Summertime is when the entire subcontinent blisters and bakes under a torrid sun. The vacations are the best time to sneak off to cooler climes, wherever possible. Luckily for us, the Indian landscape is as varying as it is beautiful. So while you can forget the scorching deserts and beaches in these hot months, the gift of the Himalayas is truly worth basking in. The Seven Sister states are the contiguous states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura in North Eastern India and are relatively untouched, unexplored and isolated.
Of these, Meghalaya, located in undulating pine covered hills, has a milder climate than tropical India. Shillong is its beautiful capital, home to several waterfalls, parks, rolling hills and quaint land forms, and also known as the ’Scotland of the East’. Shillong receives heavy rainfalls during monsoon and the rainy season usually lasts longer than in the rest of India. Although tourists avoid the rainy season, it is generally the time when the city is clean and waterfalls are in full strength and thus a delight to behold.
Although you would need a lot of time even to travel the must-visit places in Shillong, let’s sum it up for you on a 3D/2N.
1. Visit Cherrapunjee
Cherrapunjee as the world knows, creates a heavy concoction of flowing rivers, cool breeze, swaying trees and hot noodle soups. There is a thick cover of mist that greets anyone whose footsteps cross these undulating green valleys. These are the places in and aroud Cherrapunjee you must visit.
a. Dainthlen Falls
Just before reaching Sohra, a street to one side, drives one to the falls which is 5 kms away. The waterfall gets its name from a Thlen or a snake of colossal size. Legend has it that the general population demolished the snake so as to free themselves of its rule of dread.
Nearby the very spot where the Thlen was butchered lies the Dain-thlen Waterfalls. Normal shake carvings of the episode attract guests to see the picture of the Thlen, the image of ravenousness, corruption and shrewdness. Amid the substantial rainstorm, water streams between the two rocks and the falling waterfall shows an amazing sight.
b. Mawsmai Cave
Mawsmai Cave is at a stone’s throw away from Sohra (Cherrapunjee) and 57 km from Shillong in the little village of Mawsmai. There is a network of underground caves which is full of beautiful and sometimes scary stalactites and stalagmites. Contrary to usual tourist spots, the cave was pretty deserted and only a few groups were out there to explore.
c. Living Root Bridge
Deep in the dense tropical forest of Meghalaya, and shrouded in cloud and rain for much of the year, are some astonishing man-made natural wonders. Known as living root bridges, inventive members of the Khasi tribe have trained them to grow from the roots of ancient rubber trees, native to the northeast region. The root bridges provide a stable alternative to wooden bridges, which decay and get destroyed during the lengthy monsoon seasons.
It takes around 15 years for a new root bridge to become strong enough to bear the weight of people crossing it.
d. Nohkalikai Falls
e. Wei Saw Dong Falls
The 3 step fall is one of the most surreal waterfalls in Cherrapunji. However it tests your physical ability to enjoy the view. I think it’s 200 meters of steep 75-90 degree trek without any proper stairs. The villagers have made the path and stairs using bamboo trees. This fall is outskirts of Cherrapunjee , near Dainthlen falls. If you are physically fit , this should be in must visit place in Meghalaya Trip.
Also, Try visiting Kynrem Falls, Wakaba Falls, Thangkharang Peak if you have time.
2. Visit Laitlum Canyons
Perched in the East Khasi Hills of Shillong, Laitlum Canyons is a little-explored haunt of the mountainous state of Meghalaya. Laitlum translates to ‘end of hills’ and this sublimely beautiful hilltop appears to be true to its name. At Laitlum, all one can see are breathtaking gorges and steep winding stairways that snake their way down to the lush valley.
3. Elephanta Falls
Elephant Falls is situated at the outskirts of the main city of Shillong. It is almost 12 kms away from the city chaos. The unique part of these falls is that, it is a two-tier waterfall set in the dingles of the rocks. These curved falls have an eye-catching beauty and the surrounding green vegetation makes it a perfect picnic spot. This beautiful fall is made of three smaller falls and the combined stream adorns the fern-covered rocks below. Locals call it Ka Kshaid Lai Pateng Khohsiew, the literal meaning of which is-‘Three Steps Water Falls’. The present and more popular name has its origin in the British era when the Englishmen spotted a giant rock that looked like an elephant near the fall. Of course, while the colonial era is long era but the name has stuck!
4. Golf Links
Shillong enjoys the rare privilege of having the largest and the only natural golf course in the whole of Asia. Shillong Golf Course is also known as the Gleneagles of the East. Golf was introduced in Shillong in 1898 by a group of British civil service officers after the constructed a 9-hole course. Presently it has an 18-hole course, which was inaugurated in 1924. Even if you are not a die hard fan of golf, the beauty of the place is bound to keep you mesmerised .
5. Shillong Peak
At the height of 6449 ft and 1965 m above sea level, Shillong Peak is the highest point of Shillong. It offers a breathtaking panoramic view of the entire city, the Himalayas, its waterfalls as well as of the Bangladesh plains. A telescope is available for tourists to get a bird’s eye view. Trekking up to this semi-circular Shillong Peak is highly recommended for the best views but it is often bounded by heavy fog.
These are some of the best places to visit in Meghalaya on a 3D/2N itinerary.