We welcome you to the Shade of the Clouds ~ Cherrapunji, Meghalaya.
Located around 60 kilometers from the capital city of Shillong, Cherrapunji is a land of vast natural beauty, majestic waterfalls, pleasant rains and unexplored caves. The drive from Shillong to Cherrapunji takes around 2 hours and is through roads across the mountains of Meghalaya. Cherrapunji is the second wettest place on planet Earth after Mawsynram in Meghalaya, recording an average annual rainfall of 11,727 mm.
Cherrapunji is a small hill town nestled in the East Khasi Hills district in the Indian State of Meghalaya. A land of pristine streams, undulating waterfalls, lush cover of green mountains, unadulterated landscapes, beautiful sound of unending rainfall, unexplored deep caves, friendly people, delightful food and no to forget the Bio-engineering marvels of the Living Root Bridges, Cherrapunji is a place which should be on the travel list of any person wanting to seek solace in the lap of Mother Nature. Known to be the second wettest place on planet Earth after Mawsynram in Meghalaya, Cherrapunji records an average annual rainfall of 11,777 mm every year. It has been recorded in Cherrapunji, in the year 1974 when Cherrapunji had recorded the highest annual rainfall at any place in this World. Also it was on 16th of June 1995, when Cherrapunji recorded 1563 mm of waterfall in a day making it the highest recorded rainfall at one place in a day. This downpour makes the climate of Cherrapunji always pleasant across the year. This beautiful town is located at a height of 1,300 meters above the mean sea level and is often referred to as ‘Sohra’ meaning the ‘Shade of Clouds’.
As per historical references, Cherrapunji was traditional capital of the Khasi tribes chieftainship and was known as Churra at that time. With the advent of the British in India, Cherrapunji became an important British outpost under the leadership of David Scott who made Cherrapunji the official headquarters of the British Raj in the Khasi and Jaintia Hills. Sohra was the original name of Cherrapunji which was pronounced Churra by the British and eventually evolved into Cherrapunji. The word Cherrapunji means ‘Land of Oranges’. Cherrapunji is inhabited by the Khasi Tribes of Meghalaya from as early as the 16th century.
Meghalaya is a Christian dominated State and so is Cherrapunji where majority of the people practice Christianity as their faith. It was the Welsh Catholic Presbyterian Church which started preaching Christianity here at Cherrapunji and continued to establish many schools and churches as the first missionary. The church built by the Catholic mission at Cherrapunji is a grand structure and has been built on similar lines as that of the Church at Vatican.
The pleasant climate conditions and the vast cover of natural beauty makes Cherrapunji a favored tourist destination and people from across the World come to Cherrapunji across the year. The best time to to admire the waterfalls of Cherrapunji is during the monsoons from June through September when continuous downpour fills these waterfalls rain source and the gushing sound of the waterfalls is a magical experience to witness here at Cherrapunji. What causes the rainfall in Cherrapunji is an interesting phenomenon. The Khasi hills where Cherrapunji is located, erupts suddenly at a height of 4500 m above the mean sea level across the plains of the country of Bangladesh which shares its border with Meghalaya. The town of Cherrapunji is the tall Khasi hills falls on the direct path of the South West Monsoons and these clouds which are rain bearing get funnelled across the deep gorges of Cherrapunji. This in turn leads to the rapid cooling of the upward thrested rain clouds and they start condensing and deluge the town of Cherrapunji.
This is the major cause of the heavy rainfall at Cherrapunji. Cherrapunji no doubt has achieved this fame of being home to the heaviest rainfall on Earth. This can be well experienced when one visits Cherrapunji and feel the immense quantity of rainfall that keeps pouring across the day and night and often an umbrella doesn’t help here.
Cherrapunji is located at a distance of 60 km from the State capital of Shillong and 150 km from the city of Guwahati that has the nearest accessible Airport and Railway Station. The road conditions are good and hence the drive from Guwahati to Cherrapunji is an amazing one sighting the green mountains and the majestic landscapes of Meghalaya.
Upon reaching Cherrapunji you are sure to be left spellbound by the beautiful landscapes this town has to offer. Cherrapunji has always thrilled nature lovers and enthusiasts from a very long time mostly with its dense terrain, magical clouds, leaping green mountains, varied flora and fauna, the amazing birdlife, the tall grasslands and rich tropical rainforests. These beautiful sceneries along with it being one of the rainiest spots in the World with many tourist attractions like waterfalls, caves and Living root bridges have started drawing the attention of tourists from across the World and Cherrapunji today is becoming a very popular tourist destination in North East India with people from across the World coming to visit Cherrapunji across the year. Tourism at Cherrapunji has now become an attractive mode of income generation for the people here.
The people residing in and around Cherrapunji belong to the Khasi tribe of Meghalaya and are often referred to as Khasia people by the Assamese and Bengali people living around the low adjacent surrounding of Cherrapunji. Further, these Khasi people of Cherrapunji are divided into subclass which are mostly the Shi Kur and Shi Kpoh who have a common ancestor. A major feature of the Khasi tribal heritage is the Matrilineal society where the head of the family in a Khasi household is a lady. This is a very interesting phenomenon where the legacy of the family lineage is taken from the Mother’s side. The mother is the head of the household and takes care of her family and when the parents grow old the responsibility of taking care of them is entrusted to the youngest daughter who also inherits the family property. The children take the surname of their mother and the man goes to live with his wife after marriage. These Khasi people of Meghalaya enjoy a greater share of liberty in life when it comes to their life choices. They are often allowed to marry on their own choice and not dependant on the family choice unlike the other parts of India. Here in Meghalaya there is no system of dowry and the women are treated equally as men and women take up jobs in diverse professions. From running a shop, a business, or working as government officials or politicians, at Meghalaya one can find women handling job roles of various responsibilities that also include teaching and nursing. The women across Meghalaya hold various high level posts in the government offices, political offices, schools, colleges, business houses, etc.
The primary language of Meghalaya as well as Cherrapunji is the Khasi language. An interesting part of the Khasi language is that it doesn’t have any script. But with time, writing down the Khasi language in the Roman script has been received well down the generations and is popular now with newspapers and magazines being published in this mode of writing. From the earlier times when the Christian Missionaries arrived at Cherrapunji and established the first mission, Cherrapunji has become the literary Khasi around the Khasi land. However, one interesting thing to note is that since there is not defined common script, the dialects across the villages in and around Cherrapunji differ. For example, the people in the Nongriat Village speak a slightly different Khasi language than the ones at Tyrna and Shella villages.
In addition to the various tourist attractions at Cherrapunji, one must also visit the local market here at Cherrapunji which is not only a place to buy and sell goods but also a huge social gathering.
Climate of Cherrapunji ~
Cherrapunji has a mild subtropical climate with monsoonal influences. Cherrapunji receives both the southwest and northeast monsoonal winds. These monsoonal winds results in immense rainfall leading to an average annual rainfall of 11,777 mm at Cherrapunji. The temperature at Cherrapunji remain moderate across the year with cold nights during winters. The driest months being from November thru February.
Culture and Demographics of Cherrapunji ~
The Khasi Tribes of Meghalaya are the primary dwellers of Cherrapunji similar to the city of Shillong. At Cherrapunji too, the Khasi folks follow the matrilineal culture where the Mother is the head of the family. As of 2001 India census, Cherrapunji had a population of 10,086. Males constitute 49% of the population and females 51%. Cherrapunji has an average literacy rate of 74%, higher than the national average of 59.5%; with male literacy of 74% and female literacy of 74%. 19% of the population is under 6 years of age.
How to Reach Cherrapunji ~
The town of Cherrapunji in Meghalaya is located at a distance of approximately 150 kilometers from the city of Guwahati in Assam (approx 6 hours by road from Guwahati Airport). The distance from the capital city of Meghalaya i.e. Shillong is approx. 60 kilometers. However, the terrain makes the drive slow and it takes approximately 2 hours to reach Cherrapunji from Shillong. Roads conditions are excellent and the view of landscape during the drive is simply breathtaking!
The best option to reach Cherrapunji is to arrive at Guwahati Airport/Railway Station and drive to the Cherrapunji. We arrange your transport from the Airport to the National Park with an experienced local who will guide you with the important facts of the region during the journey.
To plan your Visit to Cherrapunji from Kaziranga National Park please fill the form
Places of Interest at Cherrapunji ~
1| Nohkalikai Falls ~ Cherrapunji
The Nohkalikai Falls is located around 5 km from Cherrapunji town. Nohkalikai Falls is the tallest plunge waterfall in India and the height from which the water falls is 340 m. It is also the third tallest waterfall in India Nohkalikai in the local Khasi language means “Jump of Ka Likai” which is linked to a gruesome story of a local Khasi woman who jumped off the cliff next to the falls. A very beautiful waterfall often covered by the clouds of Meghalaya, the Nohkalikai Falls are fed by rainwater collected on the small plateau at the top of the falls. The waters of Nohkalikai are crystal clear and form a beautiful pool at the bottom. Around the viewpoint, one can find many local shops that sell souvenirs to remind you of your magical trip to Nohkalikai.
According to legends, in a village called Rangjyrteh, upstream from Nohkalikai Falls, a woman named Likai resided but had to remarry after her husband died. Ka Likai (Ka is the prefix given for the female gender in Khasi) was left with her infant girl with no means of income. So she had to become a porter herself. Her work required her to leave her daughter unattended for long intervals but when she would be at home she would spend most of her time taking care of her infant. Ka Likai, who married a second time, couldn’t pay attention to her second husband. The jealous husband killed the infant and cooked her meat after throwing away her head and bones. When Ka Likai returned home, she saw nobody in the house but except for a meal that had been prepared. She wanted to go look for her daughter but she ate the meat as she was tired from work.
Ka Likai usually had a betel leaf after her meals but she found a severed finger near the place where she usually cut betel nuts and betel leaves. Ka Likai realized what had happened in her absence and went mad with anger and grief and started running as she swung a hatchet in her hand. She ran off the edge of the plateau and the waterfall where she jumped from was named Nohkalikai Falls after her.
2| Seven Sister Falls ~ Cherrapunji
The Seven Sister Falls is the fourth tallest waterfall in India. Also known as the Mawsmai Falls/Nohsngithiang falls, the Seven Sister Fall is a seven segmented waterfall. The waters at Seven Sister fall from a height of 340 m.
The falls plunges over the top of limestone cliffs of the Khasi Hills only during the rainy season. In full spate, the segments stretch most of the way along the cliff. The waterfalls get illuminated by the sun and the vibrant colors of the setting sun on the waterfalls makes it beautiful.
The Seven Sister Falls is located at around 2 km from the main market area of Cherrapunji. At the Seven Sister Falls, the water falls from a height of 315 m making it the fourth tallest waterfall in India. The Seven Sister Falls is a segmented waterfall. The majestic Polo Cherrapunjee Resort is located just next to this waterfall and one can get a front view glimpse of the Seven Sister Falls from this Resort.
The Fall plunges over the top of limestone cliffs of the Khasi Hills best viewed during the monsoon season at Meghalaya. In full spate, the segments stretch most of the way along the cliff. The water gets illuminated by the sun and the vibrant colors of the setting sun on the waterfalls makes it all the more beautiful!
3| Living Root Bridges ~ Cherrapunji
Cherrapunji is famous for its Living Root Bridges. The Khas tribes of Cherrapunji have over several years perfected an art of growing roots of trees (Rubber) into large bridges. This process to grow a Living Root Bridge takes around 15 years and once completed, these bridges last for over 500 years. The Umshiang Double Decker Living Root Bridge at Nongriat village near Cherrapunji is one of a kind in the World!
The Umshiang Double Decker Living Root Bridge is an example of the marvels of bio-engineering. The Khasis Tribes of Meghalaya have perfected the art of creating Living Root Bridges using rubber tree roots and betel nut trunks. These Root Bridges take over 10-15 years to grow but last around 500 years and get stronger with time as the roots grow! The Umshiang Double Decker Root Bridge is the only one of its kind in the world and is often referred to as the Eighth Wonder of the Modern World. To reach the Umshiang Double Decker Living Root Bridge at Nongriat Village, one has to start trek at Cherrapunji and cross over 3500 steps across hills, and rickety rope pathways to reach this beautiful place.
Across Meghalaya, visitors can find many number of Living Root Bridges. But the grandest among them all is the Umshiang Double Decker Living Root Bridge at Nongriat Village. However, due to the steep incline and the flight of 3,500 stairs to reach the Umshiang Root Bridge becomes a challenge for many visitors.
In order for them not to miss out on the Bioengineering marvels of the Living Root Bridges, a set of these bridges have been built near the Tyrna Village which allows a medium level of trek access. These are the Single Decker Living Root Bridges at Tyrna Village. There are a set of two (2) Single Decker Living Root Bridges grown at close proximity to each other. A short hike across a well paved stairway will reach you to these wonders of Mother Nature grown and nurtured by the Khasi Tribes of Meghalaya.
4| Dainthlen Falls ~ Cherrapunji
Dainthlen Falls is located a road to the right before your arrival at Cherrapunji. The Dainthlen falls does not see much of a footfall as compared to the Nohkalikai and the Seven Sister Falls and is an ideal place to spend your time at Cherrapunji in calm.
On your visit to Cherrapunji you will spot waterfalls in and around its vicinity. The elevation from the mean sea level and the continuous down pour the year around is the reason for the numerous waterfalls at Cherrapunji. These Waterfalls are a pride of the Meghalaya Monsoons as the glory of these falls are in their prime during the rainy season in Meghalaya.
The Nohkalikai Falls and the Seven Sister Waterfall are the most visited by the tourists of Cherrapunji. The Nohkalikai is the tallest plunge Waterfall in India and the Seven Sisters is the second tallest plunge Waterfall in India.
If you are not interested in visiting the normal touristy places in Cherrapunji, one waterfall that would be an ideal visit is the Dainthlen Falls near Cherrapunji. Not frequented by many, the landscape around the Dainthlen Falls is unadulterated and has a soothing calm ideal for spending the day at leisure.
Just before reaching Cherrapunji, a road to the right, leads to the Dainthlen falls which is located at distance of 5 kms away. Legend speaks that this waterfall derives its name from a Thlen or a snake of gigantic size which dwelt in a cave. The villagers used to frequent the heavenly market of Langhiang, Kongkhen and had to pass the bridge of the Gods and the cave of the Thlen. Anyone, travelling in even numbers was safe, but in odd numbers one would be devoured by the Thlen. A great Durbar was called for in order to devise a plan to get rid of the snake permanently. It was believed that this snake was butchered here by Uisymroh, a knight of Yore who fed the snake with red hot iron rods which killed it instantly. A grand feast was held and the whole town partook the meal. However, one old lady took a piece of the meat home for her grandchild but kept on forgetting to feed it until one day the Thlen was revived again. Remnants of the tools used for the feast that have turned to stone can be seen even today.
5| Mawsmai Caves ~ Cherrapunji
Meghalaya has many caves within the State many explored and many yet to be explored. The most visited cave at Meghalaya is the Mawsmai cave at Cherrapunji. Located in the heart of the Cherrapunji town, this cave is a vast expansion of natural limestone formations. The Mawsmai cave has an impressive formations of large passages and chambers.
The Mawsmai Caves is located at around 3 km from Cherrapunji market. The Mawsmai Caves is a primary tourist attraction of Cherrapunji and is a major crowd puller that leaves tourists spellbound. These limestone caves have the distinction of being the only caves in Meghalaya that are lit enough to enable tourists to enjoy the natural formations in awe.
Though the caves are long, only a distance of 150 meters is open for tourists, while the other section is closed. The stalactites and stalagmites caves have innumerable forms, shapes and sizes inside leaving one to imagine as many life forms as possible. This magnificent natural wonder is the handiwork of years of natural abrasion and underground water.
The State of Meghalaya has numerous unexplored Caves across. Ranging from the Khasi and the Jaintia Hills to the Garo Hills these Caves are a sight to behold having numerous stalactites and stalagmites (made of limestone) in the caves in innumerable forms, shapes and sizes. While some of these caves are easily accessible to their summit by walking on foot, others needs to be reached by swimming a distance of over three (3) kilometers to reach the insides of the Cave. While some caves are shorter in length span the others continue upto several kilometers.
Some of the well known Caves of Meghalaya in the Khasi, Jaintia and Garo Hills are ~
- Krem Mawkhyrdop or Krem Mawmluh
- Krem Dam
- Krem Lymput
- Mawsmai Cave
- Krem Liat Prah
- Krem Lubon
- Kotsati – Umlawan Cave System
- Krem Shrieh (Tangnub Monkey Cave)
- Tetengkol Balwakol
- Dangedikol Chiningkrikol
Out of the above the most frequented and easily accessible cave of Meghalaya is the Mawsmai Cave. Located in the heart of the town of Cherrapunji, the Mawsmai Cave is a vast expansion of low passages of the 150m-long natural limestone formation. Located at the village crossing of Cherrapunji, to reach the Mawsmai Caves one passes grasslands surrounded by forests, ending in a clearing. From this clearing, a concrete pathway through the jungle leads up to the main cave entrance. This cave is the only cave that is fully lighted. The cave can be divided into two parts (old and new). Of the two, the new cave is yet to be lighted. It has impressive formations of large passages and chambers.
6| Rainbow Falls Cherrapunji, Meghalaya ~
If you were not satisfied that Mother Nature has been kind enough for Cherrapunji with the all of the tourist spots mentioned above, we think that the Rainbow Falls near the Nongriat Village is a place must visit for you! Although the Rainbow Falls doesn’t feature in any record books unlike the Nohkalikai and the Seven Sister Falls but the sheer beauty and the crystal clear water of the Rainbow Falls will enthral any tourist visiting it.
Located near the Nongriat Village where the Umshiang Double Decker Living Bridge is situated, to reach the Rainbow Falls you would need to trek another hours distance from the Double Decker Root Bridge. The path to Rainbow Falls though defined is not cemented and is a mix of alternating ascents and descents as well as crossing two long iron bridges which seem to sway gallantly by the people walking on it. The sheer natural beauty around the Rainbow Falls is sure to captivate the minds of all travellers. It is recommended to reach Rainbow Falls on an early sunny morning if you wish to catch a beautiful rainbow cascading over the powerful force of the falls. This can be achieved by making an overnight halt at the Nongriat Village. When you are at the Rainbow Falls, just breathe and feel the majestic sound and the mist spraying all over you, cooling you off, almost as if like welcoming you and making you feel like you are part of something so grand and magical – a true gift from Mother Nature to mankind!
Hotels, Resorts and Homestays at Cherrapunji ~
1| Polo Orchid Resort Cherrapunji ~
Located on the edge of the cliff of the breathtaking Cherrapunji Valley, overlooking the splendid Seven Sister Waterfalls, this rustic-style star resort is the best hotel in Cherrapunji and has a way of slowing down time to a tranquil tempo. Set amidst acres of lush gardens, Hotel Polo Orchid, Cherrapunji is a showcase for relaxation with tropical-inspired design touches, grand architecture, a sun-drenched balcony, wide shady corridors, and flower lined patios for a memorable stay.
Among the most luxurious properties at Cherrapunji, the Hotel Polo Towers at Cherrapunji is an ideal retreat to pamper yourself during your stay at Cherrapunji. Deluxe rooms cater to you all your comfort needs and the gushing sound of the waters of the Seven Sister Falls just beside it makes it an ideal retreat at Cherrapunji.
Tariff Starts ~ INR 7,000 per day per cottage
2| Sa-I-Mika Resort Cherrapunji ~
The Sa-I-Mika Resort is nestled in the misty hills of Cherrapunji. Sai-I-Mika invites you to enjoy the childhood memories of rain on your face in the monsoons and the chilly yet warm winter sunshine. Sai-I-Mika offers you a unique blend of traditional Khasi hospitality and comfortable lodging as you live as close to nature as can be possible among the creeks, meadows and crags typical of Cherrapunji.
If you want to stay amidst nature at Cherrapunji, then Saimika Resort is the place to be. Cottages designed to reflect the ancient British styles homes with a blend of the local Khasi heritage is what you find at the Saimika Resort. Spread across a huge area overlooking the river that flows across Cherrapunji, Saimika Resort also allows you to savor local Khasi Cuisine and get a glimpse of the rich music scene at Meghalaya when a local band plays here every weekend.
Tariff Starts ~ INR 3,000 per day per cottage
3| Sohra Plaza Homestay Cherrapunji
Sohra Plaza conveniently located on the way to Daiñthlen Falls, 100m from Shillong-Sohra State Road. The exclusively designed rooms are stylish, comfortable and fitted with all the amenities and convenience you will require while staying away from home. At Sohra Plaza you will be welcomed by smiling faces and cheerful greetings. Every Staff, whether a Housekeeper, Receptionist or Waiter will please you with kindness, smiles and good service.
Get to experience the warm hospitality of the Khasi people at the Sohra Plaza Homestay at Cherrapunji. Run by a local, the owner of Sohra Plaza ensures for your comfort along with his well trained staff and takes care of all your needs for a comfortable stay at Cherrapunji.
Tariff Starts ~ INR 2,500 per day per room
4| Cherrapunji Holiday Resort
A family run nature resort ~ the Cherrapunji Holiday Resort at Laitkynsew Village in Cherrapunji is the nearest comfortable stay option at the vicinity of the Umshiang Double Decker Living Root Bridges. Surrounded by scenic beauty, the Cherrapunji Holiday Resort is a preferred stay option by tourists from across the World. Being a family run business, this place offers you the warmth of staying at a home away from home. The family also runs the Cherrapunji Orange Restaurant just upon your arrival at Cherrapunji, that offers lip smaking South Indian Vegeterian delights at a place where Vegeterian cuisine is not an easily available option.
Tariff Starts ~ INR 4,000 per room per day
5| Coniferous Resort Cherrapunji
Located in the vicinity of the Mawsmai Caves and the Seven Sister Waterfalls the Coniferous Resort at Cherrapunji is a budget stay option. It is located close to the Daily market at Cherrapunji. Warm welcoming staff and hospitality of the team at the Coniferous Resort are their prime TRPs. The resort also has ample parking space if you choose to visit Cherrapunji with your own vehicle.
A budget stay option at Cherrapunji, the Coniferous Resort at Cherrapunji is frequented by tourists around the year. With close proximity to the Cherrapunji market the Coniferous Resort is located at a suitable distance from the major tourist spots of Cherrapunji.
Tariff Starts ~ INR 2,500 per room per day
6| 7 Sister Falls View Inn Cherrapunji
If you are looking for a budget accommodation near the Second Tallest Plunge Waterfall in India then the 7 Sister Falls View Inn is the ideal option for you. Located very near to the Seven Sister Falls aka the Mawsmai Falls, 7 Sister Falls View Inn provides you an option of stay from Standard, Luxury Rooms and Dormitory facilities. With an adjacent Restaurant, they ensure your cup of Hot Coffee is at your disposal to beat the Rainy weather of Cherrapunji.
Tariff Starts ~ INR 2,500 per room per day
7| Cordial Lodge cum Restaurant Cherrapunji
Located ideally at the center point of all the major Tourist attractions of Cherrapunji at Mawsmai, the Cordial Lodge cum Restaurant is another available budget accommodation at Cherrapunji. The famous Mawsmai Caves of Cherrapunji is located very near to the Cordial Lodge cum Restaurant. The other attractions of Cherrapunji i.e. the Nohkalikai Falls and the Seven Sister Falls are also close-by.
Tariff Starts ~ INR 2,500 per room per day
8| Halari Tourist Lodge Cherrapunji
Another Budget Stay option at Cherrapunji is the Halari Tourist Lodge. Located at the Cherrapunji daily market, the Halari Tourist Lodge offers basic amenities for a night halt at Cherrapunji. The Living Root Bridges, Mawsmai Caves, the Nohkalikai Falls and the Seven Sister Falls at close proximity to the Halari Tourist Lodge.
Tariff Starts ~ INR 2,200 per room per day
How to reach Cherrapunji from Kaziranga National Park –
By Road – Cherrapunji is located at a distance of around 301 kilometers from Kaziranga National Park. It takes around 7 hours by road to reach Cherrapunji from Kaziranga. We operate our Taxi Service to Cherrapunji from Kaziranga National Park. Our well maintained fleet makes your journey from Kaziranga National Park to Cherrapunji a comfortable one.
By Air – Cherrapunji is well connected to the Guwahati Airport by road. We operate taxi service from Guwahati Airport to Cherrapunji.
By Train – The nearest railway station is at Guwahati. We operate taxi service from Guwahati Railway Station to Cherrapunji.
Sample Itinerary for your visit to Cherrapunji – Meghalaya
Day 1 ~ Guwahati – Cherrapunji
Arrive at Guwahati Airport and depart to Cherrapunji. On the way sight the Umiam Lake. At Cherrapunji, visit the Majestic Nohkalikai Falls (India’s tallest plunge waterfall) and spot the exotic view here. Also visit the Seven Sisters Falls and the Mawsmai Caves at Cherrapunji.
Night Stay: Resorts/Cottages at Cherrapunji
Meals Included: NA
Day 2 ~ Cherrapunji – Mawlynnong – Dawki – Shillong
After breakfast enroute to Dawki (Indo-Bangladesh) border and enjoy boating on the clear waters of the Umngot River at Dawki. Later visit to Mawlynnong (Asia’s cleanest Village). At Mawlynnong visit the Living Root Bridges, sight the balancing rocks and take a walk along the Cleanest Village of Asia. Experience the rich culture of the Khasi Tribes of Meghalaya at Mawlynnong. Later depart to Shillong for night halt. At Shillong, visit the Madina Masjid (India’s only Glass Mosque).
Night Stay: Comfortable Hotel/Guest House at Shillong
Meals Included: Breakfast
Day 3 ~ Shillong – Kaziranga National Park
After Breakfast, do local sight seeing at Shillong City. Visit the Ward’s Lake and the Don-Bosco Museum at Shillong. Later depart to the Kaziranga National Park. On the way spot the majestic Tea Gardens of Assam.
Night Stay: Comfortable Hotel at the Kaziranga National Park
Meals Included: Breakfast
Day 4 ~ Kaziranga National Park – Kaziranga Orchid Park – Guwahati
Early morning go for a Jeep Safari into the Kaziranga National Park from the Bagodi/Kohora Safari Range at the National Park. Later in the day visit the Kaziranga Orchid and Bio-Diversity Park at Kaziranga National Park. The Kaziranga Orchid and Bio-Diveristy Park is the Largest Orchid Park in India. Depart to Guwahati.
Night Stay: Comfortable Hotel at Guwahati
Meals Included: Breakfast
Day 5 ~ Kamakhya Temple – Depart
Early morning visit the holy Kamakhya Temple at Guwahati. After breakfast you will depart to Guwahati Airport for your onward destination. Trip Ends. Bid Adieu!
Meals Included: Breakfast
To plan your Visit to Cherrapunji from Kaziranga National Park please fill the form
Exploring Cherrapunji with our guest from Czech Republic ~
In November 2016, we organized a dedicated and customized tour of Meghalaya and Assam with our guest from Czech Republic – Mr. Michal Khuna. He wanted to explore nature and Cherrapunji had this to offer in abundance for him. We started from Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary in Assam to Cherrapunji in the morning and drove across the beautiful roads of Meghalaya to arrive at Cherrapunji by 2 PM. At first, we set out to explore the tallest plunge waterfall in India – the Nohkalikai falls. We arrived at the waterfall parking area at 2.30 PM and Michal was left speechless with the natural beauty and crystal clear waters of the Nohkalikai falls. There were no other tourists around and the calm around the place made it all the more magical. We stood at the viewpoint of the Nohkalikai falls listening to the gushing sound of the falling water that falls from height of 340 m from the summit here in Cherrapunji. The Nohkalikai falls is a plunge waterfall wherein the waters from the various streams and small water bodies reach at the plateau on top of the falls and collect at the place and fall down as a combined waterfall.
We took a short hike around the area of the Nohkalikai fall here in Cherrapunji. There were several small shops around put up by the local women of Cherrapunji that sold fresh produce like pineapples, cucumbers, various local spices brought in from the nearby forests like cinnamon, pepper, bay leaves as well. These shops also sell locally made bamboo and wood crafted souvenirs from around Cherrapunji as well. After exploring the Nohkalikai falls we headed to the Mawsmai cave area in Cherrapunji. One of the most popular tourist attractions of Cherrapunji, the Mawsmai cave is a limestone cave that dates back several thousand years ago. These days only a small stretch of the cave is accessible for tourists but during our time of visit a larger portion of this cave was accessible and we explored deep into the Mawsmai caves at Cherrapunji sighting the various stalactites and stalagmites and the fossils and rock formations as well. We explored the Mawsmai Cave for about an hour and went across the area of the cave and later came out to head to the Seven Sister Falls in Cherrapunji.
The Seven Sister falls at Cherrapunji is a short 10 minute drive from the Mawsmai cave area and is the second most popular waterfall in Cherrapunji. It is also the fourth tallest waterfall in India with the height of the water plying from the summit to the bottom being 315 m. From the viewpoint here we could spot the beautiful valleys of Meghalaya as well and the plains of Bangladesh. The entire place looked amazing and Michal stood there admiring the beauty of the natural wonders of Cherrapunji. At 4 PM we headed to the Saimika Resort in Cherrapunji where our stay was booked. The Saimika resort in Cherrapunji is the most favored destination for halt for travellers to Cherrapunji. The entire area is green and a beautiful stream flows down along the Saimika resort. There are individual cottages for guests built in an ancient British style architecture as well. Their kitchen churns out some of the most flavorful meat recipes here in Cherrapunji. While Michal’s stay was booked at a Deluxe Cottage here, my friend and I stayed at the dormitory here at the Saimika Resort in Cherrapunji. An early dinner was ordered for us that fried rice, chilly pork, fresh salad and tomato chutney. We had our dinner dinner and retired to bed to head onto our trek to the Double Decker Living Root Bridge at Nongriat village the next day.
We started early for our trek to the Double Decker Root bridge near Cherrapunji at 7 AM. We had a cup of tea and biscuits and started on our drive to Tyrna village. we halted along the way as Michal wanted to click pictures of the nature around him and the various spiders hanging on the trees as well. We reached Tyrna at around 8AM and started on our hike. We wanted to take a guide along but as no one was there we went on our own as we had been to the Double Decker Root Bridge at Nongriat twice before. We started trekking down the flight of 3500 stairs that leads to Nongriat village. Once we finished climbing down the stairs we had to walk straight but instead we took a right to show Michal the set of Single Decker Root bridges here at the Tyrna elaka. We walked for a while and were successful in sighting two root bridges here. We came back to a small village where we bought some refreshments to eat and then continued on our trek to Nongriat here in Cherrapunji. We crossed a set of hanging bridges and finally arrived at Nongriat village at 10 AM. We set out to explore the Double Decker Living Root bridge here and Michal was amazed with the natural beauty of this man made natural marvel. We were the only visitors here today and so we had the place to explore for ourselves. We explored the area around the Double Decker Living Root bridge and headed back on our trek to Cherrapunji.
We arrived back at 12.30 PM and continued on our drive back to Cherrapunji local market. We stopped here for lunch and after lunch we continued to the Arwaah caves here. These prehistoric caves are a few thousand years old and this is a much bigger cave to explore as compared to the Mawsmai cave. We walked inside the Arwah cave at Cherrapunji sighting the varied fossils and the bats inside as well. We came out of the Arwah caves at Cherrapunji at 3 PM and continued to our resort. My friend suggested the we do the extra sight seeing of the Dainthlen falls in Cherrapunji that was around 10 minutes drive from the resort and so we went to explore the Dainthlen falls here in Cherrapunji. A smaller one compared to the Nohkalikai and Seven Sister falls of Cherrapunji still a one with amazing views as well. We sat down here to admire the beautiful nature around and we had tea at a small shop nearby. At 4.30 we returned back to our resort to spend the night and continue our preparations of our next day’s visit to Asia’s Cleanest Village at Mawlynnong in Meghalaya.
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Visit to Cherrapunji – Alternate Adventure Itinerary
Cherrapunji in Meghalaya is a perfect place for adventure seekers and one can go for hikes all across the place admiring the verdant landscapes of Cherrapunji. Cherrapunji is a perfect adventure destination for the thrill seekers and the hike to the Nongriat village continuing up to the Rainbow falls following the Mawshaw Bridge and the trek across the Nohkalikai falls to travel back to Cherrapunji is a good one to get a work out. In this Itinerary we will start our journey from Guwahati airport to travel to the wonderful forest reserves of the Chandubi Reserve Forest where we will spend time at the Chandubi Jungle Camp and undertake a trek across the Forest Reserves of Chandubi that is home to certain rare animal species including the likes of Asiatic Elephants, Bears, Tigers, Hoolock Gibbons, Slow Loris, etc. This is an individual as well as group departure Itinerary and you will be accompanied by local guides who will take you across this adventure journey of Chandubi, Cherrapunji and the final safaris at Kaziranga National Park – the UNESCO World Heritage Site famous for its population of the Indian One Horned Rhinoceros.
Day 1: Guwahati Airport – Chandubi
Arrive at the Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi airport at Guwahati. Upon arrival you will be welcomed by our representative offering you a warm welcome in traditional Assamese style and from the airport we board our vehicle and travel to the Chandubi Reserve Forest area. One of the very picturesque drives near Guwahati, we will reach the countryside of Assam to be greeted by the pleasant sight of the lush green paddy fields, the backdrop of the tall mountains and the smiling faces of the local people. This are is inhabited by the Rabha people of Assam who are among the various indigenous tribes of Assam who always welcome visitors with a smile on their faces and open arms. We reach the delightful tea garden area of Chandubi and finally the tall canopy of trees welcomes us to the Chandubi Reserve Forest area. The drive will take about an hour and we reach the parking spot near the Chandubi lake where we get down from our vehicles and climb of a country boat (equipped with life jackets) and we cross the pristine Chandubi Lake to reach the Chandubi Jungle Camp and our adventure begins when we check into the jungle cottages of the beautiful and green campus of the Chandubi Jungle Camp.
We savour a sumptuous Rabha cuisine lunch here at the Chandubi Jungle Camp that is cooked over the traditional wood fire and is cooked with ingredients that are organic and freshly sourced from the nearby home gardens. After lunch we will be accompanied by a local guide who will take us out on a hike across the pristine forest reserves of Chandubi that is known to be a perfect destination to sight the various resident and migratory birds of Assam. The hike will take is across the local Rabha villages and we get to witness the way of life of the people have allowing us to witness the rural town in Assam as well. We will follow a walking track and begin our hike atop a hill and we admire the beauty of nature around us. The cry of the Hoolock Gibbons, Wild Elephants, chirping of birds and insects will accompany us along our rote and we will take a road of the Chandubi Reserve Forest and come back to the camp by later afternoon and spend our time by the banks of the Chandubi Lake enjoying bird watching or even fishing on the waters here. In the early evening there will be a cultural dance performance by the local Rabha boys and girls who will be dressed in their traditional attires and they will enact a unique dance performance that is generally performed during the harvest festival of the people here./ We will take part in the cooking activities for our dinner as well and assist at the local kitchen at the Camp and get together with the local people and cook a sumptuous Rabha cuisine meal along with them. We savour a traditional dinner at the Chandubi Jungle Camp along with traditional rice wine and retire for the day.
Night Halt: Chandubi Jungle Camp
Meals Included: NA
Day 2: Chandubi – Cherrapunji
Early morning we go for a boat ride across the pristine Chandubi Lake that is a naturally formed lagoon created after the great earthquake of 1897 in Assam and it is surrounded by the mountains of Assam and Meghalaya and it harbours some of the unique fish species in the lake. During the winter season, the Chandubi Lake becomes a haven for bird watching as various migratory birds visit Assam during this time and makes the water bodies across the state their home and they feed on the fish and insects in these water bodies. We will board a country boat accompanied by a local boatman who will take us across the Chandubi Lake and we admire the bird species with the backdrop cry of the Hoolock Gibbons of Chandubi. We return back to the Chandubi Jungle Camp and freshen up and have our breakfast and we pack and begin our preparation to bid farewell to Chandubi to begin on our drive to Cherrapunji in Meghalaya. We will take a complete different route to travel to Cherrapunji as the generally preferred route is to drive through Guwahati and Jorabat to reach Nongpoh, Barapani and Shillong and travel further to Cherrapunji. We will beat the traffic at Guwahati and Shillong and instead we will head to Cherrapunji via the West Khasi Hills and we will connect at Upper Shillong and travel to Cherrapunji.
This will also provide us the opportunity to visit one of the largest rocks in North East India – the Kyllang rock that is an adventure destination in the West Khasi Hills district of Meghalaya. We start on our drive from Chandubi and reach the highway towards the border of Assam and Meghalaya and drive towards the West Khasi Hills area in Meghalaya. The beautiful landscapes of Meghalaya welcome us and we drive towards the area of Upper Shillong and we will take a right diversion from the road to drive towards the Kyllang rock in the West Khasi hills of Meghalaya. We will approach the Kyllang rock and the humongous size of this rock is a real treat to the eyes. We stop our vehicle and ascent the rock surface via a stairway built with stone and carefully we reach the summit of the Kyllang rock and witness a wonderful aerial view of the Khasi Hills of Meghalaya. The beautiful forests and the pockets of farmland are a treat to the eyes along with the flowing streams that is present across the area.
We spend some time here and later head back to continue on our drive to Upper Shillong. We will cross a busy market area and this is a unique market to view that illustrates a blend of the traditional and modern markets in Shillong. We continue driving and in sometime approach Upper Shillong and we take a right diversion to proceed to Cherrapunji. We will break for lunch at the Soliyana Hut restaurant after crossing Upper Shillong that is a nice place to enjoy a nice meal and it serves delicious Chinese, Indian and local Khasi cuisine. After lunch we continue on our drive to Cherrapunji and in sometime approach the beautiful Mawkdok viewpoint near Cherrapunji that offers pristine valley views in Meghalaya and the place has the option of Zip lining as well and in case you are interested you can go for a zip lining session at the Mawkdok valley on the shorter line or the longer line based on your interest. After you are done we will start back on our drive to arrive at Cherrapunji where we check into our place if halt here at Cherrapunji at the Sohra Plaza homestay. Located at the entrance of Cherrapunji, the Sohra Plaza homestay is an ideal retreat to stay at Cherrapunji as it is an isolated property with not much of building around and you get to stay in calm and privacy.
It is a small guest house property with six rooms and a nice restaurant as well that serves Indian, Chinese and local Khasi cuisine of Cherrapunji. The entire East Khasi Hills and West Khasi Hills of Meghalaya are inhabited primarily by the Khasi people of Meghalaya. There are three major tribes of Meghalaya mostly the Khasis, Garos and Jaintias and we will confine ourselves to the Khasi dominated places in this Itinerary. We order our dinner at the Sohra Plaza Homestay and spend our evening by the bonfire.
Night Halt: Sohra Plaza Homestay at Cherrapunji
Meals Included: Breakfast
Day 3: Cherrapunji – Nongriat Village
Today on the first half of the day we explore the popular tourist places of Cherrapunji (also called as Sohra – the shade of the clouds) and later we embark on our trek to the Nongriat village from Cherrapunji where we at first drive to the Tyrna village and start our hike to the Nongriat village from here. We start our day after breakfast and we start on our drive to visit the pristine Wei Sadong falls in Cherrapunji. This waterfall at Cherrapunji is located behind our place of stay and a short drive will take us to this place where we travel to the base of the Wei Sadong falls in Cherrapunji and we discover the natural beauty of this falls and this is a three layered waterfall where the water falls from the top via a stream and settles on the layers and alter drops down to the base. We can travel to the base of the Wei Sadong falls at Cherrapunji and capture stunning images and video of this waterfall. Next up we visit the Dainthlen falls in Cherrapunji that is another popular tourist spot here and is located at a very picturesque location here in Cherrapunji where we can admire the waterfall along with the landscapes. We understand the legend of the Dainthlen falls at Cherrapunji where the a knight had slain a demon to protect the local people of the Khasi community here in Cherrapunji.
Next up we drive to the Arwah caves in Cherrapunji that is a pre-historic cave and allows visitors for a perfect caving experience to witness the fossils, stalactites and stalagmites. The state of Meghalaya has over 2500 caves and out of which few hundreds of them has been explored and at Cherrapunji itself there are three caves that are open to public viewing. The longest sandstone cave of Krem Puri is also present in Meghalaya and there is immense opportunity for adventure expeditions with proper infrastructure. We drive to the parking spot of the Arwah caves in Cherrapunji and from there we need to hike for about 500m to reach the cave entrance. This is a wide cave and just at the entrance of this cave in Cherrapunji you can find impressions of fossils on the cave walls. We need to climb down the entrance via a short stairway and we can admire this wide cave that even has a stream flowing along the cave walkway. This cave in Cherrapunji is well lit and you can admire the various stalactites and stalagmites and up to one point there is lighting and a narrow entrance that is dark and if you want you walk across this entrance as well that is a stretch for a little distance inside the Arwah cave in Cherrapunji.
We finish our exploration of the Arwah cave in Cherrapunji and continue on our drive to the Seven Sister Falls at Cherrapunji. We will not visit the Nohkalikai falls in Cherrapunji today as we will be exiting on our trek from Nongriat to Cherrapunji crossing the base of the Nohkalikai falls and we can admire the grandeur of India’s tallest plunge waterfall tomorrow. At the Seven Sister falls we admire the cast natural beauty of the place and it is a collection of seven individual waterfalls that fall down from a height of 332m to the ground making it India’s fourth tallest waterfall by height next to the Nohkalikai falls in Cherrapunji. Below the falls if you observe far ahead you see the majestic valleys of Cherrapunji and Meghalaya merge with the plains of Bangladesh and it is a spectacular view to witness if you are a fan of Mother Nature. We spend some time admiring the grandeur of the Seven Sister falls in Cherrapunji and later head to visit the Mawsmai cave in Cherrapunji that is another pre-historic cave that is a prime tourist attraction in Cherrapunji and sees hundreds of visitor’s every day in the prime tourist season.
This is a very big cave but only a small area of the cave is open to tourists for exploring but in that area itself one can admire the various fossils and the rock formations along with the stalactites and stalagmites. We begin our exploration of the Mawsmai cave at Cherrapunji and we walk up the entrance and reach the cave mouth where we need to duck and enter the cave and at certain places the entrance is low and so you have to ensure to watch out your steps and your head as well. We walk across the Mawsmai cave in Cherrapunji admiring the grandeur of this pre-historic cave and come out of the cave to be welcomed by a pristine cover of tropical forests of Cherrapunji and we finish our exploration of cave. We board our vehicle and drive towards the market area in Cherrapunji where we have our lunch and start on our drive to the Tyrna village near Cherrapunji. This is a very scenic drive across the verdant landscapes of Cherrapunji and all we see is the beautiful open landscapes and we reach the site of an abandoned cement factory here as the area around Cherrapunji is known to have the presence of limestone rocks that is very good for cement production but due to certain restriction this factory has now been abandoned.
We cross this factory to reach the forest roads where we drive slowly admiring the vast natural beauty around to approach the Tyrna village near Cherrapunji. We will be welcomed by our local guide here and the vehicle will drop us at the entrance of the Tyrna village near Cherrapunji and the driver goes back to Cherrapunji and we start on our hike to Nongriat village from Tyrna village near Cherrapunji. Once you start the trek you can feel the immense natural beauty around you with the tropical forests and there is a village here that is very neat and clean and filled with flowers. We will hike down the stairway that takes us deeper into the forest cover and the stairway gets steeper and this when the flight of 3500 stairs starts to Nongriat village from Cherrapunji becomes the adventure trek and we go further down surrounded by the lush cover of tropical forests. All along our hike we will hear the soulful chirping of birds and insects and we feel in awe of Mother Nature here. We walk down the flight of 3500 stairs and in some time reach the level grounds at a beautiful village under the Tyrna Elaka and this village has a wonderful cave and two sets of Single Decker Living Root Bridges as well here in Cherrapunji.
We have time in hand and so we will walk towards the right path to explore the cave and the living root bridges of Cherrapunji here before heading back on our trek to Nongriat village. We explore the cave and the living root bridges that can be viewed from up close and we start back on hike to Nongriat. At the village we stop at a shop to have refreshments and rehydrate ourselves post which we continue on our hike to Nongriat village near Cherrapunji. We will reach a hanging bridge that is built with iron wire and ropes and the bridge sways when you walk across it so be careful while crossing this bridge and a crystal clear water stream flows underneath this bridge. Next up the hike begins across a hill and we reach the site of a sacred grove here and a suspension bridge as well and after crossing this bridge we finally arrive at the Nongriat village near Cherrapunji. We will be welcomed to the village by a living root bridge that we cross at first and later reach our homestay at Nongriat village where we check in for the day.
You will feel like you are in a different world altogether here as you will find backpackers from all around the World from countries like Germany, France, Australia, Israel, USA, etc. who come to admire the grandeur of the Double Decker Living Root Bridge at Nongriat village near Cherrapunji. We will check into our homestay and mind you this is a basic homestay unlike the place of stay at Cherrapunji and the room is sufficient enough to spend the night and sleep. We take time to freshen up and as it will be already dark we will visit the Double Decker Living Root Bridge the following day when we continue on our hike towards the Mawshaw Bridge and the Rainbow falls and further back to Cherrapunji. We will savour a traditional Khasi cuisine dinner at our homestay and retire for the night.
Night Halt: Basic Homestay at Nongriat village
Meals Included: Breakfast
Day 4: Nongriat – Cherrapunji
Today is our day of witnessing one of the Bioengineering wonders of the World – the Umshiang Double Decker Living Root Bridge at Nongriat village near Cherrapunji and after admiring this wonderful structure we head on our trek to visit the4 Rainbow falls and the Mawshaw root bridge continuing on our trail to visit the beautiful forest cover of Cherrapunji and we hike across a tough terrain to reach the Nohkalikai falls in Cherrapunji – the tallest plunge waterfall in India. We start after an early breakfast at the homestay at Nongriat village near Cherrapunji and we will buy some ORS and bottled water at a shop near the site of the Double Decker Living Root Bridge and we approach the entrance point of the Double Decker Living Root Bridge where we will purchase our entry tickets and begin our exploration of this Bioengineering marvel. These living Root bridges are unique to the Khasi and Jaintia tribes of Meghalaya who came up with this unique idea of growing bridges instead of building them across the verdant landscapes of Meghalaya. These local people of Cherrapunji and Meghalaya live in remote locations inside the forest pockets and they need to cross several small streams to reach their villages once they come to local markets at the towns and cities to carry out their business activities.
In the monsoon season when the rains are heavy and it becomes difficult to cross the streams that are filled with water and also construction of iron bridges are not favourable across these remote locations and so they came up with the unique idea to grow bridges over these streams. These Living Root Bridges are grown with the roots of the Rubber tree and the young rubber roots are trained to grow in one direction by the use of hollowed out areca tree trunks that provide them the requisite direction. Gradually these roots grow across the streams and over the years they become fully grown and they grow strong and capable enough to allow humans to step foot on them and cross over. These are made walk able by putting stones and wooden planks on these roots and these bridges last for around 500 years. There are numerous such Living Root Bridges across Meghalaya and few of them are open to tourists for viewing and the most visited one is the Riwai Living Root Bridge at Mawlynnong (because of its easy accessibility).
The Double Decker Living Root Bridge at Nongriat village in Cherrapunji along with the longest Living Root Bridge (spanning over 50 metres) at Pynursla are unique sights to behold and both these require good physical health to be able to trek down to the locations where these bridges are located and hence are popular among the youth and the backpackers to Cherrapunji and Meghalaya. The Double Decker Living Root Bridge is a unique sight to behold and is considered to be a wonder in the World and soon this will be a Triple Decker Living Root Bridge as another layer of Living Root Bridge is being grown above the already existing two Living Root Bridges. We will spend time admiring the grandeur this Umshiang Double Decker Living Root Bridge near Cherrapunji and the stream flowing underneath in having clear waters and you can choose to have a plunge in the waters here as well. This stream gives you an amazing opportunity to enjoy a natural fish spa in the waters here and once you dip your feet in the waters here you can feel the fish coming to your feet and biting on your skin. We spend about an hour’s time here at the Double Decker Living Root Bridge at Nongriat village and later we trek further to visit the Rainbow falls and continue on our trek to Cherrapunji.
We start on our hike uphill towards the Rainbow falls near Cherrapunji and along the way we will cross another village and the Mawshaw Living Root Bridge and we will soon arrive at the Rainbow falls near Cherrapunji and you will be left enthralled with the clear waters of the waterfalls and the waters pond that is created once the water pours down from the top. We admire the beauty of the Rainbow falls near Cherrapunji and you can take a swim here if you are interested and gradually begin on our hike back to the top of the Nohkalikai falls at Cherrapunji. On this hike you will be as close to Mother Nature as you can get and the vast greenery all around will make you forget the hustle and bustle of a busy city life and learn to understand the bounties of nature and how nature had planned to provide for everything to the living beings on the planet. Edible fruits and vegetable can be seen growing naturally on the trees and the chirping of the birds and insects from the forest reserves is a treat to the ears. The guide will explain in details about the vegetation around the forest and how the local people make use of these fruits of these forests cook in their meals.
The forests are also some to various fauna and in the earlier days people were dependant on hunting from these forests reserves for their meal. We continue on our hike and the sounds of the gushing waters of the Nohkalikai Falls will soon be audible to us and this is an excellent experience as well. We will slowly approach the base of the Nohkalikai falls and begin our ascent across the stairs to reach the top and the grandeur of the Nohkalikai falls from top could be seen. The tallest plunge waterfall in India, the waters of the Nohkalikai falls fall from a height of 340 m to the base. It is called as a plunge waterfall because the water gets collected on the top of the waterfall from the various streams of Cherrapunji and once it gets collected it falls down with the other waterfall where the stream water do collect and falls down directly. The hovering cover of clouds and the occasional rain makes the sight a very pleasant one to experience. We will explore the area around the Nohkalikai falls and there are many small shop setup by the local people who sell fresh produce sourced from the forests of Cherrapunji like cinnamon, raw turmeric, etc.
You will also find fresh honey available for purchase the is sourced from the bee hives in the forest of Cherrapunji and various fruits on sale as well and one fruit to try out in the pineapple that is freshly chopped and offered to you with a sprinkle of salt and chilli powder and it is one of the sweetest pineapples you will taste. We admire the area across the Nohkalikai falls and our vehicle will await us here and we will drive towards the traditional market area of Cherrapunji where we will have a late lunch at one of the local restaurants here. We will try some of the local Khasi delicacy food here at a restaurant along with other food and later we will visit the local market area of Cherrapunji where people from the local villages come here to sell their produce. You can find some of the very fresh produce of vegetables and fruits here and choice of meat and fish and we will take a walk across this market area for a while and later retire to the Sohra Plaza Homestay for the night. The next day we will travel to Dawki – the border of India and Bangladesh and Mawlynnong – the Cleanest village in Asia and continue on our drive back to Shillong – the Scotland of the East.
Night Halt: Sohra Plaza Homestay at Cherrapunji
Meals Included: Breakfast
Day 5: Cherrapunji – Mawlynnong – Dawki – Shillong
Today after an early breakfast we begin on our drive to Dawki from Cherrapunji. We cross Cherrapunji and we travel through a short cut to the right before the Mawkdok valley to travel towards Pynursla that is the last decent township before our arrival at Dawki and we admire the verdant landscapes of Meghalaya along our way. Pynursla is home to the longest living root bridge in the World and if you are interested in visiting this longest Living Root Bridge then do let us know and we will make the changes in the Itinerary as desired. We will stop for a tea break at Pynursla market area before we start on our drive to Dawki again. We will reach a landscape area that has some of the very pristine views here in Meghalaya and we keep driving to take a left at Pontong area to go towards Dawki. The roads are narrow but decent to drive on and you get to witness the beauty of nature all around you. Before we reach Dawki another we cross small villages in Meghalaya and these villages are filled with areca nut trees that are a common cash crop to be seen here and are transported to various places in India from Meghalaya.
We reach Dawki shortly and we will be welcomed by the Umngot river – a river that is known for its crystal clear waters to an extent that once you see the boats plying on the waters it feel as though the boats are not on water but floating in the air. We will soon reach the boating point at Dawki but at first we head to the border of India and Bangladesh. We cross an old suspension bridge that was built by the British in 1932 and we reach the market area of Dawki (Tamabil) and travel to the border via the highway that connects Shnongpdeng to Jowai in the West Khasi hills. We reach the border area at Dawki and we head towards the border where we seek permission at the BSF Check Gate and then cross over the Indian side to reach no man’s land up to pillar 1275. Here we get to see the side of the Bangladesh border and we click our picture here. We walk back to Indian territory and proceed on our drive towards Dawki boating point where we will undertake a boat ride here for about 45 minutes and the boatman will take you across the Umiam river where you get your first-hand experience of boating on the clear waters of the Umngot river at Dawki.
After our boat ride we hit the road again to drive for an hour towards Mawlynnong village via a different route that takes us along the border of India and Bangladesh and here we witness a different topography all together that is more of a tropical humid climate and even the landscape is different as it is mostly on the plains and the weather is warmer along with the vegetation as well and you can see scores of plantations of the betel nut trees and the broom stick trees. Both these plants are of utmost importance to the economy of this area and the place exports it across India and other neighbouring countries as well. Along our drive we will spot two more beautiful waterfalls and we admire the beauty of these waterfalls and finally we arrive at Mawlynnong village. At Mawlynnong we start our exploration first of the Riwai Single Decker Living Root Bridge that as mentioned earlier is the most visited Living Root Bridge across Meghalaya mostly because of its easy accessibility. Just a 10 min walk from the parking spot will take you to the site of the Riwai Single Decker Living Root Bridge and then there aren’t many stairs to cross here as well and we will soon approach the place and this is the widest Living Root Bridge among all the other Living Root Bridges of Meghalaya.
The bridge gets visible to us and we walk across the bridge (you are not allowed to halt on the top of the bridge) and we can even walk down in the stream that flows underneath the Living Root Bridge in the winter season when the water in the stream is less. With this we hike back to the top at the parking spot and drive to Mawlynnong – the Cleanest Village in Asia. At Mawlynnong we first have our lunch at a local restaurant that will serve some traditional fire cooked meal that is simple and yet very flavourful because it will be cooked with all natural and organically grown vegetables. They will serve a special chicken dish cooked with sesame seeds, banana flowers, papaya salad and various other offerings. After our sumptuous lunch we take a walk across the cleanest village in Asia and understand how the villagers have strived across the years to achieve this coveted status. This is a small village of around 100 households and the village ensures to keep the premises of the place clean. Each house has a toilet and the waste collected is always segregated and the organic waste is used as manure and the plastic waste sent to sites for recycling.
There is an old Cathedral at Mawlynnong that is over 100 years old and we take our time to admire the grandeur of the construction of this old cathedral. We finish exploring the village and we bid farewell to Mawlynnong village to begin our drive to Shillong before making a last stop at the site of the balancing rocks at Mawlynnong village. This is a very unique structure to view where a big boulder rests on a much smaller rock and this structure has stood here since ages. The earlier Khasi people considered this site to be sacred and auspicious one as well because it was beyond belief as to how the rocks maintained their balance and so they considered this place to be sacred and started performing rituals around this place. Over the years these practices have stopped and this balancing rock now serves as a prime tourist destination and we admire the rocks and start on our drive to Shillong – the Scotland of the East. We reach Pynursla and cross the beautiful valleys of Meghalaya to finally reach at the Upper Shillong area. We cross Upper Shillong and gradually approach Shillong city where we will be greeted with traffic and we beat it to travel to the Police Bazar area in Shillong.
At Police Bazar we will take a stroll across this vibrant market are of Shillong that is a mix of the traditional and modern markets of Shillong and we get to see various shops and small stalls by the local vendors here in Police Bazar. If you are a street food lover then a visit to the Police Bazar area in Shillong in the evening is a must. We witness a unique betting game of the Shillong Teer here at the various betting shops where the locals bet on certain numbers and the winning number is decided by the traditional Archers who shoot across at dashboards at the Shillong Polo grounds and the number with the highest number of strikes becomes the winning number of the day. We will also visit the Ward’s lake area in Shillong that is a prime tourist attraction in the heart of Shillong city and the place is surrounded by cherry blossom trees all around and we take a short walk across the lake and savour a cup of coffee at the restaurant here. After this we retire to our guest house that is located nearby and call it a day.
Night Halt: Guest House at Shillong
Meals Included: Breakfast
Day 6: Shillong – Kaziranga National Park
Today we will bid adieu to Shillong – the Scotland of the East to begin on our drive back to Assam to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Kaziranga National Park – Home to the largest population of the Indian One Horned Rhinoceros. We will make a stop at the Don Bosco Museum in Shillong before heading out on our drive towards Barapani and further to Kaziranga National Park. We start our day after breakfast and we check out of the guest house to start on our drive to the Mawlai area at the outskirts of Shillong where the Don Bosco museum is located. One of the finest museums in North East India, the Don Bosco Museum illustrates the rich culture, heritage and traditions of the indigenous people of North East India. We approach the museum and the vehicle drops us at the museum entrance and it goes to the parking area while we begin our exploration of the Don Bosco museum from the ground floor where there is a long corridor leading to the main museum block and this corridor on each side of its walls has on display the pictures of the various indigenous people of North East India dressed in their traditional attires and jewellery and in their local villages.
North East India is home to over 200 indigenous tribes and their sub tribes who are spread across the states of Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram and Agartala. The ancestors of these people migrated from far off lands north of Asia and South East Asia and they had ventured out in search of greener pastures for agriculture and hunting. They entered North East India across Myanmar and settled themselves along the river banks as they found the soil to be very fertile and adept for agricultural purpose and also the virgin forest covers of North East India provided to be a perfect source for hunting of animals. Over the years they started to grow their our farmlands and settled themselves in the region with the sub tribes migrating across the other parts of the region and settling themselves there and this is what made the region to be inhabited with people with Asian looks. Over the years they adapted to the modern way of life and they started to leave the occupation of farming and got engaged in modern services and business. Yet many of these people stayed back in their villages and practiced agriculture, animal husbandry, fishing, handicrafts and handloom weaving as their occupations and keeping their age old traditions alive and these factors can be seen on display here at the Don Bosco Museum in Shillong.
At the ground floor there is a souvenir section that has on display and for purchase various traditional items sourced from the artisans of Meghalaya and one can buy these to carry home as a memoir of your visit to Meghalaya. We start our exploration of the Don Bosco Museum and begin exploring one floor after another and we admire the rich traditions and culture of the indigenous people of North East India. There are huge display rooms with model replicas of the indigenous people with their distinct face cuts and body architecture all adorned in their traditional attires and jewellery. There are interactive stations at the entrance of the rooms where you can view videos of these people in their traditional villages and leading their way of life. Certain of the display rooms depict their various tools and equipments used for agriculture, hunting, fishing and weaving of handicrafts and handlooms and we admire these various artefacts and later head on top of the museum where there is a skywalk that provides visitors an opportunity to get an aerial view of Shillong city and with this we wrap up our visit at Don Bosco Museum in Shillong and start on our drive to Kaziranga National Park.
We reach the viewpoint at the Barapani area and we stop here to admire the beauty of the Umiam Lake at Barapani – the largest artificial water reservoir in North East India. The crystal clear waters here leaves you spell bound and the sky horizon view is amazing as well. There are options of boating on the lake as well at the Umiam Sports Complex area but in the interest of time we will skip this and instead head on our drive to Kaziranga National Park. We cross Barapani to drive towards Nongpoh and this is a downhill drive and so you can enjoy the drive admiring the beautiful roads and landscapes around you. At Nongpoh we make a stop for tea and refreshments and continue on our drive to enter Assam at Jorabat and proceed on our drive to Jagiroad crossing Sonapur. We drive towards Raha and we stop here at a local shop of handicrafts where we get to witness the various crafts of bamboo and cane on display and purchase here. The artisans of Assam are very well adept in weaving various items from bamboo and cane and they make furniture’s, stools, tables, wall hangings, flower vase, tumblers, fishing traps, musical instruments, etc. out of bamboo and these arts and crafts of Assam are renowned across the World mostly for their finish and durability as well.
We admire the handmade bamboo handicrafts and there are miniature models of various items and the most attractive ones are the fish traps and you can buy these as a memoir of your visit Assam and gift these bamboo crafts to your friends and relatives. We soon approach the Nagaon Bypass and here we will stop for lunch at the Anuraag Dhaba that is a favourite stop for food and the place serves a sumptuous Assamese thali with various offerings along with a choice of meat or fish. We savour our lunch at the Anuraag Dhaba and start on our drive again to approach Kaziranga National Park after crossing Koliabor and Jakhlanbandha. The beautiful tea gardens of Assam greet us on our approach to Kaziranga National Park and on the right side are the lush green mountains of the Karbi Anglong Hills. We drive towards the approach of the first range of Kaziranga National Park at Burapahar and this is where jeep safari rides to the interiors of the Kaziranga National Park are conducted. We cross Burapahar to drive towards the Western range of Kaziranga National Park and along the way there is a view point where one can spot the flagship species of Kaziranga National Park – the Indian One Horned Rhinoceros.
We stop here and get a chance to catch our first glimpse of the Indian Rhinoceros of Kaziranga National Park. There will also be the presence of the Hog Deers, Asiatic Wild water Buffaloes and various other bird species as well. We admire this beast from a distance today as we will get an opportunity of sighting them up close on our Elephant safari ride the next morning. With this we drive to the Bagori range of Kaziranga National Park where we will visit tomorrow for our elephant ride and we approach the Kohora area of Kaziranga National Park that is the main market area. At Kohora we will first visit the Kaziranga Orchid Park – the largest Orchid park in India. The Kaziranga Orchid Park displays the various indigenous orchid species of Assam and North East India. Across India there are about 1800 varieties of orchids and North East India is home to around 1200 varieties mostly due to the dense vegetation across the forest pockets of the area. The green house at the Kaziranga Orchid Park displays these orchid species that have been sourced from various parts of Assam and North East India. The orchids are well planted in rows and can be easily identified as the scientific and local names are mentioned along each of the species here at the Kaziranga Orchid Park.
We explore the green house of the Kaziranga Orchid Park accompanied by an able local guide who explains to us about the various orchid species present here along with the steps and initiatives that are being taken to harbour more species at the park. We wind up our visit at the green house and continue to visit the section of handlooms and handicrafts at the Kaziranga Orchid Park. This section depicts the various artisans weaving on the traditional loom of Assam and also the section of bamboo and cane handicrafts as well. The items of handicrafts kept on display here are not like the ones you will find available in the markets but instead these are very rare and old to find including the various handmade traditional musical instruments of Assam along with the fishing traps used in traditional fishing techniques. We will visit the section of the traditional looms that will give us an idea of how the local weavers make exquisite handlooms with the artistry of their bare hands on these looms that are built with wood and iron. In the weaving process of these handlooms everything is done from scratch from collecting cotton or the silk fibre from the silk worms and these are processed into threads and later woven out into exquisite fabric products of mekhela chadors, stoles, etc.
Next up we explore the orchid gallery that displays the pictures of various species of orchids found in North East India and here we are guided by a differentially abled person who moves in a wheel chair and his knowledge about the orchid species is indeed mazing. We proceed further to the rice museum at the Kaziranga Orchid Park that depicts the various rice varieties found across Assam and North East India. Rice is a staple diet in the cuisine of Assam and the eastern part of India and local people prefer to eat rice in all their three meals. So various rice varieties are grown depending on the soil conditions and all these species can be seen here at the Kaziranga Orchid Park. Next up we head to the souvenir display section at the Kaziranga Orchid Park and here there are several items for purchase including homemade pickles, freshly sourced tea and pepper from the gardens around Kaziranga National Park and other souvenirs as well. We explore more of the Kaziranga Orchid Park and finally assemble at the stage area to witness the demonstrations of the various traditional dance performances of Assam including the Bihu dance. Young boys and girls dressed in traditional attires and carrying the traditional musical instruments gather across the stage area of the Kaziranga Orchid Park and they demonstrate two dances viz. the bamboo dance and the colourful Bihu dance of Assam and at the end of the performance the audience is also invited on stage to perform these dances. With this we will wind up our visit at the Kaziranga Orchid Park and head to our place of stay at Kohora area in Kaziranga National Park. As we have an early morning tomorrow and a long one as well as we will drive back to Guwahati airport after our safari we will retire early to bed after dinner.
Night Halt: Bon Habi Resort at Kaziranga or Similar
Meals Included: Breakfast
Day 7: Kaziranga National Park – Guwahati Airport
Today our day begins early in the morning when we wake up to go for our Elephant Safari ride (Bagori range for Indian Nationals and Kohora range for Foreign Nationals). We start on our drive to the respective range and at the entrance counters we will collect the passes and proceed on our hour long elephant back ride to sight the varied flora, fauna and avifauna of Kaziranga National Park. The elephant ride takes us up close to the Rhino specie and we can admire them from a close distance. Also as you are on top of an elephant back you can get an aerial view of the forest reserves of Kaziranga National Park. The elephant ride however doesn’t take you deeper into the forest reserves of Kaziranga National Park and for that we will go on our jeep ride to spot more species. We will head to our resort for breakfast and later go for our jeep ride into the interiors of Kaziranga National Park.
We will go for the jeep ride at the central range of Kaziranga National Park at Kohora and here we get to witness more number of animals and bird species as well as we will travel deeper into the interiors of Kaziranga National Park. We will spot more rhinos, wild elephants, wild water buffaloes, hog deers, swamp deers, wild boars, jungle fowls, Assamese macaques and if our luck favours us here we might be able to sight the tigers of Kaziranga National Park as well. Our jeep ride will last for about an hour and half and we will come back to our place of stay to freshen up and pack our luggage and board our vehicles for the drive to Guwahati airport. The drive will take us about 5 hours and we will arrive at the Guwahati airport. We will have our lunch on the way and finally arrive at the airport by later afternoon to catch you early evening flight to your onward destination/home. We drop you at the Guwahati airport and thereby our tour of Chandubi, Cherrapunji, Mawlynnong, Dawki, Shillong and Kaziranga National Park comes to a glorious end! Tour ends. Bid Adieu!
Night Halt: NA
Meals Included: Breakfast