Did You Know That India's Most Beautiful Waterfall Has a Gruesome Story Behind It?


Nestled amidst the enchanting landscapes of Meghalaya, lies a hidden gem that beckons adventurous souls. Yes, I'm talking about the uncharted trails leading to the breathtaking Nohkalikai Falls.

Located near Cherrapunji, Nohkalikai Falls is known for its breathtaking beauty and is often considered one of the most beautiful waterfalls in India. It leaves travellers awe-struck with its majestic beauty, but very few people know about its intriguing history.

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Photo of Did You Know That India's Most Beautiful Waterfall Has a Gruesome Story Behind It? by Tanisha Mundra

What is the history behind this beautiful waterfall?

The waterfall is associated with a tragic legend that gives it a sombre and poignant touch. According to local folklore, a woman named Likai, who resided in the village near the falls, was a young mother who remarried after her husband's death. However, her new husband grew jealous of the love and attention she bestowed upon her daughter from her previous marriage.

One day, while Likai was out working, her husband killed her daughter out of jealousy and cooked her flesh as a meal. When Likai returned and discovered the horrific act, she was devastated and driven by grief and rage. Unable to bear the pain, she leapt off the cliff, resulting in the formation of the majestic waterfall named after her.

Nohkalikai Falls, meaning "Jump of Ka Likai," serves as a reminder of the tragic consequences of jealousy and the intensity of human emotions.

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Photo of Did You Know That India's Most Beautiful Waterfall Has a Gruesome Story Behind It? by Tanisha Mundra

The legend of Nohkalikai Falls has now become an integral part of the local culture and is passed down through generations. Visitors to the falls often pay their respects to Likai and offer prayers for her peace. The haunting tale adds a layer of mystique to the natural beauty, making Nohkalikai Falls a place of intrigue and reverence.

Details about the Nohkalikai Falls:

Standing at an impressive height of approximately 340 meters (1,120 feet), Nohkalikai Falls is a sight to behold. Surrounded by lush greenery and cliffs, the waterfall showcases the raw power of nature as water cascades down, creating a mesmerizing spectacle. During the monsoon season, the falls transform into a magnificent cascade, enveloped in mist and producing a deafening roar.

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Photo of Did You Know That India's Most Beautiful Waterfall Has a Gruesome Story Behind It? by Tanisha Mundra

How to reach Nohkalikai Falls?

To reach Nohkalikai Falls, located near Cherrapunji in Meghalaya, India, you can follow these general directions:

By Air: The nearest airport to Nohkalikai Falls is Shillong Airport located at a distance of 80 km and will take you around 3 hours to reach. You can hire a taxi or take a shared cab to Cherrapunji and then the falls.

By Road: Cherrapunji is 7 km away from the falls and is well-connected by roadways from all major Indian cities.

Local Transportation: Once you reach Cherrapunji, you can hire a local taxi or shared cab to take you to Nohkalikai Falls. The drive takes approximately 20-30 minutes. Alternatively, you can also choose to hike to the falls, enjoying the scenic beauty along the way.

Note: It's advisable to check local transportation options and road conditions before planning your trip. Keep in mind that the weather in Cherrapunji can be unpredictable and very rainy, so it's recommended to carry appropriate clothing and be prepared.

Nearby places to visit:

Cherrapunji, known as one of the wettest places on Earth, offers breathtaking vistas of rolling hills, living root bridges, and unique limestone formations. Here are some notable places to visit near Nohkalikai Falls:

Living Root Bridges: The unique living root bridges, are bioengineering wonders created by training the roots of rubber trees. The Double Decker Root Bridge and Single Decker Root Bridge in the nearby village of Nongriat are must-visit attractions. These bridges are not only functional but also showcase the harmonious relationship between humans and nature.

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Photo of Living root bridge, Shillong Division by Tanisha Mundra

Mawsmai Cave: Mawsmai Caves are limestone caves boasting stunning stalactite and stalagmite formations, creating a mystical ambiance.

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Photo of Mawsmai Cave, Cherrapunji by Tanisha Mundra

Seven Sisters Falls: Also known as Nohsngithiang Falls these waterfalls are a collection of seven segmented waterfalls flowing in unison, creating a mesmerizing sight. The cascading waters against the backdrop of lush greenery make this a photographer's paradise.

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Photo of Nohsngithiang Falls View point, Lad Ryngud by Tanisha Mundra

Dain-Thlen Falls: Dain-Thlen Falls, located near Sohra, is another captivating waterfall in the region. This picturesque cascade derives its name from a local folklore about a giant serpent-like creature called Thlen. The falls offer a serene setting and are perfect for relaxation and soaking in the beauty of nature.

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Photo of Dainthlen Falls, Cherrapunji by Tanisha Mundra

Mawlynnong Village: Recognized as "Asia's Cleanest Village," Mawlynnong is a charming village known for its pristine surroundings and eco-friendly practices. Take a stroll through the well-maintained streets, visit the Living Root Bridge in the village, and experience the warm hospitality of the Khasi community.

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Photo of Mawlynnong, Shillong Division by Tanisha Mundra

Dawki and Umngot River: The town of Dawki is renowned for its crystal-clear Umngot River. Take a boat ride on the river, marveling at the transparent waters that reveal the riverbed's colorful stones.

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Photo of Dawki, West Jaintia Hills by Tanisha Mundra

Mouth-watering dishes to try while you are visiting Nohkalikai Falls:

When visiting Nohkalikai Falls in Meghalaya, you must indulge in a variety of local Meghalayan culinary delights. You'll find a combination of traditional Khasi cuisine and influences from neighbouring regions. Many local eateries and restaurants near Nohkalikai Falls serve these authentic dishes, providing a glimpse into the region's gastronomic delights. Here are some culinary delights to savour while exploring Nohkalikai Falls:

Jadoh: Jadoh is a popular local dish that combines rice and marinated meat, typically pork or chicken. The rice is cooked with a blend of aromatic spices and often includes ingredients like onions, ginger, garlic, and local herbs.

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Photo of Did You Know That India's Most Beautiful Waterfall Has a Gruesome Story Behind It? by Tanisha Mundra

Dohkhlieh: Dohkhlieh is a traditional Khasi salad made with pork or fish. It consists of thinly sliced or shredded meat mixed with onions, green chillies, local herbs, and a tangy dressing made from lime juice or fermented soybeans.

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Photo of Did You Know That India's Most Beautiful Waterfall Has a Gruesome Story Behind It? by Tanisha Mundra

Nakham Bitchi: Nakham Bitchi is a spicy chutney made from fermented fish. It is a staple condiment in Meghalaya and adds a distinct umami flavour to various dishes.

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Photo of Did You Know That India's Most Beautiful Waterfall Has a Gruesome Story Behind It? by Tanisha Mundra

Pumaloi: Pumaloi is a traditional Meghalayan dessert made from sticky rice cooked with sesame seeds and sweetened with jaggery resulting in a delightful blend of textures and flavours. Pumaloi is often served during festive occasions and is a delicious way to end a meal.

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Photo of Did You Know That India's Most Beautiful Waterfall Has a Gruesome Story Behind It? by Tanisha Mundra

Khasi Tea: No visit to Meghalaya is complete without trying the famous Khasi tea. This aromatic beverage is made by boiling black tea leaves with a mix of local herbs and spices such as cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, and bay leaves.

Fried momos (dumplings) and tungrymbai (fermented soybean snack) are a must-eat while you are here.

Where to stay while visit the Nohkalikai Falls?

There are several homestays and retreats available near the falls to suit different preferences and budgets. Here are some suggestions for places to stay near Nohkalikai Falls:

O RA Homestay:Just 2.6 km from the falls, O RA Homestay, with its convenient location, comfortable rooms, and personalized hospitality, offers a unique opportunity to experience the warmth of a local family. The homestay provides an authentic cultural experience, serving homemade Khasi cuisine and sharing insights into the local way of life.

Price per night: Rs. 2,442 onwards.

Green Valley Homestay: Surrounded by lush greenery and tranquil landscapes, it offers a peaceful retreat for nature lovers just 5 km from the falls. The homestay provides comfortable and cozy rooms, ensuring a pleasant stay.

Price per night: Rs. 2,442 onwards.

Situated in a prime location, the retreat provides breathtaking views of the surrounding valleys and mountains and is just 4 km from the falls. The comfortable and well-appointed rooms ensure a relaxing stay with warm hospitality.

Price per night: Rs. 3,092 onwards.

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Photo of Did You Know That India's Most Beautiful Waterfall Has a Gruesome Story Behind It? by Tanisha Mundra

Standing as a testament to the remarkable beauty and cultural richness of Meghalaya, the Nohkalikai Falls with its towering height, cascading waters, and the tragic legend that accompanies it, is a natural wonder which will never fail to leave it's visitors in awe. While visiting, remember to respect the local culture and environment and follow any guidelines set by the authorities to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

Planning to visit Meghalaya soon? Do not miss out on our Guide to help you explore the best of the state.

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