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Shubhyatra >> Meghalaya Shillong


Location : North-eastern part of India
Capital City : Shillong
Major Attractions : Ward’s Lake, Elephant Falls, Mawsynram
What Makes For A Holiday : Picturesque Locations, Fresh Air and Adventure Sports

Shillong in Meghalaya

Meghalaya - The Land of Love Showers

A Picture Postcard View of The Honeymoon Hills of Meghalaya
A Picture Postcard View of The Honeymoon Hills of Meghalaya

If you enjoy the sheer thrill of a quick drizzle, come to Meghalaya, for a sudden shower is never far away. Aptly named as the Land of Clouds, Shillong Meghalaya’s scenic beauty coupled with an invigorating climate has the distinction of being the wettest place on earth. The rolling mists in the valleys lend it a mysterious charm that is hard to resist. Shillong Meghalaya is landlocked, bounded on the north and east by Assam, and the south and west by Bangladesh. Its lush green tropical landscape of hills and valleys and a heavy rainfall account for a medley of exotic flora and fauna that portray an ecologist’s dream. A cradle to many tribes - Khasis, Jhantias and Garos - that dwell in this pristine land, Meghalaya affords a rich cultural heritage well preserved up on her sleeves. Dance, music and sports reflect their way of life. Mindful of their cultural heritage, these simple folks are jovial and know how to extract the best of life. A vacation climate together with a cordial heart and varied leisure and entertainment facilities, make Meghalaya an interesting holiday destination.

Shillong - A Fairytale Land of Clouds

Boating on Ward's Lake
Boating on Ward's Lake

Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya, differs from other hill stations in some ways. Being conveniently motorable is one of them. A pleasant climate throughout the year is another. The third is unlike other hill stations, it is neither snow bound in winter nor overcrowded in summer. Famed as one of the celebrated hill retreats in the country, this picturesque town still retains quite a bit of its picturesque past; the ‘Raj mystique’, cosmopolitan character and westernised lifestyle. Shillong Meghalaya derives its name from the Shillong Peak, the highest point in Meghalaya overlooking the Shillong city. You can hear many interesting legends related to this place while scaling the summit. On a clear day, you can see the city down below pretty as picture postcard, lying curled at your feet.

Come back to Shillong and you will find it dotted with beautiful churches. Of these, Cathedral Mary: Help of Christians at Latumkhrah is a must see for every visitor. Modelled on a church in Rome, the church is embellished with exellent sculptures and stained glass windows. Kick back your holiday afternoons boating or just feeding the fish at the 100 year old man-made Ward’s Lake. Situated in the heart of the city, it is an artificial lake crafted with beauty in those laid-back days of the British Raj. Since then, time has helped her become more seductive with every passing year. Serenaded by tall conifers and laced with stone walkways, the lake is set off by a charming white, wooden bridge with scools of gold and silver fish cavorting below it. The colourful paddle boats start out from a quaint boat house and pepper the emerald waters of the lake, fleecy clouds chasing one another in the bright blue skies above. And come night, when the lights are turned on and the stars brightly lit up; the lake is at her sensual best.

Shillong Meghalaya - Lifestyle In Mist Clad Hills

The hills of Meghalaya are ever alive with the sound of music, be it crickets and bird-song or the electronic hum of various music groups. The morning praises the euphony of traditional horns and chimbals, while the evenings pulsate with the rhythm of ubiquitous accoustic guitars, where Rock is a way of life. If music be the food of love, the food that Meghalese love is ‘Jadoh’ - a delicious Biryani clone - prepared with pork, rice and affection. Don’t miss the thrill of savouring ‘Pukhlem’, a mouthwatering bland rice cake relished with piping hot tea of Meghalaya hills. After meals or before, any time is ‘Kwai’ time. You just cannot overlook the pleasure of chewing fresh betel leaf with a tint of lime, taken with a piece of raw areca nut and a wee slice of ginger. A word of caution to the novice - a person not habituated to this potent local delight could well end up with a reeling head. An easy way to revive yourself is, of course, to try your luck at ‘teer’. Once an ancient martial art style of combat, ‘teer’ has now evolved into a popular system of legalised betting. Just a ruppee could get you a fortune in these mist-clad hills.

Shillong - Many Moods of Meghalaya

The Gurgling Two-tiered Elephant Falls, Meghalaya
The Gurgling Two-tiered Elephant Falls, Meghalaya

The hills and gurgling waters flowing through their hearts create a kaleidoscope of alluring waterfalls all over the green landscape of Meghalaya. On your way to Shillong, after the refreshing cuppa at Nongpoh, look out on your right for the Margaret Falls, rushing through green virgin woodland. Just after reaching Shillong, a narrow by-way at Mawlai takes one to a view point from where the 135 mt high Bishop Falls and the 120 mt Beadon Falls can be seen together. It is indeed an impressive sight to behold the twins fall into the womb of nature and provides ample scope for photography. Remember to halt at the Elephant Falls, a picturesque impression of a unique two-tiered waterfall, 10 km on the way to Cherrapunjee.

The wettest place on earth, cherrapunjee in itself, is a major attraction for tourists and is a must on every traveller’s itinerary. Situated 56 km from Shillong, this tranquil pad of leisure is a home to the aboriginal tribes (Khasis). Enjoy the pleasant drive to this rain retreat to see roaring waterfalls leaping into deep gorges, including the popular Nohsngithiang falls. The lovely town is also famous for its limestone caves and orange honey. Don’t miss another enchantment of Hindu mythology. Drive 56 km from Shillong to reach Mawsynram, known for its giant stalagmite formation shaped into a Shivlinga. It is a fun to be a part of the colourful ceremony that pulsates this place during Shivratri festival, drawing hundreds of devotees from all pockets of north east India.

Shillong Meghalaya - Adventure on The Rocks

The pristine hills and sinister gorges of Shillong have recently bracketed the Adventure Tourism concept. The Projects Division of the Meghalaya Tourism Development Corporation has identified two trekking trails and backed them up with exclusive photographs, maps and trekking equipments and tents; all available at the MTDC Office at Polo Road. Register yourself for the five days part-trk and part-bus trip to Cherrapunjee and the seven days trek to Umlyng (extendable to 10 days if one wants to press on upto Mawlyndep). Trek through dense pines and hybrid forests, trace your footprints amidst bamboo groves and leave ephemeral impressions on interesting rock formations, explore exotic ferns and irresistible creepers and feel the pride of touching nature in her true form. Colourful butterflies and a myriad bird-life add to the pleasure while opening up the almost virgin vistas. And as you move further, a whole new drama of ancient forest life comes to your sight. Don’t be amazed to see the pastoral life of the local tribes and knowing their methods of cultivation.

On the other hand, if it is watersport that you are into, the Umiam Lake Resort serves up motor boats, waterscooters, skiing and sailing facilities backed by the comforts of the comforts of the Orchid Lake Resort. Enjoy your hearts out by kicking the chilly winds or kissing the ebullient waters of the lake. Angling is another activity that you can delve into here but ranikor is truly an angler;s dream come true.

Shillong Meghalaya - Drive Your Way

Shillong is connected by Alliance Air flights to Kolkata, Silchar and Aizwal with regular flights. The airport is at Umroi, 35 km from downtown. Taxis are available at the airport for transportation to the ciity. For more information, contact the airport offices clustered at Police Bazaar Point. Tourists can also go for helicopter services, that operates between Guwahati and Shillong in every 30 minutes. Meghalaya Transport arranges transport from/to the helipad. Guwahati, 103 km, is the nearest railhead. Meghalaya Transport Corporation (MTC) has bus services coordinated with train intervals at Guwahati. The buses leave Guwahati on the hour from 6 am to 5 pm and takes around 3.5 hrs to reach Shillong. NH 40, an all-weather road, connects Shillong with Guwahati. Transport corporations and private bus operators run bus services to Shillong and other places in Meghalaya. The bus stand in Shillong is located near Centre Point in the heart of the town.

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Top 5 Reasons to Visit Meghalaya and Shillong

Meghalaya People

A Holiday on Cloud Carpets
Meghalaya, the Land of Clouds is aptly named, for a sudden shower is never far away. With a distinction of possessing the wettest place on Earth, Meghalaya offers a mysterious charm that is hard to resist.

Shillong - A Cool Place For A Holiday
Shillon, the capital of Meghalaya, differs from other hill stations in some ways. Being conveniently motorable is one of them. A pleasant climate throughout the year is another. Scenic beauty and memorable backdrops for photography are ust a compliment.

Cheer Up With Cascading Waterfalls
The postcard land of Meghalaya is dotted with many gurgling waterfalls that make for a nice hangout place during your holidays. Stuff your bags with picnic items and laze beside the roaring froths that descend directly to one's heart.

Cherrapunjee - Refresh Yourself With A Shower
The wettest place on earth, Cherrapunjee is famous for its rains, honey and oranges. Pick up memorable souvenirs made from bamboo canes that carry a rural signature in their exquisite craftsmenship.

A Celebration of Taste
Savour some delicious preparations of Khasi cuisine. Though generally bland, seasoning is provided by hot chutneys made from dried fish. A good place for this cuisine is Khew ja in LAitumkhrah, run by an Englishman and his Khasi wife.

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