Nongriat Adventure: Hike, Swim & Stay in Local Homestays

Nongriat: Root Bridges Among the Clouds

Dec 8th, 2022

Amid the clouds and the green hills of the beautiful state of Meghalaya lies the quaint town of Nongriat. Situated atop the East Khasi Hills, the name of the town translates as “a village surrounded by hills”, nong means village, and riat translates to cliff or hills. And indeed, this place lives up to its name. I can guarantee that its beauty will mesmerize you as much as it mesmerized me. Nongriat is a small hamlet a few kilometers trek away from Cherapunjee. 

Visit Nongriat and experience the homestays- OurGuest  

Visiting this place with its awe-inspiring natural beauty and foliage will also introduce you to the great craftsmanship of the Khasi people as they live in harmony with mother nature. Just a few miles away from the village lies Umshiang, the famous double-decker living root bridge. This bridge stands as a testament to this harmonious union of man and nature. It is a 150+-year-old man-made bridge. Living root bridges are a common site in the state of Meghalaya. However, this bridge is different from other living root bridges as it has two levels. Members of the tribe grew the second level after a heavy monsoon caused water from the river beneath to reach the first level. It is also called the Jinkeing Nongriat. This bridge was a sight for my sore eyes. 

Living root bridges are made from the roots of rubber trees as well as banyan trees. Traditionally, the roots of trees are carefully guided across spaces using the straight trunks of betel nut trees. Today, wires and ropes are also used to guide these roots. Living root bridges can be found throughout the state of Meghalaya. The bridge in Mawlynnong is the most famous among such bridges. 

Nongriat is not just about the double-decker root bridge, it is a place of great natural beauty, a treasure on its own. It is a land of tales, myths, and legends as well as springs and lagoons. Getting to Nongriat is not an easy feat, it needs endurance and patience. You have to walk more than three kilometers through a series of 3,500 stone-hewn on the trail. On reaching the place, your breath will be taken away by the beauty. You will find that the place is filled with natural pools, waterfalls, and lagoons along with the foliage which will captivate your eyes throughout. An hour away from Nongriat, you will find yourself amidst one of the place’s most wonderful gems, the Rainbow Falls. 

Nongriat homestays providing the best experience  

The residents of this pretty and quiet village live in small huts. These huts are situated on raised platforms built with wooden planks. The village is filled with small shops, most of which are run by women. Nongriat is home to the Khasi tribe. The Khasi tribe is one of the few tribes in the world that follow a matrilineal culture. Not only do the children take their mother’s surname but inheritance is passed down from mother to daughter. This custom of the Khasi people sets them apart from many tribes that live around them as most of them have a patriarchal society. 

When is the best time to travel to Nongriat? 

Although the weather is pleasant all year round, the best time to travel to Meghalaya is from November to June when the weather is moderate and there is less rainfall. The best weather in Meghalaya is usually between April to June, with warm dry days. Here, winter sets in November and lasts till March. Many hikers and nature lovers consider it a good time to go hiking. It is usually dry during winters. 

The monsoon season starts from July to September. It is particularly intense in Meghalaya as it receives the southwest monsoon winds from the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean. Mawsynrawm in the Khasi Hills is known as one of the wettest places on earth and it sees heavy rainfall during these months. The amount of moisture makes the atmosphere humid making it slightly uncomfortable to go for a trek during this season. 

How to get to Nongriat? 

Shillong, the capital city of Meghalaya state is usually the first pitstop for travelers who want to visit Nongriat. You can either take a flight directly to Shillong or book one to Guwahati and travel to Shillong from there. It will take you around 2 to 3 hours by road. You will easily find eateries and restaurants on the way if you need to make a quick stop. Both the capitals are well connected. You can easily find a taxi or a bus that can take you from Guwahati to Shillong.

From Shillong, you need to head to Cherrapunji (also known locally as Sohra) first. Shared Sumos and taxis run to the town of Sohra from Shillong. These can be found in the Police Bazaar area. Having your ride will be a great plus as it will allow you to take in the scenic beauty that you will come across on your way to Sohra. You will have to get to Cherapunjee initially to get to Nongriat. A one-night stay in Cherapunjee is ideal as the ride to Nongriat could be long. Cherapunjee has guest houses as well as homestays.

To get from Cherrapunji to Nongriat, the first destination is Tyrna village. From there, you will have to hike to get down to Nongriat. A local bus leaves Cherrapunji and passes through Lower Sohra in the morning on its way to Mawlong. You can take this bus up to Tyrna village. The driver or even other passengers can help you locate the place if you are not sure. You need to get off the bus at the Tyrna turnoff. Another way to get to Tyrna is by taxi from Cherrapunji.

After getting off at the Tyrna turnoff, you will have to find the hiking trail down to Nongriat. There are around 3000 concrete stairs straight down the valley that will lead you to the village. Although this seems like a daunting task, I thoroughly enjoyed the trek. It’s a beautiful hike and it should take anywhere between 1-2 hours. You will come across a few snack shops on the way so you do not have to be worried about getting hungry on the way.

Where to stay in Nongriat?

Being a tourist hotspot, Nongriat has a few guesthouses. These guesthouses are reasonably priced with good food to make your stay even more worthwhile. Another option would be homestays. Homestays in Nongriat  has became a huge attraction, not only in Nongriat but in various places in Meghalaya. The people are warm and welcoming. Since most people in Meghalaya are well versed in English, the language and communication will not be an issue. It is important to keep in mind that there are no commercial restaurants or eateries in this place so it is suggested that you eat with the people you are staying with. Some of the guesthouses and homestays in Nongriat are:

Nongriat homestays includes Santina's homestay  

Santina’s Homestay: It is run by a woman named Santina. Her homestay is extremely affordable and she charges around 300 rupees per night.

Stay in Serene homestays Nongriat for the local experience  

Serene Homestay : This is one of the most popular places in Nongriat. It is quite comfortable as well as affordable and has polite staff.

Rustic Cottage:  Rustic Cottage is located in Tyrna which is closer to Nongriat. It has a rustic feel to it since most of the properties are wooden. The cottage are located a bit far away from the road so one needs to walk for a minute.

Things to do in Nongriat : 

​​​​​​​Visit Tyrna village when in Nongriat-OurGuest  

The living root bridge : Even before entering Nongriat you’ll see a sign indicating a living root bridge to your right. This is one of the sights that you should visit while you are in Nongriat.

Experience Nongriat homestay with OurGuest near root bridges in Nongriat 

Double-decker bridge: This is the ultimate attraction of Nongriat. This now-famous double-decker root bridge that is over a century old is an incredible sight. To see this bridge, you will need to get an entry ticket. Proceeds from the sale of the tickets go directly to the community. 

Stay in homestays in Nongriat and experience the beautiful rainbow fall  

Rainbow Falls: Another breath-taking sight in Nongriat is this incredible waterfall. It is a few kilometers from the village of Nongriat itself. This waterfall is a wonderful sight and if you are someone who knows how to swim, it will be extremely difficult to stop yourself from taking a dip.

Visit Nongriat caves while experiencing the best homestays  

Caves: There are a few caves that you can explore around Nongriat. You can ask the locals for directions and the location of these caves if you would like to visit.

While in Nongriat, visit Mynteng & Tyrna village  

Mynteng: Mynteng is the village right after Nongriat. It is a nice and quiet place to explore that sees far fewer visitors. There are also a couple of homestays here if you want complete seclusion.

Entry Fees for Double Decker Root Bridge and Rainbow Falls:

TheEntry Fee Double Decker Root Bridge at Nongriat & Rainbow Falls is as shown below:

- Adult @Rs 50 per head
- Children @Rs 20 per head 
- Camera @ Rs 50
- Go Pro @ Rs 100
- Drone/Video Camera : @Rs 200
- Film Shooting : @Rs 5000 

Guests can buy the tickets at the counter which is right before you enter the double decker root bridge

​​​​​​​Some tips for Nongriat and visiting the living root-bridges:

The weather can get unpredictable, sudden downpours are not uncommon. You must be prepared to get drenched if a sudden downpour occurs. Make sure to bring an umbrella and a cover for whatever bags you have.

Cleanliness and preserving the greenery are considered extremely important by the locals. It will bode you well to keep in mind this and not litter the place when you are visiting. You will find bamboo baskets used as dustbins in the hamlet, so looking for a bin to discard your trash will not be an issue. Most importantly, you need to keep in mind that you are visiting someone’s home. The local people are extremely polite and they will treat you with respect, and you must respect them as well as their ways.

Spending a night or two in Nongriat at a basic but charming homestay is recommended to fully experience the village. 

Written by: Charity Matlai: Meghalaya's Unveiling Guide
Charity Matlai, a 25-year resident of Meghalaya, the "Abode of Clouds," isn't just a travel blogger – she's a local expert. Fueled by a lifelong love for exploration, Charity's passion for her home state led her to pursue degrees in Tourism and a career crafting unique adventures. With 5 years of travel industry experience, Charity unlocks Meghalaya's hidden gems, offering a glimpse into the region's untouched beauty and rich culture. Join Charity as she unveils the secrets of her beloved Meghalaya, one adventure at a time.

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