While many of the roads in India are well-trodden, there are several paths that remain untouched and pristine even today. Meghalaya, the north-eastern state is one such unspoiled destination that is an abode of natural splendour of rivers, tribal culture, history and wildlife.
Nestled along the border of Bangladesh and India is the quaint town of Dawki in Meghalaya. It is about 82 km from Shillong and very close to Mawlynnong, one of the cleanest villages in Asia. This small hamlet lies at the base of the Jaintia Hills and is a busy place, due to its strategic location.
The Umngot River - A Surreal Experience
Besides its immense beauty, the much-talked-about attraction of Dawki is the Umngot river. The gorgeous emerald stream flows magically dividing the Khasi and Jaintia hills. The serpent water body meandering through the hillocks, with boats dotting the bank of the river is a majestic sight to behold.
Every year in March-April, a boat race is held here. The best way to enjoy the beauty of the lake is through a boat ride. The pristine water of Umngot is so clear and clean that one can see through the river bed even though the depth of the waterbody is almost 20 ft.
Due to the transparent waters, the boat plying on the river looks like it is floating in the mid-air. Basking on the deck of the boat beholding the beautiful sight of life unfolds on the banks of the river is a surreal experience that you cannot afford to miss.
There is small isle in the middle of the Umngot river. A beautiful spot that is filled with rocks in all size, colours and shapes. The water around this small isle is shallow, so you can immerse your feet in the water and enjoy the experience of the cool water lapping over your feet.
The trip to shimmering Umngot River is something that you would remember all your life as it is not every day that you come across a stunning waterbody with phenomenal clarity.
Travellers can indulge in a quick swim at the shallow end, where the current is not too strong. Umngot River is also a leading fishing spot for both Bangladesh and Indian fishermen.
How To Reach Dawki
By air: Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport in Guwahati is the closest airport to Dawki that is well-connected to major cities of the country. There is also helicopter service available to Shillong from Guwahati. From Shillong, you can reach Dawki via road.
By train: Guwahati railway station is the nearest station from where you can hire private or public transportation or cab service to reach Dawki.
By road: Dawki is about 90 km from Shillong. There are private and state buses from Shillong. Buses also ply from Bada Bazaar in Shillong to Dawki.
Best Time to Visit Umngot River
The best time to visit Umngot River is from October to May. The water level is quite high during monsoon and boating activity is suspended during this period. Winters are usually cold.
Places Of Attraction Near Dawki
1. Jaflong zero point
Jaflong Zero point is about one kilometre from Dawki Market and is a border point situated along the border of India and Bangladesh. This is the point where Umngot River enters into neighbouring Bangladesh. The point is also known for its stone accumulation.
2. Burhill waterfalls
Nestled amidst wooded hills, Burhill waterfalls is an ideal spot for nature lovers. It is situated along the Dawki-Riwai road and is about 5 km from Dawki. The water from the falls forms a river along the Sylhet border in Bangladesh.
Mawlynnong is renowned as the cleanest village in Asia. Nestled amidst the pristine mountain peaks of Meghalaya, Mawlynnong is a small hamlet with over 80 houses. While wandering through the village, you will be impressed with the methodical row of houses and every house has a flower and vegetable garden with an animal pen. It is about 35 km from Dawki.
4. Riwai village
Riwai village is well known for its living root bridges which is a short hike from Mawlynnong. The bridge is believed to be 300 years old and was built by the Khasi tribes over several generations. The Riwai village has abundant Robab Tenga trees that bear citrus fruits. About 5 km from the Living Root Bridge is Niriang falls that drops down to form a deep greenish pool in the midst of the green forest.