Posted 25 August 2022

Five reasons why you should visit Meghalaya, the ‘abode of clouds’

Meghalaya is one vacation destination that is ideal for everyone who wants to be close to nature. Meghalaya means ‘abode of the clouds' and is known for its roaring high waterfalls and thick rainforest. As soon as you reach Meghalaya, you will realise that the overall ambience of Meghalaya cannot be described in words. There are many great places to visit in Meghalaya and a ton of waterfalls are simply stunning. One must certainly plan a trip to Meghalaya for an experience of a lifetime. If you want to be around nature, this is your best option. It is also the perfect getaway for a romantic vacation.

Here are the five must-visit reasons for your trip to Meghalaya -

1. Visit the 'Scotland of the East', Shillong

Popularly known as Scotland of the East, Shillong is one of the most famous tourist places in Meghalaya and for all the right reasons. The scenic beauty of the place, the climate and the forested hill are all the reasons why you must plan a trip to Meghalaya and add Shillong to the itinerary. 

Shillong is a treasure trove of organic products. Look out for the variety of jams and jellies made of Sohiong (prunus nepalensis), peaches and pineapple. Honey based beauty scrubs, handmade soaps, Sohiong wine, cashews, essential oils, a variety of berries including mulberries, raspberries, sour sophie berries and strawberries are amongst the other organic goods available in Shillong. If you are planning on loading your shopping bag with quality cashews, head straight to Tura Bazaar. The eco-friendly Khasi scrubs are also a good buy. These lightweights locally made scrubs are available everywhere in Shillong. Several Khasi women could be spotted around the town selling this utility product. These scrubs are way more efficient than the city loofah and undeniably economical. Cut it into any size and squeeze it into your travel bag. You wouldn’t regret the purchase.

The temperature in Shillong remains cold for most of the year and hence the markets are flooded with warm clothes. You can find a great range of Manipuri and Naga shawls permeated with indigenous themes. You can spot many locals wearing them in the town. Trying these shawls outside the north-eastern part of the country will surely fetch you some attention (in a flattering way of course).

2. Try boating at Umiam lake

The Umiamlake offers a beautiful view and one must try the adventurous boat ride at the Umiamlake. Amidst all the natural beauty lies the Umiamlake, an artificial lake that was developed to produce hydroelectric power in the area. It is surrounded by lush green trees and makes for the most mesmerising view. You can also take a long boat ride and enjoy the sunset here. One can also try various water activities in the lake.

There are several thrilling and fun activities for kids to enjoy at Umiamlake. The lake opens daily for various water sport activities between 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. However, the panoramic sights can be enjoyed anytime.

3. Explore the Mawlynnong village

Mawlynnong Village is one of Asia's cleanest villages, and you will only believe it when you visit the place. Not only is it an exotic place to see in Meghalaya but also has a scenic view of the lush greenery and waterfalls. In addition to the camping sites here, you will also find decent homestays and fancy resorts to stay in. Mawlynnong's weather is very pleasant during summer. Though it is more humid compared to Shillong and Cherrapunji, frequent showers make the weather enjoyable. The maximum temperature during summer is between 25°C and 32 °C. 

The best season to visit Mawlynnong village is the monsoon. If you don't like the misty weather, you will enjoy the winters here.

Located about 2 km away from Mawlynnong Village is this charming treehouse called Skywalk. It is also known by the name Nohwet Viewpoint which is one of the best places to visit in Mawlynnong. You can make the most out of Meghalaya's beauty as you check out the views from the Skywalk. It is about 85 feet tall and is an eco-friendly ladder-like structure that has been wholly constructed of bamboo poles that have been tied to a tree. Tourists are allowed to climb up the Skywalk to get a bird's eye view of the gorgeous Mawlynnong village as well as the Bangladesh plains.

About 30 km from Mawlynnong village is the beautiful town of Dawki in the West Jaintia Hills. From the town, you can get a peripheral view of the astounding emerald Umngot river. One can also get a view of the International Radcliffe Line border which forms a line between India and Bangladesh. While you drive down from Mawlynnong to Dawki, you will also get to see the stunning Bophill Falls. The roads enhance the beauty of Meghalaya, and you can also give Mawlynnong village some credit for being part of such a lustrous location. While you relish the picturesque town of Dawki, you can book accommodation at the Shnongpdeng village, which is only a few feet away from Dawki. 

As you venture within the forests from Dawki to the Mawlynnong village, you will find the exquisite Mawlynnong Waterfall. The stunning location with the sparkling waters has been untouched and continues to remain void from human interference. You would be mesmerised by the ambience that the rushing waters and scenic environment create. The water gushing from the Mawlynnong waterfall connects with the same river that divides India and Bangladesh. The falls also have two bridges that are ideal for vehicles and walking.

4. Take a tour to Double decker living root bridge

The double-decker living root bridge is in Cherrapunji and is the most scenic place in Meghalaya. The bridge is made up of the roots of an Indian rubber tree, is 3 km long and is the oldest natural bridge that accommodates 50 people at a time. You will have to trek to the exact location, but it is worth it.

Visiting the double-decker root bridge is not easy. The trek there is long and tiring but worthy as it gives you an out-of-this-world experience.

5. Cherrapunji

Cherrapunji experiences the highest rainfall during the year and is considered one of the wettest places on earth. The first thing that comes to mind when we talk about Cherrapunji is rain, rain and more rain. This high-altitude town in the northeast Indian state of Meghalaya is renowned for its unique living root bridge. The place receives 11777 mm rainfall each year making it one of the wettest places on the earth. This is one of the reasons that makes it a top place to visit in Meghalaya. Trekking over here is a fulfilling experience. Visiting the Seven Sisters Falls and the Nohkalikai Falls is a must to do when you visit Meghalaya. Being a major tourist attraction, these places offer a fantastic view. The falls plunge over the top of limestone cliffs of the Khasi Hills only during the rainy season. In full slate, the segments stretch most of the way along the cliff. The waterfalls get illuminated by the sun and the vibrant colours of the setting sun on the waterfalls make it beautiful. The entry fee for this breath-taking site is marked at INR 10.

Tips for travelling to Meghalaya

  • Permits are mandatory at the borders and some restricted places since Meghalaya belongs to the North-Eastern part of India. So, make sure to have all required permissions ready.
  • Book well in advance. Due to high tourist traffic to Meghalaya, hotels and homestays tend to get booked faster than usual. 
  • Pack warm. Add some layers to your outfits to look both stylish and have a comfortable journey.
  • The best time to visit Meghalaya is from October to April when the weather is pleasant and refreshing

With all these tips in mind, it is bound to be an over-the-top experience in Meghalaya, given the fact that Meghalaya is mesmerizing at its first glance itself. 

How to reach Meghalaya?

  • By Road: Assam State Transport Corporation (ASTC) and Meghalaya Transport Corporation (MTC) run buses from Guwahati to Shillong. The main interstate bus stand is located near to Guwahati railway station. Reasonable prices for different types of buses like AC, AC sleeper, luxury and Volvo buses are available for Shillong. Some of the places nearby which you can visit are Cherrapunji (55 km) and Jowai (61 km),
  • By Rail: Guwahati railway station is the nearest railway station situated at a distance of 105 Km from Shillong. The city is well connected to all other major cities of the country via rail medium.
  • By Air: Shillong Airport or Umroi Airport is located 30 km away from the city centre. The nearby airport of Guwahati, the state capital of Assam, is also close to Shillong. The journey from Guwahati to Shillong can be completed with a 4- hour drive via NH 40. IndiGo now operates a daily non-stop flights to Shillong

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