Shillong is like paradise on Earth – the calm and beauty of Nature, the simplicity and benevolence of its people, hills and valleys, lakes and waterfalls, food and festivals – one cannot but wonder at the variety and charm this dreamy hill station has to offer. Shillong is, undoubtedly, the most popular tourist destination in entire North-East India and if you haven’t already visited it then you should plan your vacation soon.
Shillong is in Meghalaya, one of the eight states of North East India. Meghalaya is divided into Khasi Hills, Jaintia Hills and the Garo Hills district and there are many significant tourist locations across these districts. However, Shillong is the most sought after destination and also the State capital. The other popular tourist attractions are easily accessible from Shillong.
LAKES AND WATERFALLS:
Any ideal romantic set up calls for a picturesque location which gives you the thrill, yet is calming in a different way. Both love and nature invokes romance in a person and that’s the reason why people tend to escape to nature when they are in love. Scenic locations like waterfalls, lakes, beaches, mountains increase your joy manifolds and Meghalaya has many such locations for the romantic you.
1. Elephants Falls is located in the outskirts of Shillong city, near to the Air Force base in Upper Shillong. It’s a three-tier waterfall with three viewpoints. The lowest level, which can be reached by ascending a slippery fleet of stairs, is the most spectacular with crystal clear water falling over sharp rocks. The route to the waterfall as well as the base are properly secured with railings. You can get into the pool of ice cold water for the perfect romantic picture.
2. Seven Sisters Waterfall is located in Cherrapunjee, about 55 kms from Shillong. Mawsmai Falls, as it originally is named, falls down in seven segments and hence the popular name Seven Sisters falls. This region remains cloudy and extremely foggy most of the time, as is entire Cherrapunjee, and to get a view of the entire fall needs patience and luck too. Love doesn’t come easy after all!
3. Ward Lake centrally located in the city of Shillong is the famous site for witnessing Cherry Blossoms. Ward Lake is basically an artificial lake and Botanical Garden and perfect for a casual date or even a family outing. During the month of November the Cherry Blossoms festival is held here when the tree is in its full bloom. 2019 witnessed the fourth edition of this festival just before the pandemic hit and tourism came to a halt. But visitors are of the opinion that the venue and the festival is worth the hype of Shillong being the next Cherry Blossoms destination.
4. Nohkalikai Waterfall, according to legends, seems to have a grim background story behind it which makes it all the more thrilling. Ka Likai, a khasi woman is said to have jumped off the cliff after she was tricked into eating the meat of her own daughter. Her husband, out of jealousy, killed his step daughter and with the flesh cooked a meal for Ka Likai. On discovering the truth Ka Likai, burdened and devastated by the reality, took her own life.
Romance is not only about love but mystery, adventure and thrill as well. This fall is claimed to be one of the tallest free falling waterfalls in the world. Located in Cherrapunjee, Nohkalikai Waterfall is a popular tourist attraction surrounded by valleys and forests.
5. Umiam Lake is like the gateway to the city of Shillong. This lake was created when the Umiam River was dammed to store water for hydro-electric power generation. As you slowly ascend the hills the majestic view of the lake from the top already sets the mood for the perfect getaway you can ever dream of. A few resorts are located besides the lake which offers water sports options during season.
6. Krangsuri Waterfalls boasts of magical blue water plunge pool, almost hidden far from the madding crowd. Located in the Jaintia Hills, this fall can be accessed after following a trail amidst a forest and all the pain experienced along the path seems fruitful once you catch a glimpse of the gorgeous waterfall from a distance. Taking a plunge in the pool is a must do activity.
7. Dawki is actually a town in West Jaintia Hills which shares its borders with Bangladesh. But the reason Dawki is famous is because of the Umngot river which is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Meghalaya. This is known to be the cleanest river in India with its crystal clear waters. Dawki is now synonymous with the Umngot river and tourists throng this location to indulge in the most popular activity which is boating. Images taken in this location appears like a boat floating in air which looks surreal.
Read: Amazing Road Trip from Guwahati to Tawang
HILLS AND VALLEYS:
Meghalaya literally means the abode of clouds and the place rightfully justifies the name. One can experience a pleasant weather throughout the year and winters, especially, are nothing but dreamy. Cherrapunjee is one of the wettest place in the world and therefore clouds and rain appear dramatically and suddenly every single day. There are countless waterfalls throughout the state which are major attracting in hill stations, but hills and valleys are equally attractive.
1. Shillong Peak is a hill top view point just 10 kms from the city offering panoramic view of the city of Shillong. Situated at an high altitude, the Shillong Peak is often bounded by fog and is quite chilly all through the year.
2. Laitlum Canyons located in East Khasi Hills is a beautiful hilltop with beautiful gorges and steep winding stairways leading to the valley below. Literally translated as “end of hills” the Laitlum Canyons is a trekker’s paradise. The view it offers is majestic and the calm and serenity just soothes the mind.
3. Mawlynnong village is known to be the cleanest village in India which has adopted eco-friendly measures to curb pollution in their own little way. The double decker living root bridge is another famous tourist attraction of Mawlynnong. Root bridges can be found in many places of Meghalaya but this particularly is very popular with tourists.
CULTURE AND MUSIC:
Shillong and its people are great music lovers with some of the country’s best pop and rock musicians hailing from this State. And because of its rich music culture, Shillong is known as the rock capital of India. Though this claim has its own loopholes, but without a doubt Shillong hosts the most awesome music festivals of the country keeping its rock tradition still alive. NH7 Weekender Music Festival organized here almost every year stages both national and international performers with the most amazing and largest crowd one can ever imagine. Apart from this many other such music fests are organized from time to time.
Meghalaya has a Christian majority population and therefore there are many churches but The Cathedral of Mary Help of Christians is a beautiful Catholic church in Laitumkhra, Shillong which one ought to visit. The church has high arches and tainted glass windows and is a great tourist attraction of the city.
Sundays are rest days in Meghalaya and families visit the Church together for the mass after which they go for a brunch or simply spend the day at ease. Police Bazaar area in Shillong is packed with many hotels and restaurants and is the central place. But there are many beautiful resorts in gorgeous locations you can opt for to get the feel of escaping to the hillside. Some of them are:
- Polo Orchid Resort, Cherrapunjee
- Ri Kynjai Resort, Umiam
- Orchid Lake Redort, Umiam
- Hotel Polo Towers, Shillong
Entry into Shillong doesn’t require any kind of permit and is easily accessible from Guwahati. Shillong is, in fact, the most popular weekend getaway for the people of Guwahati.
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