Meghalya: Abode Of Clouds

One of the safest place in India, Meghalaya is a state in the North Eastern Part of India. Often renowned popularly as the “Scotland of the East”, the word Meghalaya means “Abode of the clouds”. Meghalaya is one of the most beautiful states in North-East India offering a variety of sights, activities, food and festivals to the tourists. Meghalaya has for long remained an unexplored beauty until recently and is the home to the two most wettest place on earth, ie, Mawsynram and Cherrapunji.

The state is now a growing popular destination amongst tourist including solo female travelers and can be visited throughout the year. The place is also one of the best location to beat the heat and experience a memorable pre monsoon and monsoon season as the place is blessed with numerous waterfalls.

One can check below some of the prime locations as well as attractions to be visited and explored throughout in Meghalaya.

Shillong

Shillong is a hill station in northeast India and capital of the state of Meghalaya. It’s known for the manicured gardens at Lady Hydari Park. Nearby, Ward’s Lake is surrounded by walking trails. North, the Don Bosco Centre for Indigenous Cultures features displays on the region’s native people. Waterfalls include the Elephant Falls to the southwest. East of here, forested Shillong Peak offers city views.

Shillong is often seeing as central point for all tourist visiting Meghalaya as it’s accessible from all sides of the country and the nearby places are connected to it. Below are some worth nothing interesting Shillong facts:

  • It may sound surprising, but Shillong was the first Civil Station of British.
  • Arguably has the largest and for sure the wettest natural golf course known as Glen Eagle of the East.
  • Mawlynnong village is the cleanest village in Asia and also has the 100% literacy rate.
  • One of the extensively visited in whole of Meghalaya is the Mawjymbuin cave is formed of stalagmite in the shape of Lord Shiva.
  • Shillong is a four way round travel destination meaning it’s accessible from all sides of the country.

Cherrapunji

Cherrapunji with the native name Sohra being  more commonly used, and can also be spelled Cherranpunjee, is a subdivisional town in the East Khasi Hills district in the Indian state of Meghalaya. It is the traditional capital of kahimaNongkhlaw (Khasi tribal kingdom).

Counted amongst the places with maximum rainfall in the world, Cherrapunji is located near the Wettest Place on Earth, Mawsynram. There are spectacular waterfalls in Cherapunjee credited for the beautiful landscape. Among the most popular waterfalls in Cherapunjee are Nohkalikai Falls and The Dain Thlen Falls. The original name of this town is Sohra, and was pronounced as Chhura by the British Rulers. Cherrapunjee has served as a capital of Assam during the British Era and as the center of Khasi and Literature during the same time.

It is blessed with profuse vegetation. The Living Root Bridge is an astonishing creation of nature and has been rightly considered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. These bridges are formed by thick roots tangled with each other. A paradise for nature-buffs, Cherrapunji is an ideal destination if you want to take a break from your monotonous life. Have a look at the Cherrapunji Travel Guide by Indian Holiday, where we have arrayed brief tourist information of Cherrapunji

While the Cherrapunji weather stays pleasant throughout the year, the town witnesses rainfall for the majority of the months. And so, the best time for planning your Cherrapunji tour is between the months of October and June experience relatively lesser droplets and cooler temperature.

And while Cherrapunji is blessed with numerous places one can be in awe of, here are few that’s been tagging along, virtually, on top of that list since ages:

  1. Nohkalikai Falls:

Located at a distance of just 5 km from the main town, Nohkalikai waterfalls is one of the highest waterfalls in India. Gushing down from a height of 1100 feet, this waterfall is one of the most popular tourist attraction of Cherrapunji. Drive through a high tableland, hike for a small distance and you arrive at the viewpoint from where you can have a panoramic view of the Nohkalikai waterfall, cascading down into a pool-like formation. Monsoon season is the best time to visit Nohkalikai when the falls are in their full form. From the viewing gallery, tourists can not only enjoy a panoramic view of the waterfalls but also the lush surroundings. A fleet of stairs take you to other viewpoints.

  • Double Decker Living Root Bridge:

There is no doubt that Cherrapunji is an ideal place for trekking and soaking up the peace that nature offers. But what adds more thrill to this adventurous experience are the living root bridges located in the Tyrna village. The two-tier bridge is 100 feet long in length and is known around the world as the 150-year old man-made natural wonder, which is certainly one of the top reasons to visit Cherrapunji. Also, note that those bridges are made naturally out of rubber trees.

  • Nohsngithiang Falls:

Also known as the Seven Sister falls or Mawsmai fall is a seven segmented waterfall located 1 Kilometre south of Mawsmai village in East Khasi hills district in the state of Meghalaya. These waterfalls are amongst the most gorgeous one’s to witness in town. The best time to admire these multiple streams of water falling down from a large cliff is during a sunny day, as it mostly remains shrouded in clouds on the other days.

  • KremPhyllut:

Located south of the town, KremPhyllut is one of the best places to visit during the Cherrapunji sightseeing. Usually crowded with tourists and locals, the grandeur of these caves is unmatchable and undoubtedly worth witnessing once in your life. You can enter the caves from any of its three entrances or the two river passages.

  • Mawsmai Cave:

These are situated only a half a kilometer from the town, this is the most splendid place to be explored during your trip. What makes it a reason for visiting Cherrapunji is the fact that these are the fourth longest caves in the entire Indian sub-continent, which also have a little pool inside formed by five different rivers.

  • Nokrek National Park:

Located some 130 kilometers from the town of Cherrapunji, Nokrek National Park is the one of the only places in India that is home to a few Red Panda. Apart from this, the Asian elephants, eight species of cats, and the rich varieties of flora make it a perfect place for wildlife lovers and nature admirers like you.

Apart from these, there are still much more to the town of Cherrapunji to be explored and admired.

Mawsynram

Mawsynram is a village in the East Khasi Hills district of Meghalaya state in north eastern India, 65 kilometres from Shillong. Mawsynram receives one of the highest rainfalls in India. And arguably to popular belief or knowledge it now holds the distinction of being the wettest place on Earth, over Cherrapunji, for a while now.

Primarily due to the high altitude, it seldom gets truly hot in Mawsynram. Average monthly temperatures range from around 11 °C in January to just above 20 °C in August. The village also experiences a brief but noticeably drier season from December until February, when monthly precipitation on average does not exceed 30 millimetres (1.2 in). The little precipitation during the village’s “low sun” season is something that is shared by many areas with this type of climate.

A rain lover’s paradise, Mawsynram is one of the best tourist attractions of India. The ‘Maw’ in Mawsynram is a Khasi word meaning ‘stone’. It symbolizes the unique megaliths unearthed in the Khasi Hill area. The village is well known for its huge formation of a stalagmite, which takes after the shape of a ‘Shivling’. Located in the East Khasi Hill district of Meghalaya, Mawsynram is 1400 m above sea level. The rains are so powerful in Mawsynram that the local villagers have to make use of thick grass to sound-proof their homes from the thunderous rain.

Jowai

Jowai is the headquarters of West Jaintia Hills district of the state of Meghalaya, India and is home to the Pnar , a sub-tribe of Hynniewtrep people. It is a scenic place located on a plateau surrounded on three sides by the Myntdu river bordering Bangladesh to the south (about 50 km from the Indo-Bangladesh border). Due to its high altitude of 1380 m above sea level, Jowai experiences warm and pleasant summers with cool to chilly winters.

Jowai is an important business and education hub of the entire district catering to students from all over the district as well as the adjacent parts of Assam and Bangladesh. It is well equipped with amenities such as schools, colleges, hospitals, post office etc. Like Khynriams, Pnars have a matriarchal society where the daughters inherit the family property.

Jowai is well connected by roadways to Shillong which is 60 km away. The town of Jowai lies on the National Highway 44(NH 44)which connects Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, Mizoram and parts of Manipur, specifically Lamka (Churachandpur), where the Highway NH 44 is sole link to it.

Below are some popular destinations which are a must see in Jowai:

  1. Nartiang Village:

The Village of Nartiang encompasses remnants of Summer Palace which was once owned by the Jaintia King. His capital used to be Jaintiapur. Today, these remnants are seen on a hillock spread along a two kilometer stretch from the Nartiang market. Another place to visit here is the age-old Shiva Temple where the present priests are the descendants of the then Jaintiapur priests. Many cannons were found from the Shiv Temple which shows that the laborers were skilled in making and designing firearms.

This village is also renowned for a collection of monoliths, which are known to be the largest in the state. Also the presence of the ancient Hindu Temples including the Durga and Shiva temples give it a distinguished identity. Every year, the devotees perform Durga Puja in Nartiang Village.

  • Tyrshi Falls:

Located at a distance of 5 kilometers from Jowai, this is a pristine cascading waterfall. The gushing water goes down to Pynthor, also known as paddy fields below and presents a mesmerizing scene. There is a well-made arch bridge which opens to the roaring sounds of Tyrshi falls. The arch bridge gives a beautiful view of Panthor Nein, a rice valley and enchants visitors through out with its enormous beauty.

It is situated on the Shillong-Jowai Road (NH 44) and competes with Shillong’s Elephant Falls.

  • Jarain Pitcher Plant Lake:

If you want to explore yet another nature’s marvel, then Jarain Pitcher Plant Lake is the place to be. Surrounded by well-carved footpaths, pitcher plant gardens and arch bridges, this lake is pretty and spreads over 50,000 sq.mt. What makes it a little different from the rest of the attractions is the exciting boat rides here. They give an altogether a fresh experience to the visitors. A pitcher plant, fountain-shaped, can be seen in the center of the lake giving it an amazing and distinguished look. It’s an ultimate sight for tourists and locals.

  • SyntuKsiar:

The name of the place literally means flower of gold. What makes this place renowned is the memorial built in the honor of Kiang Nangbah who played a key role in the Indian independence struggle. Situated on the banks of the Myntdu river, this place is generally visited by those who love to go for picnics and angling. Tourists love visiting the statue of Kiang Nangbah which is located in a field known by the name of ‘MadiahKmai’.

  • Thadlaskein Lake:

Situated 8 kilometers away from of Jowai on National Highway 44, this lake was formed by the collective effort of over 290 tribes from SajjarNiangli Village. In an endeavor to save themselves from the attack of Jaintiapur king, they dig this lake. It is still worshipped by people of the Raid Mukhala tribe. They revere the lake and continue offering sacrifices near it. A perennial spring has been feeding this man-made lake for the last many years.

There is a story behind the making of this lake. According to a legend, SajarNangli, one of the army chiefs, shared a major difference with Jaintiapur king.

There was a bloodbath reported in between and this chief decided to run away with his followers, as he didn’t want himself to be blamed for it. However, before he ran away, his followers along with him, dug the Thadlaskein Lake. The bow’s ends were buried in the form of memoirs. Presently, this lake is a famous picnic spot for locals.

Beside the described places, Jowai is blessed by nature and provides many other places to visit. Jowaiis connected by road to Shillong which is at a distance of 60 kilometres.

Mawlynnong

Mawlynnong is a village in the East Khasi hills district of the Meghalaya state in the north east region of India. Mawlynnong is referred to as the “God’s own garden” and is highly notable for its cleanliness and 100 percent literacy rate. So, much for its cleanliness Mawlynnong has won the award for the cleanest village in Asia on more than one occassion. Infact, there’s an adage “Neighbours envy, owners pride” can be attributed as apt for Mawlynnong. Also, Mawlynnong can be called as the true testament to the women empowerment.

Dawki

At a distance of 30 km from Mawlynnong, 57 km from Jowai, 71 km from Nongkrem, 80 km from Shillong, 84 km from Cherrapunjee, 95 km from Mairang, 172 km from Guwahati, 205 km from Kamrup, 223 km from Morigaon, 265 km from Barpeta, Dawki or Dauki is a small town in West Jaintia Hills district of Meghalaya. Situated on the banks of Umngot River, it is one of the beautiful places to visit in Meghalaya.

Sandwiched between India and Bangladesh, Dawki is a border town in Jaintia Hills. It is also a major center of trade between India and Bangladesh. Dawki-Tamabil is one of the few road border crossings between India and Bangladesh which is mainly used for coal transportation to Bangladesh and also other places of India. The crystal clear Umngot River of Dawki is a major attraction that marks the natural separation between the Khasi and Jaintia Hills. 

Besides being a trade hub, this small town is known for its immense natural beauty. Umngot River, Umngot Bridge, Jaflong Zero Point and Burhill Falls are the major places to visit in Dawki. Dawki is an ideal spot for camping and adventure water sports like snorkeling, kayaking and boating in Umngot River. Visitors can also take part in other adventure sports such as rappelling and zip-line here. The town attracts large number of tourists especially in the month of March-April as it hosts the annual boat race on the Umngot River.

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