Shillong the capital of Meghalaya, located in undulating pine covered hills, the city has a milder climate than tropical India. Home to several waterfalls, it is also known as the Scotland of the East. The British legacy is still visible in the architecture and food habits of the population. The Assam style houses with slanting roofs, large number of windows and wooden floors look like a piece of art. Shillong receives heavy rainfalls during monsoon and the rainy season usually lasts longer than in the rest of India. An umbrella is, therefore, a necessity when packing your bags. Although people avoid the rainy season, it is generally the time when the city is clean and waterfalls are in full strength. Shillong is the only hill station in the country that is accessible from all sides. Most of the Shillong population belong to the Khasi tribe, who are predominantly Christian.
Being born in Assam, Shillong has always been so near to us and was standing proud with its beautiful mountains, the lakes and the best part with its weather. Assam weather during May to August is too hot and humid so we often escape to Shillong to beat the heat and enjoy some fresh chill air. The journey from Guwahati the capital of Assam is around 2 to 3 hours and get ready for some really good shots over the hills. The green lush just mesmerize you and makes you fall in love with this city.
It was a 1 night trip to this beautiful city, The Scotland of the East. When we reached it was almost dark, we had our friends over there so staying was not a problem, though you get lodges and hotels easily as you enter the city or you can also book before hand. I got some beautiful snaps of the city overlooking our apartment in the morning, the beautiful sunrise and the weather was so very pleasant and calm and soothing.
Our first destination was the Shillong Peak, an ideal picnic spot, offers a panoramic view of these country side, and is also the highest point in the State. In the evening the city lights below appear like a star-studded abyss. There is a view-point where you can get breathtaking view of Shillong city. The whole city remains in my one glance and the beauty lies when you see it from a distance high above.
There are lots of shops available, as a tourist, one can get a very nice picture of local life in here. Traditional bamboo handicrafts and woolen handmade shawls are most popular buys and additionally art-crafts made of wood and bamboo furnitures are popular shops.
The best part is you get to dress like them and have some snapshots on your way to The Elephanta Falls, Khasi girls helps you were their traditional dress for both men and women. Its a memory to be always cherished and a photo here with the beautiful surroundings and the traditional dress is a memory you will always remember.
Our next destination was The Elephanta Falls, the mountain stream descends through two successive falls set in dells of fern-covered rocks. The scenic fall is not continuous and more of collection of smaller falls At a short distance beyond the falls, there are two smaller falls, the Wei Iaplam Falls and the Wir Phang Falls. A well paved footpath and a small wooden bridge facilitate access to these falls. Its name elephant falls was given by British because there was a rock by the side of fall which resembled elephant. What a breathtaking view amidst the green lush and the magnificent falls. Got some real good shots.
Our next place was The Ward Lake, A beautiful man made lake named after Sir William Ward, the then, Chief Commissioner of Assam. A beautiful little lake with short garden walks and boating facilities, this is a popular spot for both local and visiting tourists.The central landscaping element of colonial-era Shillong, this attractive lake has a pretty ornamental bridge, flower beds, coy courting couples, boating facilities and gaggles of geese.
Umiam Lake, a beautiful lake north of Shillong, which resembles the ‘Lochs’, or lakes of Scotland, and is a must see for all tourists. This lake is man made and is better known as ‘Barapani’ (big water) for its sheer size. There is a garden ( Lum Nehru park) by the side water sports complex. The lake is encompassed by sprawling meadows and undulating hills that are carpeted with lush greenery .Fishing and irrigation, Umiam Lake is a frequented tourist destination of the region. The tourism department of Meghalaya has developed this place into a recreation hot spot. Visitors can enjoy boat rides while admiring views of its surrounding landscapes. Those who seek adventure can indulge in thrilling water sports like kayaking, skiing and scooting.
The Golf Course, one of the oldest and best natural golf course in the world is considered to be the “Glen Eagle of the East” by the United States Golf Association and Museum. The site where the Golf Course is located provides a scenic view. It was set in an undulating valley covered with thick groves of pine and rhododendron trees. This is the first golf course of India which has 18 holes in it. This place is like a dream come true for the putters.
All Saint’s Cathederal, The 1902 All Saints’ Cathedral would look perfect pictured on a biscuit tin, located in the Laitumkhrah locality in Shillong, the Cathedral of Mary Help of Christians is one of the most beautiful church in Shillong. It has high arches and stained glass windows which add to its grandeur. We could just get a good picture snap shot of it as it was closed on the day we arrived.
So it was an amazing trip to the Scotland of the East Shillong, indulge in some beautiful panoramic views from up above the hills, get stunned by the beauty of the lakes and mesmerized by the magnificent waterfalls.This place in North East India where you escape the heat of the sun and enjoy some of the fresh chill air.
The other destinations worth seeing in Shillong are :
- Don Bosco Centre on Indigenous Cultures : This is also the largest cultural museum in the whole Asia. Fr Sebastian is the priest who has taken up the cause of preservation of art and culture with ‘missionary zeal.
- Lady Hydari Park : The park has variety of local flowering plants and orchids, it also has a small zoo within it.
- Sweet Falls : located in Happy Valley, it is a very steep fall.
- Bishop & Beadon Falls : Located in Suna valley,these two are very beautiful falls. Suna is the home to wild animals such as deer, leopard,langurs,wild cats and numerous bird species
- Butterfly Museum : There is a huge collection of different types of butterflies. ..
The Things to Do in Shillong :
- Take a walk through Iewduh (Bara Bazar)-Iewduh means Big Market – It is one of the biggest market in North-East India. There are separate areas dedicated to vegetables, fruits, iron works, fish, beef, betel and so on.
- Visit the Polo Irish Pub – a quaint little pub that celebrates the spirit of Shillong as a hill station.
- Visit the State Central Library – it was started at the time of British Raj and holds many rare books and almanacs. For British searching for clues about ancestors in this area, it is a gold-mine. Unfortunately with time and poor management many books are being lost.
- Explore the forest around Shillong peak – There are no large or dangerous animals and forest is full of rare and exotic plants – orchids, pines and others including the famous insect eating pitcher plant (Nepenthes khasiana).
- Visit Cherrapunjee, an easy drive through the rambling, undulating roads.
For more details refer to Meghalaya Tourism website :