Meghalaya, tucked away in the Himalayas, one of the most beautiful states in India. Meghalaya is total love, its blessed with sunshine, crystal clear waterfalls, tiny rivers, lush greenery, picturesque plateaus and most importantly grounded and soft spoken people.
I decided to spend my summer holidays here and I wasn't disappointed at all :)
Flight connectivity to most of the north east states is through Guwahati (small airport in Shillong with very less flights operative)I chose PUNE-GUWAHATI direct flingt and landed at 6AM. You will get shared taxis just outside Guwahati airport in 500 rs if you are on a budget trip. Otherwise a good XUV is comfortable if you are in the group of 3 or 4 for 4000rs/day(a very good option) Enjoy the scenic drive of 3.5 hrs-115KM via NH9. Have breakfast at Jiva Veg restaurant at Nongpoh (Sandwiches and aloo poori must try)
Take a quick stop at Umiam dam just before Shillong city for speedboating and supercool pictures lakeside.
Check-in into the hotel( Shariloum homestay/polo towers/golf retreat/Frateli guest house) freshe up and start exploring Shillong. Meghalaya has very moody weather expect the unexpected rain at any moment of time. The day we reached was rainy, always carry umbrellas or ponchos.
After Laithlum, we headed back to Shillong and went Dylan's café for some food for hungry tummy. Dylan's café is inspired by Bob Dylan and is one of the instagramable cafes in Shillong. (Waffles, quesadillas must try)
5mins walk away is this beautiful church located where you can witness amazing sunset, the church bell and peace.
Post breakfast started our journey towards Amlarem where next stay was. Amlarem is the part of west Jainthia hills Shillong-Amlarem-88KM-2.5hrs
The biggest collection of monoliths are in one single area are found, these large monoliths that were erected as monuments for the old kings consisting Menhirs (Upright stones) Moo Shynrang and Dolmens (flat stones in the horizontal position)
Drive for 52KM from Nartiang-1.5 hrs approx. 20Mins walk down from the parking point(you can have lunch at small stall here) from stairs to reach and pay minimal entry fees (changing room, washrooms and lifejackets are available on rent for those who wish to swim)
On the way back from Krangshuri falls to Phe-Phe falls(our next destination and stay), you can see this small yet very peaceful falls to the left side of the road, very easy and 5min walk from paddy fields lead you to Thlu Amwi Falls.
Just 15mins drive will lead you to entry point of Phe-Phe falls(boards are indicated on main road) on the right side (there are 2 entry points leading to either side of waterfall, both are moderate for trekking and equally beautiful, cheap entry tickets)
stay of the day, literally 2mins away from Phe-Phe falls, very peaceful, pleasant good food and lush greenery around the resort, neat and clean rooms w
Dive for 1 hr-40KMs to Dawki from Amlarem, 1st stop-India-Bangladesh Friendship gate
just 15mins away,theres Umngot river one of the cleanest rivers in India. 1000rs for just 45mins of boating(without stop) and 1200rs (with stop).River bed becomes unsettled due to rain also because of the construction work going on riverside. (winter season- waterbed settles and water becomes very clear)
Shnongpdeng Village is 8 kms north of Dawki along the winding Umngot. Waters so clear, you can peer into the bottom and count the stones – during the peak pre-monsoon, autumn, and winter seasons. There are plenty of recognized resorts and camps in Dawki, Shnongpdeng, and surrounding areas where snorkeling and boating can be enjoyed..
10mins away is a photostop on a bridge over this waterfall
Drive for 1 hr-40kms and visit Asia's cleanest village in east Khasi hills. Best time to visit Mawlynnong, Meghalaya is monsoon. During the rainy season, village and its surroundings become lush green and thus turn absolutely picturesque. This bamboo tower is 85 feet. Once you reach the top, you’ll be able to see the landscape of Bangladesh as well. Entry to place will cost you around INR 10 per person.
There are too many small restaurants inside the village for lunch, organic vegetables are used in these restaurants.
Balancing rock, a must see nature's wonder, lies on the outskirts of the village. The spot has two stones, a huge boulder resting on a smaller stone surrounded by a wired fence. The structure has remained like that for ages and no cyclone or storm has been able to disturb the formation. A similar structure is Krishna's Butterball, which can be seen in Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu.
Also known as Jingmaham Living Root Bridge, this single decker bridge in Riwai is a 300 years old manmade bridge built across a stream by intertwining the aerial roots of Rubber trees. Trek down for 300 mtrs(easy).time-9 to 5, nominal visiting charges.
On the way back to the resort, this view point offers breathtaking valley view. Must visit point during sunset and chai break. inimal visit charges applicable.
Checkin into the r
Remember you should start your dy early when in east(early surise and early sunset) A gushing waterfall that cuts through the hard rocks and the high plateau of Sohra is Dainthlen. According to local folktales, this spot is where a great battle was fought. The Thlen was a giant serpent, an embodiment of evil who was finally vanquished by the local residents of an ancient village that is now Sohra.
Lies in close proximity to Dainthlein falls a challenging 30mins trek down till the view point(wei - resembling a pool, sawdong - square-shaped), especially known for their bluish-green, crystal-clear water. You can divide the trek to the falls in two parts. The first is the easier makeshift stairs that are steep with mountains till the view point.
The second part of the trek leads you to the makeshift unstable bamboo ladders against a mountain rock. Here you will have to climb down one person at a time
To be more adventurous, you can reach upto the 2nd tier of the waterfall, bit challenging yet must have experience, climb the rock from the sides and
My most favorite place from Meghalaya is this hidden gem in Cherapunji. Few people know about this, not to be missed at any cost, offers stunning view and most safe for cliff jump and swimming. 1omins walk and minimal entry fees to be paid. Carry life jackets always. Water remains very much cold always, take a dip and rejoice.
10mins away from prut falls lies this another beauty in Cherapunji, again less known spot and very few people visit here. Extremely safe for non swimmers and you can also enjoy snorkeling here.
Enjoy local lunch at Mawkma village and proceed to Garden of caves, Khasi people eat less salt and no masals at all, rice and potatoes are grown in the most of the parts of Meghalaya, rotis are not available everywhere.
Trails, lil streams, waterfalls and lovely weather to be enjoyed here. There are 5/6 view points, easy to access for every age group.
Fells straight out of Arabian night, complex caves known for crustacean shells and fish bones fossilized in the limestone walls of the cave.
The Nohkalikai Falls is one of the tallest plunge waterfalls in India and a must-see when in Cherapunji.
2mins walk from parking to reach the view point. Weather keeps changing in Meghalaya so you gotta be lucky to fine clear weather to see this water fall
Legend behind the name of Nohkalikai waterfalls
There is a depressing story behind the naming of this waterfall. Noh Ka Likai, in local Khasi tribe’s language means ‘the leap of Likai’. It is believed that a woman named Ka Likai was a widow and had a daughter from this marriage. She remarried so that her daughter can have the love of a father, on the contrary, her new husband hated the daughter as Ka Likai gave all her time to her little one. Once when she was away for work, he killed the little girl and cooked her flesh as meal. When Ka Likai was back from work, she was astonished not see her daughter around but was happy that her husband had cooked a meal for her. Satisfied that her daughter would be out playing, she enjoyed the food. Later, as she picked up the betel nut basket she found her daughter’s fingers in it. Filled with remorse, sadness and grief, she rushed to the cliff and threw herself down. And, so the fall was named after her Nohkalikai waterfalls.
Also known as "Nohsngithiang Falls or Mawsmai falls" 15 mins away from Nohkalikai you will find this astonishingly beautiful site, reach here by the sunset and enjoy evening tea gazing deep valley and waterfalls.
The village has one of the oldest Presbyterian churches in Meghalaya, established in 1846 by the Welsh missionaries. Thomas Jones I, who was also known as the founding father of the Khasi alphabet and literature. The remnants of the first church building lie on the hill of the present Nongsawlia Cemetery. This building was destroyed by the great earthquake of June 1897, and a new church building was built in 1898.
One can choose to go to Nongriat for next day visit and stay, unfortunetly the weather didnot permit us to do so.
Nongriat is about a lot more than just the double decker root bridge. You have to walk about more than three kilometres and through a series of 3,500 stone-hewn on the trail to Nongriat. On reaching the place, you will find that the place is filled with natural pools, waterfalls, lagoons and many more wonderful natural beauties which will captivate your eyes throughout. Another hour from the area, you will find yourself amidst one of the place’s breathtaking gems — the Rainbow Falls.
Duration : Two Days, One Night(moderate to difficult trek)
Instead we decided to head back to shillong and explore some offbeat destinations. On the way you can enjoy zipline in Sohra(pioneer adventures) for an Adrenaline rush. Get ready to Zip line the beautiful valley at Mawkdok/ Dympep, Cherrapunji measuring a total length of 2600 feet and 1200 feet in height.
The first, fastest and longest Zip line in East India is a must do with spectular views of Sohra (Cherrapunji)Valley and a waterfall also. Small Line (Length: 1089 feet) : Rs 500per head
Big Line (Length: 2600 feet) : Rs 1000 per head, (choose big line must have experience). Counter opens at 10 am and it requires 20mins to complete the circuit of 4 zip lines.
Approx 60kms away lies the might Kylang rock, one of the most unexplored site by tourists, kyllang Rock is an impressive natural monolith – a giant grey dome that juts out of the pine forests of West Khasi Hills. There is a path which you can climb along with rest stops. Enjoy a brisk climb to the top and get a bird’s eye view of the Nongkhlaw region.
Visitors are not allowed to take anything away from this hallowed forest, not even a pebble or a twig. The forest is open throughout the year from 9 am to 4:30 pm. You can have local lunch/maggi here.
There is an amazing story regarding the forest and the Indian army. The lore states that in the year 1970, the Indian army tried to take out logs for construction ignoring the warnings of the local villagers. But in spite of several attempts, the truck which was supposed to carry out the logs refused to start. And after some futile attempts, the army had to give up. Since then the legend took on a very strong base as nobody even dared to ignore the same after seeing its effects firsthand.
5 Things you cannot miss here
Picturesque forest trail
Monoliths, mysticism and sacrifice
Khasi Heritage Village
Labasa, the deity of the forest
David Scott Trail (15kms easy to moderate trek eading through the forest and the Mawphlang Village, which takes you across and along a stream which provides a panoramic view of the two banks and the verdant forests. Takes almost a day to complete)
The original Khasi name for the falls is Ka Kshaid Lai Pateng Khohsiew, which translates to "the three - step waterfall". The name originated in the British era when the Englishmen spotted a giant rock that looked like an elephant near the fall. This rock was destroyed in the 1897 due to an earthquake.
Headback to Shillong for stay and one must have Thukpa, momos and soup at cafe shillong for dinner(closes at 8PM) in Laitumkhrah.
It was our last day in Meghalaya, we went to a local bazar for shopping and culinary experience
Unique sweets in police bazar offers delicious momos and chat that is not to be missed .specially for vegetarians. Bazar has fresh fruits, food stalls, clothes and what not.
Head to wards lake more than a hundred years old, Ward’s Lake is named after William Ward, a Chief Commissioner from the British era to fine peace and serenity away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Boating is optional.
Ward’s Lake is also known for its events which happen throughout the year. Autumn and the cherry blossoms here will be in full bloom, providing memorable visuals and photo-ops.
Shillong Golf Course was established in 1898 by the British Civil Service Officers. Shillong’s golf course is not just one of the largest and prettiest natural courses in the country but also a place where people relax and rejoice. Wander around an expansive 18-hole golf course in the middle of the city.
Seven storeys of fascinating visuals, colours, and treasures – that is one way to describe Don Bosco Museum. You will first be greeted by the traditional wear of all the different North-Eastern communities as you enter the building, including well-researched sections on the neighbouring countries like Bhutan, Myanmar, and Nepal. The photography section is loaded with rare photos – you can spend hours lost exploring these snippets of tribal life taken across the region and spanning many generations. Explore an expansive collection of motifs, artefacts, and representations of the myriad tribes of the region, catch magnificent views of Shillong
Galleries on art, music, housing, and weapons will keep you occupied and fascinated. At the food gallery, you can tuck into some of the delectable dishes in a cosy serving rooftop area.
Above this gallery is a sky walk, have a look at the shillong city in 360 degrees. You can buy few bamboo items or souvenirs for your loved ones from a gallery located just near the entrance.
Now its time to Bid adieu to one of the most beautiful yet unique state of India. On the way back to Guwahati airport you can visit Umiam dam again at sunset and also enjoy boating here.
Meghalaya, the Abode of Clouds, falls in one of the richest biodiversity areas in the world. The famed monsoons, the rich traditional festivals, and the dramatic terrain are just some of the many things this state is famous for. You have my heart Meghalaya :)
1. Start your day early when in north east(early sunrise and early sunset, nothing much to do after sunset so you can have a relaxed evening)
2. Always wear comfortable footwear/shoes for tight grip and avoid slipping. Be ready to walk and hike a lot to explore hidden places/ waterfalls (guide is must when in Cherapunji as they know many hidden places)
3. Carry water resistant backpacks,umbrella/poncho/life jackets(on rent from local market)/extra clothes/staple food to enjoy water activities
4. Shillong has pleanty of ATMs but other small towns dont, carry pleanty of cash, dont rely on cashless transactions as 99% places require cash and dont accept gpay/paytm etc because of connectivity issue
5. Meghalaya has unique and moody weather, be ready for unexpected rains/fog/wind/cold weather anytime which makes lil difficult for sightseeing and treking
6. Pack light, quickdry, dry fit clothes, light woolens required even in summer/pre-monsoon season
7. Book flights landing early morning and fly back on late evening to utilize whole day.
8. Don't forget to buy bamboo items, local fruit wine, organic turmeric/honey/cinnamon powder for which this state is famous for.