Kaziranga National Park welcomes you to the City of Shillong ~ the State Capital of Meghalaya!
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 and is also the District Headquarters of East Khasi Hills District. Shillong city is situated at an altitude of 1,496 metres above sea level and the Shillong Peak is the highest point in the East Khasi Hills district. And it is because of this altitude that the city of Shillong enjoys a bracing climate throughout the year. The city of Shillong has been the seat of Government since the consolidation of the British administration in this part of India more than a century ago. Earlier the North Eastern States were undivided and the entire region functioned as one State under the Indian Administration with Shillong as the regional capital. Today, the entire region of the East Khasi Hills District is mostly hilly with deep gorges and ravines on the southern portion and Shillong serves as the point with the highest elevation and the Shillong peak which lies at a distance of 10 km from the Shillong city, offer a panoramic view of the scenic countryside.
Shillong is well connected with motorable roads to other places of Meghalaya, has its own charm, different from other hill stations, and presents a natural scenic beauty with waterfalls, brooks, pine groves and gardens. The place, the people, the flora and fauna and the climate all combine to make Shillong an ideal retreat throughout the year. Shillong offers amenities for tourists with good hotel accommodations, facilities for sports, angling, trekking and hiking.
If you are from the North East the name Shillong would mean a perfect weekend getaway 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 an hours to Cherrapunji are sure motives to get you hit the road and drive to Shillong.
Once you enter the city of Shillong from the drive after crossing the Umiam lake, you can get a feel of the rich colonial past of Shillong and a different feel starts to fill you with excitement of visiting Shillong. The various shops and buildings cover each side of the roads on a hilly backdrop and the landscapes reminded the Britishers of the landscapes of Scotland and hence Shillong is often referred to as the ‘Scotland of the East’ . The numerous pine trees surrounding the hill and mountains makes you feel it Christmas already along with the pleasant weather that is always a part of the charm of Shillong city. Shillong has a blend of a modern city with acceptable vehicular traffic along with vast natural beauty surrounding it. The simple and laid back life of this beautiful hill station would make you want to extend your stay at Shillong.
What makes Shillong an attractive tourist city is that it ha everything a traveller looks out for. Shillong has natural beauty with rolling hills and meandering plateaus, numerous waterfalls, a hike that takes you across a vast expanse of rhododendron trees, a beautiful canyon area, numerous museums that highlight its rich culture and heritage, beautiful cathedrals, Asia’s largest and finest golf course, lakes, modern malls, luxurious hotels, multicuisine restaurants, a matrilineal society, delectable local cuisine, numerous pubs and bars, cafes that play live rock music, local markets, modern markets, etc. A travellers day in Shillong can never be an idle one as there is always something or the other to explore. If you are done sightseeing with the various places of tourist interest in Shillong, then take a day to explore the Barabazar – the largest market area in North East India. Take short hikes for ex. from Police Bazar to the Ward’ lake area in Shillong and taste local cuisine of the Khasi people of Shillong.
Travel to a local Khasi home in Shillong and witness the matrilineal culture in person. In Shillong and across the East Khasi hills district in Meghalaya people follow the matrilineal system where the head of the family is a lady and the family ancestry and lineage is taken from the Mother’s side. Stay with the local people of Shillong in one of their homestays and get to experience Khasi culture at its best. In the evenings, take a stroll along the famous police bazar of Shillong and get to see how locals bring in their fresh produce from the nearby gardens and sell it in this market area of Shillong. While at police bazar in Shillong also witness the ancient gambling game of Shillong where people bet on a game of archery. Everyday in the morning and afternoon a group of local archers gather at the polo grounds in Shillong. These archers then target on a board from a distance that has specific numbers mentioned on it. The number that gets hit with the maximum arrows is the winning number and people who place their bet on that number are the winners and they take home a prize money which is 8 times the bet amount they place. This is one of the oldest traditional games of Shillong and it is legal to place a bet on this game at Shillong. Various shops are present here at police bazar area of Shillong that allows you to play this game.
If this gambling game of Shillong doesn’t interest you and you want to enjoy the music scene of Shillong then take time to visit the various local cafes in the market area of Shillong where live local bands play in the evenings. Shillong is often referred to as the ‘Rock Capital of India’ because of the local people’ love for this music genre. It is said that across every third household of Shillong you are bound to meet a person who plays some kind of a musical instrument and this is what make the music scene of Shillong incredible!
If you are a passionate photographer, then Shillong is the place to be visited to get captures at amazing nature, culture, food people, etc. Take a stroll along the narrow lanes of Shillong and experience culture at its best here. Go for the Rhododendron trek to capture amazing natural scenes. Visit the Shillong peak to capture an aerial view of Shillong city along with the backdrop of the Himalayas and the plains of Bangladesh. Visit the numerous waterfalls of Shillong like elephant falls, sweet falls, abbey fall, spread eagle falls to capture magnificent views. Go to the Laitlum canyons near Shillong to capture the majestic view of the canyon here. Simply visit the market and capture pictures of the various local produce of vegetables and fruits along with the always smiling Khasi people of Shillong. Also do not miss out the opportunity to visit the majestic cathedrals of Shillong. If you happen to be at Shillong on a sunday take a day to attend a service at one of these beautiful Cathedrals of Shillong city. Shillong has a pleasant climate around the year however monsoons play a pivotal role in the climate of the city and hence it is always advisable to carry an umbrella along with you when you are out exploring Shillong. Also the sun sets in early and by 5 PM in the evening it is pitch dark during the winters. So the city shuts down as early as 8 PM so its advised to complete exploring priorly to this.
Shillong is located at a distance of 110 km from Guwahati city in Assam. The distance from Shillong to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Kaziranga National Park is 295 km. Shillong is the State capital of Meghalaya and is the most visited tourist destination in North East India. Shillong is located at a height of 4990 feet from the mean sea level and the entire city stretches for over 7 km on an elevation. Shillong is located on a plateau that is surrounded by the Umiam gorge to its north, north west by Diengiei hills and the Assam valley to its northeast. The majestic river Umiam and its tributaries Umshyrpi and Umkhra act as a water source for the city of Shillong.
Until the year 1864, Shillong was only a small village and only after 1864 Shillong became a civil station for the Khasi and Jaintia hills. And in the year 1874, upon the formation of Assam comprising of the entire North East India’s states, Shillong was chosen to be the capital under the British administration. In the year 1897, a devastating earthquake rocked the region of Assam (entire North East) and the city of Shillong was destroyed. A reconstruction of the city was initiated and in the year 1972, after creation of the separate state of Meghalaya, Shillong was declared as the capital of Meghalaya.
To Plan your visit to Shillong with Kaziranga National Park please fill the form below:
Places of Tourist Interest in Shillong ~
1| Ward’s Lake Shillong, Meghalaya ~
This beautiful man made lake is located in the heart of the Shillong city near the Police Bazar area. Ward’s lake is one of the most popular tourist attractions of Shillong city and hundreds of visitors come here everyday to admire the beauty of the Ward’s lake. Ward’s lake in Shillong is a clear water artificial pool area surrounded by beautiful gardens and trees and having a serene ambience that allows visitors to take a walk around the lake and also enjoying boating on its water right in the heart of Shillong city. A monumental white suspension bridge is located in the middle of the lake that allows visitors to cross the lake and also feed fishes that are present in the waters here. This bridge at the Ward’s lake in Shillong offer great views of the lake and is an ideal place to click pictures too. One can also spot geese and ducks swimming on this lake in Shillong city. Ward’s lake is an ideal place for all the local fitness enthusiasts of Shillong who come here for a morning and evening walks. The park area is covered with stoned paths that run around the lake with proper seating arrangements around. The entire view from the Ward’s lake in Shillong reminds a traveller about the rich colonial british era here.
Ward’s lake is over 100 years old and it was commissioned by the then Chief Commissioner of Assam – Sir William Ward. This lake in Shillong was designed by Fitzwilliam Thomas Pollock in the shape of a horse’s shoe as this brings good luck. Erstwhile prisoners of Central Jail of Shillong contributed towards the contribution of this lake. It is often referred to as the Pollock’s lake after its design.
Inside the complex of the Ward’s lake there is a gift shop as well as a cafe where hot refreshments are available. Police bazaar area of Shillong is just a short walk away from the Ward’s lake and the lake also overlooks the Governor’s residence of Shillong and the Anglican Church of Shillong as well.
2| Don Bosco Museum Shillong, Meghalaya ~
The Don Bosco Museum in Shillong is one of the best cultural museums in India that aims at preserving and promoting the rich cultural heritage of North East India. In addition to being a museum, it is also a research and publication center of Shillong. The Don Bosco Museum of Shillong is built in a hexagonal shape spread across a total area of 56,000 sq ft and spreading across 7 floors with an additional sky view that provides a beautiful view of the city of Shillong. Frequented by tourists from across India and abroad who come to visit Shillong, the Don Bosco Museum has 17 seperate galleries that display the entire heritage of the people of North East India in the form of cultural artefacts and paintings.
The various galleries present inside the Don Bosco Museum of Shillong are Agriculture Gallery, Arts Gallery, Basketry Gallery, Ornaments and Costume Gallery, Fishing and Hunting Gallery, Food Gallery, Housing Gallery, Introductory and Prehistory Gallery, Land and People’s Gallery, Musical Instruments Gallery, Language Museum, Our Neighbours Gallery, Mission and Culture, Culture and Religion, Alcove Gallery.
3| Shillong Peak Shillong, Meghalaya ~
Located at about 10 km from Shillong city in Upper Shillong area is the Shillong Peak. One of the very popular tourist destinations of Shillong, Shillong Peak provides a panoramic bird’s eye view of the city of Shillong. The Shillong Peak is the highest point in the East Khasi Hills district located at a height of 1965 m from the mean sea level. The area of the Shillong Peak is located within the premises of the base of the Eastern Air Command of the Indian Air Force. The Indian Air Force has its radar station here in Shillong and so this area is heavily protected and guarded. Visitors to Shillong Peak need to go through a security gate before they can proceed while their luggage is scanned and also they have to deposit their cameras in the safe box.
4| Elephant Falls Shillong, Meghalaya ~
The Elephant Falls is another very popular destination near Shillong City. Generally the ideal stop-over after the visit to the Shillong Peak on your way to Cherrapunji. The Elephant Falls was the British name of what the local Khasi people once referred to as Ka Kshaid Lai Pateng Khohsiew (or “Three Steps Waterfalls”) since the falls actually consisted of three sections in succession. One of the most beautiful waterfalls of Meghalaya located in the Upper Shillong area, the Elephant Falls is named after a rock that was present here and it resembled the shape of an Elephant – the Britishers named it as the Elephant Falls. This rock was however destroyed in the earthquake of 1897. The Elephant falls is a cascading waterfall that is a 3 step waterfall. One waterfall is on the top followed by 2 others one in the middle and the other at the bottom. Of the three waterfalls (all of which were easily reached by the same short and easy walking path), the bottom tier was the most impressive. The walking path gently descended from the entrance, and it is practically almost completely paved with lots of stairs and a bridge traversing the stream between the 2nd and 3rd falls.
The first waterfall is smaller in size as compared to the other two falls. The entire area is well connected by steps so that you can take a short hike here as well. Once you go down the stairway you can see various huge sized rocks along the way. There is a bridge in the middle that allows you to cross this waterfall in Shillong. At the end you can reach below to get a spectacular view of the waterfall. Near the entrance of the Elephant falls there are many shops that sell eatables and stationery gifts as well. There is also a place that rents out traditional Khasi attires and visitors can get a chance to get themselves clicked wearing this attire.
5| Lady Hydari Park Shillong, Meghalaya ~
The Lady Hydari Park is one of the well-known tourist attractions in the heart of Shillong city. This park is another major tourist attraction of Shillong city. The Lady Hydari park covers an area of a stretch of over a kilometer and houses a deer park and a mini zoo as well in addition to beautiful gardens and a special rose garden. This park is named after the first lady of the State, Lady Hydari wife of the then Governor of Assam. The rose park here has a variety of rose plants.
6| Police Bazaar Shillong, Meghalaya ~
Your visit to Shillong doesn’t end with a tour of the Police Bazar. One of the busiest markets across North East India, the Police Bazar is the main Shopping Center of Shillong. Located at the heart of Shillong City, Police Bazaar is frequented by visitors from across India and the World. With the primary Hotels of Shillong being located in and around Police Bazar it is an easy access from your night halt. The attractions of Police Bazar are the numerous malls, the local Handicraft Shops, the Archery Betting Stalls and the Cafes of Shillong.
Police Bazar is the main market area of Shillong city that is always bustling with people both vendors and buyers. The Police Bazar area is the main tourist spot of Shillong city that has the various hotels, malls, eateries and pubs of Shillong. Hotel Center Point located here is one of the luxurious hotels of Shillong. Various eateries and local restaurants are present at the police bazar in Shillong. Special Bengali restaurants like Suruchi are also present here. The various government offices of Shillong are also present here. The Reliance Trendz mall is located here along with KFC and Dominoz Pizza. The City Hut Dhaba present here is one of the most popular restaurants of Shillong.
7| Polo Grounds Shillong, Meghalaya ~
Located at the Oakland road in Shillong, the Shillong Polo grounds is one of the oldest polo grounds in the World. Today, the Polo grounds serves as a sports complex and helps train the various sportsmen of Meghalaya. The famous Archery game of Shillong, which is also a gambling game where people place their bets on in also held at the Polo grounds in Shillong.
8| Umiam Lake Shillong, Meghalaya ~
The Umiam Lake is located 9 km before arriving at Shillong. It is a very beautiful man made artificial water reservoir which was formed as a result of a hydroelectric dam was built across the Umiam River. The pristine clear waters here are very soothing to the eyes of any visitor. Umiam near Shillong serves as a perfect breakpoint on your drive from Guwahati to Shillong before you start to approach the Shillong traffic. There is also a resort complex here at the Umiam lake that provides boating facility on the lake. This place called as the Umiam Lake Resort also offers deluxe rooms and a restaurant so that you can enjoy a comfortable night stay here as well. The Umiam Lake near Shillong was designed by the famous architect Charles Correa. The entire view from here is beautiful overlooking the Umiam lake and the pinewood trees.
9| Laitlum Canyons Shillong, Meghalaya ~
A canyon spot near Shillong, the Laitlum canyon shot to prominence after the bollywood movie Rock on 2 was shot here. This spot provides a magnificent view of the beautiful green hills, bamboo orchards and the orchids of Meghalaya. Laitlum canyons near Shillong is the best place to spend a serene and calm time away from the city hustle and bustle. It is a long walk to the top of the canyon and the adventure hikers love this place and also the nature lovers too. People from across the World come to visit the Laitlum canyons near Shillong. The best time to visit the area is during the afternoon when the fog clears up and the canyons and gorges are clearly visible.
10| Spread Eagle Falls Shillong, Meghalaya ~
The Spread Eagle Fall in Shillong is located about 2 km away from the Polo grounds in Shillong and is a famous picnic spot in the East Khasi Hills district of Meghalaya. With crystal clear waters and beautiful surroundings, the Spread Eagle Falls is one of the widest falls of Shillong and it is a cascading type waterfall. Locally it is also called as the Sati falls. From a distance, the waterfalls looks like an eagle bird with its wings spread out and hence it is referred to as the Spread Eagle Falls. A must visit place during your visit to Shillong to enjoy nature and click memorable pictures of the Spread Eagle Falls.
11| Sweet Falls Shillong, Meghalaya ~
Another beautiful waterfall near Shillong is the Sweet Falls that lies close to the Happy Valley area of Shillong. It is also the most dangerous waterfall in Meghalaya as numerous cases of deaths and suicide have been reported from here. The locals even say that this place is haunted and it seems when people go in odd number group here they return back in even number group. The Sweet Falls has a height of around 96 meters and is accessible by road. However visitors are not allowed to go close by the waterfall due to poor route and the slippery rocks here. The sweet falls is one of the steepest fall of Meghalaya and the water gushes down with force as there are no big rocks here to stop its flow. Due to this force of the water of the Sweet Falls, bathing or standing under the waters here becomes impossible.
Although the area is surrounded by railings it is still not advisable to go very near the Sweet Falls directly. Many bird visit this waterfall and the sound of their chirping along with the gushing sound of this waterfall is a treat to the ears. The distance from Police Bazar to the Sweet Falls is around 12 km and the entire drive is very beautiful. There is a butterfly museum and a mini zoo nearby. Do wind up your visit here before 4.30 pm as numerous local boys come to this place in the evening and it’s better to avoid any altercations with them.
12| The Grand Madina Masjid Shillong, Meghalaya ~
The grand Madina Masjid is located in the Laban area of Shillong and is 15 minutes away from the main Shillong city at Police Bazar. It is interesting to find this amazing place of worship of the Muslims in an area dominated by a Christian population which speaks highly about the religious and cultural harmony among the people of Shillong. The grand Madina Masjid in Shillong is the largest mosque in North East India and the only Glass Mosque in India. Built very elegantly in an all glass design, the Madina Masjid looks very spectacular in the evenings when it is all lit up and prayers are being offered here. Do pay a visit here during your evenings in Shillong to admire the grand architectural marvel.
13| Bishop and Beadon Falls Shillong, Meghalaya ~
Both these majestic waterfalls are another important tourist attractions near Shillong city located at Mawprem near Mawlai. Although these two waterfalls are separate but they tumble down together into a gorge. Both the Bishop and Beadon falls can be viewed together from a viewpoint near Mawprem. The Bishop falls is a very tall waterfall having a height of 315 meter and is the 22nd tallest waterfall in India. Both these waterfalls are best to view in the month of July when the monsoons have arrived in Shillong and these waterfalls are having a good flow of water. The Bishop and Beadon falls of Shillong are best viewed in the afternoon time.
14| Butterfly Museum Shillong, Meghalaya ~
Located in the Riatsamthiah Jiam area in Shillong, the Butterfly Museum is another important destination of Shillong. Various species of butterflies, insects, spiders, moths, etc. from across the country are present here in this Museum. It is basically a Butterfly cum entomological museum. The owner of this museum is Mr. Wankhar as this is a privately owned museum. This museum interests people from all walks of life especially children and it is a good place to show these little children about the varied species of butterflies which cannot be seen in bigger cities. Inside the museum many programs for conservation are also held along with cultivation of butterflies to maintain the ecological balance in the World. Indeed an must visit place during your stay in Shillong.
15| Golf Course Shillong, Meghalaya ~
Located near the Polo Grounds area, the Shillong Golf Course is the finest golf course in India with 18 holes. The golf course is located at an elevation of 5200 feet and is one of the finest golf courses in India. the entire area looks green and very beautiful. What makes the Shillong Golf course unique is its location across the valleys of Meghalaya. The beauty of the Shillong Golf course is what makes it comparable with the Gleneagle Golf Course of United States.
16| Ever Living Museum Shillong, Meghalaya ~
Located near the Mawshbint village in Shillong, the Ever Living Museum is a privately owned museum by Mr. Kynthew War. It is basically housed in a private residence which looks like a bungalow and illustrates the rich heritage of the Khasi, Garo and Jaintia people of Meghalaya. A must visit museum in Shillong, it contains various artefacts from across Meghalaya like utensils, baskets, rocks, coins, etc. This were individually collected by mr. war and have been preserved here in the museum. Mr. War personally guides tourists across this musuem and it is amazing to see how one man single handedly collected and built this musuem in Shillong.
17| Churches and Cathedrals of Shillong, Meghalaya ~
As a majority of the population of Shillong practice Christianity as their faith it is very evident that there would be numerous churches and cathedrals in Shillong. Two of the most popular churches for tourists in Shillong are the Cathedral of Mary Help of Christians and the All Saints Church. The very beautifully constructed Cathedral of Mary Help of Christians is a very popular tourist attraction in Shillong. The beautiful blue color Cathedral was built in 1913. It was however destroyed in a fire in 1936 and was rebuilt again to its original look today. Sundays here see many people coming for prayers. Do visit this Cathedral during your visit to Shillong.
The All Saints Church is another popular tourist attraction of Shillong. It was destroyed in the earthquake of 18977 and was rebuilt in 1902. The British influence can be seen in its construction here in Shillong city.
So why wait?! Plan your visit to the Scotland of the East ~ the City of Shillong, Meghalaya, Incredible India!
Sample Itinerary details for your visit to Shillong – Meghalaya
Day 1 ~ Guwahati and 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 and 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: Homestay/Hotel at Shillong
Meals Included: Breakfast
Day 3 ~ Shillong – the Scotland of the East and Guwahati
Today we will spend the first half of the day sightseeing at Shillong City. Visit the Ward’s Lake, Shillong Peak, Elephant Falls and Don Bosco Museum. Depart to Guwahati.
Night Stay: Comfortable Hotel at Guwahati
Meals Included: Breakfast
Day 4 ~ Kamakhya Temple and Guwahati Airport
Morning visit the Holy Maa Kamakhya Temple in Guwahati. The Kamakhya Temple ‘the Temple of the Bleeding Goddess’ is one of the 51 Shakti Peethas and is one of the holiest temple shrines in India. Offer your worship to Goddess Kamakhya. After breakfast, depart to Guwahati Airport for your onward destination. Tour Ends. Bid Adieu!
Meals Included: Breakfast
To Plan your visit to Shillong with Kaziranga National Park please fill the form below:
Places to visit near Shillong ~
1| Cherrapunji ~ 55 km from Shillong
Cherrapunji is located around 55 km from Shillong and is the land of beautiful waterfalls of Meghalaya, caves, valleys, gorges, beautiful mountains and the Living root bridges. The place that records the second highest rainfall in the World, Cherrapunji is the second most popular tourist destination of Meghalaya after Shillong. Cherrapunji has been blessed with pleasant cool weather across the year like Shillong itself and people visit Cherrapunji mostly topo admire the waterfalls, the caves and the Double Decker Living Root Bridge at Nongriat village. Cherrapunji is home to India’s tallest plunge waterfall – the Nohkalikai Falls and the fourth tallest waterfall in India – the Seven Sister Falls. The most visited caves in Cherrapunji is the Mawsmai cave and the Arwaah cave which is a true wonder to explore and is also gaining popularity among the tourists. Numerous hotels, resorts and homestays are present here like Shillong that plays host to the visitors at Cherrapunji.
Cherrapunji near Shillong offers many trekking routes for adrenaline lovers as well. The trek from Tyrna village to Nongriat village to sight the Double Decker Living Root Bridge – the only one in the World is the most popular trekking route here. Along with this is the trek from Nongriat village to the Nohkalikai falls across the Mawsaw living root bridge and the rainbow falls. Shella is another popular tourist spot near Cherrapunji that is gaining popularity among the offbeat travellers here that allows you to enjoy clearwater boating on the river here. Some of the other popular attractions at Cherrapunji near Shillong are the Wah Kaba falls, the Dainthlen Falls, the Eco Park and the Cherrapunji local market. A visit to Cherrapunji is a amist on your visit to Shillong in Meghalaya.
2| Mawlynnong ~ 80 km from Shillong
Located at around 80 km from Shillong is the Cleanest village in Asia – Mawlynnong. A beautiful and quaint countryside, Mawlynnong is also another popular destination near Shillong that has the most easily accessible living root bridge of Riwai. Visitors come to Mawlynnong especially to enjoy the clear atmosphere of the village and to stay in an environment that is far away from the deafening noise of the city life. This village near Shillong shot into prominence in the year 2008 when the discover India magazine listed it to be the cleanest village in Asia. The Honorable Prime Minister of India, mr. Narendra Modi also mentioned this village in his talks on the Swachh Bharat Campaign. Other popular places of interest at mawlynnong are the balancing rocks, the Nohwet village, Bamboo view point, bangladesh view point and the Holy cathedral at Mawlynnong.
Mawlynnong offers its visitors many options of homestays with the local Khasi people of Meghalaya. Here you can experience a complete traditional way of life and get a chance to interact with the local people of Mawlynnong. Also you can taste local delicious khasi cuisine and get an opportunity to even cook in one of their homestays. In the evening the village becomes so quiet and serene that you can take a stroll around the village and enjoy a day of quaint living. In the mornings you can get to see the various activities the villagers indulge in to keep the village clean. A visit to Mawlynnong is a must during your tour of Shillong to get a true taste of the rich Khasi lineage and culture.
3| Dawki ~ 82 km from Shillong
Yet another very popular tourist destination near Shillong located 82 km away is the town of Dawki or Tamabil. Dawki is the border of India and Bangladesh. This place is also famous for the Umngot river – a river whose waters are so crystal clear that the bottom is very clearly visible. Also when boats ply on the waters of this river it is seen as if the boat is floating in air because the water is so transparent. Most visitors to Dawki take the opportunity to cross the Indian border and go to the no man’s land at pillar 1275 and sight the border of Bangladesh and come back to India. This area is heavily guarded by the soldiers of the Border Security Force (BSF). Next up people go for a ride of boating on the clear waters of the Umngot river at Dawki. There is also a suspension bridge here that was built in 1932 by the British.
Another place close to Dawki is the village of Shnongpdeng. If you do not like the very touristy places then you must visit Shnongpdeng. At Shnongpdeng too you can enjoy the boat ride on the clear waters of Umngot river. Also, there are places where various adventure activities are conducted here like snorkelling, cliff jumping, kayaking, etc. There are also homestays here along with tented accommodations so that if you would want to enjoy the complete experience of Dawki and Shnongpdeng you can stay here too. Various local restaurants are present here at Shnongpdeng that allows visitors to get a real taste of Khasi cuisine like “Jadoh” which is a special pork and rice dish. Visit Dawki and Shnongpdeng near Shillong during your visit to Meghalaya to get a real experience of a lifetime.
4| Mawphlang ~ 30 km from Shillong
Mawphlang is another very close destination near Shillong that is gradually gaining importance in the tourist arena of Meghalaya. Mawphlang near Shillong is the site of the Khasi Hills Sacred Groves – a very rich biodiversity forest that is considered holy and revered by the Khasi people of Meghalaya. This forest has varied floral and faunal life including over 200 species of orchids too. Guided walks are conducted inside the forest groves of Mawphlang and people get to witness the various monoliths inside this forest where the Khasi ancestors used to pray to the Gods to seek a better year of harvest. Near to the sacred groves is a model Khasi Heritage Village that illustrates the rich culture of the Khasi people of Meghalaya. There are traditional Khasi bamboo huts here where one can witness the Khasi way of living. The view of the valleys from the Khasi heritage village is magnificent.
Mawphlang is also the starting point of the David Scott trail trek – one of the most pristine trek routes across Meghalaya. This trek route takes you deeper into the dense forest reserves of Meghalaya across the clear streams and hills and you get to experience nature at its best. The David Scott Trail trek is a 16 km trek route that starts from Mawphlang and ends at Lad Mawphlang. If you are an avid trekker and adventure seeker then do visit Mawphlang to embark on the David Scott Trail trek.
5| Mawsynram ~ 65 km from Shillong
Located at around 65 km away from Shillong is the town of Mawsynram. Mawsynram records the highest rainfall anywhere in the world and hence is the wettest place on planet Earth. The entire drive from Shillong to Mawsynram is indeed a breathtaking one where one gets to admire nature at its best. Once you approach Mawsynram you can see a cloud cover approaching you and it might start pouring at any instant making the weather much more beautiful. The popular tourist attractions at Mawsynram in the Jakrem Hot Spring, the Caves and the waterfalls. The Krem Puri caves near Mawsynram is the longest sandstone cave in the World covering a distance of over 24 kilometer. Mawsynram is famous for its handicrafts made up of bamboo and local artisans are adept in this skill. One can buy many ethnic bamboo handicrafts from here as well. The local market at Mawsynram is a must explore place as well. Do visit Mawsynram on your tour of Shillong.
6| Mawlyngbna ~ 90 km from Shillong
After crossing the right that lead to Mawsynram one has to travel for another 25 km to reach Mawlyngbna. A small village, Mawlyngbna is located atop a hill and is one of the last villages before one can reach Bangladesh from the Khasi Hills. This place was believed to be under the sea bed millions of years earlier and this has resulted in many fossils being present here at Mawlyngbna. There are fossils here at Mawlyngbna which are said to be over 200 million years old. Mawlyngbna is a famou adventure hub near Shillong where visitors can spend their day enjoying angling, kayaking, cliff jumping, etc. These activities happen at the Um-Kha-Koi reservoir. There are numerous springs around Mawlyngbna. A wide foret area is present here in the outskirts of the village which has a cultivation of pitcher plants. Numerous forest areas and plateaus makes Mawlyngbna an amazing hiking destination. On your visit to Shillong do not miss out to explore Mawlyngbna.
7| Mawphanlur ~ 90 km from Shillong
This paradise of a place is located in the West Khasi Hills of Meghalaya around 90 km from Shillong. A beautiful scenic spot near Shillong that has not been disturbed with an army of tourists flocking here. A perfect offbeat destination to spend a day in Meghalaya is Mawphanlur. Mawphanlur is a beautiful countryside that overlooks the virgin forests, rolling hills and the beautiful valleys of Meghalaya. Mawphanlur is often referred to as the land of seven lakes. If you want to beat a maddening touristy crowd of Shillong especially during the weekends then opt to visit Mawphanlur for a perfect weekend getaway. Very less populated with only 5 to 6 families, Mawphanlur offers various activities like hiking, boating, fishing, kayaking, etc. A must visit place on your tour of Shillong.
8| Nongkhnum Island ~ 100 km from Shillong
Nongkhnum Island is along the way to Mawphanlur and is the second largest river island in the World after Majuli in Assam. The journey from Shillong to Nongkhnum takes around 4 hours because of the road conditions. However, once you reach Nongkhnum island the majestic landscapes and beautiful waterfalls. The Nongkhnum island has been formed by the bifurcation of the Kynshi river into the Phanliang and the Namliang river of Meghalaya and spreads over an area of 25 sq. km. There are two waterfalls along this island which are worth a visit as well. These are the veinnia and the langshiang waterfalls. You can hire a boat here and travel on the clear waters of the Nongkhnum island in Meghalaya. A visit to Nongkhnum island is a must on your visit to Shillong.
Our Shillong Tour with our American Guests ~
Ms. Heather Carreiro had contacted us over email to plan a visit to North East India and she was interested in visiting the Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary in Assam along with Shillong and Cherrapunji in Meghalaya. Since she would be travelling with her two young children aged 8 and 5 years she didn’t want to make the itinerary very hectic and limited the sightseeing to certain places only and wanted to give ample time for the children to relax and play around too. We created a simple itinerary that looked like below ~
Nov 4 – Pick up from Guwahati and drive to Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary
Nov 5 – Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary Jeep Safari and Mayong Museum
Nov 6 – Drive to Umiam Lake (3 Hours) and continue to Shillong
Nov 7 – Drive to Cherrapunji and back to Shillong
Nov 8 – Drop off at Guwahati
Day 1 ~ It was the morning of November 4th and today I wa scheduled to pick the family at around 1 PM from Guwahati and then travel to Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary. I reached to the guest house at Bhetapara area in Guwahati at 12.45 PM and Ms. Heather and her two children Gabriel and Aryan were ready to be picked up. The caretaker of the guest house assisted to load the luggage into the car and at around 1.10 PM we started on our journey to Pobitora. I chose the road from inside the city via Narengi to Panikheti, Chandrapur, Burha Mayong to arrive at Pobitora. The city traffic was not too much as it was a sunday and so we easily crossed Guwahati and went on our journey. The drive is very beautiful along the banks of the river Brahmaputra and the beautiful countryside of Assam. The roads are not very good and hence we had to drive slowly. We reached the Assam Downtown University at Panikheti shortly and continued on our drive. We arrived at Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary at around 2.45 PM.
Their stay was arranged at the Arya Eco Resort at Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary and Pankaj the manager of the resort came to greet us. The room was allocated to them and the luggage transferred inside the rooms. I spoke to Pankaj until the time they got fresh and we set out to explore the area around the resort here. The children were all excited to see the natural beauty around as being a part of a modern city they rarely got to see so much greenery around. Heather was staying in Mumbai ince the past year as he was on an assignment in India. o they admired the beautiful forests, garden and paddy fields around along with the fresh air. We walked toward the hanging bridge area that lead to the Elephant Safari ride point at Pobitora. From here we took our time to admire various bird specie around the lake and we also got to sight the elephants at the Elephant Safari point. Next we visited the children’s park area nearby as there was still time to sundown. Gabriel and Aryan played on the see saw, swing and slides in the park while Heather and I discussed our plans for the coming days. At around 4 PM I took leave to come back to Guwahati while they checked into the Arya Eco Resort.
Day 2 ~ The next morning I left home at 6.45 AM to go to Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary. I reached at 8.15 AM and informed Pankaj to get the Jeep ready for our Jeep Safari ride into Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary. I went to the forest office to pay for the entrance fees. We started our ride into Pobitora at 8.30 AM for about an hours duration that was given to us. We spotted our first rhinos in about 10 minutes after our ride into Pobitora. There were 2 of them grazing at the open fields. We admired these endangered animal species at the home of their highest population density – Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary. We continued on our jeep safari. We spotted various birds, Asiatic wild water buffaloes, deers, wild boars and many more rhinos on our ride. At around 9.45 AM we came out of the interiors of Pobitora. Next up we headed to the resort and while the guests went to freshen up, I ordered for a quick breakfast before we headed out again to explore the Mayong Black Magic Museum.
Mayong near Pobitora was the land of black magic in India famous for the presence of various sorcerers who used their magic poweress to do mighty feats like making men disappearing into thin air, converting people into animals or even taming wild beasts magically, etc and something even bigger like making an entire army of men disappear. We reached the museum at 10.30 AM and the caretaker opened it for us. There are many ancient relics here in the museum including ancient scripts where these black magic were written on. We explored the museum and I explained the various artefact present here to them. We finished exploring the museum by 11.30 AM and headed back to the resort. Lunch was ordered and all of us sat at the garden area where we played hangman with the kids. Lunch was served at 12.45 PM and we had our lunch. I took leave at 3 PM and headed back to Guwahati.
Day 3 ~ Today we were to drive to Shillong from Pobitora and I reached the Arya Eco Resort at 8.15 PM. After a quick breakfast the luggage was loaded onto the car and we left at 8.45 AM to Shillong. I did not take the route from inside Guwahati to avoid the traffic and instead I took the route from Chamata to come out from Sonapur to head onto Jorabat and then into Meghalaya. We hadn’t planned on much sightseeing today as it would be a long drive on the hilly roads and we did not want to push the children. We planned on visiting the Umiam lake near Shillong and then explore the Police Bazaar area andthe Ward’s lake in Shillong before heading to the Cafe Shillong Bed and Breakfast at lower Lachumiere area in Shillong. We reached Umiam Lake near Shillong at 10.30 AM after the long drive. I parked the car and we went to visit the lake.
Umiam lake is the largest artificial water reservoir of North East India. The waters here are very clear and blue in color and a perfect getaway to enjoy boating on the lake. We did not opt to boat here and instead simple enjoyed the view from here. The children went into the water and played for around 20 minute before we clicked our pictures and headed back to our car to drive to Shillong. After driving for a while we entered Shillong city. The traffic in Shillong is always a problem because of the narrow lanes here and we got stuck here. The traffic was inching forward very slowly and it took us a lot of time to cross the Barabazar area here to head towards Shillong Cantonment. By the time we reached the Rhino Point at Shillong it wa already 12.15 PM. We continued on our drive to the Police Bazar area in Shillong after crossing Laban and the Government offices. Heavy traffic greeted us again and gradually we arrived at the Police Bazar area in Shillong. I parked my vehicle at the basement parking here and we started to explore the Police Bazar at Shillong. One of the busiest markets in Shillong, Police Bazar is the place to be here as various small and big shop owners come here everyday to carry out their routine business in Shillong.
We visited the handicrafts shops here in Shillong and Heather bought some handmade goods to take back home. After 30 minute we went to have our lunch at the Center Point Hotel in Shillong. One of the luxurious hotels in Shillong the Center Point Restaurant serves fine dining Chinese and Indian Cuisine in Shillong. We ordered our lunch and in 20 minutes our lunch was served. We ordered momos, pizzas and I had fried rice here. After our lunch we headed to visit the Ward’s lake area in Shillong city. Ward’s lake is an artificial lake here and the most popular tourist attraction of Shillong city. This lake was commissioned in the year 1894 by the then Commissioner of Assam. A very beautiful place in Shillong, we explored the Ward’s lake for around 30 minutes. There is also a provision of boating on the lake but we didn’t opt to boat.
Next as the children were tired, we proceeded to the Hotel. Their stay was booked at the Cafe Shillong Bed and Breakfast at the lower Lachumiere area in Shillong We continued to the Malki point area and then headed up to find the place. We reached there soon and the guests checked into the Hotel in Shillong. I had my stay booked closeby at the White Orchid guest house and so after saying goodbye I checked into my guest house. The white orchid is a small budget guest house in Shillong located near the Dhankheti area of Shillong. A decent place to stay but no noise and ruckus is allowed here as this is a residential area in Shillong. I checked in my room and after sometime I went out to visit the area nearby. Dhankheti area is a commercial area in Shillong and there are lots of local eateries here. To enjoy traditional Khasi cuisine this is the place to be in Shillong. The most famous landmark here is the Mary Help of Christian Cathedral. A beautiful blue colored architecture, this is the oldest catholic church of Shillong. I looked around the cathedral admiring its grand architecture and then came out.
The area also has numerous modern cafes that serves delicious food along with live music as well. I returned back to the guest house in Shillong by 6 PM. As it was the festival of Diwali, I could see the people getting ready for the celebrations to burst fire cracker. My friends from Shillong came over to my place to pay a visit. We ordered our dinner and by 10 PM I retired to bed.
Day 4 ~ The next day I got up at 6 AM and we were scheduled to visit Cherrapunji from Shillong today and after exploring Cherrapunji we were to come back to Shillong before sundown. I got ready and after a quick breakfast I went to pick up Heather’s family from Cafe Shillong. After picking them up we continued on our drive to Cherrapunji. In sometime we reached the Upper Shillong area. As today was a State holiday there was not too much traffic. The roads looked beautiful as there were cherry blossoms all around and Shillong was getting ready to host the annual Cherry Blossom Festival from Nov 14. We crossed Upper Shillong area to reach the point of the Shillong peak. The highest point of the East Khasi Hills, the Shillong Peak is a very popular tourist attraction of Shillong. But as it was closed today we couldn’t visit the place and instead headed to Cherrapunji. The drive to Cherrapunji from Shillong is very scenic and the family enjoyed the drive. We reached Cherrapunji at around 10 AM and I headed to the first sightseeing point – the Nohkalikai Falls. We arrived at the Nohkalikai falls at 10.20 AM and I parked my vehicle and we set out to explore the tallest plunge waterfall in India. The view of the waterfall was spectacular with pristine clear blue waters. After clicking our pictures we went ahead to explore the nearby local shops that sell goods like local cinnamon, local pepper, local turmeric, freshly made pickles, handicrafts and handlooms and freshly cut fruits. We ordered for freshly cut pineapples and enjoyed it with salt.
Next up we headed to the Mawsmai caves at Cherrapunji. The most popular caves of Meghalaya, Mawsmai caves is visited by hundreds of tourists every day. A very old cave formation, only a part of the cave is opened for exploration by tourists. We entered the caves and saw the various stalactites and stalagmites. The children loved the adventure of exploring the cave and in sometime we came out of the Mawsmai cave. Next up we headed to the Seven Sister Falls here. The fourth tallest waterfall in India, the Seven Sister Falls overlooks the valleys of Meghalaya and the plains of Bangladesh. As winter was approaching and the rains had reduced there was less water in the waterfalls and we could only sight the valleys clearly. Next we decided to stop for lunch. Our lunch was at the Orange roots restaurant at Cherrapunji where we had a very tasty lunch of Masala Dosa, Cheese Doa, Vegetarian Thali and Roti with paneer. By the time our lunch was over it was 1.15 PM. Next up we headed to explore the Arwah caves at Cherrapunji.
We entered the Arwah cave and it was a magical experience to be inside here. A small stream flows inside the caves and numerous stalactites and stalagmites and fossils can be seen here inside the Arwah caves. We explored inside the cave for about 30 minutes and then came out. As we were waiting down there was a viewpoint area where we could spot the Wah Kaba falls and the majetic valleys of Cherrapunji. There was a play swing here as well where the children played for a while. We left the Arwah caves and Cherrapunji too after this. Next we took the long drive to Shillong. We reached Upper Shillong area by 4 PM and headed to Shillong city. We did not plan on anything more for the day as the children were already quite tired. We reached lower Lachumiere area by 4.30 PM and dropped them at Cafe Shillong Bed and Breakfast and I headed to my Guest house. I ordered for dinner to be served at 9 PM and I went out again to explore the area to eat something. I entered a fast food shop here in Shillong and ordered for pork noodle soup. It was very delicious and after finishing it I came back to my guest house. Everyone wa bursting firecrackers and I was watching the celebration from the terrace of my guest house in Shillong. By 9.30 I had my dinner and went to bed as tonite was the last night at Shillong – the Scotland of the East!
Day 5 ~ I got up at 6 AM and went out for a short walk around the area of the guest house. We were to leave at 9 PM today and so I was at leisure. At sharp 9 AM we left the Cafe Shillong Bed and Breakfast in Shillong and headed to the Don Bosco Museum at Mawlai area in Shillong. The finest museum in North East India, the Don Bosco Museum in Shillong illustrates the rich culture and heritage of the people of North East India. Spread across seven floors, it has around 16 different galleries highlighting the lives and practices of the indigenous people of North East India. We explored the museum in Shillong and later headed on the top where there is a skywalk and from where we can get an aerial view of Shillong city. At 11 AM we left the Don Bosco Museum in Shillong to go to Guwahati. We stopped for lunch at the Jiva’s Veg Restaurant at Nongpoh. The lunch was very hygenic and tasty. After lunch we headed to Guwahati. We reached Guwahati at 3 PM and I dropped my guests at their guest house in Azara area in Guwahati. I bid goodbye to them wishing them a safe forward journey to Mumbai and our tour ended successfully!
To Plan your visit to Shillong with Kaziranga National Park please fill the form below:
Popular Hotels and Resorts in Shillong ~
1| Pinewood Hotel ~ Rita Road ~ Shillong
2| Hotel Polo Towers ~ Oakland Road ~ Shillong
3| The Center Point Hotel ~ Police Bazar ~ Shillong
4| Hotel Tripura Castle ~ Cleve Colony ~ Shillong
5| Ri Kynjai – Serenity by the Lake ~ Umniuh Khwan ~ Umiam ~ Shillong
6| Hotel Blue Berry Inn ~ Rita Road ~ Shillong
7| Cafe Shillong Bed and Breakfast ~ Lower Lachumiere ~ Shillong
8| Landmark Hills ~ Nongrim Hills ~ Laitumkhrah ~ Shillong
9| LRH Chalet ~ Lower Lachumiere ~ Shillong
10| Hotel Poinisuk ~ Laitumkhrah ~ Shillong
11| The Heritage Club Hotel ~ Clive Colony ~ Shillong
12| Windmere Resorts ~ Umpling ~ Shillong
13| Hotel Heige VNS ~ Dhankheti ~ Shillong
14| Hotel Indiana ~ Police Bazar ~ Shillong
15| Hotel Knight Inn ~ NEEPCO ~ Shillong
16| Hotel Alpine Continental ~ Quinton Road ~ Shillong
17| Hotel Pegasus Crown ~ Police Bazar ~ Shillong
18| Hotel Gateway Shillong ~ Keating Road ~ Shillong
19| The Majestic Hotel ~ Polo Market ~ Shillong
20| White Orchid Guest House ~ Dhankheti ~ Shillong
21| Nalgare’s Guest House ~ Laban ~ Shillong
22| Sunrise Guest House ~ Laban ~ Shillong
23| Ashiana Guest House ~ Laban ~ Shillong
24| Bonnie’ Guest House ~ Laban ~ Shillong
25| Hotel Orchid Annex ~ Polo Road ~ Shillong
26| Best Holiday Inn ~ Upper Lachumiere ~ Shillong
27| The Pear Tree ~ Lower Lachumiere ~ Shillong
28| Little Castle Inn ~ Jail Road ~ Shillong
29| The Lily Guest House ~ Bishnupur Point ~ Shillong
30| Cherry Blossom Inn ~ Rynjah ~ Shillong
31| Treebo Markynti Guest House ~ Madanrting ~ Shillong
32| Hotel Blue Mount ~ Police Bazar ~ Shillong
33| Eee Cee Hotel ~ Police Bazar ~ Shillong
34| Hotel Lake View Inn ~ Police Bazar ~ Shillong
35| Kaizun Bed and Breakfast ~ Lower Lachumiere ~ Shillong
Very Popular Restaurants in Shillong ~
1| City Hut Family Dhaba ~ Oakland Road ~ Shillong
2| Jiva Sizzlers ~ G S Road ~ Shillong
3| Bamboo Hut Restaurant ~ G S Road ~ Shillong
4| Deja Vu ~ G S Road ~ Shillong
5| Souper Bowl ~ Laitumkhrah ~ Shillong
6| Cafe Shillong ~ Lower Lachumiere ~ Shillong
7| The Hut Restaurant ~ G S Road ~ Shillong
8| Highway Snacks ~ Shillong
9| Grill Republic ~ Shillong
10| Biryani Kitchen ~ Police Bazar ~ Shillong
11| Hotel Kim Pou ~ Police Bazar ~ Shillong
12| Hotel Suruchi ~ Police Bazar ~ Shillong
13| Delhi Mistan Bhandar ~ Police Bazar ~ Shillong
14| City Wok Restaurant ~ Police Bazar ~ Shillong
15| Barbecue Chinese Hut ~ Police Bazar ~ Shillong
16| Naga Mandarin ~ Police Bazar ~ Shillong
17| Omega Cafe ~ Laitumkhrah ~ Shillong
18| ML05 Cafe ~ Upper Shillong ~ Shillong
19| Soyliana Hut ~ Upper Shillong ~ Shillong
20| Dosa Point ~ Laitumkhrah ~ Shillong
21| Foodies Hub ~ Major district Road ~ Shillong
22| Hongkong Restaurant ~ Police Bazar ~ Shillong
23| The Food Solution ~ Laitumkhrah ~ Shillong
24| Soul Kitchen ~ Mawroh ~ Shillong
25| Dylan’s Cafe ~ Tripura Castle Road ~ Shillong
26| Tashi Restaurant ~ Police Bazar ~ Shillong
27| Magnum Opus Bar ~ Laitumkhrah ~ Shillong
28| Temptations Food Court ~ Dhankheti ~ Shillong
29| Palomino ~ St Edmund College ~ Shillong
30| Great Wall China ~ Police Bazar ~ Shillong
31| Tibet Kitchen Restaurant ~ Glory Plaza ~ Shillong
32| Ms Appa Thali ~ Police Point ~ Shillong
33| Naga Rice Hotel ~ Keating Road ~ Shillong
34| Dexter’s Kitchen ~ Jaiaw ~ Shillong
35| Root Kitchen ~ Laitumkhrah ~ Shillong
Famous Hospitals of Shillong ~
1| Bethany Hospital ~ Nongrim Hills ~ Shillong
2| Woodland Hospital ~ Dhankheti ~ Shillong
3| Civil Hospital ~ Laban ~ Shillong
4| Nazareth Hospital ~ Laban ~ Shillong
5| NEIGRIHMS ~ Mawdiangdiang ~ Shillong
6| Super Care Hospital ~ Near Transport Office ~ Shillong
7| Jiban Ram Goenka Hospital ~ Shillong
8| The Children’s Hospital ~ Near St. John’s White Hall ~ Shillong
9| Military Hospital ~ NH 44 ~ Shillong
10| Meghalaya Institute of Mental Health and Neuroscience ~ Pasteur Hills ~ Shillong
11| EMRI Hospitals ~ Shillong
12| Ganesh Das Hospital ~ Polo Hills ~ Shillong
13| Ramakrishna Mission State Dispensary ~ Near Police Station ~ Shillong
14| Hope Clinic ~ Pine Mount Ridge ~ Shillong
15| Mission Nethralaya ~ Nongthymmai ~ Shillong
Exploring Shillong with local friends ~ A Day out at Shillong on a Saturday
It has been a while since I had met my friends in Shillong as many of our tours were focussed away from Shillong at other destinations of North East India across Meghalaya, Assam and Nagaland at Cherrapunji, Mawlynnong, Dawki, Jowai, Kaziranga, Majuli, Kohima, Mon, Dzukou, etc. So in January 2019, I decided to pay a visit to Shillong along with my friend from Guwahati and explore Shillong again on a Saturday as a day outing. We planned to have a small picnic near Shillong along with my friends and then have lunch at a popular cafe in Upper Shillong (ML 05 Cafe) and later travel back to Guwahati after a visit at the Don Bosco Museum in Shillong after making a final stop at the Cafe Coffee Day near Nongpoh area in Meghalaya. I started from my home in Guwahati at 7 AM and headed to Rajgarh Road area in Guwahati to pick up my friend and by the time we left Guwahati it was 7.30 AM.
As today was a 4th Saturday, offices and government institutions in Shillong would be closed due to a govt. holiday and so we did not expect much traffic on the roads while entering Shillong city from barapani which is always a bottleneck when it comes to visiting the ‘Scotland of the East’ at Shillong. So intentionally we planned on visiting Shillong on a saturday when offices in Shillong had a holiday. We crossed the bus terminus at Khanapara in Guwahati and reached Jorabat and from here we took a right to travel to Meghalaya as the road on left leads to Kaziranga National Park, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Upper Assam continuing upto China following the historic Stilwell Road and upto Myanmar and Thailand following the road from Nagaland across Moreh in Manipur.
Shortly we arrived at Burnihat area in Meghalaya where we made a quick stop to fill up petrol in the car. Fuel prices in Meghalaya are slightly cheaper than Assam so we got our tank filled for about INR 1000. We did not have our breakfast as it was still quite early in the morning and so we decided to make our next stop at Nongpoh area in Meghalaya for breakfast. We reached the toll gate area before Nongpoh and we paid our toll tax here for a to and fro ride for INR 95 and continued on our drive to Nongpoh town. Nongpoh town in a favorite stopover for visitors to Shillong and Cherrapunji in Meghalaya as it allows visitors and the driver as well to take a break after the drive from Guwahati. There are many restaurants and food joints and roadside dhabas as well that cater to the taste buds of various people. From dedicated vegetarian restaurants to multicuisine ones, visitors to Meghalaya find all varieties of food here at Nongpoh. The small eateries at the Nongpoh bus stand serve ethnic Khasi meals as well. The most popular restaurants at Nongpoh are Jivas Veg, Zen Cafe and Restaurant, Sardarji Da Dhaba, woodlands Dhaba, Cafe Coffee Day, Aram Dhaba and Restaurant, Excellencia and many more. The most popular restaurant among all the tourists at Nongpoh is the Jivas Veg. It offers multi cuisine vegetarian food and is a clean and well maintained restaurant of Nongpoh. We wanted to try a south indian breakfast here at Jivas but when we were about to enter the restaurant we could see a huge line of cars parked here and so we decided to skip this place as it would take much of our time and we continued to drive ahead to another place near Nongpoh.
We made our halt at the Excellencia Dhaba and Restaurant slightly ahead of Nongpoh town. This is the second most nice place for food at Nongpoh after Jivas Veg Restaurant. This is a multicuisine restaurant offering both veg and non veg food option to its visitors. As it was breakfast time we wanted to settle with a normal Indian breakfast of Puri Sabji and tea. There are special breakfast offerings in the menu as well like Special Indian breakfast and American breakfast. We ordered Puri sabji, omelette and tea. breakfast was served and after breakfast we continued on our drive to Shillong. Next stop we made was at the Umiam lake near Shillong. We went down to the waters of the lake at the Umiam lake sports complex where boating and other sports activities are organized as well. We explored the crystal clear waters of the Umiam lake and took our time breathing in the fresh air here. We took a short walk near the lake and then started on our drive to Shillong city.
Our prediction turned out to be correct as there was not much traffic in Shillong city today. We crossed the narrow lanes of Shillong and gradually approached the Rhino point from where we head to take a left to Shillong city. Out first stop in Shillong city was at the Laban area where I had to make reservations at 2 hotels for an upcoming tour in the month of March. We arrived at the Nalgare’s guest house in Shillong where I met with the manager Mr. Porimal whom I had known from before from many of our earlier bookings in Shillong. He confirmed availability and I proceeded with the room bookings. Next we walked to the Sunrise Guest House in Shillong where I had to make reservations for the rest of the group as Nalgare’s guest house in Shillong could accomodate 15 members of the group and the other 15 members had to be accommodated at the Sunrise Guest House. This guest house is also located in the Laban area in Shillong and is a decent place to stay here in Shillong. The rooms are very spacious and neat and clean. There is a lawn area as well as a huge dining hall to accomodate around 50 guests easily. We completed the booking process and then my friend and I left Laban to head to Police Bazar in Shillong where our friends own an electronics shop in the heart of the Police Bazaar. Their shop was open for the first half today so we went to meet them at their shop in Shillong. We were meeting after 2 months and so we had lots to talk about. But as there were customers at the shop we decided to postpone our talks. It was around 11 AM and they would close their shop at 12 noon so we decided to explore the Police Bazaar and also the Wards lake in Shillong as well with my friend from Guwahati and then plan out our day at Mawphlang near Shillong. We headed out to explore police bazar market area in Shillong. The market was bustling with activity here with various vendors selling different types of good here. Also the traditional archery betting shops were also open and we could see the local people of Shillong placing their bets on certain numbers as it is the practice of this game. We explored other small shops that were selling traditional bamboo handicrafts and local Khasi handlooms.
Next up we went to visit the Ward’s lake in Shillong. Dug out during the era of the British, the Ward’s lake is the most popular tourist attraction in the heart of Shillong city. Every day hundreds of visitors come to visit the Ward’s lake in Shillong. We purchased our entry tickets to enter the Ward’s lake. A beautifully maintained green campus area, the waters of this lake is very clear and allows visitors with an opportunity to enjoy boating as well at an additional cost. We did not have much time to enjoy a boat ride and instead we chose to take a hike around the lake. Shillong was very cold and frequent walks ensured that we kept ourselves warm. By the time we were back to our friend’s shop it was 12.15 PM and they were about to close their shop. We left Shillong at 12.30 PM to head to Upper Shillong and then continue further to a place near Mawphlang. We reached Mawphlang at around 1.15 PM. Some other local friends also joined us and we sat down in a place where we grabbed some beers and spoke for sometime. We finished by 2 PM and then came back to Upper Shillong area where we made a halt at the ML 05 cafe and it was around 2.30 PM.
The ML 05 cafe is a very popular cafe in Upper Shillong area and has a beautiful theme of vintage cars and motorbikes. The entry road to the cafe is across a path covered with tall trees and the view is wonderful. The Dept. of Horticulture of Meghalaya have their gardens here and the beautiful flowers welcomes you at the ML 05 cafe in Upper Shillong. There is a big car parking area here and we parked our cars here. The cafe is on the first floor and once you enter you can see various pictures of cars and motorbikes. There is a vintage Royal Enfield bike on display and the walls of the ML 05 cafe are adorned with hangings of the history of various vintage cars in India. On the entrance at the left there is a cozy low seating and dining area. Then there are tables and chairs and cane seats to dine here at the ML 05 cafe in Upper Shillong.
We took our seats and placed our food order after a quick look at the menu. We ordered the speciality of the day viz. grilled pork, 2 plates of steamed chicken momo, shillong special fried rice and classic shillong noodles. The service is quite quick here and also the fact that there were only four other customers apart from us four as the local friends who joined us at Mawphlang left to their home in Shillong. The food was amazingly delicious and well presented as well. We took our time to complete our lunch and at around 3.30 PM we left the ML 05 cafe and Upper Shillong. We bid goodbye to our friends at the Rhino point in Shillong and we took a left to head to Guwahati. As we were already late we had to skip our visit to the Don Bosco Museum in Shillong.
We crossed Shillong to arrive at Nongpoh in Meghalaya. We made a final stop at the Cafe Coffee Day at Nongpoh. This CCD is at a perfect location away from the city hustle and gives visitors an opportunity to enjoy their coffee in the pleasant weather of Nongpoh town. We ordered Cappuccinos and Burgers here and enjoyed the views of the mountains of Meghalaya sipping our cup of coffee. After this we headed on our drive back to Guwahati. I dropped my friend at her place in Rajarh and then I returned to my home to arrive by 7 PM. It was a memorable day in Shillong city and I look forward eagerly in visiting Shillong in the month of March with the group tour.
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On our first tour ~ Shillong, Guwahati, Kaziranga National Park, etc.
The first tour of our company was conducted in the month of April 2016 with Mr. Gopikrishna’s family from Bangalore. Theri Itinerary looked like below ~
Day 1 ~ Guwahati – Cherrapunji
Day 2 ~ Cherrapunji – Dawki – Mawlynnong – Shillong
Day 3 ~ Shillong – Kaziranga National Park
Day 4 ~ Kaziranga National Park – Jorhat
Day 5 ~ Jorhat – Majuli Island – Jorhat
Day 6 ~ Jorhat – Sivasagar – Dibrugarh – Guwahati
Day 7 ~ Guwahati – Bangalore
I had booked a Toyota Innova vehicle for the family while I took my car as a backup vehicle and my friend had joined me along. My friend, the Innova driver and myself went to the Guwahati airport on the 21st of April, 2016 to receive Mr. Gopi’s family. The flight was on time and by the time we left the airport it was around 8 AM. We were scheduled to visit the Maa Kamakhya temple in Guwahati before proceeding on our drive to Cherrapunji in Meghalaya via Shillong. We arrived at the Maa Kamakhya temple in Guwahati and proceeded for our ‘Temple Darshan’. I had purchased VIP entry tickets for the family to go inside the temple shrine quickly as there is always a long queue of devotees waiting to enter the premises of the Maa Kamakhya Temple in Guwahati. One of the temple priests was requested to show them around inside the premises of the temple. While the family went inside to seek blessings of Maa Kamakhya, my friend and I went to have our breakfast. We finished our breakfast and by 10 AM the family was out of the temple shrine as well. After briefing them about the history of the Maa Kamakhya temple we started on our drive to Cherrapunji from Guwahati.
Our next stop was at the Umiam Lake in Barapani near Shillong. The beautiful waters of this lake is to leave any visitor spellbound. we made a stop here after the long drive and people needed time to stretch their legs as well. The view of the Umiam lake from the viewpoint was breathtaking. I ordered for black tea for everyone here. There was an old lady selling maize that was being roasted on charcoal fire. We ordered it too and after clicking our pictures here we continued on our drive to cross Shillong to Cherrapunji. We reached Shillong shortly and then there was traffic as usual on the narrow lanes of Shillong city. It took us about 45 minutes to cross Shillong to reach the Rhino Point from where we took a right to go to Upper Shillong and continue further to Cherrapunji. After crossing Upper Shillong we made our halt for lunch at the Highway Shacks Dahaba at Mylliem.
As the family was vegetarian we ordered for veg thali and paneer masala for them. My friend and I didn’t eat as we were still full from our late breakfast. In sometime we left the place to continue to Cherrapunji from Upper Shillong. We reached Cherrapunji at 3 PM and our first stop here was at the Nohkalikai falls. India’s tallest plunge waterfall, the Nohkalikai falls is the most popular tourist attraction at Cherrapunji. We took our time exploring the local shops here that sell local handicrafts and fresh pepper, cinnamon sticks and fruits as well. Our next stop was the Mawsmai cave in Cherrapunji. A popular cave among the tourists we explored the Mawsmai caves inside taking a look at the various formations of stalactites and stalagmites here. Next up we went to the Seven Sister Falls at Cherrapunji. The Seven Sister falls is the fourth tallest waterfall in India and seven distinct waterfalls can be seen here. The stay of our guests in Cherrapunji was booked at the Hotel Polo Towers just adjacent to the viewpoint of the Seven Sister falls. The best property to stay in Cherrapunji, I helped the guests to check in at the Hotel and after completing the check in formalities I took leave to go to our place of stay at the Coniferous resort in Cherrapunji near Shillong. My friend and I got something to eat at the local market at Cherrapunji and later we retired for the night at the Coniferous resort.
The next morning we started our journey at 8 AM from Cherrapunji to go to Dawki – the border of India and Bangladesh. We returned back from Cherrapunji towards Shillong and after crossing the Mawkdok Valley we had to take a right to go towards Dawki. We crossed Pynursla town and then arrived at Dawki at around 10 AM. At Dawki we first went to the International Border. After seeking permission from the BSF we crossed the border of India to go to no man’s land at the pillar 1275. We clicked our pictures here and later went to the boating point at Dawki to enjoy an hour long boat ride on the clear waters of the Umngot river at Dawki., The family loved the boat ride at Dawki and we left to Mawlynnong village in sometime.
We reached Mawlynnong at around 12.30 PM. Here we at first went to visit the Living Root Bridge of Riwai at Mawlynnong. A short hike down leads to the Living Root Bridge that are indigenous to Meghalaya grown by the Khasi and Jaintia people to help them cross small rivers and streams inside deep forests. We explored the Living Root Bridge at Mawlynnong and later came to the village to have our lunch. We took our seats at a local restaurant here and ordered our food. There were few visitors from Arunachal Pradesh here who belonged to the Apatani tribe from Ziro Valley. Their facial tattoos distinguished them from the other people. I introduced our guests to the Apatani people and then after lunch we explored the Mawlynnong village – the Cleanest Village in Asia. We finished exploring Mawlynnong by 2.30 PM and started on our drive to Shillong. It was a 2 hour drive to Shillong from Mawlynnong and we had to make a halt at the Elephant Falls in Upper Shillong before continuing to reach the Hotel Center Point at Police Bazar in Shillong. We reached the Elephant Falls at 4 PM and took a quiet walk around the place admiring the beauty of the waterfall. We reached the Hotel Center Point at 5.30 PM. I helped the guests to check in at the Hotel Center Point in Shillong and the guests went in to refresh themselves before they headed out to visit the Madina Masjid at Laban area in Shillong. The Madina Masjid is the only glass mosque in India and is located at the heart of Shillong city in Laban. In the evening the mosque gets lit up with green lights and it looks very beautiful. Our guests explored the Glass Mosque in Shillong and later came back to explore the police bazar area in Shillong. As their hotel was located right at police bazar area in Shillong I asked them to explore the market on their own and then return back to their hotel room. Also I looked for a stay close by here in Shillong.
The next morning we started at 8.30 AM from the hotel in Shillong to first explore the Ward’s lake area nearby and then continue to the Cathedral of Mary Help of Christians. We explored these two beautiful places at the heart of Shillong city and continued to go to the Don Bosco Museum in Shillong.
We arrived at the Don Bosco Museum in Shillong at 10.30 AM and I purchased the entry tickets here. It is a seven storied museum that illustrates the rich culture and heritage of the people of North East India here in Shillong. Various floors have different galleries that illustrate the life, customs, traditions and attires of the various tribes of North East India. We finished exploring the Don Bosco Museum in Shillong at 12 PM and started on our drive to Kaziranga National Park from Shillong. On the way we made a halt at Nongpoh for lunch. After lunch we continued to drive to Kaziranga National Park. We crossed Jorabat, Sonapur, Jagiroad and made our next stop at Raha. Here we stopped to take a look at the various bamboo handicrafts of Assam that were on display at the local shops. Our guests bought some things here and then we started on our drive again. We crossed nagaon, Puranigudam, Amoni, Samaguri, Kaliabor, Jakhalabandha and finally arrived at Kaziranga National Park. At Kaziranga National Park, we first made s stop at the view point at Burapahar where we could sight some Rhinoceros from a distance. We admired the beauty of these animals and then went to check into their hotel – the Landmark Woods near Bagori Safari range of Kaziranga National Park. I helped the guests to check into their rooms and later after ordering their dinner I moved out to the Kohora range of Kaziranga National Park to check into my room.
The next day morning the Jeep Safari ride was scheduled at 8 AM into the interiors of Kaziranga National Park from the Bagori Safari range. I reached Landmark Woods at Kaziranga at 7.30 AM and the family were having their breakfast. The Jeep was waiting at the hotel entrance and I spoke to the driver for a while about his experiences of sighting various animals here at Kaziranga National Park during the many Jeep safari rides. The driver informed me of his various close encounters with the animals here like Rhinoceros, Tigers and even a herd of Wild Elephants as well. We started on our Jeep safari ride at 8.15 Am and at first we had to drive a little distance to go to the entrance of the Bagori safari range of Kaziranga National Park. The driver and myself completed the entrance formalities at the forest range office at Bagori and we started on our Jeep Safari ride.
Upon entering the range we could see visitors coming out from their Elephant Safari rides at the Bagori Safari range. Our guests did not choose the Elephant ride and only wanted the Jeep Safari ride here in Kaziranga National Park. We continued on our drive and we could see about four Rhinoceros grazing in the open fields of the park. A little later we sighted Asiatic Wild Water Buffaloes crossing the road ahead of us. Along the ride we also could see various Bird species. Further into the ride we could see Hog Deers and Deers. While returning we got lucky to sight a herd of Wild Elephants as well at the Bagori Safari range of Kaziranga National Park. The Jeep Safari ride was over at 9.45 AM and we returned back to the Hotel at 10 AM. The family went to get their bags packed as we had to continue on our drive to Jorhat after visiting the Kaziranga Orchid and Biodiversity park along the way.
We left Landmark Woods Hotel at 10.30 AM to go to the Kaziranga Orchid and Biodiversity Park – the largest orchid park in India. I got the entry tickets and we started to explore the Kaziranga Orchid Park. At first we visited the green house where we got to see the various indigenous orchid species of Assam and North East India. Some of these orchids were blooming as well and they plants looked extremely beautiful with the flowers on them. Then we went to the display room of the indigenous handicrafts and handlooms of Assam. A little ahead is the gallery that has pictures of hundreds of orchid species of North East India. The rice museum displaying various types of rice varieties available in North East India is also present here. Then there is a souvenir hall and a cactus garden as well. A huge open stage is also present at the Kaziranga Orchid Park that sees display of various traditional dance forms of Assam like Bihu and bamboo dances. At around 12.30 PM we finished exploring the Kaziranga Orchid Park and started on our drive to Jorhat.
On the way we made a halt at the Numaligarh Dhaba for lunch. We reached Jorhat at around 3 PM and we went at first to check into their hotel – the MD’s Continental at Marwari Patty area in Jorhat. The MDs Continental is one of the best Hotels in Jorhat area. There was a Marwari wedding ceremony being held at the Hotel so there were many guests around. I helped the guests to check into their rooms after which I took my car to a garage as it had developed a noise while applying brakes. The brake shoe had to be replaced so I went back to the Hotel again in the Innove vehicle. After half an hour we went to visit the Dhekiakhowa Bornamghar near Jorhat. The Dhekiakhowa Bornamghar is home to the Oldest Burning Oil Lamp in the World. We went inside the Namghar premises where the guests lit their lamps and incense sticks in prayer. The Namghar Bhakat came around and he opened the doors to the main prayer room at the Dhekiakhowa Bornamghar. Here we could see the oldest burning oil lamp in the World that was lit in the 1400s and has been burning continuously since then. After finishing our prayers we came to explore the hall of the Namghar and we took our time admiring the beautiful paintings on the Namghar walls and in some time we left the place to go to the Lachit Borphukan Maidam at Jorhat. Lachit Borphukan was one of the brave Generals of the Ahom army and this place was his ancestral home that has now been converted into a museum. Various artefacts from his life are preserved here as well. We took a walk around the place and also the big lawn area here and later returned to Jorhat. I dropped the guests at the Hotel and went to pick up my car from the garage and then I went to my Aunt’s place in Jorhat.
The next morning we were scheduled to go to the largest River Island in the World – Majuli Island. We started from the hotel at 7.15 AM to reach the Neemati Ghat to catch the 8 AM ferry to Majuli Island. The innova driver dropped us here and another vehicle would pick us up at Majuli Island. We reached Majuli after crossing the river Brahmaputra on a ferry boat at 9 AM. The Jeep driver was waiting for us and we boarded the Jeep to go to Majuli Island. Our first stop was at the Auniati Satra in Majuli Island. One of the most popular Satras of Majuli we explored the Satra and then continued to visit the Samaguri Satra in Majuli renowned across the World for its art of traditional mask making under the able guidance of its Satradhikar Dr. Hemchandra Goswami. At the Samaguri Satra we witnessed the art of mask making from scratch where the students showed us how they prepare a bamboo structure and coat it with a special mud and then wrap a piece of cloth and later paint these masks as well. We also got to witness how they use these masks to perform in traditional plays here in Majuli.
After this we went to the Uttar Kamalabari Satra in Majuli Island. This Satra is renowned for their practice of the ‘Sattriya Nritya’ – one among the 8 classical dance forms of India. We finished exploring the Uttar Kamalabari Satra and later returned the Kamalabari market for lunch. After lunch we headed to the Ghat to board our ferry back to Jorhat. We reached Jorhat by 4 PM and the guests returned to their rooms. I instructed the driver to take the guests around the local market at Jorhat in the evening as they wanted to buy some indigenous silk products of Assam to take home.
The next day morning we were scheduled to leave to Dibrugarh at 7 AM in the morning as the guests had to catch their flight to Guwahati at 1.30 PM. We left Jorhat at 7.30 AM before making our stops at Sivasagar. We reached Sivasagar at 9 AM and we explored the Talatal Ghar, Rang Ghar and the Sivadol at Sivasagar. We reached Dibrugarh airport at 12 PM and I dropped the guests at the airport to be picked up by another vehicle in Guwahati who would drop them at Hotel Radisson Blue and in the evening take them to a river cruise ride and finally drop them off at the Guwahati airport the next day for their flight to Bangalore.
Exploring Mawphlang from Shillong ~
We keep conducting tours across Meghalaya and one place noteworthy of mention is Mawphlang. Mawphlang is a destination close to Shillong and is slowly gaining prominence as a prime tourist destination because of the Sacred Grove forests. Visitors to Mawphlang from Shillong who area adventure enthusiasts can also take up the challenge of the David Scott Trail Trek which is a 16 km long trek route that starts at Mawphlang and ends at Lad Mawphlang and takes you across the virgin forests, clean water streams, the beautiful countryside and two local villages of Meghalaya. Whenever we have visitor groups who choose to explore David Scott Trek with us we halt the previous night at Shillong and then travel to Mawphlang from Shillong the next day and after completing our visit to the Khasi Hills Sacred Groves we embark on the David Scott trek along with an able local guide.
At mawphlang we start by exploring the Sacred Groves and the Khasi Heritage village here near Shillong. The word ‘Maw’ means ‘Stone’ and ‘mawphlang’ means “grassy stone,” and is one of many settlements in the Khasi hills named after monoliths. We start our tour with exploring the Khasi hills sacred groves and Mawphlang near Shillong. Considered to be sacred among the local people, these sacred groves is a rich biodiversity forest harboring various species of plants and animals. In the earlier times, the Khasi elderly used to come to the sacred groves and offer prayers to the monoliths present here that in turn predicted the upcoming year to these people. Other ancient rituals were also performed at the Sacred groves at Mawphlang near Shillong. This sacred groves forest is home to over 200 species of rare orchids indigenous to North East India and also harbors a rich variety of medicinal plants as well including one whose bark can be used to treat cancer. Various wildlife are to be found deep inside the forests of the sacred groves of Mawphlang. No tree is allowed to be cut from the sacred groves forest and also people committing nuisance inside the forests are to bring upon them a doom as well. Visitors to Mawphlang from Shillong can either take a short or a long tour of the Khasi Sacred Groves at mawphlang accompanied by a local guide who lets you know about the importance and the varied diversity of the place.
Located close to the Sacred groves at Mawphlang near Shillong is the Khasi heritage village. originally constructed to showcase the rich culture of the Khasi tribes of Meghalaya during the Monolith festival, this place now sees visitors everyday who come to explore Mawphlang near Shillong. The heritage village has traditional houses of the Khasi people on display and visitors can take a walk around these model homes as well. You can take a walk around the lush green area of the heritage village that overlooks a valley with the eastern himalayas as the backdrop. After this you can travel to the trek start point of the David Scott trek at Mawphlang near Shillong. After paying a small contribution at a small shop which is located at the start of the trek you can embark on your trek and come out at Lad Mawphlang to either go back to Shillong or travel onwards to Cherrapunji.
Exploring Mawsynram from Shillong ~
When you are visiting Shillong you should not miss out on the opportunity of visiting Mawsynram Village. Mawsynram records the highest annual rainfall anywhere in the World and is often referred to as the wettest place on planet Earth near Shillong. The drive to Mawsynram from shillong takes about 2 hours and you need to take a right diversion from Mawphlang area. The roads are narrow but in good condition to travel to Mawsynram from Shillong. We explored Mawsynram from Shillong in a day and returned to Guwahati by evening. We visited Shillong for a friend’s wedding and had spent the night in one of the hotels at Laban area in Shillong. As the celebrations went on a little late into the night we got up slightly late the next morning and we wanted to go to Mawlyngbna but we had to cut our visit short by just exploring Mawsynram from Shillong and then heading back to Guwahati to reach by evening. We reached Mawsynram at around 11 AM and at first we started by exploring the Mawjymbuin cave in Mawsynram. A beautiful place we went inside the cave where there is a Shiva Linga present. We finishing exploring this cave in Mawsynram and continued to visit Jakrem hot spring here. A nice place where the hot waters of the spring are believed to have healing properties. After this we went to the Mawsynram local market that on display various exquisite bamboo handicrafts on display and sale. We had a Khasi traditional lunch at the market and then returned to Guwahati after crossing Shillong.
Exploring Shillong and Meghalaya with Team Ambition Adventures – Mumbai
In the month of October 2017, the outdoor trekking group from Mumbai – Ambition Adventures had planned their visit to Shillong and other destinations across Meghalaya with us. The tour was a mix of various activities like sightseeing, trekking, caving, local interactions and much more. They arrived at the Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi International airport in Guwahati on the 11th of October 2017 at 11 AM and we started our drive to Shillong from Guwahati at around 12 PM. I interacted with the 14 member group who were a mix of various professionals in the late 20’s and early 30’s. There were engineers, Chartered Accountants, lawyers all as a part of the group who engage in adventure activities like hiking, caving, cycling to beat the stress of a busy city life in Mumbai to keep themselves rejuventated. They had come to North East India for the first time and I took time to explain the the group about North East India, our people, our culture, traditions, foods and various other places of tourists interest. The Hornbill Festival of Nagaland interested them a lot and they had decided to make their next visit to North East India to coincide with the celebrations of the Hornbill festival.
We arrived at Nongpoh at 1 PM and as the group was hungry from their long flight I asked them to have their lunch at the Jiva’s veg restaurant here. They ordered assorted items for the group like sandwiches, noodles, french fries, dosa, fried rice, etc. My friend and I went to the nearby Nongpoh bus stand along with the Tempo Traveller driver and his handyman to have our lunch at a local Khasi restaurant that served us traditional Khasi food of rice, dal, potato sabji, mix tomato and chilli chutney and boiled fish curry with spinach. Spinach is an important vegetable in the Khasi diet and it is available in plenty across Meghalaya and North East India as well. After our lunch we continued on our drive to Shillong.
Our next stop was at the beautiful man made water reservoir of the Umiam Lake at Barapani near Shillong. The crystal clear waters here look very appealing and the sun’s rays reflecting from the water makes it all the more spectacular. We stopped here for tea and to click pictures. I discussed with the group about the plan for today and after a while we continued to drive to Shillong. In sometime we reached Shillong city. The landscapes of Shillong city resembles to the ones in Scotland and hence the Britishers had referred to Shillong as the ‘Scotland of the East’. We could see the various traditional and modern shops alongside the roads of Shillong. I explained to the group about the Khasi people and their culture and the matrilineal system prevalent here as the group was curious as to why most of the shops were being run by the women folks here. As 50% of the group comprised of girls they were impressed with this and they wanted to learn more about the culture which I told them we would interact with the Khasi people of Mawlynnong village. We crossed Shillong and headed to Upper Shillong to visit the Elephant falls here.
The Elephant falls is a very popular tourist destination in shillong and is a three step cascading waterfall. One of the falls is on top and one in the middle and the most grand one is down. A flight of stairs helps visitors to climb down and admire the natural beauty of the three waterfalls. I guided the group across the stairs and they took time admiring the waterfall and clicking their pictures., After 30 minutes we came back from the Elephant falls in Upper Shillong and headed to the market area of Shillong at Police Bazar. We reached Police Bazar at around 5 Pm. The group got down from the vehicle and they started exploring Police Bazar area in Shillong. My friend and I went to meet our local friends at their electronics store here in Shillong. After about an hour everybody was back in the vehicle and we stared on our drive to the Guest House located at Laban area in shillong – the Nalgare’s Guest House. We arrived at 6.30 PM due to the heavy traffic on the roads of Shillong city. I helped everybody check into their rooms and after checking with the group I placed their order for dinner to be served in their rooms. My friend and myself returned to a guest house close by here in Shillong.
The next day morning we got up and after breakfast we started on our drive to Mawphlang from Shillong to visit the Khasi Sacred Groves Forest and also to embark on the David Scott Trek. We reached Mawphlang at 9.15 AM and I had arranged for a local guide here who would take us on a tour across the Sacred Grove Forests, the Khasi Heritage Village and finally guide us along the David Scott trek as well to end at Lad Mawphlang. Mr. Bun our guide greeted us and we started on the tour of the Sacred Groves forest here at Mawphlang near Shillong. We finished exploring the sacred groves forest and then took our time exploring the model Khasi heritage village here and later left to the trek start point near Bun’s house at Mawphlang near Shillong. As the vehicle would drop us here and then wait for us at the trek end point, I made the group ensured that they had all necessary belongings with them to go on the David Scott trek including the most important ‘Rain gears’. Rains here in Meghalaya are very unpredictable and it is always advisable to carry rain gear along.
Shortly we started on the David Scott trek and the beautiful valleys of Meghalaya greeted us on the start of the trek. The river Umiam was also flowing across with us along our trek. The first half of the trek is a climb down the hills crossing small streams and valleys and forests until you reach the suspension bridge. From here it is a flat land hike until you cross a larger stream. While we were crossing the stream it started to rain and all of us put on our rain gear. After crossing this stretch it is an uphill climb. We stopped at a place to have our lunch of instant noodles and snacks. Then we approached a local village here. At the village there is a small shop that sells water bottles and maggi noodles. We bought maggi for us and a few bottles of water as well. Then we hiked again to reach the trek end point at Lad Mawphlang. It was exhausting yet we felt refreshed after completion of the David Scott Trek at Lad Mawphlang near Shillong. After this we continued on our drive to Cherrapunji our next destination for night halt after Shillong. We arrived at Cherrapunji at 6.30 PM and we checked into the Nalgare’s Homestay here. The group settled in their rooms and after ordering dinner for them my friend and I headed to the Saimika resort at Cherrapunji to stay at their dorm room.
The next day we set out to explore the Nohkalikai Falls at Cherrapunji and then continue to drive to Dawki and Mawlynnong. We reached the Nohkalikai falls and started exploring the place. The beautiful waters of the Nohkalikai Falls made everyone speechless and they stood there admiring the beauty of the falls. We took a walk around the viewpoint area of the Nohkalikai falls and then headed on our drive to Dawki from Cherrapunji via the Shillong route. We reached Dawki at around 11.30 AM. At first we went to explore the border area of India and Bangladesh here. Everyone in the group crossed the Indian side of the border and we went up to the pillar 1275 where we clicked our pictures and saw the country of Bangladesh from here. Next up we went to the Dawki boating point from where I hired 3 boats to accommodate the group to enjoy boating on the clear waters of the Umngot river here at Dawki. The boat ride lasted for an hour and everyone came back very happy with the ride.
After this we continued on our drive to Mawlynnong – the Cleanest Village in Asia. After a late lunch her at Mawlynnong, the group set out to explore the Mawlynnong village and then we visited the Riwai Single Decker Living Root Bridge here. We left Mawlynnong at 5.30 PM to return to Cherrapunji at 7.30 PM in the evening. I had ordered for their dinner at the Sohra Plaza Homestay here and they were to stay here tonight as well. My friend and I returned to the Saimika resort at Cherrapunji.
The next day we were to visit the Double Decker Living Root bridge at Nongriat village near Cherrapunji. We had a quick breakfast and embarked on our drive to the Tyrna village from where we would start the long trek to Nongriat village crossing the flight of 3500 stairs. The beautiful forests of Meghalaya greeted us again and we continued on our trek. The weather was humid and so it took a little toll on the group. We finally arrived at Nongriat village and got our glimpse of the grand Umshiang Double Decker Living Root Bridge. The group got quite excited on witnessing this man made bioengineering marvel and they forgot their stress and started to bathe in the water stream here. My friend and I went to the local tea shop to have tea and after about an hour we started on our trek back to Tyrna. Climbing back the flight of 3500 steep stairs is always a challenge and by the time we came back to Tyrna it was around 2 PM. After this we went to the Cherrapunji market to have our lunch. Then we explored the Seven Sister Falls, the Mawsmai Cave and the Cherrapunji local market. We returned to the Homestay at 8 PM and the group had their dinner.
The next morning we had to start early at 7 AM to go to Guwahati as their flight back to Mumbai was scheduled at 2.30 PM. We reached Upper Shillong in sometime and the group clicked their pictures here nearby the tea gardens of Meghalaya of the Horticulture Department. We started on our drive to reach Guwahati at 10.30 AM. We halted at the Gam’s delicacy restaurant in Guwahati as they wanted to try traditional Assamese cuisine lunch. After lunch we went on to a local showroom of handicrafts and handlooms. The group purchased Assam tea and other souvenirs to carry back home. We finally dropped them at the airport at 12.30 PM thereby ending our tour of Shillong and Meghalaya with Ambition Adventures Mumbai.
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