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Amazing Dawki, Shnongpdeng and the river Umngot in Meghalaya - A photoblog

Nature never ceases to surprise you in Meghalaya - probably one of the most beautiful states of India. Be it the so many gorgeous waterfalls or unique caves, be it the sacred forests or incessant monsoons. Perhaps that is why some of the tribes of Meghalaya worship nature. And perhaps that is why every tourist visiting Meghalaya cannot prevent falling in love with it. We too were already love stricken having seen most of the well travelled sections of Meghalaya. However Meghalaya sprung up yet another surprise in the form of Umngot river. The much famed Umngot river (also often called Dawki river) amazed us beyond words can describe at Dawki and Shnongpdeng - two small villages very close to Bangladesh border. While Meghalaya throws number of mind boggling landscapes and fascinating cultural aspects at you, the magic of Umngot river at Dawki and Shnongpdeng stood out as probably the most mesmerising experience for us. It might be best if we let the pictures to the talking.


This is a photoblog supporting the travel blog on the same topic. You can read the travel blog here.


Crystal clear waters of Umngot river in Shnongpdeng
Crystal clear waters of Umngot river in Shnongpdeng
 

'The Meghalaya Odyssey' is a series of 10 travel blogs and 2 photo blogs. Check out other blogs in the series by clicking on the below mentioned links or photographs:


10. Amazing Dawki, Shnongpdeng and the river Umngot in Meghalaya - A Photo blog - This article


 

Our first glimpse of Umngot river was near the Dawki bridge. Dark greenish hues of Umngot flowed between hills on both sides. Dark green in the center faded away towards the edges as the depth became less. The spectrum of greens with water of Umngot river turning almost transport towards the banks looked spectacular. The small boats in the river added gems to this crown of Meghalaya.

Zooming in to check out the banks of river Umngot where the water is pretty transparent with light shades of green. Fishing boats are lined up here on tied to prevent it from floating away. Visiting this boating point and taking a ride is a must do for tourists visiting Dawki.

Boats lined up near boating point at Dawki, Meghalaya
Boats lined up near boating point at Dawki, Meghalaya

The transparent water becomes dark greenish as you go inwards in the river Umngot as the river becomes little deeper. The shades of the river also seem to vary based on time of the day and how the light falls on the river. The colors also depend on your vantage point - the point from where you are viewing. It is thus necessary to spend more time around the river Umngot exploring it different times of the day and seeing from varying angles.

Greenish shades of Umngot river at Dawki, Meghalaya
Greenish shades of Umngot river at Dawki, Meghalaya

Shnongpdeng another small village further away from Bangladesh border is also a magnificent place to witness the magic of river Umngot. As the river here remains pretty shallow, it gives you amazing views of the stony river bed. The green is much more faded and the water much more translucent at Shnongpdeng.

Watching locals fishing from their boats is a joy at Shnongpdeng. Here a guy can be seen lighting his locally made cigarette and fishing. An occupation like this must have its own joy.

A fisherman fishing from his boat while having locally made cigarette
A fisherman fishing from his boat while having locally made cigarette

But all need not be well. Fishing can be a struggle and when you might have a family to feed, the importance of collecting food for the day might be felt. We saw this woman a bit anxious, a bit helpless, a bit sad while fishing.

A lady looks sadly in the water hoping to catch fishes
A lady looks sadly in the water hoping to catch fishes

We loved watching this old lady fishing. We passed by her number of times while Kayaking and made eye contact with her. She fished for the whole day and was back again the next day early in morning. Watching her felt like peeking into her life and probably she was doing the same. We had to click her and store the unspoken connection digitally.

An old woman sitting on her boat looking for fishes in Umngot river
An old woman sitting on her boat looking for fishes in Umngot river

Apart from the crystal clear waters, Shnongpdeng in Meghalaya is also famous for water based adventure sports. Camping sites and adventure activity providers throng the banks of Umngot river at Shnongpdeng. There is also an annual watersport festival that happens in Feb-Mar in Shnongpdeng. You can see the preparations for water polo and a race in pictures below.

Preparations under way for making a water polo field in Shnongpdeng, Meghalaya
Preparations under way for making a water polo field in Shnongpdeng, Meghalaya

It was difficult to believe how transparent the water was at Shnongpdeng when the sun was right above the river Umngot. Whether you are seeing down below while riding a boat or from the footbridge on top of the river, you cannot help getting amazed by the pebbles in the river bed and the abstract patterns formed by light.

Transparent waters of Umngot river make the pebbly river bed very clearly visible at Shnongpdeng, Meghalaya
Transparent waters of Umngot river make the pebbly river bed very clearly visible at Shnongpdeng, Meghalaya

Capturing the top view of boats from the footbridge of Shnongpdeng with the pebbly river bed seen through transparent waters as back