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Adventure island at 4,000 feet

At over 4,000 feet above mean sea level, Lumpongdeng could be one of India?s highest islands, writes Rahul Karmakar.

india Updated: Nov 09, 2006 03:47 IST

At over 4,000 feet above mean sea level, Lumpongdeng could be one of India’s highest islands. But it has always been in the shadow of its more famous cousin Majuli, the world's largest inhabited river-island. That is, until a local society decided to turn it into an adventurers' paradise.

Called 'Turtle Isle' because of its unique shape, Lumpongdeng is located in Umiam Lake in Meghalaya. It was a strategic island for the army during the Bangladesh war of 1971. Its potential as an adventure spot was discovered some years ago with the Maitshaphrang Tourism Promotion Group (MTPG) taking on the responsibility of “letting the turtle awake from a deep slumber”. According to MTPG head Michael Syiem, the society took Lumpongdeng on a 10-year lease from the Meghalaya State Electricity Board and began constructing a village with quaint cottages. Landscaping was also done but the MTPG opted against electricity to give it a desolate feel.

“On Lumpongdeng, you give yourself up to nature,” says Syiem, adding that the island will be tourist-ready by January 2007. The project, funded by the Union Tourism Ministry, includes a vegetable and chicken farm and an artificial lake for fishing.