Come Walk With Me- The Rhododendron Trek

by Lita Hazarika.

IMG_9383Photo Credit: Sankar Hazarika.

Meghalaya offers some of the most scenic trekking routes in India. The Rhododendron Trek is a 6 km walk that starts at Upper Shillong and ends at Ka Madan Sangmeiñ. This is an old horse route that was used by the British to travel to Sangmeiñ from Upper Shillong. The walk is open until sunset on Sundays, Saturdays and Wednesdays from October till April.

We started from Guwahati at 7.30 am and halted at Barapani for a cuppa in a small teashop by the side of ‘Breeze’ with ‘Jingbam and Puri’ written on the signboard. Jingbam in Khasi means ‘snacks’. Incidentally, nothing can beat a cup of steaming tea poured out of shiny aluminum kettles in these cozy little shops. While sipping our tea a gutsy wind started blowing and this continued till our starting point, which compelled us to pull out our jackets. The wind was strong, cold and dusty.

IMG_9304Photo Credit: Sankar Hazarika

Since there isn’t much information about the trek on the Internet, we did not know what was in store for us and that was exciting indeed! All we knew was that it is in Upper Shillong and is a 6 Km walk. We packed nuts, chocolates, a light lunch of sandwiches and water. Since there were four senior citizens amongst us and we were not very certain about the trek, we chose the downhill hike to Shillong Peak as our starting point.

IMG_9310.JPGIMG_9393.JPGPhoto Credit: Sankar Hazarika

The track, however, turned out to be a soft one. It was covered with pine needles and at times with the fallen red petals of the Rhododendron. It was a well laid out path. Although the hill slopes were very steep, the path was made along a contour. Thus avoiding the steep slopes, making it an easy walk. We did not see any Rhododendrons at first and felt we were either too early or too late.

IMG_9388.JPGPhoto Credit: Sankar Hazarika

As we walked down, the red flowered trees gradually grew in number. There were trees with pink blossoms too, on the other side of the valley. Though it was difficult to identify them from afar. Even without the flowers the trek itself had its own beauty with luscious green ferns and stately pine trees, some of which had burnt trunks with crystal-like resin hanging on the sides. Besides these there were other wild flowers and chirping birds. At times we crossed gurgling streams and small waterfalls.

Photo Credit: Sankar Hazarika

The walk took us three hours, at a very leisurely pace, as we absorbed the beauty of nature. We had a layover at ‘Jiva’ in Nongpoh for a cup of coffee and were back in Guwahati by 6 pm.

Come walk with me’ is an initiative of Fitness Vector Gym, a family health club in Guwahati, Assam that encourages both young and old to take nature treks to promote not only physical but also the psychological well being of people. Both senior citizens and young ones thoroughly enjoy these walks as they introduce them to the wilderness, away from the monotony of everyday life. Besides being challenging, the treks also act as a stress buster thanks to the healing power of nature. Through these walks you can feel yourself absorbing the natural energy that refreshes your body, mind and spirit! Recently, on the 4th of March 2017, the group organized the ‘Rhododendron Trek’.

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7 thoughts on “Come Walk With Me- The Rhododendron Trek

  1. Great guys….its nice to have all the unique info about Meghalaya.Planning a trip to meghalaya for a whole new experience.All the best.

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  2. Aromas of Northeast gives us two treats..a way to travel without leaving one’s home! It has such a local flavour that one can almost feel the air, taste the food and hear the forest or stream by just sitting in the drawing room! The second more important one is that the posts inspire one to actually want to go and experience all this first hand!

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