Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya, is a picturesque city that is famous for many things. It is a hill station surrounded by beautiful waterfalls, lakes and peaks. Shillong is a city that is famous for music, its unique culture and cheerful people. Hence, it is known as the "Rock Capital Of India".
Before Meghalaya was an independent state, Shillong was the capital of Assam. It is perched at an altitude of 4,908 ft from the sea level. The hills surrounding Shillong are said to have resembled the view of Scotland, therefore, the Britishers referred to it as "Scotland of The East".
Best Time To Visit Shillong
With relatively less rainfall and pleasant weather, the months of September to May are ideal to visit Shillong. The cherry blossoms of the autumn and delicious and ripe oranges of the winter is something that cannot be missed if you happen to visit in those seasons.
Here is a guide of the things to do and places to see while you're at Shillong.
Walk To The Ward's Lake
The Ward's Lake is located hardly 2 km from the city, and is a beautiful spot that makes for a blissful walk. The route is filled with greenery and an aroma of pine trees. It is an artificial lake also known as Pollock's Lake.
A bridge in the middle of the lake allows you to take in the beautiful view, from where you can feed the fishes. Boating is also available in the lake. The best time to take a walk here would be early morning when the glittering lake is less crowded.
PC: Hrishikesh Sharma
Stop At A Jamming Session
As mentioned previously, Shillong loves music. A jam session is bound to happen, mostly around the Don Bosco Square which is the hub of the city. Stop at the city's oldest and famous cafes and groove to the impromptu music session played by some locals, while sipping on hot coffee.
Usually, these musical delights take place on Sundays.
Chomp On Aloo Muri
Aloo Muri is Shillong's all-time beloved snack. You will find the best Aloo Muri sold on the classic wooden stands, which is found on almost all the nook and corners of the city. Aloo Muri is puffed rice, boiled and mashed potatoes mixed with cabbage, salt and seasoned with spices.
Look out for the place with a huge crowd, which without a doubt will be selling the tastiest Aloo Muri.
Explore More Food At Police Bazaar!
While Aloo Muri is the city's classic snack, Shillong is also famous for a variety of other dishes. Police Bazaar, locally known as PB, is a hub for all the famous eateries. Cabbage and pork filled momos are found in a number of outlets that cannot be missed.
And for your lunch or dinner, have a hearty Khasi meal, a specialty of Meghalaya, which is also available in a number of popular restaurants at PB.
PC: Ashwin Kumar
Music Festivals Of Shillong
Apart from the locally played music that happens regularly, Shillong is famous for hosting a number of music festivals. Shillong Autumn Festival that happens in the month of October, is a boisterous three-day festival that hosts various other activities such as kite-flying competitions, food and wine festival.
It was started in 2005 to mainly promote tourism of Shillong and continues to hold the music festival every year.
Apart from this, various festivals such as the NH7 Weekender takes place in Shillong, and usually has the best line-up.
Visit The Cathedral Catholic Church
The Cathedral of Mary Help of Christians is located in the city, and is a place of worship for almost 300,000 Catholics! It was built over 50 years ago and locally is known as the Shillong Cathedral. Have a quiet and peaceful experience within the walls of this church.
PC: Javed Rahman
Explore The Forests Of Upper Shillong
Wind from the evergreen trees of pine will fill your nose on the outskirts of Shillong. Go on a drive through the forests that are located on the Upper Shillong and reach the Shillong Peak, a famous tourist spot. This is the highest peak of Shillong, located at a height of 6,449 ft above the sea level.
The peak will offer a breathtaking panoramic view of the entire city, an experience that simply cannot be missed.
PC : Rachit
Shopping At Glory's Plaza
Glory's Plaza, locally known as GP, is a shopping complex found in Police Bazaar. The people of Shillong are quite fashion-conscious and this can be witnessed by the clothes and other articles sold here at Glory's Plaza.
Although the gloomy outlook of the complex might be off-putting, it has some fantastic collection of clothes and more. If you are a shopping freak who knows the ways around bargaining, this is certainly a place you must go to!
PC: Daniel B. Ranee
Other Places to Visit In Shillong
Elephant Falls, Mawlynnong village, Umiam Lake, museums are some of the other places to visit in Shillong. Elephant Falls is a group of three smaller waterfalls, located 12 km from Shillong.
Mawlynnong, sometimes referred to as "God's Own Garden", was given the title of being Asia's cleanest village in 2003. Umiam Lake is located 15 km from North Shillong, is a man-made reservoir, which is surrounded with lush greenery and is a haven for nature lovers.
PC : Vikramjit Kakati
How To Reach Shillong
By Air: The Shillong Airport is the airport to reach by flight. However, since its connectivity to major cities is limited, the major airport that is closest to Shillong is the Guwahati Airport, from where a flight to Shillong can be taken.
By Rail: The closest railways station to Shillong is located in Guwahati. A cab, or bus can be hailed from here.
By Road: Private and government buses are available from other cities of India to Shillong. If you travel by car then the NH 40 is the connecting highway from the other National Highways to Shillong.