Meghalaya is a picturesque hill state in the northeastern Himalayas. Spread over an area of 22,429 square kilometres, the pine-covered mountainous state features a wide expanse of valleys, highland plateaus, and rock formations. Mostly covered in forests that make up seventy percent the state, Meghalaya is overflowing with natural scenic beauty.
Meghalaya became a full-fledged state in 1972. The name directly translates to ‘Abode of Clouds’ in Sanskrit. It is considered as the wettest region of the Seven Sister States of northeast India, the state has an average annual rainfall of up to four hundred seventy inches.
The capital city, Shillong, is 1,496 metres above sea level. Going around is fairly easy with well-connected roads accessible to most vehicles. The city has a bounty of striking natural wonders from pine groves and manicured gardens to beautiful brooks, crystal clear lakes and breathtaking waterfalls. The flora and fauna are diverse which makes it an ideal spot for nature lovers.
Adding to the character of the city is its friendly, good-humored, and hospitable people. For travellers, few things beat the feeling of being warmly welcomed in a foreign place. The locals are among the many reasons why Shillong is an ideal travel destination.
The city is a largely Christian city. There are many cathedrals and small churches. Get an insightful experience of the church culture of the city and the Khasi lifestyle by paying these structures a visit.
While it is largely westernized, the city is considered the music capital of India where numerous prominent musicians hail from. Living up to its title, there are many musical events held here, which makes it a lively destination any time of the year.
The city also serves as an amazing entry point to the entire state of Meghalaya.
If you ever find yourself in Shillong, you cannot miss visiting the famed Elephant Falls situated right next to the city. An ultimate tourist paradise, it features three layers of waterfalls tucked in between dense greenery. Travellers can get up and close with nature and enjoy the cascading water in its entire splendour. While the Elephant Falls can be accessed any time of the year, the best time to visit is after the monsoon season when the clear water flows through in full might and magnificence.
Then find your way to another well-liked tourist spot in Shillong: Umiam Lake. The tranquil manmade lake spans an impressive 221 square meter—a size bigger than some countries. Not only does it provide water for locals but also serves as a key food source. Apart from appreciating the views, you can also get a sneak peak of the local way of life as people come and go about their daily chores. There are a number of activities to keep you engaged too. Go for a boat ride or plan a picnic. Try water skiing or kayaking. Or simply enjoy a hearty meal with a fantastic view.
Visit the village of Mawlynnong located in the East Khasi Hills district of Meghalaya. The village is renowned for its women-centric society. Among their well-preserved traditions is the passage of wealth and property from mother to the youngest daughter who also has the privilege of carrying the mother’s surname. The village takes cleanliness seriously so much so that in 2003, it was named as one of the cleanest city in Asia. It was also declared as the cleanest city in India in 2005.
There are a number of walking and trekking trails around. But the best would be Shillong Peak, Meghalaya’s highest peak in the Himalayas. At over 1,965 meters above sea level, it is the finest spot for nature lovers and photography enthusiasts. Shillong Peak offers panoramic vistas of the city and the Himalayas. Make sure to bring your identification cards though, since the area is within an air force base.
Of course, we could not miss including a museum. For art lovers who need their fix even while travelling, visit Don Bosco Museum, a seven-storey theme museum with seventeen fascinating galleries focused on local indigenous people and culture. The galleries display a comprehensive collection of regional clothing, accoutrements, handicrafts, photographs, tools, and various artifacts.
CLB Global Travel will create a holiday that is tailored fit for you with every destination, sights and experiences you are looking forward to. Email [email protected] or call +44 (0) 7484 703 647 to get your trip off to a perfect start.
Charles is a world traveler having lived in 44 states and 11 countries and traveled to dozens more. He and his wife spend time between London, Ireland, Canada, and the Philippines.