A glance out of the window of my plane, minutes before landing on the abode of clouds was like a teaser of the journey ahead.
There are these places you read about online, picture them in your mind (courtesy Instagram) and make your mind up about visiting again someday. Meghalaya was one such place for me. My desire to dance in the rain on the lush green blanket, row over the crystal-clear lakes and cry out of excitement over the living root bridges was so high that I planned my tickets to this Northeast wonder smack in the middle of the monsoon!
And it was surreal.
Each one of my senses and every aspect of Meghalaya is heightened during the rains. It is a time when the waterfalls gurgle alive, the hills are a verdant green as the clouds descend over the landmass. Beautiful, dense meadows covered with scented mist, rivers, and lakes are clearer, the secret caves deepen, as the living root bridges become more animated.
I loved it, and I urge you to travel to Meghalaya to experience the real monsoons, unlike anything that we have seen in the cities. And if you still aren’t convinced, here are the seven reasons that'll make you want to visit Meghalaya in the monsoon season.
1. This is where the waterfalls truly come alive!
Meghalaya has dramatic, multi-tiered waterfalls, that are surrounded by equally spectacular flora. Some of the famous ones like Elephant falls, the seven sister falls, Dainthlen Falls (with gorgeous vistas), Langshiang (off-beat but best for spotting for Rainbows) Nohkalikai Falls (the tallest plunge waterfalls in the country and the fourth-highest in the world.)
2. Nature is at its prime and thus at its Insta-best.
‘The End of the World’ or the Laitlum canyons, the secret caves or the living root bridges as well as the many hanging bridges, everything is sharper and livelier as if God just hit his “auto-focus”.
Created by Khasi people, these roots are weaved in such a way that they are in the form of a bridge on top of the river. There are a few root bridges in Meghalaya, but Umshiang Double Decker Root Bridge is the most popular one. The Hanging bridge at Tyrna is another such bridge.
Usually, these bridges are at their most picturesque in the monsoon as the rivers they’re built over are in full flow. This translates to kick-ass pictures!
3. Who can say no to a plate full of steaming hot momos?
Momo’s here are scrumptious and you just cannot stop yourself from craving more. The cold rainy weather sets the perfect backdrop to taste some piping hot steamed and fried Momos. You’ll find plenty of road-side stalls as well as eateries selling juicy Momos with a varied stuffing of boiled vegetables, cheese, pork, chicken anything you like along with the tomato-chili-garlic chutney.
1.) Bamboo Hut
G.S Road, near kacheri, Shillong
2.) Cafe Shillong
L.P. Building Niit Building Main Road
3.) Café Shillong Heritage
Don Bosco, Nongkynrih, Laitumkhrah, Shillong
Pro-Tip: Also try their famous crispy jalebi right from the frying pan, oozing with syrup at Delhi Mishtan, Police Bazar, Shillong, Meghalaya.
4. You get to actually interact with the locals.
With the tourist season over, you'll have more time to unwind and familiarise yourself with the locals. You will get a chance to live with the Khasis and hear their stories. Check out Knups that are traditional Khasi umbrellas, sturdy enough to stand up to the nonstop rain and strong winds.
You get to know many fascinating aspects like I didn’t know that Meghalaya practices a matrilineal system where women hold the most important position in the family including social, cultural and political rights. And, it’s the groom who comes to live with the bride’s family after marriage. How cool is that?
5. The rainy season fashions a stunning romantic ambience.
Monsoon translates to romance in Meghalaya. Snuggle indoors and watch the raindrops tap down the window-panes or enjoy candle-light dinners at the rooftops and balconies amid the soft patter of the rain as the mist adorns the surrounding meadows creating a dream-like scene.
6. Get the best accommodations at low prices.
Owing to ongoing schools and colleges during this time, with the absence of long weekends or festivals, families tend to avoid this time, making it a less preferred destination among common tourists. Hence, the average price of hotels and home-stays reduces to a low amount, making it an easily affordable destination for you!
7. In spite of the downpour, there is ample sunlight and dry spells too!
While most of us may have the misconception that it rains endlessly since Meghalaya houses some of the wettest places in the world, you will be surprised to know that’s not true. The monsoons here are not like the city showers but much more beautiful. The rain doesn’t fall continuously but takes a break every few hours during the daytime with the sunlight peeping in from time to time.
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