Hobbit trail to Shillong Peak

By Monojit Mandal

Do you remember Bilbo Baggins’ adventure through the lush green woods of Middle-earth in JRR Tolkien’s 1937 novel, The Hobbit?
Well, if you love trekking and like to travel the path unfrequented by humans and filled with natural bliss, then this trek through a secret trail to Shillong Peak will remind you of Bilbo Baggins.
At an altitude of 1,962 m above sea level, the peak is located 10 km from the city in the southern part. Shillong Peak is arguably one of the highest points in Shillong and offers a bird’s eye view of the beautiful city. According to folklore, the local deity Leishyllong, who protects the city, has her abode on this peak.
On a clear day, the view from this point overlooking the waterfalls, the foothills and the lush green surroundings is breath-taking, and of course, a photographer’s paradise.

Shillong Peak can be reached through a driveway from Upper Shillong or Jowai Road. It takes about 20 minutes from the city to reach there by car. But as the wise man says, “The journey matters more than its destination.”
To start with, there is a cobbled trekking route from Umkynrut-Kynjat Phutbol to the Shillong View Point built by the Tourism Department. It is a safe path sans the various difficulties and risks associated with trekking.
There are resting places for trekkers to sit down, refuel and get some relief for the tired legs before heading up through the long trail. It is advisable to carry water, food, rain covers and other essentials.
It takes around 45 minutes to cover the stretch that passes through a dense and lush green forest. Unknown flowers, exquisite birds and exotic fruits, which are aplenty on the way like welcoming hosts, are added gains for a traveller. But sighting animals is a rare phenomenon.
However, there is another path that leads to Shillong Peak but it is not known to many people. And this is exactly why it is a spectacular route to trek all the way up through untouched nature. This path is not as easy but for an adventurer, it is an experience of a lifetime.

The path starts with a steep climb and gradually blends in with the picturesque beauty. It will touch you so deeply that you will find yourself right on the pages of Tolkien’s The Hobbit. The only difference is you are the Bilbo Baggins of Bag End making the adventure all by yourself.
Climbing up you will come across an elephant rock, resembling a resting elephant under the green canopy. Take a break there, lie down on the soft green carpet, hear the light breeze whisper in your ears and watch the wildflowers dance to the tune. Colourful butterflies will greet you inside their magnificent ‘Mirkwood’.
The entire trail is so beautiful that you will experience something out of this world, perhaps a little piece of heaven filled with wonders that will leave you speechless.
It is advisable to trek with a local guide or someone who knows this place well as it can be difficult at times with right directions. The climb is quite sharp and therefore good trekking gear is a must. People with medical conditions are advised to avoid this trail.

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