Tourism in Meghalaya

Meghalaya is one of the most beautiful states in India, yet like other North Eastern states, it is relatively unexplored. Literally meaning ‘Abode of Clouds’, Meghalaya offers a variety of interesting and gorgeous sights which would mesmerize any traveller. Understanding the culture of people of Meghalaya is yet another intriguing journey. Meghalaya promises to leave any traveller spellbound every step of the way. Read on to know why you must travel to Meghalaya and the places you must visit here.

 

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RI Kanaan Guest House - Shillong Meghalaya 19

Shillong

Shillong, the capital city of Meghalaya is the largest and most urban place in the state. Nicknamed by British as ‘Scotland of East’, Shillong serves as an entry point to the state. It offers the diverse set of experiences to tourists from lakes and waterfalls to museums and parks. Most tourists arriving by road from Guwahati stopover at Umiam Lake (about 16 km before Shillong) to catch a glimpse of the breath-taking sunset that Umiam Lake often offers. Wards Lake in the city is another beautiful lake with a garden where tourists flock to see beautiful flowers and do boating. Lady Hydari Park amuses most children and Don Bosco centre for Indigenous cultures offers great insight into history and culture of Northeast India. Other museums which are of interest to tourists are Airforce museum and Ever-Living museum. Elephant Falls, Sweet Falls and Bishop Falls gives a trailer of what Meghalaya can offer in terms of waterfalls. Shillong peak, the highest peak of Meghalaya gives a panoramic view of urban Shillong. Also popular amongst tourists are various markets such as Police Bazaar and Lewduh Market which offers plenty of shopping options. The cafes of Shillong especially those themed around rock music also fascinate many tourists.

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RI Kanaan Guest House - Shillong Meghalaya 22

Mawphlang

About 25 km away from Shillong towards Cherrapunji, Mawphlang sacred forest provides a better understanding of Khasi culture (local tribe) and significance they give to nature. Khasi heritage village and Mawphlang dam are some other places to visit in Mawphlang. The famous David Scott’s trekking trail to starts from Mawphlang. This 16 km trail promises some wonderful views through forests and rivers and is a major attraction for trekkers

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Mawsynram

Mawsynram, a small village in Meghalaya is now world’s wettest place, a title held by Cherrapunji for many years. Tourists love clicking a selfie with a board boasting about the massive amounts of rain here. Mawlyngbna, another small village about 25 kms from Bangladesh border offers yet another interesting trek – Ka Iew Luri Lura which also has a very interesting history. Umkhakoi reservoir provides some unique landscapes and adventure activities such as Kayaking and Ziplining. One can also find pitcher plants – a carnivorous plant that eats insects all around this region. 

 

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RI Kanaan Guest House - Shillong Meghalaya 30

Cherrapunji

Rainfalls which made Cherrapunji a part of every Indian kid’s school textbook have also resulted in numerous waterfalls in the region. While Seven Sister Falls and Nohkalikai are the most famous falls, many other waterfalls around Cherrapunji such as Kynrem Falls, Wah Ka Ba Falls, Dainthlen Falls and Rainbow Falls would equally leave you awestruck. Some caves such as Mawjymbuin Cave, Mawsmai Caves, Garden of Caves and Arwah Caves have interesting stories and unique structures. The famous living root bridges which can be found only in Meghalaya and are built by people to cross rivers and found around this region. Nongriat near Cherrapunji has one of its kind Double Decker Living Root Bridge along with some natural pools and few single living root bridges. The sight of these bridges and relaxing in these pools are some of the most amazing experiences a traveller can have only in Meghalaya.

 

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Mawlynnong

Another famous place in Meghalaya is Mawlynnong – Asia’s cleanest village. This small village which houses barely 100 families is a definite halt for tourists visiting Meghalaya. Just a casual walk around this village and talking to its friendly residents can make your day. There is also the number of living root bridges around Mawlynnong, the most popular one being at Riwai. Travellers especially aged ones who find a 5-6 hour to and fro journey to double-decker bridge at Nongriat too arduous can visit Riwai which is just around few hundred steps from parking. Skyviews built from bamboo which leads you to top of trees and gives magnificent views of surroundings are also commonly found in and around Mawlynnong.                                

 

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RI Kanaan Guest House - Shillong Meghalaya 9

Dawki and Shnongpdeng

Dawki and Shnongpdeng are few other places which should be in any tourist’s itinerary and are bound to captivate your imagination. River Umngot flows through both these places and the crystal clear waters of the river are simply jaw-dropping. One can see shadows of boats at bottom of blue-green transparent waters of Umngot – a sight difficult to find anywhere else in the world except Meghalaya. Shnongpdeng is also a happening camping site which offers various adventure activities to travellers. Apart from Kayaking, Ziplining and usual boating, one can also Snorkel or do Scuba diving at Shnongpdeng.

 

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RI Kanaan Guest House - Shillong Meghalaya 14

Jaintia Hills

While all the above-listed places are part of Khasi hills, the eastern part of Meghalaya is called Jaintia hills and has some lovely attractions too. There is the number of beautiful waterfalls here such as Bophill and Tyrshi Falls but the one that will surely leave your spellbound is Krang Suri Falls. Nartiang monoliths and Durga temple have historic significance and interesting stories. Ialong Park and Umlawan Caves are some other places you can visit while in this area.

 

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As you must have realized by now, Meghalaya is bestowed with the immense natural beauty which will surely make for one of the best trips in your lifetime. Understanding the matrilineal culture and societal ways of people of Meghalaya will pleasantly surprise you. The fact that man leaves his home to stay with the bride after marriage and the youngest daughter inherits ancestral property are just some of the unique ways of this largest surviving matrilineal culture. Despite heavy rainfalls in most of the state, Meghalaya has lovely roads which add to every traveller’s comforts. Though there are many local languages and dialects spoken, English is one of the official languages of Meghalaya making interacting with locals easier. Now that you know what Meghalaya can offer you, its time you plan a trip to Meghalaya and be ready to be mesmerized.
You can read further detailed travel guides along with itinerary and recommendations for each of these locations in the travel series – The Meghalaya Odyssey written by Fairytale Studios