Places to visit in Shillong, Meghalaya
Meghalaya is a small state sandwiched between Assam and Bangladesh. Capital is Shillong. It has an area of 22,429 sq. km. and is located between 25 and 26.15 North (Latitude) and 89.45 and 92.47 East (Longitude).
A three hour drive up the hill from Guwahati takes you to Shilong, the capital of state which lies at a height of 1,496 mtrs. above sea level.En route you will pass first the halfway mandatory stop at Nongpoh, where you can savour a cup of tea while watching the flow of traffic. Pretty women behind small stalls sell pineapple and bananas, honey and pickles in bottle.
17 kms. before Shilong is Umiam also known as Barapani where a large lake was formed after a hydro-electric dam was built across a stream. In recent years, this has become an increasingly popular place for outings and weekend visits. The Orchid Lake Resort designed by the famous architect Charles Correa and constructed amongst pine wood overlooks the lake. Flurries of rain often sweep across the water body, scattering visitors and splash loudly on the large bay windows of the loungue. There are facilities for water sports here; from kayaking and water skiing for the adventurous to water cycling and simple boating for the less brave. The Orchid Lake Resort ,run by the Meghalaya Tourism Department has a plenty-appointed rooms with balconies , a restaurant and bar.
Shilong became Assam’s capital in 1874 and remained so far for a century until the seat of government in Assam went to the plains and Meghalaya was established as a separate state. The city derive its name from the deity Shyllong or Lie Shyllong which is sorshipped at the Shilong Peak,10 kms from the main town and 1,965 mtrs. above sea level. This is the highest point in the state and commands a panoramic view of the Shillong valley. In the evening the city lights glow glitter and twinkle like a giant Christmas tree.
One of the first places that a newcomer to Shilong should visit is the liwduh Bazaar, earlier known as the Bara Bazaar.
Cheerful women dominate this market ,the largest of its kind in the entire North East.Oranges,pineapples and otherfruits;vegetables meat and fish are on the sale here as are consumer durables.
The prominent role of women is highly visible in the Khasi Hills, where the Khasis a community which is said to have its origins in Kampuchea, South East Asia and speaks a language that has its roots in Mon-Khmer, follow a matrilineal society. Under this custom, the children take the name of their of their mother and the youngest daughter become the custodian of the family property. Other sites to visit are the Ward’s Lake for a leisurely stroll or boating. You can feed the carp from the wooden bridge. The Botanical garden a scheduled park border the lake and further down the hill is the celebrated Golh Course, called the Gleneagles of the East. The Golf Club retain a colonial touch and the area as are parts of the city, is good for long walks. In fact because the density of the road traffic and frequent traffic jams, walking is recommended as an easy way seeing many parts of heart of Shillong.
Shillong is full of Churches and waterfalls. The most beautiful church is the Cathedral of Mary Help of Christian located on a hill; stained glass windows and high arches add to the beauty of this building. Directly below, carved out of the hill is the Grotto Church. The All Saints Church opposite the state Central Library is another attractive building of wood and plaster. The state central library has a wealth of that can be a book lover’s delight. A museum there gives glimpses of the region’s heritage Pop and Rock concerts are often held here and are extremely popular, with song in Khasi and English. The Butterfly Museum that had begun breeding butterflies as a conservation measure and for their commercial measure and for their commercial value has a good display of mounted butterflies and beetles from India and abroad. Nearby is the Lady Hydari Park which has a mini-zoo a children’s section and well-laid out flower beds. Of all the falls in and around Shillong, among the prettiest is the Sweet Falls near Happy valley. A gushing stream of water plunges into a deep, cool and inciting pool. It’s good hike down to the stream and a nice way to spend a day. Then there are the Bishop and Beadon Falls and the Elephant Falls which draw many tourists. The Elephant Falls is 12 km .on the outskirts of the city and near Shillong Peak. If there is time visitors should travel to Sohpetbneng Peak,20 kms. from Shillong set amid a beautiful view and the backdrop of a sacred forest.
Tourist Places to visit in Shillong, Meghalaya (Near by)
A 56 km. drive along a narrow winding road takes you to Cherrapunjee, one of the wettest places in the world. Indeed ,this town, now known as Sohra and the village of Mowsynram, on a neighbouring hill, have completed with each other for the record of the wettest place on the earth. For weeks, there is no let up for the pounding of the rain on tin roofs. But waterfalls leap and roar from the edge of the road into deep gorges below, including the famed Nohsngithiang Falls. On a fog-shrouded day, however you can hear the waterfall and yet not see it. This lovely town is also famous for its limestone carves and orange honey. A centre of Khasi culture and literature, it also has the oldest Presbyterain Church. The Ramkrishna Mission, which has been active in spreading literacy in the region,has a large centre here. Top in the list of tourist places to visit in Shillong, Meghalaya.
KHASI AND JAINTIA HILLS
A bit further down the road to limestone caves, one can stop by a graveyard where British missionaries and their close relatives lie buried. Before reaching the caves, visitors are awed by a series of giant pillars or megaliths that have been erected near a stream. Such megaliths are to be seen in different parts of the Khasi and Jaintia Hills and are usually erected to commemorate great deeds or to honour dead chieftains. Visitors can stay at the Circuit House or return to Shillong where they can stay at the government-run Pinewood Hotel or in numerous private hotels. Top in the list of tourist places to visit in Shillong, Meghalaya.
The summer capital of Jaintia kings, Nartiang is about 65 kms. east of Shillong.The jaintias are one of the three main tribes which inhabit Meghalaya: the other being the Khasis and the Garos. Nartiang’s greatest attraction is to be found off the small road that runs amidst forest, streams and hills in a quiet and shaded glen. A short walk and you will find yourself in the playground of giants, it appears: huge stone slabs are positioned erect or flat or sloping. But this is more than what meets the eye: it is a park of megaliths, some of which are said to have been placed there by a giant called U Mar Phalynki. The tallest is 8 mtrs. high and 2 mtrs. wide. Megalithic culture have existed across the world, including the one at Stonehenge in England. A 500 year old temple of Durga is another attraction at Nartiang. Top in the list of tourist places to visit in Shillong, Meghalaya.
Enroute to Nartiang, 64 km, from Shillong is small but pretty lake of Thadlaskien, good for picnics. The gently rolling meadows around the lake are invitation to relax. This lake ,according to a legend, was dug by the ends of bows by members of 290 clans of a rebel general of a Jaintia Raja. Top in the list of tourist places to visit in Shillong, Meghalaya.
64 km from Shillong is Jakrem a popular health resort having hot-springs of sulphur water believed to have curative medical properties.Dawki, a border town 96 km from Shillong gives you a glimpse of Bangladesh. The colourful annual boat race durig spring at the Umgot river is an added attraction.140 km from Shillong is Ranikor, a scenic spot and an angler’s paradise because of a huge population of carp and mahseers. Top in the list of tourist places to visit in Shillong, Meghalaya.
The festivities and celebration in the North-Eastern states of India are a colourful reflection of the people and their lives. Throughout the year, festivals are celebrated by different people in different ways, most of them centering around their modes of living and livelihood.
Shillong Autumn Festival November
The main shopping areas are Police Bazaar ,Bara Bazaar and Laitumkhrah. At Bara Bazaar one cam have an interesting experience of seeing people of different tribes in colourful attire. For hand-woven shawls, handicrafts, orange flower honey and cane work, you can visit the emporia namely-the Meghalaya Handicrafts, Khadi Gramodyog and Purabshree.