The state Meghalya (“the abode of clouds” in Sanskrit) is placed between Assam and Bangladesh. Here the wide flat Land of grows up to nice hills from where you can watch from spectacular cliffs down over the flat lands of Bangladesh.
But the long train journey was just the start of the fun.
In the north east states, are rarely railway-tracks found. So almost all transportation is done by “street”. The area is really hilly, (- well I would call it big mountains, but nothing is allowed to be called mountains when there are the Himalayas around as well) and even the so called “national highways” are narrow curvy, bumpy streets. So most traffic is done by the so called “Sumos”, A Sumo is a 4×4 jeep with inbuilt 3 benches and loads up to 10 passengers (plus driver and additional short time guests standing on the bumpers or joining the roof luggage rack) even while the distances here are usually not soo big, it takes ages to reach and you easily become movement sick in the jeep.usually it takes 8 hours for 200km
The north east, is an area totally different from the rest of India, its connected with the rest of india only with a shoestring and has borders to Bangladesh, Burma, Tibet/China and Bhutan. So different as the neighbors are, are the people here as well. Every state here has its own cultural background and the languages that are spoken here are totally different from the other Indian languages. A wide part of the population has been Christianized within the last 150 Years, but you still find rests of the so called “tribal-religions”.
Until last year, it was really difficult to travel to any of the north east states as there where many legal restrictions and some violence (many people here would like to be independent from India) and for forefingers and Indians but now the only state you still need a special permission is Arunachal Pradesh in the north at the border to Tibet/China. In all other states now you can travel without any restrictions. Now the only restriction is, that for the most part there is zero tourist infrastructure, and for most local people the concept of traveling for “for fun” seems to be quite strange. written travel guides and online travel forums also doesn’t cover most of the area. So specially in Mizoram it was sometimes quite frustrating for me even to find out how to go ore even where to go.
Back in Delhi again I managed to get a new passport (my old one is only valid till march 2014) and finally was able to apply for a Iran visa. Knowing the procedure for the Iran Visa, was going to take at least few weeks, I took the “north-east-express” to Guwahati.
The train is suppose to make the distance of 1800km within 34 hours, but India wouldn’t be India, if everything would run in time. The train started already with an delay of 8 hours and, while we reached we where already late of 24 hours….
Now I’m almost in a train from the far north east states to Delhi, but luckily for my blog readers, my train has a delay of about 10 hours and I found a Internet-Cafe with a kind of reliable internet connection. Now I don’t know where to begin, as I took too many photos within the last weeks! Many of them are really great, and worth to be seen. So to make a start I post some pictures of the railway trip I had to do to come here from Manali.
From the old British Hill-Station Manali, I had to take a so called Toy-Train a more than 100 years old narrow gauge railway. this train brought me down from the foothills of the Himalaya. from where I caught a train to Delhi.
Well, almost back in old Great Britain. In fact in Shimla.
When the British used to rule in India, they couldn’t stand the hot summer so they’ve build small resorts in the foothills of the Himalaya to survive the summer in the chilled, almost European climate. And of course the British also brought there own architecture. So wandering trough the streets of Shima, I quite often thought I might have been beamed back to Europe!
for the upcoming wedding where two families from to different cultures were going to encounter each other, still many things had to be done: the Germans had to arrive, friendships had to made up, saris and suites had to be bought, beards had to be shaved, hands had to be painted etc… and not to forget: the great Indian food had be tested.