Meghalaya literally the “Abode of Clouds” describes the climatic phenomenon that brings torrents of rain to its mountainous region. Situated in the North Eastern corner of India it’s a state of immense natural beauty with hills, rivers, waterfalls, lakes, gorges, pristine forest and unique living root bridges.
The capital city of the State as well as the District headquarters of East Khasi Hills District. The name Shillong is derived from U-Shyllong, a powerful deity and is situated at an altitude of 1,491m above sea level. This beautiful city is 103kms. from Guwahati, the nearest air and train link. The presence of many well reputed educational institutions, many of them established by various missionary groups make Shillong the hub of education for the entire north-east.
Just 17 Kms South of Shillong is the traditional seat of Khasi culture. The Nongkrem dance is performed in Smit during November. Close by in Nongkrem village there is one traditional house owned by the Lyngdoh, which is 100 years old.
BARAPANI / UMIAM LAKE
People known as Barapani, this is the biggest artificial lake in the State. Surrounded by sylvan hills and wrapped in the beauty of an assortment of green Khasi-pines and the azure blue skies is the majestic Umiam lake. The lake situated just 15 km from Shillong town.
SOHRA / CHERRAPUNJEE
Sohra, previously known as Cherrapunjee, a Sub-Division in the East Khasi Hills District of Meghalaya, is set upon a plateau on the southern slopes of the state. Sohra is dotted with waterfalls cascading over deep gorges. The swift flowing rivers and streams flow in a southerly direction to the plains. Sohra is 56 kms from Shillong and is literally the high point of any visit to Meghalaya. One of those ultimate eco-friendly destinations, a place renowned all over the world for having the privilege of receiving the highest rainfall in the world. Set against the backdrop of breath-taking landscape, it is a place to discover the Indian summer monsoons. An unique annual meteorological phenomena directly influenced by the south west monsoon and the north east winds. The heavy monsoon rains over these mountains undoubtedly creates in Sohra one of the rarest bio-diverse vegetations in the world. Truly a beautiful corner in north-east India, waiting to be discovered and explored.
Mawsynram is a small village in the Khasi Hills of Meghalaya state in north-eastern India, 56 kilometres from Shillong. Reportedly the wettest place on Earth, Mawsynram receives an average annual rainfall of 11,872 mm (about 39 feet). However, as there has been no meteorological department office in the area and for all practical and statistical purposes, Cherrapunjee has been recorded as the wettest place in the world. Mawsynram is a place where nature-loving people frequently visit wherein they take pleasure in the steep, sliding slopes, the fresh air, the rolling green mountains and the deafening but beautiful waterfalls. In Mawsynram, there is a cave called the Mawjymbuin Cave which is one of the well known caves in Meghalaya. This cave, due to years of weathering and due to dripping of mineralized solutions and deposition of calcium carbonate, it has thus given rise to some magnificent stalagmites. These stalagmites are not only important and of great interest for geological research but also because of their exquisiteness. The stalagmite of the Mawjymbuin Cave is shaped into a massive Shivalinga. The cave also has a dome shaped rock with a flat top called the Symper Rock.
Mawlynnong nestled in the pristine hill state of Meghalaya, is along the Indo-Bangla border. This cute and colourful little village is known for its cleanliness. Mawlynnong Village has earned the distinction of being the cleanest village in Asia. It is situated 90 kms. from Shillong and besides the picturesque village, offers many interesting sights such as the living root bridge and another strange natural phenomenon of a boulder balancing on another rock.
Jakrem located about 64 km from Shillong on the Shillong-Mawkyrwat road, is famous for its hot water springs of sulphur water which is believed to have curative medicinal properties. Jakrem has now developed as a potential health resort. People from all parts of the region throng here to take a dip in the hot spring. Bathing compartments are available around the spring for the use of the public. It is also a favourite picnic spot during winter.
Nongkhnum Island is the biggest river island in Meghalaya and the second biggest river island in Asia, after Majuli Island in Assam. Located about 14 Kms from Nongstoin. There is a wooden bridge over the Weinia Fall to enter the Island.The Island is formed by the bifurcation of Kynshi River into the Phanliang River and the Namliang River. At the point of divergence, there is a beautiful sandy shore about 100 sq. meters in area. The Phanliang River forms a beautiful lake adjacent to the sandy beach. This lake is about 400 to 500 sq. meters. The River then moves along and before reaching a deep gorge, forms a pretty fall about 60 meters high, called Shadthum Fall. At the bottom of the fall, there is a beautiful pool where a variety of fishes can be found. It then continues its journey and finally reunites with the Namliang River, near a place called Thongrin.
On the banks of river Jadukata close to Bangladesh. Ranikor is a beautiful place. This area is famous for abundance of mahseer. The dark blue deep waters of Jadukata offers ample scope for water – sports.
64 kms. from Shillong is the administrative headquarters of Jaintia Hills as well as the commercial centre. It is situated alongside the Myntdu river which encircles two thirds of this over expanding township.
This beautiful man made lake at Thadlaskein is 8 kms away from Jowai fed by a Perennial spring. According to tradition, one Chieftain Sajar Nangli had an irreconcilable difference with the King of Jaintiapur. Not wanting to be blamed for an inevitable bloodbath he decided to flee from the Kingdom with his followers. Before his departure, however, they dug the present day lake with the ends of bows as a memorial. The lake is revered by the people of Raid Mukhla who continue to offer sacrifices near the Lake.
This fall is located about 5 kms away from Jowai. A pretty arch bridge connects across an expanse of green paddy fields, which opens up to the gushing Tyrshi falls thundering down to the Pynthor (paddy-fields) below. A winding footpath offering a breathtaking and panoramic view of the Pynthor Nein, eases your trek down to the bottom of the falls, which glides down like milk over a vertical drop.
Nartiang in the Jainitia Hills, about 65 kms ( 40 miles ) from shilling and 24 kms ( 15 miles ) from Jowai, is the summer headquarters of the Jaintia Kings who brought their Hindu Brahmins with them and whose progeny are still there. There are clusters of monoliths in Nartiang that are among the tallest any where in the world. According to folklore the tallest one was erected single – handedly by Mar Phalyngki, yhe Goliath of the Jaintia legends. It is 8 mts. ( 26 feet ) high, 2 mts. ( 6.6 feet ) wide and 46 cms. ( 18 inches ) thick. There is another one used as a stone bridge laid by U Lah Lyngskor, another famous hero of olden days.
Selbarge Hoolock Gibbon Reserve
This small area protected by the community is home to the Hoolock Gibbons, the only ape species found in India. The sacred grove in the reserve is the pride of the village and the community. The Gaors never kill or hunt The Hoolock Gibbon as it is a traditional belief among them that if a Hoolock Gibbon killed, a famine or a curse would befall the entire village.
Baghmara Reserve Forest
At a distance of about 4 kilomiters from the main town of BAghmara, this thick forest is inhabited by langurs, birds of different species, elephants, etc. Many tourists have reported sighting herds of elephants as they travel from Baghmara to Balpakram National Park via Baghmara Reserve Forest.
Nokrek National Park
The Nokrek National Park and Biosphere Reserve is about 45 kms from Tura. Nokrek is the highest peak in Garo Hills and home to different species of wild animals including Elephants and Hoolock Gibbons. The park is also home to a very rase species of citrus – indica endemic to this place which is the local call memang narang ( ‘orange of the spirits’ ). Nokrek is also believed to be the home of Mande Burung ( jungle man or ape man ) are reported case of sightseeings abound in and around villages of Nokrek.
Balpakram National Park (Land of Eternal Wind)
Also known as the abode of perpetual winds. It is a national wild life park, about 167 kms from Tura. It is believed that here, the spirits of the dead dwell temporarily before embarking of the final journey. It is home to one of the rarest animals in the world – the Lesser Panda or the Red Panda as it is commonly known.