If your wanderlust quenches for something new and mesmerising, then North East India has a lot to offer. But one of the best sights is vast panorama of mountain ranges, with cutting edge cliffs and a lush green valley.
Laitlum Canyons are India’s own Grand Canyon. They open up nature’s canvas under the blue sky. The scenic hill slopes of Laitlum are often called the amphitheatre of Meghalaya. Unending as far as one can see, they are painted in a multitude of hues – from earthy browns and verdant greens to blushing reds at dawn and dusk.
The terrain is a bit difficult to navigate, but Laitlum is a great destination for trekkers. Surrounded by lush waving meadows, and gigantic rock walls, the trails take you to another place on the land.
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Narrow and uneven rocky paths lead to several small slate-roofed houses perched at great heights of the canyon. The residents literally farm on the edges of these mist-shrouded cliffs that plunge sharply into the valley below.
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Once atop Laitlum Canyon, one can see Rasong, a small hamlet nestled deep in the lush green ridges of the Laitlum gorge. The 300 residents of Rasong rely on an old ropeway pulley to transport food grains and essential commodities down to the valley and up to the hilltop.
The village of Smit in Laitlum is the traditional seat of power of the HimaKhyrim, a sub-tribe of the Khasis. The village also has a traditional house, the Iing Shad, which is believed to be a century old. In autumn, the striking Nongkrem dance is performed outside this royal residence.
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Get a traditional Khasi lunch packed before you hit the trek trails, as this place with little human footprint is isolated, and has little to offer in way of accommodation and sustenance.
You can reach Laitlum via Smit near Shillong, the capital city of Meghalya.