Meghalaya, the 'abode of the clouds', is one of those wind and rain swept places tucked away in Northeastern India which bears a pleasant climate throughout the year, is home to lots of indigenous tribes and their quaint ways and customs and at the same is a melting pot of modernity and tradition. The understated fashion capital of the country also belongs here. Go to this less visited state for its scenic beauty, the cleanest village in South East Asia and also discover new destinations as you go along the way. Here is a guide to some of the best destinations in Meghalaya.
Umiam Lake, the first sight for any traveller as they travel to Shillong from Guwahati, is a popular tourist destinations in Ri Bhoi district of Meghalaya. The lake was created in the early 1960s by building a hydro-electric dam across the Umiam River. Today, the lake is a tourist destination with a number of water sports and adventure facilities like kayaking, water cycling, shooting and boating being offered. The lake is also known as Barapani.
Pic Credit:N S Rao
Mawlynnong village is the cleanest village of Asia. The main occupation here is agriculture.Dustbins made out of bamboo are found all around the village, and the villagers make it a point that waste is not thrown everywhere. The waste is then collected in a pit, which is later used as manure.
Pic Credit:Ashwin Kumar
Nohkalikai Falls near Cherrapunji is the tallest plunge waterfalls in India. The waterfall is fed by the rainwater which Cherrapunji receives. Right below the falls, there has formed a plunge pool with beautiful buish-green coloured water. It gets its name from a local legend which says of a girl named Ka Likai who had leapt off the cliff next to this waterfall.
Pic Credit:Pankaj Kaushal
Elephant Falls is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Shillong. The regional name for the falls is ‘Ka Kshaid Lai Pateng Khohsiew' which translates to three steps water as the water falls in three steps. The British named it Elephant Falls after the rock which resembles an elephant. Part of the rock was destroyed in the great earthquake of 1897. The falls is characterized by milky water that flows over black rocks.
Pic Credit: Ashwin Kumar
Living Root Bridges
Cherrapunji, Meghalaya is home to the Ficus elastica tree, a kind of rubber tree. The trees grow out its roots on their own which keep growing and in a period of 10-15 years become fully functional as bridges. People from across the world come to see this natural phenomenon.
Pic Credit:Ashwin Kumar
Nartiang was once the summer capital of the Jaintia kings, and today tourists and devotees from all across the globe visit to see this seat of power. The Durga Temple at Nartiang reveals the Hindu influence on this kingdom. The original structure of the temple has been revamped, but one can still see the idols, altar and swords.There is also a Shiv Temple.
Pic Credit:Saptarshi Sanyal
The longest cave system in India is located in the Jaintia hills, Meghalaya. Mawsmai, Krem Dam, Krem Kotsati, Krem Lashinng, Krem Mawmluh, Krem Sweep an Siju are few of the caves that are accessible for tourists. These are stalagmite and stalacite caves which offer the unique sight of glowing in the dark when light is flashed on them.
Pic Credit:Sharada Prasad CS
The Scotland of the East is home to lots of good weather and an ideal place to escape from the rigours of city life in Guwahati. Take a stroll on the Shillong Golf course, the third oldest golf course in the country. Visit the Shillong Cathedral or simply go to the wind and rain swept Shillong peak to get a glimpse of the entire city. The Wangala Festival (100 drums festival) is celebrated to please the Sun God - Saljong. It is a two day celebration which at times continues for upto a week. The celebration is huge and a definite crowd puller.
Pic Credit:Wangala (The Garo/A'chik/Mandi Festival)
Shopping, Food and More
The shopaholic in you can indulge yourself with the latest in fashion wear in Police and Bara Bazaar, the two main shopping centres in the heart of the city. For those looking for nothing in particular, a boat ride in Ward's lake or simply sitting on the benches on the shores would suffice to unwind. Try out some steaming momos in Bara Bazaar or test your taste buds with some Jadoh, the local dish of chicken or pork with rice.
Pic Credit:Vikramjit Kakati
Dawki is a small town in Jaintia Hills. The Umngot river in Dawki is known for the annual boat race held during the month of March and April. The river forms the natural boundary between the Jaintia and Khasi Hills. In 1932, the British built a huge suspension bridge across the river that connected the two districts.
Pic Credit:Tharaq Andrews