Our next destination after Mawlynnong and the Living Root Bridge was Dawki, but as usual we stopped at some more places for its beautiful valleys and to see more waterfalls closely. There are many small bridges made by the army and I can see multiple check-posts and bunkers throughout the lonely road. I have never experienced such high-pitched crickets, that it buried the sound of the car engine. The condition of the road was detoriating as we proceed to Dawki. Our car drove down through the narrow roads across the Umngot river. From a distance, the clear green water of the river appeared spectacular. It had rained during the early hours of dusk, so the water appeared a little cloudy, making the river bed less visible than its usual charm..Firstly we decided to visit the Indo Bangladesh Border – Dawki International Check Post which is a five minutes drive. Located on the Jaintia Hills, the Dawki-Tamabil border crossing between India and Bangladesh is now used to ferry across both passenger and cargo via road, some 500 trucks across the border every day, in peak season.
In fact, the new Guwahati-Shillong-Dhaka bus service that was flagged off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina last year uses this route. The Dawki-Tamabil crossing was a revelation. Barring a small nullah and some stone pillars, there was nothing to suggest this was indeed an international border. There was no border fencing in sight. In fact, security presence along the stretch seemed minimal and the stationed BSF jawans implied that this was a friendly border. So we took a short walk to the “No man’s land” and even bought some Aamra (hug plum) roughly chopped and sprinkle with salt and red chili powder. The Bangladeshi seller even mentioned that although the aamra, belonged to Bangladesh but the salt is a genuine Indian product with a friendly laughing gesture. As the day light was burning out fast, we hurried to reached the banks of Umngot river. We took a short boat ride to a nearby island at the heart of the river. We had to gear up with life jackets they provided and that is really a good thing because the boats are narrow and only 4 heads were allowed at a time on the boat along with the sailor. The boat man said that a sailing competition takes place every year which fetches a high foot falling.It took about 20 minutes to reach the island. In between we spotted many people, barring of no age, fishing with their fishing rods or net. This is a popular hobby amongst the population in this region, which also serves as a source of income for them. The short journey was really delightful and I felt quiet nostalgic to my Chilka memories…We spent sometime here encapturing nature and exploring the island and going down on the river itself. As we sailed back again, sunlight was fading out and the tall stone walls on both sides with lush greenery and the natural caves, made me feel as if on the sets of Jurassic park!
Our majhi sang softly in his earthy soulful voice while my brother played the percussionist. Soon Binti (our cousin sister) and Rahul (her husband) started the chorus melodiously.The environment suddenly turned so mesmerizing with the singing, beats on the boat’s body and sailing on a river at dusk around this amazing natural landscape. That was an out of the Earth experience for us.