Nongriat – The Hidden Gem of Meghalaya

Nongriat, a small Khasi village in the beautiful state of Meghalaya, is nestled in the heart of north-east India. With close proximity to Cherrapunji, the wettest place on earth, Nongriat is easily missed by tourists. Which means, for people like me, who love to stay away from the maddening crowds and overly touristy spots, it was a breath of fresh air. Not just that, this place is so pristine it is actually as close as you can ever get to – Paradise!

The reason Nongriat is still untapped is because its not easy to reach. From Cherrapunji, you can take a taxi upto the the closest village – Tyrna and then, lo behold – the road ends! So, you need to walk up around 1.5-2 hours through thousands of steep steps to reach Nongriat. It is definitely not for the unfit or lazy travelers so be prepared to walk for 5+ hours and climb 6000+ steps (back and forth).

If that sounds too stressful, you can even stay in Nogriat for few days to explore more and take a break. It is surely not easy to walk back same day but do-able, if you lack time. The village has many basic budget homestay options (as low as $3 per bed, per night) to choose from for the discerning traveler.

Sadly, we didn’t have enough time to see everything so we stayed in a village 30 mins away – Sohra. This village was close to Cherrapunji as well so we spent a day exploring Cherrapunji and the next in Nongriat, which worked perfectly for us – though, I would’ve given anything to have atleast 2 extra days to explore this hidden gem.

Our Trek to The Double Decker Living Root Bridge, Nongriat

We arrived at Tyrna around 0830 hrs as we were to head back to Guwahati, Assam same day. The idea was to wrap up Nongriat first as this was high on our list and going back without paying it a visit would’ve been such a shame.

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The double decker living root bridge is one of its kind and the major attraction in Nongriat. These bridges are formed over a course of 15 years using tree roots built over time atop stones, sticks and few other objects kept there by local Khasi villagers to help the tree shape up. As long as the tree is healthy, the bridge can survive for hundreds of years. The Double Decker living root bridge in Nongriat is one of the most renowned one. From what we heard it will be a triple decker bridge in next 10-20 years. 

double-decker living root bridge

The stunning double-decker living root bridge

Initial walk is all downhill and easy so you don’t really have to make a lot of “maggie stops” enroute.  You will have to cross 4 amazing suspension bridges which were a lot of fun and the last one was especially scenic with the amazing waterfall and lagoon below.

Crossing my fave suspension bridge enroute

Crossing my fave suspension bridge enroute

We literally made just one stop to the single-decker living root bridge – which is a 10 mins detour, one way, from the path towards the double decker bridge. This meant we spent an extra 30 mins in walking back/forth and clicking pictures at this bridge.

Single-decker living root bridge

Single-decker living root bridge

Crossing the single-decker living root bridge

Crossing the single-decker living root bridge

The entire way towards Nongriat is beautiful however, as soon as you enter the village (after you see the signboard, yes! there is one somehow in this remote place!), it is simply stunning beyond words. I saw the prettiest, velvety butterflies fluttering around in a blast of colors everywhere. It felt like I was in the “center of the earth”. Anyone watched Journey to the center of the earth? That’s exactly how this place looks!!! I can honestly say this is the best place I have seen in India so far – that’s how much I loved it.

The pretty village of Nongriat

The pretty village of Nongriat

After entering the village, it was another 30 mins hike to the double-decker bridge and when we finally made it, there was absolutely no one in sight. That’s my kind of place. Soon, 4 other tourists trickled in but that’s nothing compared to the massive crowd we witnessed (over 300-500 people) at the living root bridge in Mawlynnong – it was so crowded that it totally lost its charm, for me!

nongriat

Double-decker living root bridge

If we had more time, we would’ve loved to explore the numerous side paths which lead to more root bridges, rainbow falls and other ultra cool stuff or just wander off aimlessly. Lovely place for explorers who like to walk in paradise to discover places which others might not venture to.

I earned this Maggie stop on the way back!

I earned this Maggie stop on the way back!

Have you been to any such place which you felt was still off beat and untapped in our modern commercialized world? I would love to know about such places – tell me in comments below.

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  • Chronic Wanderlust

    The suspension bridge looks terrifying to me – but I guess it’s not that high^^ still great that they leave it like this and don’t put a modern cement thing there.

  • What an amazing, unique place! I love off the beaten path places so I would love to explore here! Thanks for sharing.

  • Vyjay Rao

    Nongriat is really a hidden gem and I hope it does remain hidden and unspoilt.The natural beauty of Meghalaya is breathtaking and I hope I get there some day. BTW, just want to know what plugin you use for the hyperlinks to your other posts .

  • This looks like my kind of trek! I’m heading to India in March and hope to swing by Meghalaya 🙂

  • Gokul

    Aha…the living roots bridge. Another spectacle of nature.

  • I LOVE those living root bridges, they are adorable! Also a huge fan of the afternoon maggi noodle stops. Love it!

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  • Elena Melamory

    How do you remember all those names of villages, etc.! :)))) I always have trouble with this when travelling in SE Asia!

  • Lisa

    I can honestly say I have never heard of this unique place before. Love those bridges and looks like this would be a fabulous place to hike. Hopefully, it will stay somewhat undiscovered so it doesn’t get to touristy, keeping it’s natural beauty and wonder.

  • Nathan

    This is amazing! I’ve never heard of this but now I want to research it further to possibly visit!

  • I’d love to visit Nogriat, I’d never heard of it before. It looks so cool 🙂

  • Adelheid Bethanny

    I’ve never been there before. It seems so tranquil and beautiful! Thank you for sharing this place, I’m learning so much from travel blogger like you, Jo!