About the Blog: Wari Chora is a relatively unexplored and hidden place in Meghalaya. Located in the deep jungles of the Garo Hills, Wari Chora is nothing short of a paradise. The main attraction of the place is the rafting on the river through a narrow canyon. Read this blog to know about the place, how to reach Wari Chora, where to stay and our experience at this gorgeous place in the Garo Hills. This will serve as your Wari Chora Travel Guide.
There are some places that cannot be described with mere words. The inexplicable delight that you feel in such a place cannot be explained to others. Such places, even though rare, do exist. Wari Chora in the Garo Hills of Meghalaya is one such place.
Being a travel blogger and Youtuber, we always keep on thinking of taking a good photograph, looking for a better angle. The thoughts of how to present a story or video are something that goes on in our mind. I am sure some of my blogger friends will agree to this. However, once we were in Wari Chora, we simply stopped thinking. We just kept looking in awe at the marvel of nature in front of us. And we realized that once in a while, it is better to let go of thoughts!
Meghalaya never fails to surprise us. This beautiful state in Northeast India, which is also the home to the wettest place on the planet is full of surprises. I made the mistake of thinking nothing could be better than Krem Chympe. And then came Wahniangleng and now Wari Chora. And I will keep on reiterating this fact.
What is Wari Chora?
Wari Chora is a small canyon having a mountain river flowing in between the towering gorges. In local Garo dialect, “Wari” translates into “river”. Wari Chora somewhat means a deep river.
This place was not known a few years back even to the locals. The place was recently discovered and since then has become a tourist destination. Although not much is known about the place, Wari Chora gained popularity after a few reels in Instagram showed its beauty to the world.
Wari Chora in Visuals
Where is Wari Chora located?
Wari Chora is located in the South Garo Hills of Meghalaya amidst the lush Hills. If you look to find Wari Chora in Google Maps, you will not come up with anything. The nearest major town is Baghmara, which is 285 km from Shillong and 250 km from Guwahati. The nearest village is Dabalgre and another major village near Wari Chora.
Details about the place are still scarce and we took the help of local guides to reach the place.
Wari Chora – Canoeing Experience in Meghalaya
It was almost the end of our Meghalaya Road Trip. In fact, Wari Chora was our last destination. We had already visited some incredible and offbeat places in Meghalaya and were now in the Garo Hills.
Garo Hills is the home of the affable Garo tribes who have an intimate connection with nature. They have their unique culture and traditions that they celebrate during the festivals. I was fortunate enough to experience the 100 Drums Wangala Festival of Garos a few years back. Since then, a visit to the Garo Hills had been on my mind. It happened finally!
After our visit to the Siju Caves, we started towards Emangre, the place where we were going to stay for the night before visiting Wari Chora the next day.
A few kilometers beyond Siju, the roads became quite bad. They were bumpy and dusty and we had to drive slowly on these roads. Only after crossing the temporary wooden bridge and entering the village areas, the road became better. It seemed that the rural roads were much better than the Highways.
By the time we reached our homestay, it was quite dark. After exploring Siju, we were quite tired. We had a quick dinner and went to sleep.
Reaching Wari Chora Canyons
We had seen pictures of Wari Chora and knew that a bit of trekking was involved.so the next morning we were all ready after breakfast waiting for our trip to Wari Chora. Soon a Bolero pick-up van came. That was supposed to take us to the place where trekking to Wari Chora starts.
And then our off-roading journey started. We had thought off-roading in Krem Chympe was enough. But here, we went through villages, farmlands and bamboo forests. The ride was very bumpy through the narrow passages created in the forest. After about an hour of back-wrecking driving through the jungles, we reached our destination. Later, we came to know that we had covered almost 15 km on the 4-wheel drive before reaching our destination. The trek to Wari Chora will start now.
Trek to Wari Chora
We finally started trekking through the jungle trail till we reached a small bamboo hut bearing the signage of Wari Chora. We had to wait there for some time for our guides to arrive. Once they came, we started our trek.
Like most of the trails in Meghalaya, we had to descend first to the river bed. The initial part of the trek was fairly easy. But as we descended, the trail became trickier. We trekked through the trail of dense forests with a huge canopy above us.
The locals say that the forest is infested with leeches during the monsoon. Sometimes, the leeches even fall off from the trees. We had visited during the dry winter season and thankfully, did not encounter any leeches. It would have been a pain if there were leeches during treeking, something that we had experienced while at Kudremukh trek in the Western Ghats.
There are no well-marked trails here. So it is better to take the help of a local guide in Wari Chora. After trekking for about 1 hour, we finally could hear the faint sound of flowing water. Apparently, the last part of the trek was also quite treacherous. We had to crouch and crawl. There were ropes attached at some portions to help maneuver certain portions of the trail. So, there are small parts where one has to literally rappel down the rocks.
After finding our way through the tricky and difficult parts, we finally reached our destination. We could see the river.
Our guides immediately started inflating the canoes and rafts. And I stood there mesmerized, looking at the river and the surrounding jungles. The river seems to flow towards some obscure location on one side, while at the other side it disappears into a deep and dark abyss.
The rafts were finally ready and we were off to witness the hidden paradise of Wari Chora.
Legend of Wari Chora
Just like most of the places in Meghalaya, Wari Chora also has legends and folklore associated with it. Local legends say that Wari Chora is protected by seven giant serpents. Anyone who disrespects the river incurs the wrath of the seven serpents. Hence, everyone here is respectful towards nature.
The locals also say that Wari Chora is the home to a beautiful mermaid who can be seen from time to time.
Serpents or mermaids, I do not know; however, the river Rongdik, a tributary of the Simsang River flows from Meghalaya to Bangladesh. Historically, the river was used for transporting people and goods to Bangladesh. Later, the course of the river changed and the ferry across the two places stopped.
And the Magic starts
Our canoe journey started and we were soon approaching the mouth of the canyon. Our canoe started moving in the middle of the canyons having mossy surfaces. At places water was dripping down. And we both were left speechless. For a moment, I forgot everything and kept looking at the place wonderstruck. Teal, turquoise, orange, ochre, jade – there were colours at play at Wari Chora. Do not believe me. Look at the pictures!
Soon we saw a small waterfall in between the canyons. Our canoe traversed the narrow opening and soon we reached a place where the water seemed to be shallow. The canoe and rafts were pulled at one side and we got down. There was a beautiful waterfall in front and gigantic cliffs at the side. We got down as our guide mentioned that we can spend some time here.
The sunlight peeping through the canyons gave an ethereal vibe to the entire place.
A few others who had come plunged into the river for a swim. Our guide mentioned that at 12:30pm, a rainbow could be seen forming at the base of the waterfall due to the strategic fall of the sun rays.
We waited with baited breath till 12.30pm. For a moment I did not see any rainbows. But the guide called me to climb up the cliff opposite the waterfall. Once I was up there, I could see the rainbow! It was a breathtaking view.
We did not realize how time was spent at Wari Chora. When our guide asked us to return back, we had already spent two and a half hours there. But it felt that we had just now arrived at the place. We did not want to leave.
However, Wari Chora was not the place where we could stay forever. Stalling for some more time, we finally started back our journey at around 1.30pm. While returning, everyone on the canoe and raft were quiet. Everyone seemed to relish the profound experience and keep that in some corner of our brains, so that at times we can look back at the memories to lift up our moods.
Trekking back always seems arduous, especially after you have experienced something so profound. But it was not something that could be avoided. So, taking small steps, we started hiking up towards our starting point. It took us almost 1 hour 45 minutes to trek to our starting point.
From there, the 4X4 vehicle was waiting for us. Once again, we took the bumpy drive to reach our homestay at Emangre.
To be honest, the experience at Wari Chora was simply out of the world. Our hosts at the homestay were very friendly people. After reaching back, we had a lovely lunch while listening to stories about Wari Chora and Garo Hills.
Some places leave a deep impression on us. Wari Chora is one such place for us. The place and its people will always remain close to us.
Wari Chora is relatively unexplored and tourism is also at infancy there; but there are chances of Wari Chora getting over exposed. I hope the local people and the stakeholders realise the importance of a sustainable source of income and try to keep the place at its best.
How to Reach Wari Chora?
To reach Wari Chora, you have to first reach the Garo Hills. If you are looking for routes on Google Maps, you will not find any proper routes. The nearest major town is Baghmara, which is 285 km from Shillong and 250 km from Guwahati.
If you are coming from Shillong or Guwahati by local transport, you can take a bus or shared cab to Tura, the main town of the Garo Hills. From Tura, you have to reach Baghmara, 110 km away. From Baghmara, you have to travel to Emangre.
I would not recommend you to depend on local transport beyond Tura. I did not find any buses or shared cabs in the area. You can reach Emangre by your own car or bike. But once again, do not rely on Google Maps, Ask the locals for direction and help. Also try to reach your destination before evening if you are travelling on your own.
From Emangre, you have to off-road for about 15 km to reach the point from where the trek to Wari Chora starts.
Where to Stay at Wari Chora?
Emangre has a homestay, where you can stay for the night. They provide rooms as well as tent. Rooms are for INR 700 per bed (2 persons can sleep) and a two-man tent is rented at INR 500 per tent.
I had heard Dabalgre village also has a homestay.
What is the Best Time to Visit Wari Chora?
The best time to visit Wari Chora is between the months of November and February, when the temperature remains cool and dry. There is less rainfall and so the roads and trekking trails are in better conditions.
If you are visiting during or post monsoon, please carry your rain jackets. Also carry salt or some sanitizer or deodorant spray with you. It helps to protect yourself from leeches. You will find them in abundance during the monsoons.
How long does it take to trek to Wari Chora?
The trek to Wari Chora took us about an hour to the riverbank during the descent and about 2 hours while ascent. My smart watch showed me a distance of 3km, one way. I would not take this distance as a final one. The locals told me that the distance can be 4 or 5 km, which is again a wide range.
I also heard that there is another trek route from Dabalgre village, which is a bit longer. It takes about 1.5 – 2 hours to reach the riverbank.
How difficult is the trek?
The trek is not very difficult, though there are no properly marked trails. The last portion of the trek is a bit tricky. A little bit of crawling might be involved. There are ropes at some places that can help you climb a particular tricky area. For someone who has not done trekking before, the trail can be a bit tough.
Do we need guides to visit Wari Chora?
Yes, you would need local guides to visit Wari Chora. The guides will take you through the jungle trail and they will also have the raft and other arrangements. Your homestay can arrange the guide for you.
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