one side and deep gorge on the other. Fearsome but exciting journey indeed. We were indeed in Meghalaya or in the home of clouds.
Laitkynsew to Langkyrdem
The sky became somewhat clear as we were approaching Laitkynsew. We were very close to numerous waterfalls the infamous seven sisters. At places we almost drove through the waterfall with water flowing over and through tunnels under the road.
The place seemed to be on top of the world and heavenly. So many mountain ranges with varying shades of blue and green. And sparling white waterfalls at distances.
Lankyrdem to Pynursla
We slowing came down the hills with the landscape changing back to usual one again. Habitation started to reappear and wine shops surfaced out from no where.
Herbal medication shops at times even in groceries. Taxation on alcohol is absent here as our driver stated. So sad I had left drinking almost 18 years. Later we understood the nearby Bangladesh border also has prompted the alcohol sale. As alcohol prohibited there except 2 litres per foreigner for personal use.
Pynursla to Pongtung
The roads has sharps bends though not much steep slopes. Sky is clear blue with fresh air and lots of light. But my camera charge is blinking and we don’t have time to recharge. As we were already running late as we constantly got calls from Bangladesh.
Pongtung to Dawki
Reaching Dawki we saw a fine military bridge. Could not snap a picture as photography strictly prohibited. Could see the Dawki river underneath the mountain. We were told that’s Bangladesh.
We could see Bangladeshi fisherman boats and rural people at the embankments.
Dauki in India to Tamabil in Bangladesh
We waited for sometime at the immigration. Bangladeshi Nationals returning were waiting for much longer time. Our luggages were dumped at the immigration counter to be stamped checked. It was a queer feeling to walk from India to Bangladesh carrying your luggage alone.
Reaching Bangladesh we were received by our Bangladeshi friends. Immigration check was quicker at Bangladesh. Soon we boarded the waiting car along with our Bangladeshi friend.
Tamabil to Sylhet
Tamabil to Jaintiapur
We traversed along the Tamabil Sylhet highway part of Dhaka Sylhet highway. My Samsung Note 4 mobile got discharged and had serious trouble getting quick photos. The border road on Indian side was good. The zero point was so so. And the Bangladesh side was no road at all. Huge pieces of rock and coal almost on the road with many trucks blocking the way.
We took the straight road avoiding the right one to Jafflong as our Bangladeshi aid explained. Interestingly the left side was East Khasi Hills in some distance and right side was also bit hilly. We were extremely hungry as no lunch till then. Got some hot mineral water and few local potato chips. The road was moving along the India Bangladesh border though from distance. As we crossed the Nuljuri Jame mosque we could see few of the seven sister waterfalls. We crossed a small rivulet and were speeding to Jaintiapur.
Jaintiapur to Horipur
We had a place with tea plantations. And the East Khasi Hills visible from road intermittently . We were at Jaintiapur. We had no time for the Jainta Rajbari and the Citrus Research Institute nearby.
Soon we crossed the Boro Gang River and were moving away from the East Khasi Hills. We crossed the Shan Goyain River near Shari Ghat. We were heading to Horipur.
Horipur to Sylhet
We crossed the Kapna River to arraive at Horipur. The Sony camera was getting discharged too. And I was feeling hypoglycemic, getting light headed and headache. Ultimately we reached Sylhet. We visited as planned.
Had Safed Biriyani which I didn’t like at all. We went to stay at Britania Hotel. Room was not bad. We went to have our dinner at Pansi restaurant. Food was cheap with a complete buffet setup. Cigarettes are costly. We returned to the hotel and slept soon.
Woke up early and had complimentary breakfast at the hotel. Couldn’t get time to visit the infamous Hazrat Shah Jalal Mazar Sharif. My wife had to join for hospital duty next day. Thus we had to leave that day for home at Kolkata via Dhaka. Rest of our team returned through the route we came and had a night stay at Guwahati that day.
Rest of the journey from Sylhet to Dhaka by car cancelling the flight bookings will appear in the second part of this travel.
As for now