Don’t stop at Shillong Go to Nongkhnum

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nongkhnum

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How to get there By air to Shillong, by road thereon

Estimated time (From Shillong) Three hours

Place to stay Pitch a tent or book accommodation in Nongstoin, capital of West Khasi Hills

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Over 180 km from Shillong lies Nongkhnum Island, Asia’s second biggest river island. Should you choose to trek, drive down to Nongstoin, (a three-hour drive from Shillong) and prepare yourself for a twoand- a-half hour long journey through the picturesque villages of Lawse, Mawudh and Mawthar.

Nongkhnum is Meghalaya’s biggest river island and is known for its pristine beauty. Located in a far-flung area, the island is less frequented by tourists and thus makes for a great travel destination. The island was birthed with the bifurcation of Meghalaya’s longest river: Kynshi. The river was divided into the Phanliang River and Naliang River

The entry to the island is through a narrow bridge that passes besides the Weinia Falls. The sound of the gushing waters is deafening as Weinia makes its way through the rocks. Take a detour from the bridge to witness the Falls, which is one of the most impressive cascades formed by the Kynshi river. Owing to the intensity of the Falls, the platforms made for viewing are often sprayed in mist, adding to its ethereal beauty.

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Then the visitor faces the challenge of a hanging bridge which requires nimble hands, good hand-foot coordination and oodles of courage. Covering the distance on the bridge which sways with the weight and the wind, one catches sight of the lush green island spread over 20-25 square km. The island, painted in vivid shades of green, is home to a varied species of butterflies, birds and flowers.

Shrouded with trees and large patches of grasslands, the Island offers multiple avenues for exploration. One can even mark a spot, spread the mat, and enjoy picnicking. Others can indulge in a game of football with friends. Tired of sports? Sit back and enjoy the sun and the sand on the beach of the island. Nongkhnum is the only river island in India to have a natural beach. At the point where the two rivers diverge, is the beautiful sandy shore occupying over 100 square metres. Covered in shrubs and golden sand, the beach is a great recreational spot. As the blue-green waters lap up the shore, the scenic beauty is breathtaking. There are also numerous fishing pools near the shore named Wei-Phanliang to indulge in one’s passion for fishing.

Adjacent to the beach, the Phanliang River forms a beautiful lake of about 400- 500 square metres. Ten kilometres away from the island, the two rivers merge together and reach a deep gorge, then fall down over 350 metres to form the ravishing Langshaing Falls.

Not satisfied with sightseeing? Want more time to soak in the beauty? Pitch a tent and stay over. The night stay is as beautiful as it is risky (owing to its distance from the nearest village). For those who want to play it safe, there is accommodation back in Nongstoin, the capital of West Khasi hills.

Deepa Philip

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