Recently I was privileged to be invited to The Meghalayan Age Festival which was held in the picturesque site of Thadlaskein in West Jaintia Hills from the 7th to 15th of March 2020. As soon as we reached the camp site location, we were greeted by tribals from Khasi tribe who did a war dance to welcome us.
You must be wondering why is it called The Megahalayan Age Festival? It is because the geological age in which we all live (from 4200 years to the present) is scientifically known as The Meghalayan Age. This scientific fact was established 2 years ago based on geological evidence found in Mawmluh caves in Meghalaya.
Here’s a short video of my experience at The Meghalayan Age Festival conducted by Meghalaya Tourism
One of the highlights of The Meghalayan Age Festival was the Hot Air Ballooning activity which I did for the first time in India, having previously done it in Gold Coast, Australia. It was organized very professionally by a team of experienced pilots from the UK and Europe.
It was a beautiful experience to fly in a hot air balloon along with 10 other balloons of different shapes and sizes including one which looked like a rubber ducky! The weather was beautiful and the sun was just rising so we had a great view of the entire landscape.
In the hot air balloons, we flew over some of the gorgeous Meghalayan landscape like valleys, paddy fields, rivers, lakes and villages. The villagers were cheering for us as we are flying above their houses and fields and even when we landed in a paddy field, they came down to greet us and take pictures with the hot air balloon.
Another wonderful activity we did was to explore underground caves as Meghalaya has the world’s largest cave system. We explored underground natural waterfalls like this one in caves like Krem Rupasor and Krem Synrang. It was really tough to trek more than 3 kms one way in dense jungle but once we entered these lime stone caves, it was totally worth it!
The major caves in Meghalaya lie in the Khasi Hills area which is located in the areas of Cherrapunjee, Shella, Pynursla, Nongjri, Mawsynram and Langrin. The caves contain some impressive calcite formations in the form of stalactites, stalagmites and a lot of flowstone. There is an underground river flowing through these caves too.
We also visited Tyrshi Falls which is on the Shillong-Jowai Road (NH 44) and is quite similar to Shillong’s Elephant Falls. This fall is located about 5 kms from Jowai. A pretty arch bridge connects across an expanse of green paddy fields, which opens up to the gushing Tyrshi falls thundering down to the Pynthor (paddy-fields) below.
A winding footpath offered a breathtaking and panoramic view of the Pynthor Nein, eased our trek down to the bottom of the falls, which glides down like milk over a vertical drop!
Coming to the part of accommodation, we enjoyed Glamping which is staying in luxurious tents. Glamping had been organized in Meghalaya for the 1st time and 50 5-star luxury tents were set up with all 5-star amenities.
The beds and cushions were super soft, the carpeting was excellent and the tents were so good in controlling the temperature which had fallen to single digits outside. We were also provided with room heaters which was helpful. Electricity and running water were provided too!
The washrooms were really clean and well maintained and each tent had individual washrooms. There was running water and even hot water during some designated times.
We visited Nartiang Monoliths which is the biggest collection of monoliths or Megalithic stones in one single area. Within the perimeter of these Megalithic collection stands the tallest Menhir erected by U Mar Phalyngki a trusted lieutenant of the Jaintia King to commemorate his victory in battle. Other monoliths were erected by U Mar Phalyngki, U Luh Lyngskor Lamare and various clans of Nartiang village between 1500A.D.and l835A.D.
Over all we had a wonderful time in Meghalaya attending The Meghalayan Age Festival 2020 and looking forward to exploring more of the wonderful state in the coming years!