The Flying Boatmen of Umngot

A  warrior princess was lost in an enchanted forest. Clouds descended around her and the trees sparkled an emerald light. She did not want to leave the forest, however she had to go back to the battlefield. She prayed to the gods of the forest to show her the way out.

In a few moments, a soft breeze surrounded her and the emerald light from the trees began cascading down into a river below the hills.She followed the light and went down to the river.

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The river sparkled a magical green. She made a raft and sailed the river which led to a small village. The villagers recognized her and showed her the way back to the battlefield.

This is my fictional story of how the Umngot River got its magical emerald color 🙂

Only my story is fictional, the river is in fact crystal clear and emerald. Trees from the surrounding hills cast their reflection into the water making the river green.

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Umngot is one of the cleanest rivers in India. Even at a depth of 15 feet, you can see the river bed. Some days the water is so clear that if you look from the bridge towards the river below, the boatmen seem like they are flying in the air.

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An important fishing spot, the Umngot flows from India towards Bangladesh. There is no border fence in the water, only a small barrier of stones is considered as a border marker between the countries.

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Fishermen are not allowed to cross the borders. The armed forces keep a strict vigil.

An old suspension bridge, built by the British hangs across the river and connects to a main road that leads towards Bangladesh.

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Dawki is the Indian border village which carries the Umngot river at it’s hem. A 2 hours drive from Shillong (82kms) will get you to Dawki.

Driving with friends we cross the suspension bridge towards Dawki. But we forget the village on seeing the river. We are captivated by its sight and could look at the calm clear water for hours.

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We hired a boatman to take us around the Indian side of the river. We were enchanted to see the clear waters. The stones lay at the river bed like sweet sleeping children. They had varying shades of brown and white.

Verdant green hills with densely covered trees stand protectively on both sides of the river. Like guardians to a beautiful princess, they are always at her side 🙂

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Several boatmen were doing their daily fishing. Some of them were singing songs which came naturally to them, given the calming effect the river had on us all.

As our boat ride came to an end we could see Bangladesh in the horizon. We were not very eager to hop off and would have liked to explore the Bangladesh side of this river as well.

Exploring Meghalaya is incomplete without seeing the Umngot, a must see magical river.

Khublei shibun 🙂

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