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A magical evening by Umiam lake

Well they say that love is in the air, never is it clear
How to pull it close and make it stay
If butterflies are free to fly, why do they fly away
Leavin’ me to carry on and wonder why

– “Always on your side”, Sheryl Crowe and Sting

We start our 15 day North East trip with a journey from Guwahati to Shillong on March 17.

By the lakeside

The Guwahati Shillong road holds many memories for me. As we make our way up from Jorabat, I remember the many occasions that my dad would drive us up and down this road in his much-loved Fiat.

We used to look forward to our holidays with anticipation. It was an excuse to come down from the hills to the plains. It was a time for meetings, for fun, for games and for catching up with our brood of 15 or more cousins who would all converge from different locations at our ancestral home in Guwahati.

The occasion would usually be the winter holidays, a wedding or a family function. For us, it didn’t matter. All we cared was an excuse to get together and create mayhem. The ancestral property, besides having a huge old house, also had a pond and a huge tree-filled garden, where we could play hide and seek all day and not find each other.

~~

Reflection

But I digress. Coming back to the Guwahati Shillong road. We would merely glance at Umiam lake in our earlier journeys, for it didn’t figure too highly in our scheme of things. We passed it regularly and it was just another lake.

This time around we stop to spend a couple of hours by the serene lake side. We watch the sun go down over the glowing waters, the whole lake taking on a magical hue, and providing a sight for our sore eyes.

Surrounded nearly on all sides by mountains, the waters shine with unspoken promises as we walk down the slope towards the water’s edge. An adventurous twosome decide to drive straight into the lake down the cemented pathway (this apparently is not allowed but they don’t seem too concerned about rules!). The occupants emerge and diligently wash the car from all sides.

Slowly, the sun turns into an orange golden ball, its reflection echoing in the still waters of the lake. In the distant horizon, a lone boatman steers himself bravely across the waters. I sit and watch as I feel a strange kind of sadness envelop me. The memories of more than twenty years gone by… Where did they go? How did they go so quickly? A lot of water has flown under the bridge since then and sometimes it’s just better to let it be…

~~

Sunset @ Umiam

With darkness descending quickly, and the sun threatening to disappear completely behind the hills, a comforting sense of peace and quiet settles on the shores.

Soon enough (for the sun sets early in the east!) the darkness covers us all in its thick veil – the cue for us to say goodbye. The water is surprisingly clear and warm as I dip my feet in for a feel. I try and absorb some of the calm into myself : wishing it was as easy as that…

We tear ourselves from the shores, and I bid a silent adieu as we walk away from the peaceful waters. Back on the road to Shillong.

Some Facts

Shillong (capital of Meghalaya) is 100 kms from Guwahati. The half-way halt is Nongpoh, where you can have tea and snacks at a couple of Marwari restaurants there. Don’t forget to check out the array of pickles that the local women sell there. They’re good! Around 15 kms before you reach Shillong is the Umiam Lake. You can stop at the Orchid Lake Resort or drive a little further to the view point from where you can literally walk into the lake.

Photos

Ready for a boatride Baby, can I drive your car?
Lone boatman Patterns
Khasi beauty Dressed in red
Glimmer of hope On golden pond... Two of them

The Umiam album on Flickr

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40 Comments

  1. Anirban says

    The pictures are awesome.

    The view from Barapani is fantabulous, and the experience is out of the world.

    I have been to Shillong a couple of times during my stay in Guwahati in 2004. In one such occasion I stayed at the Orchid, the accommodation is okay, but the view is just a out of the world experience.

    Anita I’m waiting to see the pictures you’ve clicked in Tawang. You are a good photographer, no second thought about it at all.

    Regards

    Anirban

  2. sbora says

    Anita:

    You write really well. And being from the same region of India and having been away for so long, you made me nostalgic and also sad.
    My family and I have also made innumerable trips to Shillong and some of the best memories I have of my childhood are these very trips!
    Your photos are absolutely stunning and they truly capture the beauty and charm of the place.
    Will look out for more updates.

    Sukanya

  3. Thank you Anita, for posting your photos and telling about your trip home. It is inspiring!
    – Suz.

  4. bijesh, N: thanks!

    thanks akhila! i use a nikon D70.

    prashant: thanks!

    anirban: will post them soon!

    sukanya: glad you liked it! more coming soon 🙂

    thanks bhanu!

    vi: you could be 🙂

    suz: you’re welcome!

  5. hey, looks like you enjoyed a lot in the trip!!
    i sent u a mail few days back..
    can we have a foodcamp here in bangalore?? at soebody’s house or restaurant (if they allow us)..
    i will send a detailed mail later after your response…

  6. Sunil says

    Pretty serene & fabulous pictures. Although you seem to be quite hooked on to only sunset pictures. Nevertheless, fantastic work!

  7. The beauty of Himachal rivers is spoiled by vested interests and support from all quarters is required:

    http://himachal.us/2007/04/24/the-power-of-corporate-greed-in-himachal/1859/activism/arun#comments

    Hydro-electric power projects of private firms in Himachal Pradesh are being pushed by local officers who have made it clear to the people that they have vested interest in these projects. Officers of the state government have tried to influence local activists to support projects that would destroy the livelihoods of local villagers. Revenue officials are openly canvassing for these projects collecting signatures from villagers for approval.

  8. thanks anil, sam, culture shiok!

    thanks paavani, uploading them slowly. have loads more 🙂

    kris: was a lovely trip as usual!

    mehak: with demanding readers like you, it’s good ’cause it keeps me on my toes!

    sunrayz: hey, nice to see you here. And thanks!

    sunil: it was that time of the day! But I do have non-sunset pictures too 🙂

  9. angsuman says

    these are really beautiful images. Every summer,we used to go to shillong to my grandma’s place and reaching borapani marked the beginning of excitement and adventure.

  10. sujoy says

    u v’e done a great job bt also try to get more pics from the market n college part…..

  11. Ramidu says

    Perfect. Actually I have no words to express of those pics. Dramatic. Good Luck.

  12. madhukar says

    I plan to visit shillong from dlhi and combine it with kaziranga

    will it be worth the efforts

    could you add any other beautiful destination nearby

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  14. Priyanka says

    Nice pics !!! I, along wid my hubby, kid and 1 of my friends, went to shillong 1 week back and spent sometime there in the orchid lake. My kid enjoyed a lot. Now recollecting the memories of the trip seeing these pics. Hope to see some more beautiful pics here in this site in the near future…

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  16. Hi Anita,

    I spent three years of my life on the shores of the Umiam Lake. I was a student of Union Christian College and the campus is surrounded by the lake on all four sides. Your pictures brought back memories, some happy, some sad. I suppose Umiam has that in her; the ability to make you feel happy and sad at the same time.

    Your pictures are simply amazing. And so is your writing style.

    Thank you.

  17. Sanjeev says

    are the pictures featured here are clicked by you ?? because one of my frnds have the same pics clicked by him.
    Rply plz.

  18. @ sanjeev: yes! very much! if i used someone else’s pics, i would credit them! and i rarely use anyone else’s pics.

  19. Eusebia says

    The wind carries the smell of your cologne.You have come.You have reach…..I lay still as I see you. The Umiam Lake and the sky at that very moment has worn down drowsy with its melting pumpkin colour….Everthing sense your arrival…HOME you have reached..:):):)
    .

  20. Eusebia says

    very beautiful photographs…i love dem so mch…more 4 the very reason that this is my fav place:):)

  21. christy says

    i miss my old dasy spending in UCC.. it was the best 2 years i had in my life… trust me.. UCC is amazing place.. <3 <3

  22. Shruti Gautam Baruah says

    Hi Anita,

    Chanced upon ur blog while looking for Loreto Convent Shillong..luv the stuff you write.

    Just wanted to check if you stayed in Lachumiere in Shillong above the MESEB Office – my Dad worked there.

    Faintly remember visiting your place once with Sangeeta.

    All the Best!!

    • Sruthi – yes, we did live in Lachumiere! If it was with Sangeeta, then it’s definitely our place 🙂 Are you in touch with her?

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