Meghalaya along with The Scotland of the East (Shillong) moves forth as a trove of spectacular attractions. This hilly state of India is flecked with profuse greenery, caressed with gentle breeze. Over the years, Meghalaya has emerged as a popular tourist attraction of India. There are several activities to do in Meghalaya, like mountaineering, rock climbing, trekking, hiking and others. There is a water sports complex near Umiam Lake, ward’s lakes that enables visitors to enjoy rowboats, paddleboats, sailing boating, water scooters etc. Being a major tourist destination of India, Meghalaya has sufficient accommodation options.
The tribal ethnicity also counts as a significant factor in attracting tourists. Many glinting waterfalls add on to the beauty of Meghalaya, like Elephant Falls and Nohkalikai Falls. Some of the hot springs here are believed to have medicinal properties. The state is also known for Sacred Groves, which are basically forest areas dedicated to local deities, tree spirits or other religious symbols. Some other best places to visit in Meghalaya include Shillong, Cherrapunji, Living Root Bridges, Mawlynnong and Garo Hills.
Meghalaya literally means the Adobe of Gods. The name has been given due to the fact that this place receives heavy rains for most time of the year. One of the villages in Meghalaya (Mawsynram) is indeed the wettest place of planet Earth. Meghalaya is accessible through road, air and railways. Read more to get detailed information about how to reach Meghalaya.
Where to go:
1. Laitlum Grand Canyon in Meghalaya, India
Laitlum Canyons is a wonderful spot covered in mystical mist and fog. The view point is one of the most popular and sought after attractions for adventure and nature lovers. It allures thousands of people from all parts of the world. The gorgeous view of green hills, bamboo plants, foggy clouds and the orchids, all from one point might leave you awestruck. Moreover, Laitlum canyon in Shillong is a great place to some serene moments. Although, it is a long walk to the top, the lush forest will keep you engaged. The best time to be at Laitlum Canyons is in the afternoon hours, because in the morning the spot has foggy covering. The peak is open on all days of the day from 12:00am to 10:00pm.
2. Umiam Lake
Umiam Lake is a reservoir in the hills 15 km (9.3 mi) north of Shillong in the state of Meghalaya, India. Umiam Lake is one of the most popular and scenic spots in Shillong, Meghalaya. The pristine lake is among those places where you can spend some sere moments and adore the beautiful surroundings. The lake is also famous as the Barapani or Big Water. The Umiam Lake in Shillong is a part of an Umiam Umtru Hydro Electric Power Project (a hydro-electric project which resulted in the construction of this lake). When it comes to adventure, the picturesque spot has a lot to offer. Some of the exciting activities you can indulge in are speed boating, sailing, kayaking, water-skiing and rowing. Moreover, you can also have a great picnic time in the lush meadows and wonderful flower beds of the place.
3. Elephant Waterfall in Shillong
Elephant Falls is placed at a distance of around 12 km from Shillong, Elephant waterfalls are just a few minutes’ drive away from the Shillong Peak. One of the most popular tourist attractions of Shillong, this waterfall is called ‘Ka Kshaid Lai Pateng Khohsiew’ by the Khasi locals. Do not miss visiting the Elephant waterfalls during your tour to Shillong. It is a 2-tiered rugged waterfall that lies right amidst thick greenery, finally reaching a small lake. The two successive falls, stream down from mountains on rocky steps, creating a foam effect. The clear water and the lush greenery form an amazing sight making the place all the more worth-visiting. These waterfalls were renamed by the British, as Elephant Waterfalls, after a huge elephant-shaped rock near the falls. This rock was destroyed at the time of an earthquake. Spend some memorable moments here with your loved ones.
4. Lady Hydari Park in Shillong
Lady Hydari Park is opened all throughout the day but the butterfly museum can be visited between 11:00 am and 4:00 pm. Lady Hydari Park or Phan Nonglait Park located at Lachumiere, Shillong, Meghalaya 793001, India. The park is one of the most popular tourist attractions of Shillong, Lady Hydari Park is equally popular amidst locals and tourists. Covering an area of over a kilometer, this well-manicured lush garden also consists of a mini zoo. This zoo is home to around 140 reptile species, 73 avifauna species along with other mammals such as deer and serow. The other animals and birds that can be spotted here include Leopard, Jackal, Porcupine, Himalayan black bear, Kite, Hornbill and Mynah. The park gets its name from the wife of the Governor of Assam, Lady Hydari. Made in Japanese-style, the park also has a vast variety of orchids and flowering plants. Enjoy a leisure walk here, admire the greenery while sitting on a bench reading a book and spot animals staying in their natural habitat like space. The colorful flowers make the park all the more beautiful.
Lady Hydari Park also has a museum and a kid’s playing zone with different swings such as slips, sea-saw and more. The museum displays the rich biodiversity of the state including pictures of rare animals of the region, elephant skulls, stuffed leopard and more. This park is an ideal space to spend some peaceful moments with your loved ones. Willow trees, rhododendron plants and small ponds can be seen in the park.
5. Don Bosco Museum in Shillong
Don Bosco Center Indigenous Cultures located at Mawlai, Shillong. Don Bosco Museum is opening from 9:00 AM – 5:30 PM and close on Sunday. Entrance Fee is INR-200 foreigners and INR-100 Indians. The museum is under the control of Salesian order of the Catholic Church and has plenty of information on the states of Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland. The Don Bosco center or Museum in Shillong with its grandiloquent collection of pre-historic artifacts spreading over several galleries is one such place preserving the culture and heritage of Northeastern states. Some of the galleries you can see here are language gallery, photo gallery, agriculture gallery and musical instruments gallery, displaying different categories and various sections of striking artifacts.
Not only this, the museum also contains a library, Otto Hopfenmueller library where you can get a lot of books and numerous records related to the Northeast India. Further, do not miss the most important and amazing Skywalk, from where you can adore the scenic Shillong. The Don Bosco center or Museum in Shillong is open all days of the week, except Sunday. The opening hours are from 9:00am to 5:30pm During Summer (February 01-November 30) and 09:00 am to 04:30 pm During Winter (December 01 to January 31).The entry charges for Indian tourists- Rs. 100 and for foreign tourists- Rs. 200.
6. Ward’s Lake in Shillong
Ward’s Lake Shillong and locally called Pollock’s Lake or Nan-Polok, Ward’s Lake boasts of being one of the most popular tourist attractions of Shillong. This artificial lake set amidst well-maintained lush botanical garden offering mesmerizing views of the orchids and other colorful flowers lies in the heart of the city. Indulge in the activities of your interest, take a stroll across the bridge over the lake or partake in boating on the serene waters of the lake or feed the fishes. The surrounding garden with cobble-stoned paths also has fountains.
Ward’s Lake is a horse-shoe shaped lake, which is a must-visit attraction during your tour to Shillong. This lake is equally popular amongst tourists, local picnickers and honeymooners. The lake has been named after the person who brought up the idea of making the place, the then Chief Commissioner of Assam, Sir William Ward. It was later constructed in 1894 by Colonel Hopkins. The history of the lake stats that a Khasi prisoner made special efforts to beautify the surrounding area and his role is remembered even today by the locals. The lake complex also has a cafeteria that serves a vast variety of refreshments and beverages. The lake is located quite close to the Governor’s Residence or Raj Bhavan in Shillong.
7. Mawlynnong Waterfall in Shillong
Mawlynnong Waterfall settled in one among the most cleanest and pristine villages of Asia Mawlynnong is the picturesque Mawlynnong Waterfall. Although, Mawlynnong village boasts of numerous breathtaking attractions, one of the most popular is Mawlynnong waterfalls. The water gushes down from a certain height. Soothing your mind and soul, these falls create a thrilling and magical ambience. Renowned as the ‘God’s own garden’ Mawlynnong village in Shillong (approximately 72km away) is revered as the cleanest village in year 2003 and 2005. Mawlynnong is a like a wonderland for nature lovers and photo fanatics; the fascinating and striking root bridges might leave you awestruck. The root bridges are like a pathway across a stream.
The Mawlynnong waterfall is surrounded by lush forests and colorful orchids. If you really want to spend some serene moments, then there is no better place then Mawlynnong waterfall. The best time to be at this place is during monsoons (June to September), when the falls are in full flow and the greenery of the place sprouts entirely. Moreover, the falls are easily accessible by all modes of transportation. Shillong is the nearest airport and nearest train station is Guwahati.
8. Nohkalikai Waterfall in Meghalaya (Nohkalikai Falls, located about 7 km from Cherrapunjee, is the tallest plunge waterfall in India.)
Nohkalikai Falls aresettled few kilometers away from Cherrapunji (formerly the wettest place on earth), is the pristine Nohkalikai Waterfall. The literal meaning of Nohkalikai is ‘jump of Ka Likai’ and the name Nohkalikai is derived from a tragic Khasi legend. The picturesque beauty and the height of the fall would surely leave you mesmerized. Moreover, these falls create a thrilling and magical ambience. Revered among the tallest plunging waterfalls in India, Nohkalikai fall is one of the most popular and important places to visit in Cherrapunji. Surrounded by enchanting lush greenery, Nohkalikai is a paradise for nature lovers and photo fanatics. The water gushes down from a height up to 1100 ft, refreshing all your senses.
Further, when the waterfall gushes down, it creates a waterhole, extremely blue in winters and green in summers. In-addition, the fall appears like a white rope falling, when adored from a striking view point. Apart from just enjoying the scenic view of Nohkalikai, you can also indulge in trekking, camping, bird watching, swimming and angling. You can plan your trip to Nohkalikai in monsoons, when the falls are in full flow and the greenery of the place sprouts entirely. There is no harm in planning your visit in summers too. Usually, travelers hire a taxi or a car from Cherrapunji (7km away) or Shillong (52 km/around an hour drive) to travel to Nohkalikai fall.
9. Double Decker Living Root Bridge
Double Decker Living Root Bridge is thick tropical woods of Meghalaya drops of dew upon it and sweet chirps make it a scenic spot. But what make it remarkable are its living root bridges, a wonder of nature built by mankind. A popular attraction of Cherrapunji, Living Root Bridges are located in close proximity with the Wettest Place on Earth, Mawsynram. The vicinity is covered with clouds and rains for much of the year. The most renowned is the Umshiang Double Decker Root Bridge. These Living Root Bridges are two bridges stacked one upon the other and hence they have been named Double Decker. These are formed due to the entanglement of roots.
The resident Khasi Tribe’s ancestors observed the roots and realized that the roots had the ability to take the weight of people crossing it. Some of the living root bridges in Cherrapunji are Ummuoi Root Bridge, Umkar Root Bridge and Mawsaw Root Bridge. Some of these bridges are over a hundred feet long and in fact grow stronger with time. Ummunoi Root Bridges: This is the oldest known living root bridge of the region. This also is a highly popular attraction, mainly because of easy accessibility and scenic charm. The bridge is 74 meter long settled at a height of 1400 feet. Ritymmen Root Bridge: This can be visited while you are on your way to the popular double-decker living root bridges. Tyrna Village is the starting point of this bridge and the length of the bridge is 30 meter.
Umkar Root Bridge: The bridge starts from Siej Village and is a short one; it hardly takes thirty minutes to go to and fro. A part of the bridge was washed away by flood years ago and local villagers are rebuilding it, and it is interesting to see them at work. During the monsoon season it looks even more beautiful as a glistening waterfall pours just beside it. Umshiang Double Decker Root Bridge: This, without doubts, is the popular living root bridge and what’s interesting is that this is a double-decker living-root bridge. It starts from Tyrna Village and is 3 kilometers long, situated at a height of 2400 feet. To reach the upper bridge, which is 20-meter long, one needs determination but it is all worth the efforts. Also, keep a note that reaching up to the upper bridge is not recommended for physically unfit people. Mawsaw Root Bridge: Walk past the Double Decker Bridge for 20 to 30 minutes and you would reach Mawsaw Bridge.
How to reach Meghalaya
- By train: Nearest railway station from Meghalaya is located in Guwahati (Assam), at a distance of 180 km. Guwahati Junction is connected to New Delhi, Amritsar, Jammu and Kashmir and Bangalore. To reach Meghalaya from Guwahati you can opt for buses or can hire a cab.
- By Air: Major airport from Meghalaya is located in Guwahati (Assam) at a distance of 159 km (Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport). The airport is well- connected to international cities of Tura and Bangkok along with Indian cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai and Calcutta. There are no direct bus connection form Guwahati Airport to Meghalaya, but you can hire a cab to reach your destination.
- By Road: Meghalaya is easily accessible through roads. The roads are mostly smooth and well-frequented with traffic. However, it will be ideal if you could take precautions while driving in heavy monsoon season. Some of the roads get slowed down due to heavy rain.