As the scorching summer was ruling over the calendar and the summer vacation was ongoing, it was a must for us to get rid of the tantrums of everyday life. So, we packed our bags and went to Guwahati and Shillong, the most renowned tourist spots of north-east India. However, the capital of Assam, Guwahati, failed to impress us due to the humdrums of city and the weather. It was nearly 34 degrees celsius in Guwahati and after coming out from the airport, it felt like another Kolkata with a background of hills.

But, it was the river Brahmaputra that changed the whole scenario. The blue shades of water in the river made up for the heat. We spent our first day in Guwahati, visiting some nearby places and markets. The next day, we left for the holy Kamakhya temple early in the morning. The temple is known for being a sanctum sanctorum for devotees. Thousands of people come here each day from far-away places to worship the Goddess. Yet, the temple is quite well organised and there is no nuisance on the part of priests in the temple.

We moved to the Bhuvaneshwari temple adjacent to the Kamakhya temple, which offered a mesmerising view of the Brahmaputra from the back of the temple. After that, we started for Shillong. It took almost five hours to reach the capital of Meghalaya. On the way, the heavenly beauty of Barapani, also known as Umiam Lake, fascinated us.

The market place of Shillong, Police bazar, was our next halt. Most of the tourists stay there, but we stayed at Laban to escape the maddening crowds. The next day, our destination was Mousinram in Meghalaya, which offered breathtaking natural beauty to the visitors. Mousinram, apart from the rainy climate, is home to fascinating natural sights and greenery, which can be a treat to the eyes.

Next, we went to the Mawjymbuin cave, one of the major tourist attractions in Meghalaya. In the serene and picturesque atmosphere, a natural Shivalinga, formed by a stalagmite is watered the whole day by a part of the hill, making it a place for devoted minds. Many Presbyterian and catholic churches at Shillong are fabulous examples of architecture as well. After visiting some churches, we went to the sole hot spring in Meghalaya, which was precious for us in the cold rainy weather.

After that, we went to the captivating living root bridge, which was designed by the Khasi and Jayantia people nearly 500 years ago.

It is a must visit for tourists. But the best part of our tour was the Mawlynnong village in Meghalaya. The little village was awarded as the cleanest village in Asia. The tree house built in the village is a major attraction for visitors. The little village taught us that the concerns of the local regarding cleanliness were far greater than the efforts made by the local administration. We visited Cherrapunji next. The Ramakrishna Mission Museum there was a notable visit for us. The Mawsmai cave was a wondrous place as well as, inside the cave, there are many rock structures like the paws of a lion and the face of a bear; however, it is quite hard for tourists to enter the cave. The cave is also noted to be holy as the locals say it is the living room of God.

The Dawki River, known as the crystal river for its transparent water, quenched our thirst of vision. However, the most remarkable part of the tour was the waterfalls. The Borhill falls, Oakobafalls and the seven sisters’ falls, besides the well-known Nohkalikai and the Elephant falls, offered bewitching views. On the way to Guwahati we saw the Air Force museum, which evoked stories of our national heroes. On the last day of the tour, we returned to Guwahati after touching the Shillong peak and visited religious places like Umananda temple, where we reached after travelling through Brahmaputra. The Vasishtha ashram, where sage Vasishtha is believed to have worshipped the lord, and the Balaji temple were also in our list of must-visits.

Visiting these innumerable sites, our tour came to an end. If you are packing your luggage to go somewhere, the northeast can be the ideal place for you.

Coordinator, Class X, Bongaon High School