‘Three thousand steps’’ came the prompt reply when we asked the locals about how far Nongriat was. We had heard it was 3000, but always thought it was a figure of speech, that no one could truly advertise something like 3000 steps and mean it.
What they did forget to mention was that the 3000 steps were literally stacked up against each other. It had two high flimsy Burma bridges along the route and gave us the feeling that we were lost even though there was only one trail that headed into the distance.
Many make the pilgrimage down the 3000 steps to the famous double decker root bridges, spend 10-15 minutes taking all sorts of photos before realizing that they have to head back up those damn steps again.
The root bridges surely deserve some more time than that. With a couple of calls from Cherrapunji, you can find yourself in a room with two windows and not much else in it.
After walking through the village and talking to the locals, we realized that the root bridges weren’t the end of the trail, but the very beginning. They had age-old maps that chartered routes across other root bridges, waterfalls and hilltops. All of the milestones were either funny looking rocks or not so strong bridges. The treks range from six hour-long treks to six day long treks. You can get all the information you need through the homestay or the wonderful little café right besides the double decker root bridge.
The moment you leave the root bridges, you will have the trail completely to yourself. Along the route, we just met one old lady who asked us where we were going and when we replied, she simply went – oh ho. Oh ho. Oh ho.
We were a little worried if that was a sign of warning, but needless to say, it was just our tired legs that were doing all the thinking.