The British were fond of their summer capitals. They had summer capitals in every corner of the country, which reminded them of home. When the British gained control of Assam and Bengal they realized their need for a summer capital and that search led them to Meghalaya. In order to make a road through this hilly stretch they had to face the fierce tribes of North East and finally after subduing them, the Brits fell in love with the beauty of Shillong.
My journey to Shillong was totally a random one. An evening before I was wandering through the market near my hotel where I saw a number of jeeps looking for passengers for Shillong. I enquired and found out that Shillong was only 3 hours away from here, so next morning I checked out from the hotel and left in one of the shared jeeps for 300 bucks only.
The road to Shillong was surrounded with green fields and hills, the weather became pleasant the farther away I traveled from Guwahati. It was a bumpy ride but it was worth it, the pain and tiredness was washed away by the time I reached my destination.
There are many British bungalows in Shillong that gave it a feeling of an English countryside. By the time I reached it was 12 but the weather was still cold and slightly foggy. I feasted upon the glorious momos served by Mr. President in the hotel run by MBA. No, these are not the designations but people in Meghalaya love to keep such names. I also met a General (the hotel manager), California and Scorpio (the driver). When Shakespeare said ‘what’s in a name’ these people took it seriously. When I queried further then I found out that the locals have these English surnames with a traditional names, most of which are hard to pronounce.
Meghalaya momos are too good, large in size with soft and juicy meat on the inside, making them special. Served with red chilli sauce these momos are easy to digest and will make you hungry soon after, regardless of how many you eat.
My evening was spent at Umiam lake or Barapani a beautiful lake that resembles the lakes of Scotland. I got a local cab to this place just for 20 bucks. The lake looks vibrant with gulmohar trees surrounding it, I can only imagine how it would look when these trees blossom.
The breeze became colder, the trees swayed and danced. It was only 6 but everyone started to go home. Shillong is a sleepy, lazy town, everything shuts by 8. I returned to my slumber den after having a delicious meal of Thukpa and momos.
My Shillong trip was cut short because I had to catch a train from Guwahati the very next evening. I wandered around the market, those happy faces bid me goodbye and I was on my way to my next destination.