Two spectacular resorts in Cherrapunjee that will win over your hearts!

Cherrapunjee, famed for being one of the wettest places on earth (Mawsynram being the wettest) is breathtakingly beautiful and serene. The beautiful roads and the lush valleys and the forever foggy landscapes made us fall for them right away. Over the next three days, this love only grew stronger. Although the heart has no reasons, we can definitely tell you that these two places – Café Cherrapunjee Resort and Sa-I-Mika Park & Resort – had a huge role to play.

We drove from Guwahati to Cherrapunjee and had already booked our stay at Café Cherrapunjee a couple of days ago, but there was a certain anxiety, probably stemming from the fact that our stay in Guwahati had been not so great. We drove for a couple of hours to reach Sohra, the historical name of Cherrapunjee, and driving through the Sohra-Shella road, I saw a beautiful scene – stone-walled cottages with strikingly green coloured roofs and just as I was about to whisk my phone out to click a picture, we took a turn towards the cottages!

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This was our stay! This was our actual stay!! Yes, we had visited their site and booked the stay but images on the internet are not meant to be taken seriously, right?

We were overwhelmed by the beauty of this place! The clear blue sky behind the beautiful cottages, tall and lush green pine trees, smoke coming out of the chimney in the central cottage, this was a scene out of an old movie based in Scotland…but only, it was real. I vividly remember jumping around like an overjoyed kid as soon as the car came to a halt! The moment still makes me smile.

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Our room was in this cottage

Café Cherrapunjee had stolen our hearts and we were happy it had! Based in Mawdok village, midway from Shillong and the main Cherrapunjee Market, this quaint and beautiful place will make you want to stay back forever. The cottages are cozy, outstandingly clean and have a rustic charm. Tents are also available if you want to be adventurous. The age-old Dak Bungalow is converted to a restaurant/café where the staff (more hospitable than anyone you have met) whips up some delicious and heart-warming food. The cell reception is weak here and the resort has no WiFi, giving you the perfect opportunity to disconnect with the world and reconnect with your self and your travel partners.

When at Café Cherrapunjee Resort, remember to carry cash to make the payment (you will be making part payment via net transfer) as they do not have a network and can’t accept cards. You can always transfer the amount but the weak cell reception is a pain.

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Places Nearby: Dympep village is a ten-minute walk from the resort so you can visit some picturesque places here along with the Duwan Sing Syiem Bridge.

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Duwan Sing Syiem Bridge

After having checked out of Café Cherrapunjee, we did not think any other stay can make us this happy but found another beauty hidden amidst the meadows and mountains of Sohra – our second stay at Cherrapunjee – the Sa-I-Mika Park and Resort.

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Sa-I-Mika Park & Resort

A place designed to help you experience simplicity. This resort is much bigger in expanse and has a charm of its own. The various cottages here are all designed to replicate the simple Khasi lifestyle. Some cottages have hardwood flooring and stone walls while some other resemble the architectural style of the time when corrugated sheets were used to make houses. Fireplace, comfortable beds, khaats and muddas, and cleanliness mark the very spacious rooms here.

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The resort does not provide WiFi or televisions and yet we were not at a dearth of things to do. Explore the vast landscapes around, play with the dogs, go hiking or watch the stars under the clear beautiful sky – and we did all of these. And even ran inside our cottages at crazy speed when the rain started hammering down on us that evening! The next morning we headed to the common room for a simple but hearty breakfast and found out that many live gigs are hosted there. If only one was on when we were here…. but that just gives us an excuse to go back, right?

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Breakfast at Sa-I-Mika

Places Nearby: Mawsamai Caves, Seven Sisters Falls, Nohkalkai Falls, Mawlynlong Village and Living Root Bridges to name a few.

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The Orange Roots Cherrapunjee Resort is nearby and you can head here to enjoy a pocket-friendly and lip-smacking vegetarian meal prepared by the local Khasi women.
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Pancham Puriwala [Fort]

In the bylanes of South Mumbai, many legendary places hide in plain sight. Not that these are not popular, in fact, they are more popular and deserve to be so, than most of the new eateries. Some have revamped themselves with changing times, some have decided to stay the same, some have fought hard enough but failed and some have sustained… but what is common for most of these is that they have kept traditions alive…. more so in the way the delicious food is prepared than any other.

Pancham Puriwala is one such legendary eatery in Fort. Famous for the terrific and hearty thali (a full meal, with insane variety, covering all bases – savoury main course, dessert(s) and traditional beverages),  this place had been on my list for a really long time.

As the story goes, which most of us have heard time and again, the man who started this legendary place came to Mumbai with dreams in his eyes. He started a Puri vending stall opposite VT (CST) station and his family for generations to come have nurtured it to the famous and iconic eatery that it has become! The place is not hard to find considering people know about it and then there is Google Maps! Though parking space is definitely going to be hard to find! The place is swamped, day or night, weekday or holiday, and why won’t it be? Have you seen the menu and those prices?

We visited here for lunch on a festival day, hoping for less crowd…both on the roads and in the restaurant. While the roads were actually empty (almost), the restaurant was as full as ever. In the 30 mins that we took to finish our meals… the waiting line outside had grown almost exponentially.

They have an a la carte menu as well as set thalis of different proportions… choose one depending on your appetite. We selected one Pancham Thali and one Delux Thali.

Here is what came in each thali :

Pancham Thali : 

6 vegetables/curries : Aloo ki Sabzi, Bhindi Aloo , Chole ki Sabzi , Rajma , Pakodi Kadhi and Paneer ki Sabzi.

3 types of puris : All filled with masala and dal, delicious and not overly oily – Regular masala puri, Palak based masala puri, and Beet Root based masala puri.

Along with these, there was Paneer Pulao, Dahi Bada, Papad, Gulab Jamun and a Glass of Chas.

Delux Thali : 

5 vegetables/curries : Aloo ki Sabzi, Bhindi (mix) , Chole ki Sabzi , Pakodi Kadhi and Paneer ki Sabzi.

3 types of puris : All filled with masala and dal, delicious and not overly oily – Regular masala puri, Palak based masala puri, and Beet Root based masala puri.

Along with these, there was Special rice, Raita, Papad, and Kheer.

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Every single curry/sabzi had a marvelous taste.

Aloo ki sabzi was delicious, much like that made in mom’s kitchen, adequately spiced with lots of chilli flakes. Apt to be eaten with rice, puris or even alone! Rajma had a Punjabi style thick gravy with onion and coriander, my favourite! Chole ki sabzi was another delight. Pakodi Kadhi was delicious, not spicy but did not lack in taste either, with the pakoris perfectly soft and having a taste of their own as well! Bhindi Aloo was a tad disappointing compared to the rest of them, a little on the drier side. Paneer ki Sabzi  was a delight with a delicious gravy and soft paneer pieces.

The Masala Puris were delicious, the masala making them good enough to be eaten alone without any curry. Paneer Pulao had pieces of paneer, beans, and peas and was good. Raita on the other hand (in Delux Thali) was really watery. Dahi Bada had a little more of the sweet chutney, so if you aren’t a fan of that, tell them to skip the tamarind chutney (I couldn’t coz I did not know it would be sweet). Gulab Jamun and Kheer were delicious. Not very sweet and just delicious. Chass was good too and we went for two extras!

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We also tried the Gulab Lassi, was was a thick creamy lassi with rose syrup. Delicious, both in taste and aroma. Absolutely loved it!!

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The Pancham Thali was priced at Rs. 130 (no we did not miss a zero there!) and Delux Thali at Rs. 100. Our total bill came out to be only Rs. 300!! Super value for money, no?

Pancham Puriwala – Google Maps

Pancham Puriwala Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato