Shillong aka the Scotland of the East and the Rock Capital of India is a place where you see a blend of the cultural world and modern civilization. Shillong is the capital of the state of Meghalaya (meaning abode the clouds) and very true to its description. Shillong is also the District Headquarters of East Khasi Hills District and is situated at an altitude of 1,496 metres above sea level. The capital city has a bracing climate throughout the year. This city has been the seat of Government since the consolidation of the British administration in this part of India more than a century ago.
The city is well connected with motorable roads, has its own charm, different from other hill stations, and presents a natural scenic beauty with waterfalls, brooks, pine grooves and gardens. The place, the people, the flora and fauna and the climate all combine to make Shillong an ideal resort throughout the year. Shillong offers amenities for tourists with good hotel accommodations, facilities for sports, angling, trekking and hiking.
Meghalaya’s main ethnic communities, each having its own distinctive customs and cultural traditions are the Khasis (of Mon-Khmer ancestry), the Garos (of Tibeto-Burman origin) and the Jaintias said to be from South East Asia. The common trait binding all three communities is its matrilineal system in which the family linage is taken from the mother’s side. The people of Meghalaya are known to be hospitable, cheerful and friendly.
Just about 90 kms from Shillong city is Cherrapunji – ‘the Rainiest Place on Planet Earth’ where the clouds cease to clear the sky and drops of rains continue to fall on your windshield in the majestic three (3) hour drive from Shillong to Cherrapunji. The picturesque landscape on your way will surely make you fall in love with this drive across the misty hills and you will surely make your mind to visit Cherrapunji again!
Cherrapunji is located in the East Khasi Hills district of Meghalaya and is home to five of the most famous waterfalls of the State that has now turned into favorite tourist destinations. One noteworthy among these list of five is the Nohkalikai Falls, which is also India’s tallest plunge Waterfall standing tall at a height of 1115 feet (340 meters). As per the Khasi folklore an interesting story exists behind this waterfall’s name.
If you are from the North East the name Shillong would mean a perfect weekend get away for you. The pleasant weather, the spectacular drive along NH 40, the Barapani lake, the numerous waterfalls, cheap booze (this one to lift you damp spirits), mouth watering dumplings and not to forget the Second wettest place on Earth ‘Cherrapunji’ are sure motives to get you hit the road and drive to Shillong.
Places to visit in Shillong:
- India’s only Glass Mosque
- Umiam Lake
- Elephant Falls
- Shillong Peak
- Butterfly Museum
- Air Force Museum
- Golf Course
- Don Bosco Museum
- The Cathedrals and Churches of Shillong
- Cherrapunji – the Second Wettest place on Planet Earth and Land of the Double Decker Living Root Bridge and India’s tallest Plunge Waterfalls
- Mawlynnong Village – Asia’s cleanest village
- Dawki ~ the Border of India and Bangladesh
- Umngot River ~ the Clear waters of Umngot
- Umiam Lake – the biggest artificial lake in the State
- Pynursla – Home to the Longest Living Root Bridge
- Dwarksuid – Devil’s doorway
- Jakrem – Hot water springs of sulphur water which is believed to have curative medicinal properties
- Nongkhnum Island – Biggest river island in Meghalaya and the second biggest river island in Asia
- Mawphlang – the Site of the Khasi Hills Sacred Groves and David Scott Trail Trek
- Mawlyngbna – the Land of Undulating mountains and pristine clear waterfalls
- Tura – the Home to the Red Pandas at the Nokrek National Park
- Mawsynram – the land of steep sliding slopes, the fresh air, the rolling green mountains and the deafening but beautiful waterfalls
Jungleideas welcomes you to India’s North East to visit Shillong – ‘the Scotland of the East’ and ‘the Rock Capital of India’, the State of Meghalaya, Incredible India!
To Plan your visit to Shillong and Meghalaya along with Kaziranga National Park please fill the form below ~
Suggested Itinerary for your visit to Shillong and Meghalaya ~
Day 1: Guwahati Airport – Kamakhya Temple – Shillong
Arrive at the Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport at Guwahati. At the airport you will be received by our representative welcoming you in a traditional Assamese style. From the airport we board our Innova vehicles and we head to the Holy Maa Kamakhya temple at the Nilachal hills in Guwahati. Known as the temple of the bleeding Goddess, Kamakhya temple is one among the 51 Shakti Peethas in India and is the holiest temple shrine in North East India. At the Kamakhya temple we will meet with a temple priest (Panda) who will welcome us and take us across the pathway to reach the temple entrance and we begin our Darshan of the this holy temple shrine guided by the priest.
As per Hindu mythology, after Lord Vishnu had mutilated Goddess Sati’s body into 51 pieces and Lord Shiva was still carrying the mutilated body of Goddess Sati in his hands and performing the Tandava whilst flying across the Indian Subcontinent, the 51 parts of the body fell across various parts of the Indian Subcontinent and the womb of the Goddess feel atop the Nilachal Hills in Guwahati and a temple shrine was built here and this temple shrine of the Kamakhya temple celebrates the spirit of woman hood and the ability of the Mother to give birth to a new life. Kamakhya temple was renowned for the various tantric practices and the various Holy Sadhus in India revere this shrine and ensure that they come here every year in June. It is said that every year in the month of Asad (June) the Goddess menstruates and the waters of the Brahmaputra river turns red therefore calling for a grand festival of the Ambubachi Mela (Eastern Mahakumbh) that see devotees coming from across the World to the Kamakhya temple to witness this festival. We will visit the inner sanctum of the Kamakhya temple and seek blessings of the Goddess by touching the holy water and sprinkling it on our head.
After our Darshan is over we start on our drive towards Shillong from Guwahati crossing Jorabat and Byrnihat to reach Nongpoh area where we break for an early lunch at the Jiva’s veg restaurant. One of the most popular food joints in the area the Jiva’s restaurant serves fresh vegetarian food at the place and we savour our lunch here and later continue on our drive to Shillong. We reach the Barapani area where the Umiam Lake is located and this lake is the largest man made water reservoir in North East India. At Barapani we admire the beautiful and clean blue waters of the Umiam lake and observe the locals fishing on the lake and later head to the Umiam Sports complex at Barapani where we spend our time boating on the clear waters of the Umiam lake and later we continue on our drive to Shillong.
The beautiful city of Shillong – the Scotland of the East welcomes us and the built of the place with the houses constructed atop the hills, the roads running across the steep hills reminded the British of the place’s landscape to that of Scotland and hence they came up with the name – Scotland of the East. At Shillong city we will be welcomed with traffic and we gradually drive on our way to the Guest House in Shillong. Across the roads we can see various traditional and modern shops of Shillong and the place has a rustic charm to it with old shops reminding us of the colonial era here. One thing noteworthy to notice is that Shillong is inhabited by the Khasi tribes of Meghalaya and you will notice that most of the shops and local business establishments of Shillong are run by the women folks here. Not only the businesses, the women of the Khasi tribe also hold high and respectable positions in the government services and administration as well and this is because the Khasi people practice the matrilineal system and the family lineage is taken from the Mother’s side and the women is considered to be the head of the household. Many business establishments including the meat shops are to be seen run by the women folks of Shillong.
We soon reach the Guest House at preferably the Laban area in Shillong and we check into the place and relax for a while. Later in the afternoon we head to visit the beautiful Ward’s lake in Shillong that is a prime tourist attraction in the heart of Shillong city. Primarily dug out by the prisoners of the Central Jail who were noticed to put on weight sitting idle in the jail premises the Ward’s Lake (named after the British General Ward) has come a long way and today sees visitors in hundreds every day from India and abroad as well. The Ward’s lake has a well laid out walking track and boating facility as well and a restaurant where you can admire the beauty of the place over a cup of tea or coffee.
After this we visit the famous market area in Shillong of the Police Bazar and this is a mix of the modern and traditional markets of Shillong. We will take some time exploring the Police Bazar in Shillong and we observe an interesting betting game stall called as the Shillong Teer. In this unique betting game, the people come to these stalls and place their bets on certain numbers and the archers gather at the Polo Grounds in Shillong and they shoot their arrows on a board with certain numbers on it. The number with the most number of hits becomes the winner and the player placing his bets on this number wins an amount almost 80 times he places as bet. This is very popular betting game across Meghalaya and you can find counters at various places in the State. With this we call it a day and head on our drive back to the Guest House.
Night Halt: Sunrise Guest House at Shillong or Similar
Meals Included: NA
Day 2: Shillong – Laitlum Canyons – Shillong
Today we will head to visit the Laitlum Canyon near Shillong and our day will start early to head from Shillong to Laitlum area. The drive from Shillong to Laitlum will take us about an hours’ time and the best time to witness the place is during the morning when the sun is not up completely. We will have packed breakfast to be had on our way and we reach Laitlum and we enjoy our breakfast overlooking the beautiful canyons of Laitlum and savour our breakfast along with a cup of fresh black tea. Laitlum was earlier a not so renowned tourist destination and it shot to fame after the movie Rock On 2 was shot here and now visitors visit this sublime place of beauty that reminds one of the Scottish highland. Once you reach the parking spot you need to hike for some distance to reach the local villages but you can also just view the Laitlum canyon from the parking area as well mostly to admire the vast natural beauty of this place. From the top of the view point at the Laitlum canyon near Shillong you will catch a 360 degree view of the verdant landscapes of Meghalaya that are covered with lush green tropical forests that are on a mountain terrain and it looks like a huge amphitheatre area surrounded by trees. People come here to catch a glimpse of the sunrise and sunset mostly during weekends from Shillong as well as Guwahati.
We complete our sightseeing at the Laitlum canyons and later head back to Shillong to spend our day of sightseeing around Shillong where we will witness some of the other tourist places in Shillong city. We reach Shillong by around 10 AM and we head to the Bara Bazar area in Shillong that is the largest traditional market in North East India and every day the local farmers and the villagers come here to the Bara Bazar along with their produce and they sell their produce here and it is a very vibrant market to seen with vegetables and fruits of different colours and it is a must visit place in Shillong to try the local Khasi food of Shillong. Mind you, the Khasi people observe a non-vegetarian diet and as over 90% of the population practice Christianity as their faith so they consume both pork and beef along with chicken and fish and if you are a vegetarian then it is better to avoid the local food and have your meals in the upscale restaurant that serve a wide array of vegetarian dishes. But if you eat pork then one thing you cannot miss during your visit to the Bara Bazar in Shillong is the ‘Jadoh’ – that is a special rice cooked in pig blood and the aroma of this dish is simple amazing and it is served with accompaniments like pork fry, pork curry, pork intestines, etc. that is a blend of various herbs and spices and it is a hot dish as well.
At the Bara Bazar area in Shillong we take a walk across the market and get to witness the fresh produce brought in by the farmers to Shillong from the various neighbouring villages. Khasi community in Shillong and Meghalaya are mostly farmers by profession especially in the villages and they are very hard working people who spend their time growing various vegetables and rice and the main produce are carrots, potatoes, capsicum, green chillies, coriander, etc. After exploring the Bara Bazar market we head on our drive to the Don Bosco Museum in Shillong that is a huge 7 storey museum that illustrates the rich culture, history and heritage of the indigenous people of North East India. We purchase our entry tickets and start exploring the Don Bosco museum in Shillong that has a very modern design and technology integration and once you enter the premises along the pathway of this museum in Shillong you can find pictures of the various tribes of North East India all dressed in their traditional attires and jewellery displayed. At the ground floor there is a souvenir shop where you can purchase various ethnic crafts and handlooms of Meghalaya along with the Meg Tea – that is a unique tea blend of Shillong and Meghalaya and is to be found quite rarely.
We start our exploration and you do not need a guide to explore the Don Bosco Museum in Shillong because the place itself is quite self-explanatory with detailed descriptions of the various models and pictures all around the place. The lighting is automated and each of the rooms’ lights up when a visitor walks in and turns off when there is no one in the room. At the entrance of each of the display rooms at the Don Bosco Museum there is a self-service Kiosk that plays interactional videos and once can view and listen to more details about the artefacts in that room of the museum here in Shillong. On the top of the museum there is a sky walk and from this sky walk one can get a bird’s eye view of the Shillong city. Later we visit the Polo grounds in Shillong and if we are on time we can watch the archers participate in the betting game of the Shillong Teer. After this we visit the Cathedral of Mary Help of Christians at Laimukrah area in Shillong that is one of the every beautiful church in Shillong city. As the majority of the population of Meghalaya are Christians therefore it is evident that numerous churches and cathedrals in the city and this is one of the very beautiful churches here in Shillong.
The lush green lawn at this Cathedral is a beautiful sight to view and we admire the architecture and the blue building here at the Cathedral and head back towards our Guest House in Laban. Though a majority of the population are Christians, there is also a sizeable population of Hindu and the Muslim community in Shillong as well and the Muslim community in Shillong came up with a unique idea of building a glass mosque and this happens to be the only glass mosque in India located at the Laban area in Shillong. The mosque happens to be on the way on our way to the Guest House and also the best time to visit this mosque is during the evening when the lights are turned on and the entire building is illuminated in a bright green colour with the glass panes shining and we spend some time here at the Madina Masjid in Shillong and later head back to our guest house and retire for the day.
Night halt: Sunrise Guest House at Shillong or Similar
Meals Included: Breakfast
Day 3: Shillong – Mawphlang – Mawsynram – Shilong
Today we will proceed to visit the two unique destinations near Shillong Viz. Mawsynram (the place that records the highest rainfall in the World) and Mawphlang (the site of the Khasi Hills Sacred Groves) near Shillong. We start after an early breakfast and head on our 65 km drive to Mawsynram but at first we will make a stop at the Khasi Hills Sacred groves at Mawphlang about 45 minutes’ drive from Shillong. At the Khasi Hills sacred groves at Mawphlang we head for a short trek inside the pristine forest reserves here accompanied by a local guide who will speak to us about the various facets of as to why certain forest pockets are called as the Sacred Groves across Meghalaya. The Khasi people earlier believed that the numerous bounties of nature are their Gods and they worshipped them and to prevent people from committing any acts of nonsense like chopping of trees for timber they declared certain forest pockets as Sacred Groves and no acts of nuisance are to be committed in these forest pockets and this has given rise to growth of abundance of flora and fauna inside these forest pockets. In the earlier days various rituals used to be conducted in these sacred groves and the Khasi elderly folks used to offer prayers on the sacred monolith stones here and the appearance of a tiger would mean the presence of a bountiful harvest for the next year and the appearance of a snake would mean a famine. The guide will speak more about the trees in the sacred groves some of them they say have properties to treat cancer as well. We will also visit the site of the Khasi Heritage Village at Mawphlang as well.
We reach the beautiful tinsel town of Mawsynram and the cool weather greets us here. In case our visit is planned during the pre-monsoon month of May then we can get to witness the amazing rains of Mawsynram and a unique opportunity to sight a waterfall that falls across the road from top. At Mawsynram we head to visit the Mawjymbuin caves at Mawsynram near Shillong. Meghalaya has numerous caves and of which few are explored in details and now been opened to tourists. This Mawjymbuin cave at Mawsynram is one example of such a cave and what attracts tourists to this cave is the presence of a naturally formed Shivalinga at the cave entrance. Devotees to this cave consider this to be an auspicious moment to sight a naturally formed Shivalinga and if you observe carefully you can see a continuous dripping of water on top of the Shivalinga from the top of the cave that makes it a unique thing as well. Also this Shivalinga is located near the entrance of the cave itself and you can also see the formations of various stalactites and stalagmites at the cave entrance. We spend some time exploring the Mawjymbuin caves at Mawsynram near Shillong and later visit the Jakrem Hot springs at Mawsynram that is a unique hot water spring that is said that if you bathe in the waters of this spring it helps you to get rid of various body ailments.
If you are interested to take a bath then there are bathroom built here and the water from the spring is brought in here by pipes and water buckets filled with this water is provided to the visitors who can enjoy the bath here. Later we visit the Mawsynram local market to witness some unique handicraft products of Meghalaya. Bamboo is available in abundance in the forest pockets of Mawsynram near Shillong and hence the artisans here have come up with unique ideas to create various handicrafts out of bamboo and cane and they often bring these products to be sold at the local market here. But majority of the products are either sent to Handicraft Emporiums in Shillong or even exported as there is a lot of demand for these products. We will also savour our lunch here at a decent restaurant at the Mawsynram market and later head back to Shillong. We reach Upper Shillong in the early afternoon and we head to visit the Shillong peak in Upper Shillong that is located at the Air Force settlement in Shillong. We will cross the beautiful forest cover and one can see the potato cultivations all around along with the Meg Tea cultivations as well.
At the Air Force settlement area we will need to get down from our vehicles and pass through a security procedure and later we will head to the Shillong Peak area from where we get a bird’s eye view of the entire city of Shillong. Though it is best witnessed during the evening but due to security concerns the place is opened only up to 4 PM and hence we have to visit prior to that time. The Shillong peak is the highest point of elevation in the East Khasi Hills of Meghalaya. We admire the beauty of the city of Shillong – the Scotland of the East and later travel back to Upper Shillong area to visit the Elephant Falls in Shillong. Meghalaya is known to be the home to various waterfalls in India including the famed Nohkalikai Falls at Cherrapunji – the tallest plunge waterfall in India. On our third day we will catch a glimpse of the first waterfall near Shillong that is the Elephant falls. The Elephant falls in Shillong is a three tier waterfall with one fall on top and the two cascading waterfalls down along the stairway. This waterfall was named as the Elephant Falls because of the presence of a rock here when it was discovered by the British and this rock was in the shape of an elephant’s head and hence they named it as the Elephant Falls but however the rock was destroyed in the earthquake of 1897. We admire the waterfall on top and later we climb down the stairway to view the other two falls here and with this we wind up our visit for the day and head back to our Guest House in Shillong.
Night Halt: Sunrise Guest House at Shillong or Similar
Meals Included: Breakfast
Day 4: Shillong – Dawki – Mawlynnong – Cherrapunji
Today is a long day for us and we will visit the places of Dawki – the border of India and Bangladesh and Mawlynnong – the Cleanest Village in Asia. We will drive back to Cherrapunji from Mawlynnong and make our night halt at Cherrapunji thereby bidding farewell to Shillong and we will travel back to Shillong on our way to Kaziranga National Park from Cherrapunji. We start after an early breakfast as we drive from Shillong to Dawki. We cross Upper Shillong and we drive across the beautiful verdant landscapes of Meghalaya to reach at a junction where we take a left towards Dawki and the straight road leads to Cherrapunji. We continue on our drive to Dawki and we stop at a beautiful viewpoint to take a short break and have tea as well. We start on our drive again and we reach Dawki by 10 AM and head to the border of India and Bangladesh where we cross the Indian border to reach the no man’s land at the pillar 1275.
Here we click our pictures at the International border of India and Bangladesh and later we come to the boating point where we enjoy a 30 minute boat ride on the crystal clear waters of the Umngot River at Dawki. After our boating experience we proceed to the cleanest village of Asia at Mawlynnong to arrive by 12.30 PM and at Mawlynnong we will visit the Riwai Single Decker Living Root Bridge. These Living Root Bridges are unique to Meghalaya and are grown by the Khasi and Jaintia people of Meghalaya. As there are numerous small villages across the forests and mountains and many perennial streams flowing across these forests the locals came up with a unique idea of not constructing bridges but instead growing them with the help of the roots of the Rubber trees in a certain direction to cross over these streams. Over the years these roots grow and they are provided guidance with the help of hollowed out areca tree trunks and the vines grow along these trunks to reach the other side of the stream and these roots form a bridge that are later made walk able by the use of wood planks and stones and these are the unique Root Bridges growing across Meghalaya. The plus point is that with so much rainfall across the place these Living root bridges unlike the iron bridges that rust easily with water the root bridges grown stronger with rains.
We hike for about 10 minutes on a downward path from the parking spot to reach the Riwai Living Root Bridge near Mawlynnong and the grandeur of this Bioengineering marvel is a unique sight to behold. Next up we drive towards Mawlynnong village and we break here for lunch. Our lunch will be a traditional Khasi meal and after lunch we head out to explore the cleanest village of Asia and what today is a prime tourist attraction in Meghalaya. Known to be a village of around 100 households the people of Mawlynnong have always practiced the unique way of keeping the premises of the village clean. They segregate the waste and the organic waste if used for fertilizer and the plastic waste is sent to Shillong to be recycled. We admire the clean and green village of Mawlynnong and later head to visit the Balancing rocks at Mawlynnong that is a unique structure where a huge stone boulder rests on a much smaller stone and it has been like this since many years. With this we wind up our visit at Mawlynnong and head on our drive to Cherrapunji in Meghalaya and check into our place of stay at Cherrapunji.
Night Halt: Sohra Plaza Homestay at Cherrapunji
Meals Included: Breakfast
Day 5: Cherrapunji
Today is our day of exploring the pristine landscapes of the beautiful town of Cherrapunji in Meghalaya. Earlier Cherrapunji held the record of being the wettest place on planet Earth before it lost this coveted title to Mawsynram. However it still holds the second spot and this makes it a land of beautiful waterfalls and numerous caves. From Cherrapunji if you drive to Tyrna and then hike to the Nongriat village then you get to witness the majestic Double Decker Living Root Bridge that is renowned across the World and is a wonderful Bioengineering marvel to sight (PS: In this itinerary of ours we have not included the trek to Nongriat village. You can choose to add your visit to the Double Decker Living Root Bridge at Nongriat and this would increase your day of visit by another day). We will start our day after our breakfast at leisure as we do not have to travel much today and only visit the sightseeing spots around Cherrapunji itself. After breakfast we drive to the top of the mountain to the site of the Nohkalikai Falls – the tallest plunge waterfall in India and also the third tallest waterfall in India. The grandeur of the Nohkalikai falls leaves any visitor to the place enthralled and we admire the beauty of this waterfall and listen to the gushing sound of the falling water from 340 m.
The place has numerous vendors who set up small stalls in the place to earn a living and they sell some best available cinnamon sticks and turmeric powder sources from the local forests. They even sell fresh fruits and one thing not to miss is the pineapples they serve here that are the sweetest you can taste. We walk across the area and learn about the history of why this waterfall is called as the Nohkalikai Falls that means the Leap of Ka Likai. After winding up our visit here we will visit the Mawsmai cave area in Cherrapunji. Another of the caves that is open to tourists to explore – the Mawsmai cave is another prime tourist attraction in Cherrapunji and sees hundreds of visitors each day during the tourist season. Earlier a very large portion of the Mawsmai cave was open to tourists but now this exploration area has been reduced but yet it is sufficient enough to get a feel of the cave environment and one gets to view the various rock formations, the fossils and the stalactites and stalagmites. After this we head on our drive to the Seven Sister waterfall near the Mawsmai Cave area in Cherrapunji. The Seven Sister falls is a group of seven waterfalls that fall down from a cliff and looking absolutely stunning in the monsoon season.
We can also view the plains of Bangladesh from the view point here and the entire lush green valley view brings a soothing effect on a viewer’s mind. We have a cup of black tea at the parking area of the Seven Sister falls and later travel to visit the Arwah Caves in Cherrapunji that is a must visit experience here to witness the true wonder of a caving experience. The Arwah Caves is located close to our place of stay and we drive atop a hill to reach the parking spot at the Arwah Caves. From the parking spot we need to hike for a certain distance to reach the cave entrance and once you are here you need to climb down a stair to reach the inside of the Arwah Cave. It has is a much wider cave compared to the Mawsmai cave and there is a small stream flowing inside the Arwah cave as well. We go deep inside the cave observing the various fossils on the cave walls and we also see various stalactites and stalagmites. Up to one point the cave is well lit and then there is a small passage as well and if you are not claustrophobic then you can go inside this passage as well. We come out of the Arwah cave and later travel to have our lunch at the Orange Roots Restaurant at Cherrapunji.
The Orange Roots restaurant at Cherrapunji is one of the very neat and hygienic places to eat here in Cherrapunji and the place serves some real good South Indian vegetarian recipes as the owner of the place is one of the pioneers of tourism in Cherrapunji who is a retired banker from Tamil Nadu and he is settled in Cherrapunji and had married a local Khasi lady and he runs the Cherrapunji Holiday Resort as well near Tyrna that is one of the oldest stay options in Cherrapunji. He is also said to have introduced the World to the Double Decker Living Bridge at Nongriat as he encouraged visitors staying at his place to visit the place on their hike to Nongriat village. We enjoy some hot masala dosas for lunch along with butter milk and we head back to our place of stay to spend some time relaxing.
Later in the afternoon we head to the Wei Sadogn falls near the Homestay and this is a true gem of a waterfall in Cherrapunji and visitors have the opportunity to walk to the base of this waterfall and enjoy the view of the waters falling from top. Next up we head to the Dainthlen Falls a little further ahead and this is a waterfall located amidst a beautiful landscape famous as a movie shoot location. We admire the beauty of the Dainthlen falls and head to visit a local village area and later come back to our place of stay at the Sohra Plaza Homestay.
Night Halt: Sohra Plaza Homestay at Cherrapunji
Meals Included: Breakfast
Day 6: Cherrapunji – Kaziranga National Park
Today we drive from Cherrapunji to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Kaziranga National Park – the land of the Indian One Horned Rhinoceros and the most preferred tourist destination in Assam and even North East India. The drive from Cherrapunji to Kaziranga National Park will take about 6 ½ hours and hence we will start by 8 AM to reach Kaziranga by early afternoon where we will visit the Kaziranga Orchid Park – the Largest Orchid Park in India. We start after an early breakfast and drive from Cherrapunji towards Kaziranga National Park crossing Shillong and we need to leave early to avoid the office hour traffic rush in Shillong that starts generally by 9 AM and we try to cross Shillong by 10 AM to reach Barapani at the Umiam Lake and then continue on our drive further to Nongpoh where we take a short break for tea and later continue towards the border of Meghalaya and Assam at Jorabat.
From Jorabat we drive towards Sonapur, Jagiroad, Raha to reach the Nagaon Bypass where we break for our lunch at the Anuraag Dhaba and we savour an ethnic Assamese Thali at this dhaba. After lunch we start on our drive again to cross Koliabor and Jakhlabandha and finally reach the Burapahar range of Kaziranga National Park. The beautiful tea gardens of Assam welcome us here at Kaziranga and we witness the lush green mountains of the Karbi Anglong hills landscapes. We cross the Burapahar range to reach Bagori range at Kaziranga and this is where the Elephant Safari rides are conducted for Indian Nationals and we proceed further to finally reach the Kohora area of Kaziranga National Park. Kohora is the main market place is of Kaziranga and had numerous Hotels and Resorts that cater to the comfortable stay of guests here at Kaziranga. We head to visit the Kaziranga Orchid Park – the largest Orchid Park in India and here we admire the various orchid species that are in bloom at the green house area. Kaziranga Orchid Park is a one stop destination to learn about the various traditions and cultures of Assam and there are sections here that depict the various bamboo crafts of Assam and also the traditional handlooms and the unique process of handloom weaving on the traditional loom as well.
There is a rice museum, cactus garden, souvenirs shop and as well as a bamboo park inside the premises of the Kaziranga Orchid park and we admire the display across each of these places and finally come to the open stage area to witness the traditional folk dance performances of Assam here at the Kaziranga Orchid Park. At regular intervals the stage here hosts traditional folk dances of Assam like the bamboo dance and the Bihu dance and young boys and girls perform these colourful dance numbers here. There will be a performance of the traditional bamboo dance of Assam that is a unique performance where the balance of the young girls are tested and the boys hold the bamboo across each end and they form a maze like structure and move the bamboo in a unique formation to the sound of a beating drum and the girls step in and out of these bamboo maze in a rhythmic manner performing this dance. Next up is the Bihu dance of Assam that is a very vibrant and colourful dance performance where a young girl dressed in the traditional Muga silk attire dances gracefully to the tunes of the boys singing and playing the traditional musical instrument. The Bihu dance of Assam is performed mostly during the Rongali Bihu festival that happens to be the Assamese New Year in the month of April and is a time for celebrations to welcome the spring season after a long spell of the dry months of the winters and in this time the flowers bloom and the atmosphere becomes green again because of the torrential downpour. After this we wind up our visit of the day and as we have an early day tomorrow before we head back to Guwahati.
Night Halt: Bonhabi Resort at Kaziranga or Similar
Meals Included: Breakfast
Day 7: Kaziranga National Park – Guwahati
Today is your Safari day at Kaziranga National Park and we will enjoy the safari rides at the UNESCO World Heritage Site before heading back on our drive to Guwahati to catch a late evening flight back to the onward destination or home. Our elephant safari will be scheduled at the Bagori (Western) range of Kaziranga National Park and the slot timing will either be at 5 AM or 6.30 AM in the morning and this will be finalized the day before our elephant safari ride here in Kaziranga National Park. We will leave from our place of stay to the Bagori range where we will enjoy an hour long elephant back rife and sight the varied flora, fauna and avifauna of Kaziranga National Park. The good thing about the elephant back ride is that you get to sight the rhinoceros up close from here.
After our elephant ride is over we return back to our resort for breakfast and later we embark on our jeeps to ride to the Kohora (Central) range of Kaziranga National Park and we enjoy our hour and half long jeep ride inside the forest reserves here where we go deeper into the forest reserves of Kaziranga and look out for more fauna species here. The Jeep ride offers a good opportunity for bird watching here at Kaziranga National Park and we get to spot various bird species here as Kaziranga is an Important Bird Area (IBA). There is a healthy population of tigers as well in the forest reserves and if our luck is good then we may have the opportunity to sight tigers in the forest reserves of Kaziranga as well. Our jeep ride will by 10 AM and we return back to our resort to pack up to leave Kaziranga National Park by 11 AM to drive towards Guwahati. We will have our lunch at the Triptire Ehaaz dhaba at Amoni and later we drive towards Guwahati to reach the airport by 3.30 PM to catch a late evening flight to your onward destination/home. Tour Ends. Bid Adieu!
Night Halt: NA
Meals Included: Breakfast