Shnongpdeng is a small village located in the East Khasi Hills district of Meghalaya state in India. It is situated between Shillong and Mawsynram, at an altitude of approx. 1934 meters (6296 feet). It is situated 20 km south of Cherrapunjee. Its main crops are oranges (the orange orchards cover many acres on both sides of the road to Mawlynnong), rice, ginger and pineapple.
Shnongpdeng was recently hailed as one of the 'Seven Wonders Of Meghalaya'. This place receives heavy rainfall throughout the year, with annual average precipitation of 50000mm.
Along with Mawlynnong, Shnongpdeng is one of Meghalaya's scenic tourist spots that are increasingly becoming popular amongst tourists who've heard about its unique living root bridges and village tourism experience. The name 'Shnongpdeng' means 'Village Between Two Hills'.
Shnongpdeng Village, 8 kilometres north of Dawki, is accessible via the winding Umngot. The Umngot River may be described in such terms during the peak pre-monsoon, autumn, and winter seasons when its waters are so transparent that you can see into the bottom and count the stones.
Whether you want to go on a gentle boat ride down a lovely river flanked by forests or dive into the water in scuba gear, Shnongpdeng has something for everyone.
Shnongpdeng, Meghalaya is also a popular destination for tourists worldwide who come to see the living root bridges in this area of Meghalaya. The villagers have been practising the art of constructing living rooted suspension bridges for generations. A hanging bridge can connect two points far away in a horizontal direction, and a number of such hanging bridges together can cover a vast distance vertically.
When a strong young fig sapling reaches the other side of the stream, it is allowed to grow by being tied to another tree on one bank with fishing line or nylon ropes so as not to obstruct the flow of water under the bridge. It is also given enough room so that it can extend its roots on the other side. Thereafter, it is given a recuperation period in a protected area for a couple of years so that the ropes holding it can strengthen and allow the sapling to take up weight. Once this stage is over, all fishing line/nylon ropes are removed and instead, iron chains are tied around the fig saplings. The recuperation period continues in this phase until these chains can hold at least half a dozen adults standing together on it without snapping off. Each year after that, one or two more strands of iron chain are added depending on how much load-bearing capacity is desired for this particular bridge because once the permanent structure has been reached, all further growth of the fig sapling is stopped by chopping off its top.
The ropes and chains are checked periodically because if one strand breaks, it can lead to irreparable damage to the root bridges. Usually, such accidents happen when a heavy load comes down on an already fragile bridge or when someone tries crossing over in the darkness. If anyone has doubt of the strength of the bridge, they are advised to step aside and wait till sunrise before continuing on their journey across this living bridge. A lot more care goes into making these bridges compared to what happens with regular bridges that get washed away during harsh monsoons/floods every year, causing loss of life & property for people living downstream.
Tourists need not worry about trekking up to reach Shnongpdeng village since it's just roughly an hour's hike through dense forests. As long as tourists are fit enough to hike up for an hour, then they should be fine.
During the trek, tourists will come across small tribal villages shortly after starting their journey towards Shnongpdeng. These villages are located deep within the jungle and will mostly consist of local Khasi tribals living in bamboo & wood huts. The roofs of these homes are made from banana trees which can act as a good organic material for this purpose.
Tourists need not worry about carrying any camping gear while trekking up to reach Shnongpdeng since there's no need for it - most tourists who go here do so only to experience village life, relax and take a break; from their busy urban lives! However, if you'd like to stay a night or two at Shnongpdeng, you'll need to bring all your camping gear, sleeping bag, and other essential equipment.
Tourists can buy rice from local Khasi tribals who sell stuff from their bamboo baskets in terms of food. They also have some funky looking bamboo utensils to cook in! In addition to the village huts, there are wooden cottages which tourists can rent if they'd like for an extra cost. These cottages come with attached bathrooms and other basic amenities such as WiFi access (although we're unsure of how good the connectivity would be).
Shnongpdeng Village: Where Locals Live Without Basic Amenities
One of the main attractions of Shnongpdeng village is that it's a place where locals live without the basic amenities. In this regard, tourists will be excited to know that they can experience all these inconveniences when staying at Shnongpdeng village - who doesn't love taking a break from all their gadgets and gizmos!
Due to the lack of electricity in Shnongpdeng, nighttime makes for a very romantic scene by the campfire. This is where you get to sit around with friends, chat up about life while gazing deep into a mesmerizing fire. There's something magical about staring into a campfire, so if you haven't done this before, we recommend that you do so when visiting Shnongpdeng.
Shnongpdeng, Meghalaya: The Perfect Place For A Picnic
If you're into picnics, then Shnongpdeng is the perfect place for you! Since there's no electricity, tourists can just pick up their camping chairs and head out to savour an enjoyable picnic experience in the lap of nature. There are lots of trees around, flower bushes, and grassy areas where one could sit back to enjoy a nice barbecue or simply lounge around with friends & family members.
Perhaps this would make for one cool corporate outing - grabbing your clients by the hand to come over here for some team-building exercises. Those who've never experienced life away from city lights will be amazed by the surreal beauty of Shnongpdeng village.
Shnongpdeng is definitely one place where people can go to get away from their busy, stressful lives - it's a place where tourists can sit down & enjoy some time without having to worry about the city life. We're sure that this would make for an ideal location for honeymooners or new couples looking forward to spending some quality time together.
Things to do in Shnongpdeng
Local cuisines to Eat
Of course, one can expect to taste the local cuisines of Shnongpdeng, Meghalaya during their visit here. The most famous ones are Jadoh, Thukpa and Hilsa fish.
Some other foods to try out include Dohkhlieh (sticky rice cooked in bamboo), Payaw (rice beer) etc.
Beverages at Shnongpdeng
Since there are no electricity and refrigeration facilities, drinks like cold drinks aren't available at Shnongpdeng. However, visitors can drink tea boiled over an open fire using water drawn directly from the streams. Some locals also prepare chang (local rice wine), although we're not sure if this is available for tourists to try out.
However, if you are looking for some beer or other types of alcohol, we suggest that you stock up on them before coming over here - there are some local shops in Shnongpdeng where one can purchase these items, but there aren't many of them, so stock up early!
Clothes/ Shoes to wear when visiting Shnongpdeng Meghalaya
It's advisable to carry raincoats because the weather in Shnongpdeng can be unpredictable; it might start raining anytime (obviously during the monsoon season), so make sure you're carrying an umbrella or raincoat. It begins often drizzling during sunny afternoons even when there are no clouds - the weather is very unpredictable here!
Best if you can wear sports shoes because of all the rocky roads that lead to different places like the Living Root Bridges & other scenic spots around this region. Sandals are also preferable for female tourists because they'll help protect your feet from getting dirty.
Please note that Shnongpdeng isn't exactly a tourist place, so expect most of the access roads to be a bit bumpy - it's a really small village with not many vehicles plying on those roads. Most people choose to walk from one place to another because of this.
Weather in Shnongpdeng Meghalaya
Shnongpdeng is blessed with a very pleasant climate throughout the year as it falls within India's 'Tropical Monsoon Region'. It remains moderate during winters (November-February) and humid & hot during summers (April-June). The best time to plan your trip would be around November-end, when you'll enjoy some cool weather. The days are mostly sunny clear skies while evenings can get slightly chilly at times - so make sure that you carry along warm clothes if you're going to be visiting here during winters.
The only time when rainfall makes a lot of difference is the monsoon season from around June-September when you can expect rainfall throughout the day - it almost never rains in any other month because of the moderate climate that's experienced from November-February! It's best if you can plan your trip to avoid these months because then this place will turn into a little slice of paradise. But this isn't really possible so let's hope for some sunshine & clear skies instead.
If you have a passion for exploring nature, then Shnongpdeng would definitely be one of the ideal places for you to visit in Meghalaya. It's a small quiet village choc-a-bloc with nature's beauty - it has rolling green hills, serene rivers & streams, lush greenery everywhere and many more snuggled in the lap of mother nature.
Shnongpdeng is one of the most beautiful places I've ever had the pleasure of visiting :) This place is what makes Meghalaya so special. And if you're looking for some true 'peace of mind', then this is your spot! It hardly gets crowded here so you'll be able to enjoy your time without worrying too much about anything else!
Shnongpdeng is an ideal weekend getaway for all those who are tired after a hectic week. Here, one can find good accommodation facilities and good food joints apart from different kinds of adventure sports like kayaking etc. The major attraction here is the Nature Park, which has excellent root bridges made using rubber trees' roots. Apart from these, many other places like Nohkalikai Falls and Nongkseh War Memorial are also worth visiting.
Staying at Shnongpdeng, Meghalaya
There are numerous well-known resorts and camps in Dawki, Shnongpdeng, and the region. Make sure that all of your water activities are done under expert supervision with the appropriate safety equipment.
If you wish to stay at Shnongpdeng, you'll have to first check with the village chief whether there are any vacancies available for tourists. Some locals also rent out huts/cottages on the sides of their homes for visitors who'd like to experience life without basic amenities.
The rates are usually negotiable, so do remember to bargain with the village chief or cottage owner before making your final decision.
Other Accommodations at Shnongpdeng
PS: We recommend booking your stay in advance with your Travel & Tour Agency before travelling to Shnongpdeng, Meghalaya, to ensure a stress-free and hassle-free stay experience.
The climate is pretty pleasant throughout the year. The best time to visit Shnongpdeng is during the winter season - November to February.
Transportation to Shnongpdeng
One can get down at Meghalaya's East Khasi Hills district (Shillong city) and take a taxi up till Dawki. From here, it's approximately 20 km more to reach Shnongpdeng. Some buses ply between Shillong & Dawki daily, so one can also catch these local transports for the final leg of their journey - the last few kilometres of the road leading up to Shnongpdeng village.
Please note that there are no petrol pumps in this area so it might be wise to carry sufficient petrol while coming here. While most taxis will run out of petrol while journeying through this route, one can always ask the driver to fill up before going on this trip.
It's also possible to visit Shnongpdeng by mountain bike through jeep track trails starting from Dawki and Nongpdeng Village (near Mawlynnong). This might be a unique yet arduous way of reaching here but probably quite fun & adventurous for someone who's planning to do some biking!