Hello Shillong!

finish line

Left Barpeta at 630am with just 232 kms to go to the finish line in Shillong!

Arriving in the largest city in north-eastern India, Guwahati, the traffic was awful. It took 45minutes just to cross a bridge.  With just another 87 kms to Shillong, we felt we could make a stop at the Kamakhya Mandir Hindu Temple. To our surprise there was sign for it and so Lil Jigg’  jiggled all the way up the steep hill to the temple.  We walked up the twisted road with the masses, most of them in their bare feet.  We had to remove our shoes to enter the grounds.  Oh my, what a sight!  There were lots of goats, a few water buffalo and tons of pigeons wandering around the grounds. As we’re trying to make sense of the place two men came out of an area with a freshly slaughtered water buffalo, head removed, with a trail of blood. We followed the trail, our feet now covered in blood, around the corner where we saw the sacrificial area.  A goat was pinned down, screaming and a man heaved a giant sword through its neck. As the head rolled onto the floor, the body twitched for at least another minute. This is not for the faint at heart.  A lineup of families gathered waiting with their goats for their sacrifice and blessing. The lineup to actually get into the temple was massive, with cages, yes cages, of people waiting for their chance to get inside. Because we didn’t have the time, we passed on joining the lineup and going inside, feeling we had seen quite a bit already. This is something we’ll have to look up online to better understand. That said, it was unforgettable and something I don’t regret seeing. Jess took many, many photos….

cages As we continued our journey up to Shillong a huge storm was brewing.  GPS led us onto a one way street going in the wrong direction.  OMG! What a shit-show this was: four lanes of traffic coming at us and the rain was pelting down, another mini monsoon!  We finally got off that street and waited the storm out at a gas station.  80 kms to go…

The road was pretty good and pretty damn steep.  Lil Jigg’ had a few exhausting moments and then we would reach a plateau and she would collect herself and carry on.  Approaching Shillong was an experience.  It is reputed to be the Scotland of India – beautiful lush green hills, a huge lake and reservoir and large pine trees.

The temperature dropped significantly and we were chilled to the bone.  One last little fillup with petrol and we finally found the Pinewood Hotel / Finish Line at 5:45 pm.  OMG! The thrill of finishing the Rickshaw Run was overwhelming and very emotional!  To our surprise, we were the final team to arrive and thus were rewarded with the huge finish line banner.  Massive celebrations were in order for this evening.  And we did just that!  Had a blast exchanging stories with other teams. Out of the 70 teams that started, 66 finished.

I still find it hard to believe that we did 4130 kms in a rickshaw with the average speed of 35 km/hr

But we DID IT!!!!!   YAHOO!!!!!!!