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Day 39 of The Candid Odyssey

Even though we slept yesterday having the entire hall for our own, we are waking up to see that it's crowded now. Some tourist group it seems. Anyway, it doesn't matter to us much because it's time for us to leave. To Sohra, aka Cherrapunji, a small town near Shillong known for the rains. And getting there itself isn't that easy. We first need to get to a taxi stand. Then we need to wait for a scheduled shared taxi. And then we need to wait for more co-passengers. Because the trip will start only after the 9 seats are filled. And that wait for others to join goes up to an hour. Patience, my friend :) 

Shillong and these nearby regions like Sohra are what it is because of the Khasi hills. The lush green hills that benefit these places with natural wonders. Root bridges, gigantic caves, lots of waterfalls, and heavy amounts of precipitation. We haven't been to any natural caves in our journey, and that's why we are going to visit Arwah Caves today. Excited, huh? Please note that we need to walk 2.5 Km to get there. Simple, let's go. After the entry point, it's a lonely rugged road. Not sure if we are going the wrong way. Anyway, let's keep walking. The rugged road is taking up much of our energy. We haven't had any breakfast and it's already noon. Just noticed that the water bottle is also empty. No shops anywhere nearby to get some water. No humans anywhere nearby to ask for help. As we walk towards the caves, we are hiking up the hills, and that's even more energy-draining. Feeling very hungry and thirsty, and getting good signs of fainting off soon. Luckily, we get to meet a small stream along the way. Don't know where it comes from or how pure it is, we have got no other way. We need to drink this water with all due respect and happiness. In moments of survival crisis, all our stubbornness and egos disappear. All that matters will be life in its basic form. Anyway, we also have a small biscuit packet as a backup. We are going to sit there on the grassy rocks beside that stream, drink and eat, like a feast for our starving stomach! Now we are back on track. As we walk more, we can see a car coming over. Three girls and a driver in a hired taxi car. They offered a lift. Yes, sure! We have saved half a kilometer of hiking for you :) 

After the rugged road, there is a perfect trail with stepped paths, offering stunning views of the hills along with the misty weather. Now we are also seeing more people here. The trail is well-maintained and engaging. After a half-kilometer of the trail, we reach the cave. Truly magical. The large rocks and fossils that build up these chambers are enthralling. The height of the chamber is low in some places, so we need to keep our heads low. The rocks are slippery in some places, so we also need to walk carefully. But we can keep on going and exploring these limestone walls, types of rocks and fossils, the chamber structure, and even history! Worth all the hiking we did, that too on a starving stomach :) 

As we get out of the cave and go back all the way to the center of Cherrapunji, we are welcomed by heavy rains. What else can we expect when we are in a place that is considered the wettest place on the earth! By the way, these are good places to live in, as long as we are okay with the lack of convenience that comes along with that. Every good thing comes with sacrifice, isn't it? Anyway, our timing is good. There's a taxi that is about to leave. No need to wait similar to how we waited in the morning. The rain is so heavy that we can't even see anything properly. Even the taxi car roof is leaking! So now we are enjoying the rain, inside and outside :) With such memorable experiences, we are leaving Shillong. We could have explored more, but the traffic doesn't want us to, and also we have an overnight bus to catch. Sit and sleep it is, agh! 

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