Marriages are made in heaven but honeymoons must be planned on the earth. Sunu Joseph and Manik Roy had missed this part of their wedding plan. Probably, their minds were too preoccupied with making their families agree to join their cross-cultural and interfaith wedding that they forgot to plan for the after-wedding experience. The two paramedic professionals had met while working for a US company in Bengaluru seven years ago. The last few years had taken a heavy toll on their emotions as they dealt with their indignant families and desperately sought their approval for their wedding. As it happens, the wedding ceremonies in Kerala went off well so did their reception in Bengal.
Having pulled off the event with friends and family, Sunu and Manik realized they had not planned their honeymoon.
On a friend’s suggestion, the couple landed in Shillong, the enchanting city nestled in the forests under the canopy of the bluest of skies. The city was mesmerizing and had plenty of attractions for the quintessential tourists. However, Sunu and Manik were no ordinary tourists; they were on wanderlust, probably in search of a surreal experience. They did go around visiting an incredible Mawlynnong, Asia’s cleanest village, majestic Elephanta falls and Nature’s wonder of the Living Bridge in Cherrapunji etc. and enjoyed the experience.
Next evening, they drove for two hours from Shillong and reached a quaint place – a placid river Dawki hemmed by purple hills. If the places were to be named after the first impressions of visitors, this would be called Solitude. A man in his late thirties welcomed and led them to their accommodation – a tent with a clean bed, essentials like towels, torch, etc on the bedside and an electric bulb glowing in the middle. Their host, Mailing, explained the rules of the camping to the couple; also advised them to place the order for food and drinks in advance since it has to come from a nearby village. He reminded them they must not miss the campfire and the party there.
After freshening up, Sunu and Manik came out of the tent and they saw an incredible view. The hills, river and the landscape were awash in silver. It was a full moon night; the moon shone brightly and its silverlight covered everything below. The river was languid; its waters played around with the moonlight forming crystal-like formations on its surface. They felt they were in the center stage of a movie set straight out of a black and white Bollywood flick of the Raj Kapoor era. Someone seemed to have touched the place with a magic wand to make it look heavenly. Manik says sitting by the campfire, eating and drinking, was a lifetime experience for them. Though both of were from two beautiful lands of Kerala and Bengal, like most working persons, they had never had time for stargazing. The silver magic was at play all around and they found they had left their chairs and were lying on the riverbed and looking upon the skies. Up there it was heavenly; each bright speck on the sky seemed to be conversing with them. Sunu and Manik say no money could have ever got them this experience anywhere in the world. The magnificent moon was smiling at them; it was their Zindagi na milege doobara moment when Hrithik Roshan playing the role of a workaholic professional goes underwater and comes out with a divine realization that life is beautiful and its every moment must be lived well. Snnu and Manik say their experiencing by the riverside was life-changing; it healed their souls and calmed their minds.
Their search for a perfect honeymoon spot had ended.
The romance was in the air and two found Nature was in communion with them while they enjoyed the first meaningful togetherness with their souls swathed in peace and happiness together.
Manik says he would recommend camping at Dawki to all the newlyweds. “It’s here you come in communion with Nature and feel and the night experience makes you feel how much part of the Nature you are,” he says. Sunu says she can never think of any better setting than the star-lit skies, the smiling moon, the moonlit hills and the rhythmically flowing river with its waters shining like spangles for a romance and love to blossom.
Dawki was too magical for the lovebirds and they have been telling about this to just everyone.
Next morning, the river looked resplendent as the sun rays touched it. It’s flowed humming a melody; one could see the coloured pebbles at the bottom and the fishes gliding gracefully in the water. Suddenly, they spotted two gunmen in uniform some 100 yards away; they were border guards of Bangladesh. Sunu and Mannik were on the international border between India and Bangladesh. Tranquility was all-pervading and Bangladesh border men too seemed engrossed in feeling the rhythm of Dawki entering their territory.
After breakfast, they went for a small rafting expedition in Dawki. Cliff jumping was the ultimate liberating experience. Sunu says the moment she took a dive in the river, she could sense all tension leave her mind leaving it suffused with calm and energy.
The campsite is kept clean; the visitors are advised not to litter the place. The local village community together does a sprucing up drive each week
How to reach there: Taxis and buses ply from Guwahati and Shillong to Dawki village.
What to carry: warm clothes for nightwear as it gets cold.
Cost: It’s the paisa vasool destination. Average Rs 1,000 per person including food. One has to pay extra for drinks.
Preferred time: Close to full moon days.
Precaution: The campsite can be visited by wild animals. Not to worry, there are people to take care of such emergencies in a nearby tent.