Experience eco-tourism in the abode of clouds and sound of waterfalls in Shillong

Tripoto
30th Oct 2014
Photo of Experience eco-tourism in the abode of clouds and sound of waterfalls in Shillong by Sattanurupa Saha

Meghalaya part one

We were excited after visiting the important places at Guhawati & surrounding areas and fully enthused to move to another north east state to witness the natural beauty and unique cultural heritage. My dad told me; today we will be visiting Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya and other areas around the city.

It is said that the tour and travelling never ends in life and that’s true because even after my Guhawati tour ended on 30th October 2014, we woke up at 6:30 am, had our tea and departed for Shillong at 8:20 am from guest house in a Hyundai Verna car. My dad told me that it will take at least 2 ½ to 3 hours though distance is only 84 kilometers.

Soon we entered Khanpura area, a district of Meghalaya. At 10 am, we entered ‘Ri Bhoi’ district of Meghalaya; where we saw some hutments, working places, tourism offices, shops, travel agencies, cabs, etc and Shillong is just 30 kilometres away. Then at 10:30 am, we reached a place named as ‘Umroi’ a mountainous area for Shillong where photography is prohibited and there; the water resource body is being named as ‘Barapani’. Then we entered Shillong at 10:35 am and we were almost at the top of the hilly areas.

We reached at ‘Nogoi Mangkwar’ place at G.S Road at 10:50 am and after reaching here we got stuck in traffic jam at the entrance to Shillong town and it is informed that on weekdays, there is a lot of traffic. Few minutes later, we entered the main city and we were searching the guest house where we were going to stay as we were not able to get the place. Then after few minutes, with the help of local people, at 12:15 pm, we reached at CPWD guest house. It is at other end of the city. We took rest and at 1:45 p.m. we booked a cab for sight seeing tour at Shillong.

Photo of Shillong, Meghalaya, India by Sattanurupa Saha
Photo of Shillong, Meghalaya, India by Sattanurupa Saha

On the way to Shillong

Photo of Shillong, Meghalaya, India by Sattanurupa Saha
Photo of Shillong, Meghalaya, India by Sattanurupa Saha
Photo of Shillong, Meghalaya, India by Sattanurupa Saha
Photo of Shillong, Meghalaya, India by Sattanurupa Saha

Barapani

Photo of Shillong, Meghalaya, India by Sattanurupa Saha

Shillong is the capital and hill station of Meghalaya, also known as a place, "The Abode of Clouds", one of the smallest states in India. It is said that the rolling hills around the town reminded the European settlers of Scotland; hence this place is also known as ‘Scotland of the East’. It is the headquarters of the East Khasi Hills district and is situated at an average altitude of 4,908 feet (1,496 m) above sea level, with the highest point being at Shillong Peak at 6,449 feet (1,966 m).

Shillong is the only major uplifted structure in the northern Indian shield. The city lies in the centre of the plateau and is surrounded by hills, three of which are revered in Khasi tradition: Lum Sohpetbneng, Lum Diengiei and Lum Shillong.

The legend says that Shillong was named after a boy called 'Aahlad', who was born to a virgin mother in a village near Bisi. This boy later became a handsome youth and was made by the local a powerful deity as ‘U-Shyllong’; and the place was named after him.

Shillong was the capital for composite Assam during the British regime and later till a full – fledged separate State of Meghalaya was formed in January 1972. Bounded on the North and East by Assam and on the South and West by Bangladesh, Meghalaya is spread over an area of 22, 429 square kilometers, and lies between 20.1° N and 26.5° N latitude and 85.49 °E and 92.52 °E longitude.

Since becoming the state capital of Meghalaya, it has rapidly developed into a typical modern Indian town, but still retains some its colonial-era charm in certain pockets. The capital city has a bracing climate throughout the year. This city has been the hub of Government administration since the consolidation of the British administration in this part of India more than a century ago.

The city is well connected to various important locations with excellent road network, retaining its own charm. It is different from other hill stations and presents a natural scenic beauty with waterfalls, brooks, pine grooves and gardens. The place, the people, the flora and fauna and the climate all combine to make Shillong an ideal resort throughout the year. The weather of this place is little chilled as it was proceeding towards the winter time but it has much as sunshine and sun rays also and it has temperate climate. The city is so enchanting and it was a beautiful paradise on earth for me.

A day in Shillong

Shillong View Point

Photo of Shillong View Point, Meghalaya, India by Sattanurupa Saha
Photo of Shillong View Point, Meghalaya, India by Sattanurupa Saha
Photo of Shillong View Point, Meghalaya, India by Sattanurupa Saha

Mom & Dad at Shillong View Point

Photo of Shillong View Point, Meghalaya, India by Sattanurupa Saha

Me at Shillong View Point

Photo of Shillong View Point, Meghalaya, India by Sattanurupa Saha
Photo of Shillong View Point, Meghalaya, India by Sattanurupa Saha

While travelling towards the first place, we soon entered the Air Force Area in upper Shillong and then at 2:25 pm, we reached at the gate of’ Air Force Station Laitkar Peak’, Shillong to enter the places of tourist place and we also saw ‘Khatre Stadium’. At 2:35 pm, we reached at ‘Shillong View Point’ on Khasi hills.

The view point is within military area, which is the popular place of tourist interest. (Laitk or peak). Shillong Peak is the highest point in state of Meghalaya which is 1965 meters above sea level which gives scenic view to the visitors. There is a view-point where one can get a breathtaking view of Shillong city. It has a beautiful landscape, lush green meadows and the serene environment attracts large numbers of tourists.

Shillong peak is actually one of the highest points of the state and is therefore regarded as a highly famous attraction. In the evening time, the city appears even more beautiful and it looks like a necklace of light. The city view during night is a memorable scene to all. It is also the host to a radar station for Indian Air force and tourists are advised to disclose their valuables including camera, while reaching view-point and strictly restricted to take any snap of radar facilities.

It was such a wonderful view, an amazing scene, one can never forget. I took some snaps here with a beautiful scenic background. Here my dad bought a special Shillong hat along with a muffler, as the cold breeze was blowing around. It was really a wonderful time to refresh you.

Elephant falls

Photo of Elephant Falls, Shillong, Meghalaya, India by Sattanurupa Saha
Photo of Elephant Falls, Shillong, Meghalaya, India by Sattanurupa Saha

Another side of Elephant Falls

Photo of Elephant Falls, Shillong, Meghalaya, India by Sattanurupa Saha
Photo of Elephant Falls, Shillong, Meghalaya, India by Sattanurupa Saha

Me at Elephant Falls

Photo of Elephant Falls, Shillong, Meghalaya, India by Sattanurupa Saha
Photo of Elephant Falls, Shillong, Meghalaya, India by Sattanurupa Saha

Then at 2:50 pm we left the place to move towards our next tourist destination. Then we reached at ‘Elephanta Falls’ at 3:15 pm which is said to be one of the mysterious place in Shillong; we bought or tickets and went to see the falls.

Elephanta Falls is the British name of this place of what the local Khasi people once referred to as ‘Ka Kshaid Lai Pateng Khohsiew’ or "Three Steps Waterfalls"; since the falls actually consisted of three sections in succession. It is said that the British renamed the falls because there used to be a rock resembling an elephant near the left side of the main falls. However, that rock was destroyed in an earthquake back in 1897.

Elephant Falls is situated at the outskirts of the main city of Shillong. It is almost 12 km away from the hustle and bustle of the city life. The beauty of Elephant Falls is an eye catching point as the two falls- the ‘Wir Phang Falls’ and the ‘Wei Iaplam Falls merge’. It solely holds the attraction of the tourists and even of locals that anyone cannot resist.

While entering the place, amazing sounds along with cold breeze were coming from the falls, which I was able to feel from far away place; so one can well imagine the power, degree of coolness and the temperature of the waterfall. It is said that the waterfalls are mysterious as no one knows the source of water originated. But this place is really unusually calm & quiet and anyone can get relieved from the stressful life & relax.

Photo of Experience eco-tourism in the abode of clouds and sound of waterfalls in Shillong by Sattanurupa Saha
Photo of Experience eco-tourism in the abode of clouds and sound of waterfalls in Shillong by Sattanurupa Saha
Photo of Experience eco-tourism in the abode of clouds and sound of waterfalls in Shillong by Sattanurupa Saha
Photo of Experience eco-tourism in the abode of clouds and sound of waterfalls in Shillong by Sattanurupa Saha

We really enjoyed a lot here and at one place there was a photo shop where visitors can dress themselves in traditional Khasi attires and jewellery and get their photos clicked. No one wishes to miss such an opportunity, so I also dressed up myself in Khasi style and got my photo clicked. We really have enjoyed natural beauty and refresh ourselves in clean environment.

Photo of Ward's Lake, Police Bazar, Shillong, Meghalaya by Sattanurupa Saha
Photo of Ward's Lake, Police Bazar, Shillong, Meghalaya by Sattanurupa Saha

Fountain at Ward's lake

Photo of Ward's Lake, Police Bazar, Shillong, Meghalaya by Sattanurupa Saha
Photo of Ward's Lake, Police Bazar, Shillong, Meghalaya by Sattanurupa Saha
Photo of Ward's Lake, Police Bazar, Shillong, Meghalaya by Sattanurupa Saha

Swans at Ward's Lake

Photo of Ward's Lake, Police Bazar, Shillong, Meghalaya by Sattanurupa Saha

Ward's Lake situated right in the centre of the city and is pristine with beautiful gardens which are frequented by locals and tourists alike; this place has its own charm. It is a beautiful man made lake, which is named after Sir William Ward, the then Chief Commissioner of Assam. This horse-shoe shaped lake is set amidst lush green Botanical gardens, which offer a wide array of flora. It is a nice place to spend the beautiful afternoon to relive from the stress.

This lake is about 100 years old and is locally known as Pollock’s Lake, as named after an engineer during the pre-independence days. The lake is chock-full of fish and swans and tourists are feeding fish standing on the wooden bridge. The lake is encircled by a winding walk-way and is inter spread with gently sloping flowerbeds and innovative illumination, edged in by luxuriant greens.

Me at Ward's Lake

Photo of Experience eco-tourism in the abode of clouds and sound of waterfalls in Shillong by Sattanurupa Saha

Parents at Ward's Lake

Photo of Experience eco-tourism in the abode of clouds and sound of waterfalls in Shillong by Sattanurupa Saha
Photo of Experience eco-tourism in the abode of clouds and sound of waterfalls in Shillong by Sattanurupa Saha
Photo of Experience eco-tourism in the abode of clouds and sound of waterfalls in Shillong by Sattanurupa Saha

We really enjoyed the gurgling water of fountains embedded in the garden as we rested for sometime and also had some peaceful time in the midst of lush greens, beautiful flowerbeds, sloping walkways. We also saw, swans moving on the lake along with their own members and it was so wonderful, experiencing the natural retreat.

We took some snaps here; I was keen to spend some more time but we left the place at 1630 hours to visit the next place; then at 1640 hours we reached at Shillong Golf Course.

Shillong Golf Course

Photo of Shillong Golf Course, Golf Links, Shillong, Meghalaya, India by Sattanurupa Saha
Photo of Shillong Golf Course, Golf Links, Shillong, Meghalaya, India by Sattanurupa Saha
Photo of Shillong Golf Course, Golf Links, Shillong, Meghalaya, India by Sattanurupa Saha
Photo of Shillong Golf Course, Golf Links, Shillong, Meghalaya, India by Sattanurupa Saha

The Golf Course is a pride of Shillong. This is one of the largest Golf Courses and also the world's wettest in Asia. It is sometimes also equated to the ‘Gleneagles of the East’ in the United States because of its unique beauty and location. It was set in the valley at an altitude of 5200 ft in 1898 initially as a nine hole course by the British civil service officers and later it was converted into a full fledged eighteen hole course by Captain Jackson and C. K. Rhodes in 1924 who successfully preserved the natural beauty of the area while giving it an excellent layout.

This course is located amidst thick pine groves and rhododendron trees. The scenic beauty at the Shillong Golf Club is awesome and gives the pleasure of sinking into nature and sports in equal measures. We enjoyed a good time at this place as it was both relaxing and rejuvenating at the same time. We all had a great time together as I have seen a golf course in my life first time and this is really a wonderful sight seeing for all visitors.

St Cathedral of Mary help of Christians, Shillong

Photo of Cathedral of Mary Help of Christians, Lachumiere, Shillong, Meghalaya, India by Sattanurupa Saha
Photo of Cathedral of Mary Help of Christians, Lachumiere, Shillong, Meghalaya, India by Sattanurupa Saha
Photo of Cathedral of Mary Help of Christians, Lachumiere, Shillong, Meghalaya, India by Sattanurupa Saha
Photo of Cathedral of Mary Help of Christians, Lachumiere, Shillong, Meghalaya, India by Sattanurupa Saha

Then after visiting the course, we departed for the next place. We went to St. Cathedral of Mary Help of Christians; a church at Laitumkhrah road at 1700 hours.

The Cathedral of Mary Help of Christians is one of the most beautiful and exquisite churches that is perched on a hill and is located in the Laitumkhrah locality in Shillong. It has high arches and tainted glass windows. This Cathedral is named after Mary the mother of Jesus Christ.

The Cathedral is the main place of worship of the over 300,000 strong Catholics of the Shillong Archdiocese, which covers the Khasi and Jaintia Hills of Meghalaya. An Archdiocese is a “diocese" or area under the jurisdiction of an Archbishop. The church was built fifty years ago in the Gothic architectural style. The unique feature of the church is that it was built on sand not on rock. As the region is prone to earthquakes, the church absorbs any earthquake related shocks and from any other damage.

Besides being the pride of the Catholics of the region, the church is a major tourist attraction and even for locals. Here, the special church services are held every Wednesday round the year. For the past few decades, the cathedral church has also become a house where people of other faiths also come to seek the blessings, prayers and divine favours through the meditation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Its location and captivating design has made the church a prominent landmark of Shillong. This place was really very peaceful as anyone feels the same at God’s place. As the time was crossing, the light were illuminated through the church and the place was getting brighter and beautiful. I really had a good time at this place as I felt relieved after visiting this place.

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