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.
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!
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
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