An Afternoon at Mattilang Park

Some memories never fade…

If you’ve ever been to Shillong, you would have visited Elephant Falls. It is one of the most visited tourist spots in Meghalaya. I haven’t been to Elephant Falls in recent times and had visited only once after it acquired its current cosmetic look – well defined steps, painted railings, cordoned off water area, dozens of shops at the entry way, and so on. I would rather preserve memories of the rustic Elephant Falls that I had seen during my childhood. The other day I was interacting with a fellow blogger about how I had seen Elephant Falls, when I remembered another place very close to it. I had promised him that I would write about it and here it is – I. J. Khanewala, this post is for you.

And if you want to read about Elephant Falls, visit I. J. Khanewala’s post at Don’t Hold Your Breath. He has been there very recently.

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Pic 1: A sneak peek of Elephant Falls from Matiilang Park
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Pic 2: A closer view of Elephant Falls from Matiilang Park

The first time I visited Mattilang Park was when it did not exist – I mean in its present form. That was several years back, when a Khasi friend had taken me to this place that not many people knew about. At that time, Meghalaya hardly existed on the tourist map, perhaps it was jostling to make a slot for itself. Many were not even aware of its existence. I still remember people rephrasing Shillong as Ceylon to clarify they heard correctly when I would mention my hometown outside of the North East. Well, that’s another story for another day….

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Pic 3: Somewhere inside the park, the water here flows from Elephant Falls

My second visit to Mattilang Park was a year or two after my first visit when I had taken my cousin and a friend there. At that time, we had seen the beginning of some construction work happening. Back then we were too naïve to be bothered about such things and the phrase ‘concrete jungle’ didn’t exist in our vocabulary. Much later that very place became Mattilang Park.

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Pic 4: The gardener clicks a picture for us
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Pic 5: And, I cant believe I have with me an analog photograph of the two us, clicked when the park was in the making

Three years back my cousin and I revisited the park on a gloomy October afternoon when she took me out on a drive – something she religiously does each time I visit home. Located in Upper Shillong, the park is run by a regional self-help group. Just on the other side of Elephant Falls, it provides for a great view of the waterfall. The luscious greenery around the park has a charm of its own and since not many tourists know about it, the chances of finding a swarm of people is pretty slim. That afternoon was no different, there was nobody other than the two us. The dull weather might have also contributed to that. We did find a gardener though, who was busy tending to the flowers and also cleaning up the place.

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Pic 6: Hydrangeas in the park, don’t know why I don’t have picture of the other flowers

After having walked around in the park for a while we found ourselves comfortably snuggled in the tiny quaint little tea shop located in the park. We spent the evening indulging in harmless gossips about everything and everybody while sipping endless cups of sha (tea in Khasi). Meanwhile, the clouds were descending and in a matter of minutes all the surrounding greenery was whitewashed.

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Pic 7: Just look at those ferns…..

We remained engulfed in the nothingness of the fog refusing to budge an inch from our respective positions. Instead ordering some more sha, this time sha-saw (black tea) with a tinge of lemon and some biscuits to compliment it. A few minutes later the fog cleared slowly revealing the refreshing greenery all over again.

Evening was drawing in making us realize that we had to get going before it became totally dark.

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Pic 8: The water keeps flowing slowly and we can’t see beyond this point.

If you visit Shillong, you would surely go to Elephant Falls. Do visit Matilang Park too as it is closeby. Not a ‘must visit’, but you may just like the place.

Author: neelstoria

Traveling, Gardening, Trekking, Hiking, Storytelling, Writing, Nature, Outdoors, Yoga, DIY

46 thoughts on “An Afternoon at Mattilang Park”

  1. Thanks very much N. Now I recognize this place. You can see it from the third step of the falls. There were steps up to the park (I could see the railing on top; it wasn’t there the last time I went). The Family and I thought of climbing up. We didn’t do that because we didn’t know how we would get back to our car from up there. Next time (if there is one) we’ll certainly go to this park.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh I see, I didn’t know that you could enter the park from the waterfall as well. I have always taken the main entrance. I hope there will be a next time, you still haven’t explored so many other places in Meghalaya 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Re your statement: “Hydrangeas in the park, don’t know why I don’t have picture of the other flowers” — In my own case, after looking at photos taken before I began to write a blog, I came to realize an unforeseen benefit of writing for others is that now I look more closely at the places I am visiting; I see more.

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    1. Whenever you go to Shillong, you can have more than one such afternoon and not just in this place but many others that most tourists don’t visit or don’t know – that is if you plan to with me 🙂
      Thanks for visiting, Hariom!

      Like

  3. The falls look mesmerizing! I have a lot of places from the North-East on my wish-list and you have just added another one 🙂
    As for the urban development of popular spots, it’s a common tale for a lot of places lately. I have only been visiting the hills for 8 years now but even in such a short span of time, I have seen them transform from places hardly anybody bothered about, to ones that are being actively managed by NGOs and even local organisations, complete with entry tickets, stalls along the way and what not! It’s a double-edged sword— on one hand, the place is being looked after but on the other, you wonder at what cost? By altering the very form it was popular for and making it look like a dozen other places? Sigh.
    Sorry, I went on a tangent! Cheers & keep blogging 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Meghalaya is a waterfall haven. Many of those are not in the usual tourist itinerary. Whenever you plan a Meghalaya trip do contact me. I can help you plan.
      I so agree with you about the situation being like a double-edged sword. I don’t know what to think of it. If they manage to maintain the uniqueness and take care of the place, it may still be ok. Personally, of course, I’d think otherwise – wilderness is the best. Plus some places should just be as they are, nobody should ever discover them. Thankfully there are many such places still exist.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m hearing about Mattilang Park for the first time. Certainly not on the tourist map, but then good that some places aren’t; some places should be reserved for the peace and tranquility-loving. 😊 …. talking of fog, I have a wish to visit hill station during the rainy s

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  5. …(sorry for the interruption again…a wrong tap somewhere again😐) … during this season, the waterfalls hurtle down in all their frothy glory, and the green everywhere must also be so soothing. ……… By the way, did people really confuse Shillong with Ceylon? Now that’s news to me, and strange news …. hahaha 😊😊 …and talking of rains, here it’s falling late winter rains now, pitter-patter against the window deep into the night … looking forward to a cooler morning… the more the humid, sweaty summer is delayed, the better.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nevermind the interruptions, am glad to see you visiting and reading my post again. You are right about monsoon, that time is a different scenario altogether. If you can, you must visit during that time, the waterfalls are obviously at their very best.
      8 out of 10 people would confuse Shillong with Ceylon, that time many people didn’t know about the existence of Shillong at all.
      Enjoy the cool mornings as long as they last.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh the Hydrangeas are so quintessential to Shillong! How I miss them. Honestly I had only seen the park and never been there in one of those visits that you have to make to Elephant Falls when your cousins and relatives come to Shillong! And what irks me is you get mistaken for a tourist as well 😁

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha…can relate to that totally! However, I used be a willing and and happy guide to all those who would visit – one day Elephant Falls and Shillong Peak and maybe Golf and Hydari Park, another day to Cherrapunjee – that used to be the usual routine. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

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