Boatride on Umngot, Dawki; Meghalaya

During a trip to Meghalaya, it is really worthwhile to spend an extra day and travel 80 kms from Shillong right up to its final frontier in Dawki bordering Tamabil, Bangladesh. Dawki is a small sleepy town in the West Jaintia hills, the last Indian post on the road connecting to Sylhet in Bangladesh. There is nothing much to write about Dawki except for the emerald colors of the Umngot river. While the green valleys, undulating hills, gushing waterfalls are an experience to remember in Meghalayas, the toast of the state is a boatride in Dawki on the crystal clear Umngot river.

Boatride can be experienced between the months of October to March only. The level of water steadily rises from the month of April with the pre-monsoons rendering boating impossible.

Boatride in Umngot, near Dawki

The boatride can be experienced just before entering Dawki town at a point where the river diverges partly towards Bangladesh and a narrow rocky strip separates the 2 countries. The aerial view of the meandering river is absolutely breathtaking. The porous friendly border allows intermingling of Indians and Bangladeshis along the river. Holidays are fun times with boat rides, snacks and picnics.The long dinghy boats waiting along the river to take passengers for a ride.

On my return, we stopped by to experience the sunset. Mesmerized by the colors of the sky I headed towards the boats on the Bangladesh side unknowingly. It would have been easy to go for a ride unnoticed 🙂 It is not difficult to guess that these areas are prone to illegal migration. However, I was told by the locals that they are extremely vigilant and so are the forces and such cases are negligible along this area.

Boatride in Umngot , Shnongpden

After quick lunch in Dawki town in a roadside dhaba, we drove down further to Shnongpden village by the river for our boatride. The long dinghy’s can take about 4 to 5 people at a time at the rate of  Rs100/head for about 45 minutes along the river.

We were comfortably seated on the wooden boats with our life jackets carefully strapped. The young boatman with a perpetual smile rowed us down the river when we noticed a boat loaded with greens cruising along. The water is crystal clear with clear reflections. The stones and underwater plants can be seen right through upto tens of feet.oatride in Dawki Meghalaya

We passed below the hanging metal bridge which is a tourist attraction and noticed the ziplining adventure activity a little further downoatride in Dawki Meghalaya

There were tents set up along the riverside; where you can spend the night and enjoy unspoilt nature at its virgin best. Contact Brightstar Camps – 8974227204oatride in Dawki Meghalaya

Soon we were passing through canyons and narrow gorges. The clear reflection of the passing boat was a heavenly sight. oatride in Dawki Meghalaya

There were lone fishermen patiently parked themselves waiting for the prized catchoatride in Dawki Meghalaya

In about 25 minutes we were near the source of the river Umngot, gushing through stones and flowing towards the plains.oatride in Dawki Meghalaya

During the 15 minute return ride, I was in quiet contemplation, wondering why Umngot, perhaps the cleanest river in India never found its way to my school text book. Maybe it is time to include the History and Geography of the North East in school texts for children across the country to appreciate our diversity and for these regions to integrate better with rest of India.

Travel Tip
  • Dawki can be visited as a Day Trip from Shillong along with Mawlynnong the cleanest village in India. I would recommend camping in Dawki at Shnongpden for the young traveler and an overnight stay in Mawlynnong for the others to soak in nature.
  • Contact North East Explorers for planning this trip or write to them at hello@northeastexplorers.in or tweet @northeastexplrs . They did a great job with mine and the young entrepreneur from north east will surely make you comfortable.
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