Hidden away in the southern tip of Meghalaya, around 100 km from the Shillong and barely 2 km from the international border with Bangladesh, is a picturesque town with lush greenery, crystal clear waters and clean air that you would be hard-pressed to find anywhere. That town is Dawki.
Dawki (Duki or Dauki) has the only direct road route that connects it with Bangladesh, and initially served as a trading town between the two countries. In fact, Dawki is well known for its coal mines and limestone exports.
Crystal-clear waters of the Umngot River
However, of late, several visitors have discovered its other charm. The Umngot River. This river is unlike any other you will have seen, with waters so crystal-clear that you can see the rock beds.
Shnongpdeng – a hidden gem
To truly experience the beauty of this river, considered as one of the cleanest in India, make your way to Shnongpdeng, a small town along the river. Unlike Dawki, and because it is mostly off the tourist radar, it’s a hidden gem that the locals would prefer to keep to themselves.
Dawki suspension bridge
For panoramic views of the river below and beyond, take a walk on the foot suspension bridge. Built by the British in 1932, the bridge is a crucial international link between the two countries. A word of caution though. Not too many people are allowed on the bridge at any point of time.
For a difference perspective of the bridge, and views of the green hills and lime cliffs on either side, hire a wooden boat for about half an hour. You are provided with a lifejacket, so don’t stress too much. As you gently sail downstream, keep an eye out for the locals, kids and adults alike, perched on rocks and waiting patiently for fish to bite.
Once you’re back on the banks, sit under the shade and order yourself some refreshments from any of the small stalls. You will need it. Unlike Shillong which is perched up in the hills, the river is down in the plains, and it can get a bit humid, hot and sticky.