The state of Meghalaya unravels itself in the midst of the cloud. Located in the hills of eastern sub-Himalayans. Meghalaya is a Sanskrit word that literally translates to ‘abode of cloud’. A more apt and suitable name would not be possible to describe Meghalaya. It is part of the seven sisters clan in the North East India. It is known to be one of the wettest places on the Earth and is a delight to visit. It made up of Khasi, Jaintia and Garo Hills and has a rich tribal presence. The culture is so different and unlike any parts of India that it makes it a true joy to visit and explore. The Khasi tribe population is dominant and present all over Meghalaya especially in Shillong.
The history itself of Meghalaya is interesting since it was carved out of Assam (It was initially called the Hill region) and given full statehood much after independence. Now it is a state filled with great landscapes which rests on the lap of nature and leaves every visitor with fond memories.
Shillong is the main city of Meghalaya. Even though it is heavily commercialised, it has the essentials of a hill station. The city is built over hills and has some great cafes. The city also has some lovely green fields where one can have a perfect picnic or just run around aimlessly. It is a great city to just walk around and soak up the culture and atmosphere that defines Meghalaya.
Umiam Lake is a very relaxing place to visit and a good way to start off a Meghalaya trip. The lake is surrounded by the Meghalaya hills and is filled with crystal clear water. The place is mesmerising and just gives out the freshness. It offers the perfect spot to just rest and stares at the beauty of the landscape that lies ahead. The perfectly blue sky, followed by the ever beautiful majestic hills, and finally this large lake.
The lake has a cafe and a refreshment center also. It also conducts activities like speed boating. The fresh air is so magical that one immediately feels refreshed. It also called the Scotland of East owing to its resemblance to the Loch Lake of Scotland. The Elephant falls is also a popular tourist destination and is an absolute delight.
About 78 km away from Shillong
This amazing little hamlet is a drive away from Shillong. It has even dubbed as the cleanest village in all of Asia. The most popular thing to do here is to simply hike about to root bridge. The root bridges are made of aerial roots of Ficus Elastica trees. The trek to these bridges is a small yet enchanting one. These bridges are living examples of how creative and powerful nature can be. One cannot put into the words how one feels after they step on these bridges.
It is a different kind of experience. One is not allowed to stand on the bridge as they are fragile. It is important to keep walking. The sheer joy and thrill of walking on this wonder of nature are too much to put in words. The clear stream that flows below provides a soothing sound to the trek. One can visit this stream after the trek. One can also trek to the other side to stare at the vast plains of Bangladesh.
The village itself is straight out of an old English novel. It is beautiful with small bamboo huts and greenery all around
About 60 km away from Shillong
Famous for receiving a crazy amount of rainfall every year, Cherrapunji is a famous tourist spot.
Cherrapunji is also known for the Mawasmai caves. These caves are exactly what explorers crave for. The inside of the cave is dark and full of mysterious things. The main attraction is the limestones that adorn the cave and the several mini waterfalls that flow inside the cave. The cave floors are always wet and slippery so one must be careful. It is extremely fun to walk around and explore these dark caves to unravel whatever more mysteries it hides within it.
The Nohkalikai Falls is a must visit place in Cherrapunji. The waterfall is ferocious during the monsoon and equally intimidating at all the other seasons too. It has a staggering height of 350 metres and is fed completely by rainwater.
Adventure junkies can also try their hands at the zip lining located at the Mawkdok – Dympep Valley. It is about 2600 ft long and 1200 ft high. It is a sure way to get the adrenaline-charged up and rushing.
Seven Sisters Waterfall is one of the major attractions in Meghalaya itself. It comes along the way to Cherrapunji and is a sight to behold. There are seven waterfalls that flow seamlessly down the mighty hills in perfect harmony. The waterfalls are said to represent the seven sisters of the North East. At times it is not possible to see all the seven waterfalls at one go, but many lucky people have has the pleasure to see the majestic waterfalls lined up perfectly and flowing in sync together.
This town is situated at the West Jaintia Hills district of Meghalaya. This place is interesting since it is the border of India and Bangladesh, which is defined by the Umngot river. The pristine river runs from the Indian part to the Bangladesh side effortlessly.
It is a must to take a boat ride across this emerald green river. The colour itself is so breathtaking that one is sure to be staring at it for long periods of time. The boat ride is calming and brings a sense of serenity.
This is another well developed and important city in Meghalaya. Its main selling point is the Suji caves- which is the longest cave systems found in India. They are also limestone caves and have a mine of undiscovered areas inside. The caves are like a never-ending maze, and at one point one has to get down and move along the cool water to explore the place. The caves also have chambers named after famous Princes.
Another interesting and mystical place is Balpakram, which is now a national park. It has a rich flora and fauna and is enhanced by its magical atmosphere. A confluence of winds keep flowing over this gorge and makes one feel among the clouds.
This market place is located in all the major cities in Shillong like Tura and Shillong. It is basically a market area that comes alive throughout the day Just walking around this place is like a sociology lesson on the history of Meghalaya. Everywhere the culture is outpouring as the shop keepers sell locally sourced materials. It is a great place to buy spices.
Meghalaya is magical during the monsoon months. The waterfalls come to life and the forests blossom as the rain water touches them. March to September is a great time to visit Meghalaya. During the summer months, Meghalaya is a welcome reprise. It is lovely and cool and the calming breeze is a welcome change from the otherwise sticky heat that engulfs the other parts of India.