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Travel | Cluster of Age-Old Monoliths Amidst the Hills of Meghalaya

What exactly is a monolith ? Why are they there in the first place? With these questions in mind I wandered off to look for answers and got my reading glasses ready to do some research. The word monolith comes from the Greek word “monolithos”, derived from mono (“one” or “single”) and lithos (“stone”). I begin my exploration in the hub of all monoliths in Meghalaya, Nartiang village in the Jaintia Hills district. It is the place to start if you are looking for a rocky site full of traditional memories and hidden stories. They call it the “Monolith garden”. These monoliths are said to be a testimony of a sovereign strength. They are a symbol of tradition in the Jaintia Hills among the “pnar” tribes. It is said that these monoliths were erected to mark the reigns of the erstwhile Jaintia king. There are folktales to explain the existence of these ancient monuments. Looking for these stories was the highlight of my mini research. I always wondered on how the monoliths came to be in such …

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Land of Mystical Tales, History and Folklore | Longsa Village, Nagaland

For the lover of ancient culture, tradition, digger of history and folktales in you! Longsa – a picture postcard village, some 29 kms away from Mokokchung town, is hugely popular for its deep rooted cultures and traditions, shrouded with myths and mysteries, echoing rich poetry of the time millennium folklores. Definitely a place that you need to visit once in your lifetime, if you still miss your grandma’s fantasy stories! Lovely natives, stories of the village and of course, its beauty, are some of the key highlights of this place. It was recognized as a Green village in 2006 and is the only Ao village on the other side of Dikhu river. By any chance, if you happen to be a huge historical buff then this might be the place for you to escape to. Visit the Koralong stone that sits at an altitude of 1521 m above sea level, about two kms away from Longsa village. On a clear morning, you can see the Himalayan mountain ranges from here. A sight to behold. Awatsu is a …

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Of Rustic Delight and Living | Zünheboto in Nagaland

Imagine this. A rustic hillside town nestled within lush hills, with views of spectacular sunrises every morning, blue skies and clouds nestled between hills all day, and vibrant hues of sunsets to end the evening. Lush green forests, freshwater streams and rivers in almost every direction; sounds like a nature lovers dream come true right? And if you’re someone, looking for such experience, then we just might have the perfect place for you. Let’s take you on a journey to the mighty land of warriors- Zünheboto, which also means “hilltops of Zünhebo”. The name of the town comes from ‘Zünhebo’ flower, which abounds plenty in the area. The town is nestled around some beautiful villages, which offers a treat to your eyes as you get to witness interesting attractions cornered all around. Definitely a place to get you exhilarated and makes you wonder why haven’t you visited this place earlier? But better late than never, right? So, how about a visit to the Ghosu Bird Sanctuary as a startup activity? Here, every dawn break, all …

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Man of Many Passions | Jonathan Dkhar from Meghalaya

“Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.” — Oprah Winfrey If not for passion, how else can we gather enough energy to pursue all that our heart longs to do. Jonathan Dkhar, from the hills of Shillong seems to have figured that out. He is a lawyer by profession but has many passions – he is a biker and a musician; he plays as a session drummer for two bands : one a progressive metal band called ‘Dwar’ and another a heavy rock/ metal band called ‘Akhia’. His energy in turn inspires many to live each moment with passion. Here’s a chat with Jonathan Dhkar to understand why and how he juggles many interests. Hi Jonathan! Tell us something about yourself. I have lived in Meghalaya my whole life , and I am currently working full time as a lawyer.  As a part time activity, I play the drums with a couple of bands here in Shillong. I also love going for long rides on my bike and exploring the …

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Amelia takes us to the Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

See elephants as they should be seen at the Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai. R&L’s newest contributor Amelia from the UK (and based out of Thailand), takes us on a virtual tour to this beautiful elephant sanctuary in Chiang Mai, Thailand. She shares how she enjoyed her day out in the wild, spending quality time with the rescued animals in their natural habitat, and relished her Thai vegetarian buffet lunch. Thailand’s Northern Province of Chiang Mai is an incredible place to see wildlife, boasting an array of exotic animals that are specific to the region. But what separates the Elephant Nature Park from the rest is its commitment to the welfare of the elephants – a movement against keeping elephants in confinement for human amusements. There is no riding here and each elephant’s needs are individually assessed and prioritised. For those intending to visit the park, the itinerary, travel details, and cost set out below is what you can expect from a one day tour. Itinerary: The day begins with elephant feeding, visitors stand on …

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Travelling to Wokha and Staying At The Hammock Resort in Nagaland

If you’ve ever imagined a place that befits Thomas Hardy’s book, ‘Far from the Madding Crowd’, the Hammock Resort presents you that image with its natural setting! Nestled cozily below the looming mountainous range, capped off by Mt. Tiyi, the resort is an escape from the buzzing beehive of a town, that Wokha is steadily developing into. In the ‘Land of Plenty’, the resort provides an ideal retreat for tourists and locals alike, seeking to connect with nature. Greenery interspersed with rivulets all around, the place is capable of transporting one on a flight of poetry. Besides offering a much greener retreat, the resort offers varied continental cuisines along with the popular ‘bamboo shoot’ dishes that Lotha people are well known for. The place is ideal for romantic getaways as well as family picnics. It also caters to adventure lovers as trekking facilities are available at the resort. The ancient Naga Kitchen definitely adds a traditional essence to the place, keeping up with the culture. Walking into the hotel backyard, we encountered a serene environment …

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Travelling to Ozakho – An Unexplored Village in the Hills of Arunachal Pradesh

When one talks about Arunachal Pradesh, the mind instantly conjures up images of the lush green hills, the dense forests and the rich heritage. The largest in area of the North-East states, not many know this but Arunachal is home to thirteen ethnic tribes who live in harmony.  The land of the Dawn-Lit Mountains has hidden and unexplored jewels nestled between the peaks. Amidst the pristine landscape, is  a village Ozakho inhabited by a tribe called Wanchos.  Twelve hours away from Guwahati, I reached Ozakho, the unscathed hamlet in Arunachal Pradesh and had the opportunity to explore the lifestyle and the being of the Wancho tribe. My ignorance made me curious and their reality overwhelmed and gratified my curiosity. The tale of Ozakho: In an unexpected but delightful twist of fate, I met Ngamnon Joham, a student from Shillong who was well acquainted and had toured the regions around with her friends. As our conversation proceeded, I asked her to tell me her travel tales. That is when she narrated the unheard tale of Ozakho …

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Travel | Exploring Shilloi Lake: Nagaland’s Limpid Legend

The mountainous regions of North East India appear in perfect harmony with the flora and fauna, picture postcard scenery inhabited by the indigenous tribes and communities always seem to leave an indelible impression with anyone who visits the region. The magic of this region is that, it steers you out of your comfort zone and offers a beauty so raw and untouched that your adventurous spirit feels at home in these hills and valleys. One such destination is the Shilloi Lake in Nagaland. It is the largest natural lake in the State. About 290 kms from the capital, Kohima, Shilloi Lake lies in the Phek district. It takes about 10-12 hours by road. The lake is in the shape of a human foot. The water body is surrounded by mountains, captivating skyline, greenscapes and wildflowers- A picturesque postcard image!  Perhaps, that is why it is often considered a traveller’s haven. Not only is the place a sight to behold but it speaks of an enchanting folktale that any local will be willing to feed your …

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Discovery of The Most Beautiful Cottage in Meghalaya | Maple Pine Farm

Surrounded by waterfalls that tumble down and pound on the rocks and hill, the rivers that susurrate tales of the tribes, the slopes that run craggy in places, gentle otherwise; meandering mountain roads, our contributor, Badal had started out to explore the South West Khasi Hills in Meghalaya when nature exposed her flawlessly fallow fragment – unsettling him in the most gratifying manner. Perhaps, the Japanese author, Haruki Murakami is right when he says, “Whatever it is you’re seeking won’t come in the form you’re expecting.” Our friend Badal shares his experience of discovering a beautiful Bed & Breakfast guest house in the midst of nature – about 25 kms away from Shillong If you’ve ever visited Shillong, Meghalaya, what is the best thing you can remember? Waterfalls, hills, rivers, rain, cloud and what else? Well, one thing that’s heard of very often from this part of Northeast India, are the monolith and of course the sacred groves. If you haven’t visited, then that’s a must-visit. Exploring the South West Khasi Hills with Badal “My short expedition started …

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Backpackers Alex and Sebastiaan Share Their Story about Travelling to Arunachal Pradesh

  Arunachal Pradesh is a beautiful Indian state, whose name literally means “the land of the rising sun”. People who have travelled to this part of the country have spoken about seeing a slice of heaven on earth. So when the adventurous couple – Alex and Sebastiaan, took a trip to Arunachal Pradesh, we HAD to get them to share their experience with us. Hello, welcome to India! Tell us a bit about yourselves, and the journey so far. Alex: Hi! We’re Alex and Sebastiaan. I am from America, and my he is from The Netherlands. We’ve been on the road for over a year, and are still living out of our backpacks! When we’re not exploring places and planning our journey to the next destination, I like to hone my photography skills and figure out ways to live on an ice-cream-only diet :), while Sebastian devours manga and periodically bemoans his lack of a PlayStation while traveling. We’ve been traveling full-time since February 2016. We had both visited more than 40 countries before leaving for this trip. But, …