A three- hour drive uphill from
Guwahati takes you to Shillong, the capital
of the state which lies at a height of 1,496 mtrs. Above sea level. En routs you
will pass first the halfway mandatory stop at Nongpoh, where you can savour a cup
of tea while watching the flow of traffic. Pretty women behind small stalls sell
pineapples and bananas, honey and pickles in bottles.
17 kms. before Shillong is
also known as Barapani where a large lake was formed after a hydro-electric dam
was built across a stream. In recent years, this has become an increasingly
popular place for outings and weekend visits. The
resort, designed by the famous architect Charles Correa, and constructed amongst
pine wood overlooks the lake. Flurries of rain often sweep across the water body,
scattering visitors, and splash loudly on the large bay windows of the lounge.
There are facilities for water sports here: from kayaking and water skiing for the
adventurous to water cycling and simple boating for the less brave. The Orchid
Lake Resort, run by the Meghalaya Tourism Department, has pleasantly-appointed
rooms with balconies, a restaurant and bar.
ís capital in 1874 and remained so for a century until the seat of government in
went to the plains and Meghalaya was established as a separate state. The city
derives its name from the deity Shyllong or Lei Shyllong, which is worshipped at
, 10 kms. from the main town and 1,965 metres above sea level. This is the highest
point in the state and commands a panoramic view if the Shillong valley. In
the evening, the city lights below glitter and twinkle like a gaint
One of the first places that a
newcomer to Shillong should visit is the lewduh Bazar, earlier known as the Bara
Cheerful women dominate this
market, the largest of its kind in the entire North East.
, pineapples and other fruits; vegetables meat and fish are on sale here as are
The prominent role of women is
highly visible in the Khasi Hills, where the Khasis, a community which is said to
have its origins in
South East Asia
, and speaks a language that has its roots in Mon-Khmer, follow a matrilineal
society. Under this custom, the children take the name of their mother and the
youngest daughter becomes the custodian of family property. Often sites to visit
are the Wardís
, for a leisurely stroll or boating. You can feed the carp from the wooden bridge.
The Botanical Garden, a secluded park, borders the lake and further down the hill
is the celebrated Golf Course, called the Gleneagles of the East. The Golf Club
retains a colonial touch and the area, as are other parts of the city, is good for
long walks. In fact, because of the density of road traffic and frequent traffic
jams, walking is recommended as an easy way of seeing many parts of the hearts of
Shillong is full of churches and
waterfalls. The most beautiful churches is the Cathedral of Mary Help of
Christians, located on a hill; stained glass windows and high arches add to the
beauty of this building. Directly below, carved out of the hill, is the
opposite the State Central Library is another attractive building of wood and
plaster. The State Central Library has a wealth of that can be a book loverís
delight. A museum there gives glimpses of the regionís heritage. Pop and rock
concerts are often held here and are extremely popular, with songs in Khasi and
that had begun breeding butterflies as a conservation measure and for their
commercial value has a good display of mounted butterflies and beetles from
and abroad. Nearby is the
, which has a mini-zoo, a childrenís section and well-laid out flower beds.
Of the falls in and around
Shillong, among the prettiest is the
. A gushing stream of water plunges
into a deep, cool and inviting pool. Itís a good hike down to the stream and a
nice way to spend a day. Then there are the Bishop and
which draw many tourists. The
is 12 kms. on the outskirts of the city and near
. If there is time, visitors should travel to
, 20 kms. from Shillong, set amid a beautiful view and the backdrop of a sacred
A 56 kms. drive along a narrow
winding road takes you to Cherrapunjee, one of the wettest places in the world.
Indeed, this town, now known as Sohra, and thevillage of
Mawsynram, on a
neighbouring hill, have completed with each other for the record of the wettest
place on earth. For weeks, there is no let up from the pounding of the rain on tin
roofs. But waterfalls leap and roar from the edge of the road into deep gorges
below, including the famed
. On a fog- shrouded day, however, you can hear the waterfall and yet not see it.
This lovely town is also famous for its limetsone
caves and orange honey. A centre of Khasi culture and literature, it also
has the oldest Presbyterian Church. The Ramakrishna Mission, which has been
actively in spreading literacy in the region, has a large centre here.
A bit further down the road to
limestone caves, one can stop by a graveyard where British missionaries and their
close relatives lie buried. Before reaching the caves, visitors are awed by a
series of giant pillars of megaliths that have been erected near a stream. Such
megaliths are to be seen in different parts of the Khasi and Jaintia Hills
and are usually erected to commemorate great deeds or to honour dead
chieftains. Visitors can stay at the Circuit House or return to Shillong where
they can stay at the government- run Pinewood Hotel or in numerous private hotels.
The summer capital of the Jaintia
kings, Nartiang is about 65 kms. east of Shillong. The jaintias are one of the
three main tribes which inhabit Meghalaya: the others being the Khasis and the
Garos. Nartiangís greatest attraction is to be found off the
small road that runs amid forest, streams and hills in a quiet and shaded
glen. A short walk and you will find yourself in the playground of giants, it
appears: huge stone slabs are positioned erect or flat or sloping. But this is
more than what meets the eye: it is a park of megaliths, some of which, are said
to have been placed there by a giant called U Mar Phalyngki. The
tallest is 8 mtrs. High and 2mtrs. Wide. Megalithic cultures have existed
across the world, including the one at Stonehenge in
. A 500 year old
is another attraction at Nartiang.
Nartiang, 64 kms. from Shillong, is the small but pretty
, good for picnics. The gently rolling meadows around the lake are an invitation
to relax. This lake, according to legend, was dug by the ends of bows by members
of 290 clans of a rebel general of a Jaintia Raja.
64 kms. from Shillong is
a popular health resort having hot-springs of sulphur water, believed to have
curative medicinal properties. Dawaki, a border town, 96 kms. from Shillong gives
you a glimpse of
. The colourful annual boat race during spring at the Umgot river is an added
attraction. 140 km. From Shillong, is Ranikor, a scenic spot and an anglerís
paradise because of a huge population of crap and mahseers.
The best time to visit :- The best time to visit
is between March to Mid of July -& then from Sep to mid of Nov.
Guwahati (128 kms)
||Nearest railhead is
Guwahati (128 kms).
||Well connected by
road to various parts of the state