The road less travelled in Meghalaya are often trails that have been used by the locals for hundreds of years. One such trail led us 2000 feet below Cherrapunji to the little village of Sokhmi. Sokhmi, like every other little village in Meghalaya has a couple of churches, one massive school ground, a bunch of school kids who want to race you up the steps, a thousand steps, a grand view of the plains of Bangladesh and no influence from the outside world. Yet it feels completely different from every other village that you might visit in Meghalaya.
Here you will probably be the only traveller to visit over the course of the year. There are a couple of taps with drinking water along the course of the hike. Every tap you’ll find on the side of the trail is where all the conversations are. The locals with a little prior notice from Cheerapunji will prepare a sumptuous humble meal for you and if your knees are ready to take a beating, then you can head 2000 feet below you to a crystal clear emerald green river.
The steps are steep and are built for the smaller feet of the north-eastern folk and if you plan to camp down at the river, a word to the village headman is recommended even though the villagers of Sokhmi are nothing but helpful. The village headman we met was fast asleep when we arrived at his house, and while we wondered if we are disturbing him, another local quickly chimed in – “Oh don’t worry. The sun has woken up, so should he’’
Directions to the river are really simple. When the trail breaks off into two, choose left to take the long route and choose right to take the longer route. There are no shortcuts here.
When you do decide to ask the locals about how far anything is, do make sure to remind them that it is not them who are making the journey but you.
“How much time will it take me to reach the village?’’
“2 minutes!’’ said the confident local.
“How much time will it take us?’’ we asked just to make sure.
He looked at us up and down and replied – “11 minutes’’
It took us 45 minutes to finally reach the village and we sure weren’t ready to leave this wonderful village any time soon.