Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Off The Beaten Track

On Friday, we took a weekend break to the neighbouring state of
Meghalaya. In Hindi, the name translates to "Abode Of The Clouds"
and as the name suggests, it's where the elements are milder and
kinder. No wonder, Shillong, the capital city has many visitors
from Guwahati. After all it's just a three-hour drive but the
difference in temperature is a world apart.

It was 10* cooler than Guwahati and in the evening there was a
wintery feel with a nip in the air. Sheer, sheer bliss!

We drove past sleepy hamlets and small towns and the capital, Shillong,
to take the road to some of the most breath-taking sights in the state.
The road to the village of Pynorsula had these ferns covering entire
hillsides. And the wildflowers were a sight to behold! I went berserk
with the camera as I came across bloom after bloom, each one more
beautiful than the other.

I saw four varieties of begonia growing here. This is the tiniest

Day 2. We crossed the village of Smit to come to this point. The
views were spectacular! Because of the terrain this ropeway is
used to transport goods to the villages in the valley below. In
the picture, bags of cement are being sent across.

A friendly dog from a nearby village poses for a picture.

A meadow with many wildflowers.

Potatoes and cabbages are the crops widely cultivated in this season.

In the distance, you can see sheep grazing. Agriculture and animal
husbandry are the chief contributors to the local economy. I'll be
posting more photos later. We came back to a cooler city after two
days. It had rained while we were away so it didn't feel that bad.
I can now safely say that the relentless heat of summer has finally
left us....


Anonymous said...

Hi Kanak, What pretty scenery; the ferns and begonias and I love the sheep grazing! What majestic views. I am very glad that you arrived back to cooler temperatures. We have had lots of rain and finally the temps are cooler here. It makes yard work so much easier! I hope you'll share more photos soon.

Tatyana@MySecretGarden said...

The views are majestic and the flowers are lovely!

Mia said...

Wild flowers ??!! They look beautiful, even the Fern would be something to which for in my windowscreen :)

Becca's Dirt said...

I love that I get to see your country thru your camera lens. Such a beautiful place. Those are some beautiful geraniums you captured.

joey said...

The ferns and begonias are a stunning combination and your photos, superb, Kanak. Lucky you ... to spend a few days in Paradise!

islandgal246 said...

Kanak ....this is a breathtaking place and aptly named. The ferns are out of this world and thrive so well in that climate. I just love that early morning misty look in the valley and hills and I can imagine how you enjoyed the cooler weather .....after all that heat. Those begonias are very pretty, did you take any pieces back for your garden?

Susie said...

These pics are just beautiful Kanak. What a wonderful trip you took. The first pic with the ferns look so refreshing.

Mary Delle said...

What beautiful scenery on your mountain trip. The photo with the begonias was beautiful. The one with the sheep looks restful.

Autumn Belle said...

Kanak, the scenery is indeed breathtaking. There is so much greenery and row upon row of blue mountains, even the wildflowers look gorgeous. This is like a romantic getaway. The added bonus is that the surroundings are so calm, serene and peaceful. I'm already looking forward to your next post.

lotusleaf said...

Stunning scenery! Beautiful flowers! I am looking forward to more wild flower pictures.

recipes for the life said...

I knew India was a beautiful country, I see it now! Such beautiful pictures! I love the flowers. Your pics remind me of a glorious vacation

Urban Green said...

Lovely view and that gorgeous pink begonia is to die for....

sweet bay said...

What beautiful country -- those ferns and begonias together growing wild, amazing!

Stephanie said...

Hello Kanak! the place is amazing. Glad to see that newly tarred road there ;-)... people would be able to go up there to enjoy the scenic view and a good safe ride. I would love to be there one day to see those beautiful mountains, wild flowers, begonia and hopefully would have the energy to trek a little.

Kanak Hagjer said...

Mildred, it rained last night and I did some weeding this morning. Pleasure to work outside, as you say. Soft earth and no humidity to crib about! Glad with the responses I'm getting, particularly about the majestic views. Thanks.

Tatyana, thank you for stopping by!

Mia, the sight of those ferns took my breath away! So happy to read your words!

Becca, hi!! The most fascinating part about travelling in big countries is the changing topography. Especially from the plains to the hilly/mountainous regions. I don't think these are geraniums (the ones in the second photograph) but these were thriving all along the roadsides. true. As I go about the drudgery of housework my mind is still full of those refreshingly green images:-)

Helen, my husband knows a person from the village of Smit who accompanied us to this fantastic place. Samlang (that's his name) who's a teacher at a local school, told us that January is the only month when the hills can be seen clearly. In other months, the misty look remains. But then it doesn't look as green then. The place is windy and gets really cold (by tropical standards) in winter.

When we were standing there, suddenly the valley was covered in mist but it lasted only for a few minutes. That was a magical sight.

I didn't bring back any begonias this time, Helen. I'd done that many times earlier but the plants do not survive the heat here. It took me years to 'control' myself from scrambling up steep hillsides to get those plants only to have them die later. Now I prefer to buy species that have been acclimatised to the conditions here. Many nurseries are doing that with azaleas (one example) from the Himalayan foothills.

Titania said...

I am amazed at the Ferns and Begonias growing in the wild. Everything looks like it had the best care from the best gardeners! It must be a blessed climate.

Kanak Hagjer said...

Susie, thanks. A trip to hilly areas can be rejuvenating. So glad you liked the pictures.

Mary Delle, thank you so much! Very happy to have you stop by.

Autumn Belle, exactly. It was so calm and serene and we felt blessed to be amidst such beautiful surroundings. I wish I knew the names of the myriad blooms we came across. Thank you so much!

Thanks, Padma. It's only recently that we've started going to places other than Shillong. but every place, I mean the rural ares, is beautiful.

Chaitra, these pictures will remind any Indian about visits to hill-stations:) Glad to read your comment!

Urban Green, thank you so much!!

Sweet bay, thanks! Glad you liked them.

Steph, this place is a trekker's paradise. I'm not the outdoorsy sort and walking in this terrain made me realize how unfit I was:( Maybe some day I'll come trek:) Glad you enjoyed the views!!

Kanak Hagjer said...

Trudi, it is!! I've seen these ferns in my hometown too but never seen them occupy so much space. It was a delight just to be there. There were butterflies, dragonflies and other many other insects on the fronds and on the blooms from plants that grew in between.

Shailaja said...

Beautiful countryside pics, Kanak. Is that a cable car I see in one of them?

Kanak Hagjer said...

Thanks Shailaja...yes, that's a cable car used for transporting contruction material.

rocksea said...

ooohh.. so many nature filled photographs. i love the ferns :)

Carol said...

Kanak It is a joy to see the cultivation of the gorgeous landscape... what a beautiful setting for crops. Lovely images of your trip! Thank you for sharing these! So glad the horrid heat has left your home. Carol

Kanak Hagjer said...

Glad you do, Rocksea:-)

Carol, it rained cats and dogs today. The final goodbye, methinks! Loved reading your comment, especially about the crops!