David Scott Trail – A Historical Trail in Meghalaya

by Last updated Mar 29, 2020India Trekking, Meghalaya, Trekking

So we decided to walk down the horse cart trail that was laid down to connect Assam and Bangladesh during the nineteenth century. The David Scott Trail, named after the British administrator David Scott is one of the oldest trekking routes in Meghalaya. Last year was a bad year for us in terms of trek! We did not go for a single Himalayan trek last year; it was only the Baamikonda-Kalchukki Peak Trek and Kudremukh Trek in the Western Ghats. Well, 2018 started with David Scott Trail.
Meghalaya has always been one of our favourite destinations. Now that we were there for a week-long sojourn, we wanted to explore the state slowly and explore a few unfrequented places. So walking along the path of Mr. Scott fell well in place!

David Scott Trail, Trekking in Meghalaya

A Little History about the David Scott Trail

David Scott was one of the first English Officers to be sent to Northeast India during the British Period. His operations stretched for almost 30 years (1802-1832) and were mostly in the Khasi Hills and the surrounding areas. Under his order, a horse cart trail was laid down across the hills and jungles from Assam to Sylhet, in the present day Bangladesh. This route was almost 100 km long and was used to carry goods across the tow destinations.
This route was also the cause of the war between U Tirot Singh, king of Khadsawphra Syiemship and the British. The Anglo-Khasi War went on for almost 4 years. The Khasis lacked firearms and had only bows and arrows, swords and shields and were obviously untrained in the British way of warfare. Tirot Singh and the other Khasi leaders soon found out that they were no match for the well trained British soldiers and so resorted to guerrilla warfare. This continued for 4 years until Tirot Singh was captured and deported to Bangladesh, where he died in1835.

David Scott Trail, Trekking in Meghalaya

Where in Meghalaya is the David Scott Trail?

The present-day David Scott Trail is a stretch of 16 km from Mawphlang to Lad Mawphlang and is a beautiful day hike. Beginning from the quaint Mawphlang village, the trail takes a winding route across the hills and valleys while ascending and descending at times.
We had started our trek from Mawphlang. It is an easy trek and takes about 4 hours to complete. The scenery that you come across is simply stunning. The beauty of Meghalaya’s landscape can be seen fully here. The rolling green mountains, the valleys and crystal clear waters in the natural pools seem to be a part of wonderland. Only this one was not Alice’s, but ours! There is a sparkling river that moved with us, sometimes disappearing, and then again coming to the fore at regular intervals. Nature has seemed to be very kind here. The trek gives us a lovely view of the Umiam River and the Valley.
As we started from Mawphlang, soon we came to a resting place called ‘Ka Kor Ka Shonmai’. This is named after a daughter of Dorsing Lyngdoh, the 1st Lyngdoh with the British. After a hike of a few minutes, our guide BG pointed us to a tomb. This tomb was erected in 1843 in memory of a Child fondly called Camilla. The first part of the trek after Mawphlang follows a winding gravelly path with ascents and descents till we reach the hanging bridge over the river Umiam.

David Scott Trail, Trekking in Meghalaya

Do you know, Umiam literally means ‘flood of tears’?

It is said that two sisters were on their way from the upper world to the earth. On the way, one of the siblings gets lost. The river was formed by the tears of the sister who lost her sibling on the way.

David Scott Trail, Trekking in Meghalaya

Everything around was immensely pleasing. Halfway across the trek, we reached the river. This is the place where usually you can take a lunch break, provided you carry packet lunch with you. We stopped there for some time and then hopped across the river and continued our walk. There are a few Khasi villages on the way where you can see the simple people in their daily life. We stopped at one such village, Lysoma and had Maggi there. At the end of the trail, there were giant rock formations all around. The Khasis love their folk tales. Our guide had said.

– We can make stories from even a rock lying on the ground. We have many stories!

So I was walking with our guide BG and listening to a few fascinating Khasi folk stories. After about 4 hours, we reached Lad Mawphlang, the exit point of the trek. It was the end of a beautiful journey and the beginning of a new one.

David Scott Trail, Trekking in Meghalaya

How to Reach – David Scott Trail

The trek can start at Mawphlang and end at Lad-Mawphlang or it can be done the other way around. The usual route is from Mawphlang to Lad Mawphlang.
Mawphlang is 25 km from Shillong and can be reached by taking a shared vehicle from near Bada Bazaar in Shillong. You can also book a cab to reach Mawphlang.
The exit of the trek, Lad Mawphlang is near Sohra or Cherrapunji. The transportation here can be a bit tricky. You might have to wait for sometime before you get a shared vehicle to Cherrapunji.

David Scott Trail, Trekking in Meghalaya

Is Guide required for David Scott Trail?

The trek can be done without a guide. But it is highly recommended to take a local guide with you. There are a few confusing turns in the way. Also, your guide can tell you wonderful Khasi stories along the way. We took BG as our guide, a young guy with whom I had been to the Mawphlang Sacred Groves. He is quite a jolly person and would not tell us his full name. Call me BG – that is all he would say!

Best Time to do the David Scott Trail Trek

During the monsoon, the trail becomes a bit slippery and the river is at full force. You have to find a proper way to cross the river at that time. Otherwise, the David Scott Trail can be done all through the year. We had done the trek in winters and that is our preferred time.

Here are a few more pictures from the trek that might make you want to visit Meghalaya!

David Scott Trail, Trekking in Meghalaya, Offbeat places to visit in Meghalaya

David Scott Trail, Trekking in Meghalaya Offbeat places to visit in Meghalaya

David Scott Trail, Trekking in Meghalaya

David Scott Trail, Trekking in Meghalaya Meghalaya Tourism

David Scott Trail, Trekking in Meghalaya

David Scott Trail, Trekking in Meghalaya

 

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Agni & Amrita

Agni & Amrita

Travel Experts

We are Agni and Amrita, the story-telling team behind Tale of 2 Backpackers and partners in crime in travel and (mis)adventures of life. We have been travelling together for more than a decade looking for immersive experiences while enjoying the little beauties of life. We are intrigued by heritage, culture, festivals and people and that is reflected in our travel. And yes, we love the Himalayas too.

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24 Comments

  1. Great blog thanks. We are thinking of doing the same thing on about 20th October and will contact BG. Did you return to Shillong the same day, and where did you hook up with BG ie in Shillong or at the start of the trail?

    Reply
    • We went on to Cherrapunjee after the trek. We found BG at Mawphlang itself.

      Reply
  2. Hi Agni & Amrita,

    Thanks for sharing your experience and all the details of the David Scott Trail. You have done a great job and nicely covered all aspects.

    I am planning to visit Meghalaya during the last week of October with my family. Based on your experience, what would be the best way to do David Scott trail. Can I park my car at Mawphlang and get transportation back from Lad Mawphlang to Mawphlang.

    Thanks in advance for any advice.
    Dinesh

    Reply
    • From Lad Mawphlang you can return to Mawphlang via Shillong.
      You can also ask the guide to arrange someone to take your car to the endpoint of the trek at Lad Mawphlang.

      Reply
  3. Meghalaya is a beautiful place is in India. You shared the information with photos is very helpful. I am happy with this blog. Great info. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Thank you so much. Glad that this helped.

      Reply
  4. Hi , thanks for sharing this ! I’m super excited to do this trail . I had a few questions , me and a friend would be coming from cherrapunji on scooters , we wanted to do this trail and stay a night in the forest . How would you suggest we plan this? And how do we get back to our scooters after the trek is done?

    Reply
    • Hi Bhanu, David Scott Trail is a lovely trail. Contact with the guides there. They will help you with all the details and logistics. Sharing the number of our guide – 8131058003

      Reply
  5. Hi Agni and Amrita, Davis Scott trail is just fascinating. How many hours does it takes to trek?

    Reply
    • Thank you Lydia. It takes about 4 – 5 hours.

      Reply
  6. I love to trek,
    It’s 1 of the Things I love to do most
    And it’s an honor to be your Guide @taleof2backpackers….
    Thank You

    Reply
    • Thank you so much BG! It was an absolute delight to have you as our guide. Keep travelling, trekking and inspiring!

      Reply
  7. Even my last year was dull trek wise. I hardly did any treks. David Scott Trail sounds exciting. Especially the history behind it makes it enriching. Meghalaya is still such an underexplored destination. Not only are the views on this trek are breathtaking but the history lurking in every corner makes it an enriching experience.

    Reply
  8. Beautiful article. Scott Trail looks gorgeous! I really appreciate the beautiful pictures. You shared awesome reasons to visit the Scott Trail! Always loved your post. I really want to visit this place in future. Great adventures!

    Reply
  9. This trek with the greenish lake seems a nice place to go out for a day of hiking and listening to local stories like the one on the sister who cried. Maybe you should have a separate post on the stories from the Khasi people. Having Maggi by a lake, sounds awesome!

    Reply
    • Thank you, Kartik! Yes, I am thinking of writing a separate post on Khasi fables. There are so many of them!

      Reply
  10. This is a gorgeous trail and I can’t believe I missed it on my trip there. Meghalaya on the whole, is so beautiful but this trail seems to touch all that which makes it beautiful. Lovely pictures. And thanks for the handy tips for the trail. Especially that bit about the transport.

    Reply
  11. Have always been enamoured by the beauty of the north-eastern states. Meghalaya is one state that we have not visited but would love to. Having read many articles and posts about the place, this one is surely a fresh perspective. The history of the David Scott Trail is really fascinating. Would love to do the present day David Scott Trail, sounds like a wonderful experience. Your post is definitely nice guide and one we will bookmark for future reference too.

    Reply
  12. I love how this trail seems to be quiet and serene and at the same time a bit adventurous. Thanx for the background (hi-)story on the name.

    Reply
  13. This is so fascinating, I didn’t know for it. I love the history part because I’m totally history freak 🙂

    Reply
  14. You have such beautiful photos! This sounds like such a nice area to hike, and I would love to visit someday!

    Reply
  15. Such a great and informative post. I love the beautiful picture you shared and the history behind the name. So fascinating

    Reply
  16. I love going on hikes and the David Scott Trail looks amazing! I’ve never even been to India before and never knew the landscape could look like that. If I get the chance to visit India, I’ll definitely be visiting here. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  17. Beautiful photos! It must be a lovely trek being surrounded by all the gorgeous scenery! The interesting history about this trail certainly does add to its charm! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    Reply

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