Ri Bhoi, a top tourist place, is one of the 11 districts of Meghalaya with its district headquarters at Nongpoh. It is the second least populated district of Meghalaya after the South Garo Hills. The district is carved out of the East Khasi Hills.
One of the star attractions of Ri-Bhoi tourism is the Umiam Lake, popularly known as Bara Pani. This man-made lake has a major hydro-electricity dam. The lake is also popular for its sports facilities. Tourists can enjoy kayaking, water cycling and boating here.
Other tourist places in Ri Bhoi include the Lum Nehru Park, Lum Sohpetbneng, Diengiei Peak and Dwarksuid. Here is a travel guide on what to see in Ri Bhoi:
Photo Courtesy: Kinshuk Kashyap
Umiam Lake, also known as Barapani, is one of the top tourist destinations in the Ri Bhoi district of Meghalaya. This lake was created in the early 1960s by building a hydro-electric dam across the Umiam River. The lake presently serves as an excellent tourist destination with many water sports and adventure facilities like kayaking, water cycling, shooting and boating.
Diengiei Peak, located to the west of the Shillong plateau, is a popular tourist viewpoint of the region. It is just 200 ft lower than the Shillong peak. From the summit of the peak, one can get a breathtaking view of the beautiful green hills and mountains of the East Khasi Hills. One can also see several small villages in the form of tiny dots at a distance. At the top of the Diengiei, there is a huge cup-shaped hollow which some geologists believe to be the crater from an extinct pre-historic volcano.
Lum Sohpetbneng, popularly known as "Navel of the Earth", is a very sacred place for the Seng Khasi believers. According to legends, the Golden Vine Bridge that connected Heaven and Earth was situated at the peak of Lum Sohpetbneng. Legends also say that the Ki Hynniewtrep, meaning 'Seven Huts', which comprises of the seven sub-tribes of the Khasi community were the first settlers of the earth.There is an annual tribal pilgrimage that is held on the first Sunday of February, when the Seng Khasi people would trek for about an hour and a half to reach the top of this peak to perform their rituals and rites, and perform some of their traditional dance and songs. You can reach this destination by hiring a local taxi or a tourist vehicle from Shillong.
Nongpoh is the administrative centre of the Ri-Bhoi district of Meghalaya. It is also a popular tourist shopping destination. It is a great place to try out the various different Khasi delicacies. The Nongpoh Market is crowded with people at almost all hours of the day. Some of them are just the locals, while several others are travelling tourists.
How to Reach Ri Bhoi
By Air: The airport at Umroi, the only airport in Meghalaya falls under the Ri-Bhoi district and is close to the Umiam Lake. However, there is only one flight from the airport to Kolkata. The better option is for tourists to board a flight to Guwahati and then take the NH to Nongpoh.
By Train: The nearest railway station to Ri-Bhoi district is Guwahati, located only 50 km away. It takes about one and a half hour during peak traffic to reach Nongpoh from Guwahati. The Guwahati railway station is one of the busiest stations in the country having trains to almost all parts of the country.
By Road: NH 40 serves as a lifeline to the district. Though the NH doesn't run across all of the district, it runs vertically, connecting Shillong to Guwahati. The highway is always busy with frequent buses, tourist and private vehicles and trucks. It is easy to reach Nongpoh from either Shillong or Guwahati.