Meghalaya, the abode of clouds is the pride of Northeast India. Dotted with several wonders of nature, Meghalaya is a treat to the weary eye. Visit these places for a memorable trip to Shillong, Meghalaya.
This hypnotizing man-made reservoir is a result of a dam built in close proximity. The picturesque Umiam lake is enveloped by Khasi hills and thick foliage presenting a panoramic sight. Witnessing the sunset at Umiam lake is like a divine moment where the sky turns crimson followed by several shades of red and orange merging into the horizon. Enjoy motorboat ride, watch the locals fishing using traditional hacks or you may want to explore the nearby park and inhale fresh air.
If there is heaven on land, it is at Cherrapunjee. The heavily fogged narrow roads bending time and again against monstrous mountains and then suddenly revealing lavish green valleys are how the meandering roads lead to Sohra, as referred by locals. With open blue sky, green pastures, fresh air and occasional drizzles, it was the perfect place and time to have a hot cuppa. I stepped out of the car to experience the cool breeze caressing my face and watched little children walking joyfully to school. Cascading waterfalls, verdant greenery, looming mountains fresh and clean air which fills up your lungs with joy is a perfect way to connect with nature. Wish I had planned to stay at one the resorts perched atop the mountains to experience the panoramic landscape.
Is this a village? Was my first reaction when I walked down the spic and span roads of Mawlynnong with considerably big houses with almost every modern amenity. The cleanest village in Asia is the pride of Meghalaya where every day a few households take the onus on keeping their neighbourhood clean. While I tasted local delicacies at the sole eatery, it was served piping hot and reeked of affection, purity and honesty. I was surprised to see there was no use of plastic in this remote area. Trash cans made out of cane has been installed everywhere, rattan chairs and wooden benches used for seating and metal plates used to serve food.
Living root bridge
There are 2 living root bridges which are popular in Meghalaya, one in at Riwai village near Mawlynnong and the other a double-decker root bridge in Nongriat. Though locals say that there are a few more living bridges in the mountainous terrains of Meghalaya which are handmade by the Jaintia and Khasi tribes. Aerial roots of rubber fig trees are twinned skilfully over years resulting to strong and sturdy living root bridges over rivers which can stand all odds. A narrow and rocky descend leads to the bridge which should be seen to believe. While my toddler was carried by Rocky our local guide, I managed through the muddy path with a stick for support which I hired from a local stall.
The wettest place on earth indeed greeted us with continuous showers which though didn’t deter our plan. During my drive to Mausynram, I wondered how the locals lived years on years braving continuous rains with Mr Sun hardly visiting this part of the earth. A rain lover’s paradise this place reeked of petrichor and more. I was a testimony to exotic landscapes, unusual megaliths, burial grounds, flourishing flora and fauna and the skyline adorned with heavy clouds.
Don Bosco Museum
Located at the heart of the city, the Don Bosco centre for indigenous cultures is spread across seven floors representing the seven sisters of Northeast. A visit to this museum opened a gateway to the history, culture, traditions and lives of the tribes living in the seven states. Their lifestyle reflects on the various artefacts on display like the musical instruments, metal utensils, weapons and tools, traditional dresses and more in the 17 galleries. The skywalk on the terrace offers a 360-degree view of Shillong with colourful houses perched on hills.
One of the most photographed location by travellers and photo enthusiasts, Dawki has drawn thousands of nature lovers and travel freaks to transparent water of Umngot river which happens to be one of the cleanest River in the country. Fishermen folks are often seen at work crisscrossing the river in canoes busy with their catch. Indulge in a boat ride to see the transparent water with multicoloured pebbles, limestones and rocks of various shapes and sizes underneath.
Located at the heart of the city, Ward’s lake has been a meeting point for the locals for its refreshing environment and proximity to the city centre. The sight of immaculate ducks wading through water, visitors enjoying a quiet ride and children frolicking makes the mind flutter with joy. Enjoy the greens with piping hot snacks and a cuppa from the restaurant across the bridge.
The tallest plunge in the country and the 4th tallest in the world is nestled in the lap of the East Khasi hills with cascading water resembling gallons of milk gushing from the mountain top. The waterfall is best viewed on clear weather, thus avoid travelling to Nohkahlikai fall on a foggy day.
A hidden gem in the heart of Shillong, this museum is a rare find. Owned and managed by a gentleman in the basement of his residence, this museum has an enormous collection of pretty winged insects. Ranging from fluorescent yellow to metallic blue and immaculate white to fiery orange, it has a myriad display of colourful butterflies. Accompanying the dainty insects are Stick insects, Giant moths, beetles and other incredible insects collected painstakingly from Jaintia, West Khasi Hills and during his trip to other national and international forests and hills.
Have you visited these places in Meghalaya?
When did you last visit Meghalaya and which is your favourite place there?
The best answer wins a gift.