Hoose Of Cloods

For some reason all the guesthouses in Guwahati, the gateway to the North East, wouldn’t accept foreigners. After spending 30 hours on the move from Sikkim, which included a delayed train and sleeping on the dirty floor in New Jaipalguri station, this wasn’t the time to be trawling the streets looking for somewhere to stay. This gave me a bad first impression, and we happily left the next day with the opinion that Guwahati is nothing more than a busy and dusty shit hole. A word of advice if you ever find yourself with 12 hours to kill at New Jaipalguri and can’t decide which restaurant to eat in, just choose the one with the least flys inside, simple.

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The small state of Meghalaya takes its name from the Sanskrit words that literally mean’Abode of Clouds’ because of its extreme rains and rarity of a clear day. The state capital of Shillong served as the base of British founded Assam until 1972 and small traces of British colonialism can still be recognised in Ward’s lake and the Shillong golf club…

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In Shillong, when it rains

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Shillong Golf Club

The game of Siat Khnam is unique to Meghalaya and tiny betting booths can be found dotted all over the city. The way it works is this – dozens of Khasi men spend three minutes shooting traditional arrows into a stack of hay, a cover is then brought up and the arrows are counted, the winning number is the second two digits of the actual number of arrows that hit the hay eg 267 becomes 67. So basically you pick a number between 1 and 100 then place your bet, the odds are 80/1. So it’s basically just a one number lottery and there is even a Khasi Dale Winton, who also looks like he has been dipped in Ronsill, that sounds a horn to get the archers started. It would have been a whole lot easier drawing a number out of a hat but then again, this is India.

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Meghalaya is also known as ‘the Scotland of the East’, I was expecting the streets to be filled with shell suit wearing families, struggling to speak English, but it’s actually because the moors have a striking resemblance to the Scottish highlands. If you’re lucky you will even see a wild haggis…

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The East Khasi Hills and the area around Cherrapunjee is surrounded by many lush waterfalls at this time of year, and has a resemblance to Jurassic Park as you drive through the valley, this is the official wettest place on earth with an average 12000mm annual rainfall. The village of Nongriat is a steep climb down 2000 steps into the valley and it’s where you will find the living root bridges. The roots of fig trees have been spliced, diced and left to grow together over many years by the Khasi villagers to make the impressive natural pathways.

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These guys walk the steps without breaking a sweat, rock

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The Long Bridge

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The Double Decker

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We decided to spend a night in the valley where I came face to face with Godzilla’s arch enemy, Mothra. Ok, this moth may not have been big enough to destroy Tokyo, but it was at least the size of a small bird. It was here that I was just starting to complain that it hadn’t rained during our visit to the area, when from nowhere came an electric thunderstorm that wouldn’t be out of place on Jupiter. Just as well I’d been watching Bear Gryills lessons on how to handle flash floods…

India is well known for producing fake clothes, I found this out when I bought a pair of underwear in Mumbai only to have a closer look later and see the word ‘Jockiy’ printed on the waistband. Meghalaya is no exeception…

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Can anyone remember this Newcastle away shirt? I sure as hell can’t

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Categories: India | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

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One thought on “Hoose Of Cloods

  1. Marlene walker

    The hoose of cloods is a great photo and a good name at last you can talk like me

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