Lesser Golden Emperor – what a royal name! I thought. I was in a small village somewhere in Sohra, previously known as Cherrapunji – an extraordinarily gorgeous town full of tall waterfalls, sprawling hills, and verdant valleys.
Sohra is a town in Meghalaya – a beautiful state in the Northeast of India. The northeast region of the country is one of the biodiversity hotspots in India. Not only is the region blessed with abundant nature, its people, hospitality, and culture are also some things that you’d not want to miss out on.
I was in Assam, Meghalaya’s neighboring state, for a writing assignment with a wildlife NGO. A friend was visiting me in Assam one weekend, and we decided to travel to Meghalaya. The Assam-Meghalaya border was at a 2-hours drive from where I was staying, so we hired a cab and set off. Though a few days is never enough to explore a place, yet we thoroughly enjoyed the stay. We visited some gorgeous places, including Mawsmai Caves, Nohkalikai Falls – the tallest plunge waterfall in India, Mawlynnong – the cleanest village in Asia, and floated on the crystal clear Umngot River. Along with these popular places, we also visited many secret spots that only the locals visit.
On this day, however, we had to cancel all our plans for the day, as a bandh – a shutdown – was called. This kind of protest by political activists is commonplace in these regions. I experienced it at length soon after I was back to Assam after this trip – and it was one of the strangest & unpleasant experiences I’ve had on my travels. But that’s a story for another day.
So, anyway, on this day, because of the shutdown, our guide offered to take us to his village. His family welcomed us, and even made us some breakfast and tea. We then set out on foot to explore the less-frequented-by-tourists-places in and around his village. Gosh, how much I love such impromptu plans! I had the best of time that day, leisurely walking, stopping, looking around and taking in the sights and smells of the forests, waterfalls and more. No plan, no agenda, simply enjoying the moment, with no rush to be somewhere or do something!
It was on the wall by some house in the village, that I saw this pretty moth. I did not know that moths could be so colourful and pretty. I’m not an expert, so can’t say much about the Lesser Golden Emperor moth – the name I learned from a butterfly expert colleague at the wildlife NGO later. Except that like the rest of the moths, this one too was getting charged-up by resting on that wall while waiting for the night to fall, when it could go about its tasks.