Series-2

Northeast, July 3: Meghalaya means abode of cloud. It is the region that receives the highest rainfall in the world. The state of Meghalaya was carved out from two districts: the United Khasi Hills and the Garo Hills of the state of Assam. Khasi tribals are the principal inhabitants of the state.

Meghalaya has a significant commercial forestry industry, but it is predominantly an agricultural economy. Meghalaya is a considerable contributor of rice and maize to the
country. Famous for its oranges, pineapple, jackfruit, banana, and seasonal fruits like
peaches, plum, and pears, it is also home to various spices and medicinal plants. The capital of Meghalaya is a beautiful hill station- Shillong.

The state’s official language is English, but Garo, Assamese, Bengali, Nepali, and Hindi find
many speakers in Meghalaya. The main festivals celebrated are The Autumnal Festival,
Strawberry Festival, the Ranikor festival, and the Wangala Festival in November every year.
Meghalaya is an ideal destination for people seeking inner peace in the mountains while
being close to nature.

HOW TO REACH?

By Train: The nearest railway station to reach the Northeast state of Meghalaya is in Guwahati (Assam). Meghalaya is 180 km from the Guwahati station, covered by a cab or a bus.

By Air: Guwahati is the nearest airport connected with all the major cities of the country.
Meghalaya is located at a distance of 159km from Guwahati airport. It can be covered by a
private taxi or bus.

By Road: Meghalaya is well connected with all the major cities of India by road. The connectivity is good, and the way smooth.

WHAT TO EAT?

When visiting the Northeast state of Meghalaya, one should not leave any opportunity to gorge on the local
speciality.

Following is the list of must-try food
  • Jodoh- Dish made of rice, pork, spices, and lots of vegetables.
  • Nakham Bitchi– It is a soup made of dry fish and vegetables without adding water
    and eaten mainly after a heavy, spicy meal.
  • Dokhlieh- It is a Khasi speciality- a pork salad with onion, chillies, and many spices.
  • Pumaloi- It is a variety of rice popular in Meghalaya. It can be devoured with
    anything tangy or spicey and can be included in any meal.
  • Bamboo Shoots- It is high in nutrition. It is one of the staple food of the state. In
    Meghalaya is served as a main course with marinated pork and vegetables.
  • Momo- This typical delicacy is the speciality of Meghalaya. The size of the dumplings
    is enormous, and it comes with the filling of vegetables, pork, or chicken. It can be
    steamed or fried as per ones’ preference and taste.

PLACES TO VISIT:

 

1. Cherrapunji

Cherrapunji Meghalaya

It rains every day in Cherrapunji. It is the second wettest place on the earth. The ‘Jewel Crest of Meghalaya‘ is located 56km from Shillong, nestled in East Khasi Hills. Surrounded by waterfalls and lush green foliage, it is a tourist’s paradise.

The places to not miss are living root bridges, Mawsmai cave, Eco Park and Nokalikai
Falls. Interestingly The locals in Cherrapunji follow the matrilineal culture. March to May, June to September, and October to February is the best time to visit Cherrapunji.

 

2. Balpakram National Park

Balpakram National Park

Balpakram means ‘land of eternal winds’. Located in the East Garo Hills, Balpakram is renowned for its forest pack canyon-cum-gorge, now a part of National Park.

It is home to one of the rarest species- the red panda and wild water buffalo; in addition to tigers, elephants, bison, black bear, leopard, sambhar dear, marbled cats, and barking dear.

Balpakram is also a bird watcher’s delight. Besides the primal forest cover and picturesque locations, it also shares its border with northern Bangladesh.

Tourists can witness the panoramic view of the Tanguar Haor, a Ramsar Site in Bangladesh from Balpakram. This place is often compared to the Grand Canyon in the USA due to its spectacular gorge and canyons. The best time to visit is April, May, December, and January.

 

3. Shillong

Shillong Meghalaya

The capital city of the Northeast state of Meghalaya is also known as ‘The Scotland of the East‘. Shillong is surrounded by green foresty hills, a pleasant climate, and unmatchable locations. Shillong’s picturesque locales and trekking trails are popular with tourists worldwide. It ranks as the 330 th most populous city in India.

It is also home to tribes like Bhowal, Maharam, Khyrim, Mylliem, Mallaisohmat, and
Langrim. Shillong Peak, Umiam Lake, Don Bosco Museum, Sweet Falls, Shillong Borapani Lake, Mary Help Of Christian Cathedral, Laitlum Canyons, Phan Nonglait Park, Lady Hydari Park, and Ward’s Lake are famous tourist spots.

However, Shillong never fails to amaze if one takes the path less travelled with the help of the locals. An impressive statistic reveals that six out of every ten people in Shillong know how to play the guitar. One can plan to visit Shillong at any time of the year.

 

4. Elephant Falls

Elephant Falls Meghalaya

The Fall is the hidden treasure among dense forest covers. The three-tier waterfall got its name from the Britishers found the two rocks at the side of the fall eerily resembling elephants. The fall is surrounded by the fern-covered rocks making it a sight to behold. February to May is the best time to visit the Falls.

 

5. Living Roots Bridge

Living Roots Bridge

This bridge is an example of superb human engineering. It is a simple suspension bridge formed by the roots of live plants. The aerial roots of the rubber fig plant were used for the construction of the bridge.

The living Root Bridge in Cherrapunji is 3 km long and situated at the height of 2400 feet. This 200-year-old bridge can carry up to 50 people at a time. Tourists can visit this human marvel at any time of the year. However, it is advisable to avoid the monsoon patch from June to August since the persistent rains make it hard to travel around the region.

 

6. Mawlynnong Village

Mawlynnong Village

Located in East Khasi Hills in the Northeast state of Meghalaya, Mawlynnong is the cleanest village in the entire Asian continent. Surrounded by gorgeous greenery, waterfalls, and root bridges, this village is nothing short of heaven on the earth.

No wonder it is also known as ‘God’s own Garden‘. It is not only the cleanest village, but it has a hundred per cent literacy rate. There is zero carbon footprinting. It’s a plastic-free, Litter free and no-smoking zone. ‘Cleanliness is next to Godliness‘ the residents of the village have proved this is saying true. If one wants to enjoy the ethereal beauty of the place for a few days more, a few homes in the village offer homestay.

Mawlynnong can be explored at any time of the year. However, it is particularly enchanting during the monsoon season, from June to September, and during winters, from December
to February.

 

7. Nohkalikai Falls

Nohkalikai Falls

Located near Cherrapunji, it is the tallest plunge fall. It is one of the most noteworthy falls of India and the fourth highest in the world.

The most astounding fact about the waterfall is that its water remains blue in summers and
turns green in winters. The best time to visit is Nohkalikai Falls in September and October when the skies are clear.

 

8. Dawki

Dawki

It is a small town famous for its coal mines and limestones exports. It is also the border town connecting India with Bangladesh by road. Besides the pristine lush green surrounds, the Umngot- the cleanest river in India flows through Dawki.

The greenish-blue water of the river is so clear that one can see the fish swimming inside
it. Dawki is unexplored by tourists and therefore retains its rustic charm. February
and early March are the best months to visit this beautiful location.

 

9. Kyllang Rock

Kyllang Rock Meghalaya

A beautiful giant grey dome amidst the green foliage of West Khasi Hills strikes out of the placid pine dotting the landscape.

Trek up to the top of the rock to enjoy the panoramic view of the scenery of nature. According to folklore, Lum Kyllang was believed to be the result of the battle between two Gods- Kyllang and Symper.

They threw rock and mud at each other that accumulated to form Kyllang Rock. Carry a picnic basket along the trek and enjoy the food with the view on the top. The best time to visit is from October to April.

 

10. Umiam Lake

Umiam Lake Meghalaya

One of the major tourist attractions of the Northeast state of Meghalaya- the Lake is an example of the most stunning human creation. In early 1960 it was carved by damming the Umiam river to produce hydroelectric power.

The surrounding Sylvan Hills and the green pine forest of Khasi make it a sight to behold. It is a paradise for nature lovers, tourists, and photographers alike. Besides boating on the placid Lake and marvelling at its beauty, one can indulge in water sports and adventure activities like Kayaking, water cycling, and scooting.