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Meghalaya Tourism

Meghalaya

-Half Way To Heaven

Meghalaya, the abode of clouds, is one of the most beautiful states in North-East India offering a variety of sights, activities, food, and festivals to the tourists.

Well known for Cherapunjji, the place which receives one of the maximum rainfall in the world, Meghalaya can mesmerize you with its hills, valleys, lakes, caves, and waterfalls which when combined with the beautiful clouds, give it a very serene, beautiful look.

Shillong is the capital of Meghalaya, and it’s the most urbanized area you will see in the entire state.

Shillong has a lot of leftover British colonial influence that is evident from the plentiful British architecture.

Owing to the magnificent lakes all around the town, and the hills surrounding it, Shillong has often been called the Scotland of the East.

Cherrapunji is famous for its rainfall, and it used to be the wettest place on Earth before the title was taken over by Mawsynram, which is less than 100 kilometres away from Cherrapunji.

The Living Double-decker Root Bridge is a famous attraction in Cherrapunji, where trekking and hiking activities are offered for tourists.

Meghalaya where every street corner has a bamboo dustbin to ensure nature-friendly disposal of trash. The focal point of attraction of this village is the Sky Watch, which is a bamboo structure that offers sweeping views of the Bangladeshi plains from the top.

Meghalaya has a history of rich craftsmanship, and wood-carving and artistic weaving are famous crafts here, especially in the Jaintia and Khasi districts. 

History of Meghalaya

It can be said that the Meghalaya has been the homeland of several tribes, namely the Garo, Khasi, and Jaintia.

Till the 19th century, each of the three tribes in Meghalaya, viz. Garo, Khasi, and Jaintia had their independent rule in the different territories of Meghalaya.

But the arrival of the Britishers in the political scenario of India changed the plight of these tribal communities in India.

In the 19th century, Meghalaya became a counterpart of the British Empire in India. During the British Raj, Meghalaya was annexed under the British Empire.

Further in 1935, Meghalaya became a part of Assam: the Britishers incorporated Meghalaya in the territory of Assam.

Yet, Meghalaya enjoyed a semi-independent status due to the treaty that was signed between Meghalaya and the British Crown.

There is not much information on the history of Meghalaya apart from accounts of the more important Khasi kingdoms in the chronicles of the neighbouring Ahoms and Kacharis.

The first written history of the state came into existence only after Britishers tried to construct a rail line through this area to connect Bengal and Assam that ultimately led to a treaty with the Khasi principality of Nonkhlaw.

However, the treaty came opposition, which forced the ruler to repudiate the treaty in 1829. This led to the confrontation between Khasis and the Britishers and by the 1830s, the local rulers had submitted to the latter.

The tribes continued their practices in seclusion until rulers of the region acceded to the newly independent country of India.

The region was included in the united province of Assam for the administrative region, which led to the agitation of the local population. The region was accorded full statehood on January 21, 1972.

Popular Languages of Meghalaya

The language spoken in Meghalaya is Khasi. The language spoken by the Khasi tribes hails from the Mon-Khmer family of the Austroasiatic society. Khasi in Meghalaya is spoken by the people in the surrounding areas of the Khasi and Jaintia Hills of Meghalaya.

Meghalaya Capital  

The capital of Meghalaya is Shillong.

Chief Minister (CM) of Meghalaya 

Conrad Kongkal Sangma is the Chief Minister of Meghalaya. 

Governor of Meghalaya 

Tathagata Roy is the new governor of Meghalaya. 

High Court of Meghalaya 

The High court of Meghalaya is located in Shillong. 

Meghalaya on Map:

Meghalaya Tourism

Meghalaya, of Scottish scenery and Indian charm, is a beautiful state nestled amid Assam and Bangladesh. Meghalaya, literally meaning “Abode of the Clouds” takes distinction of being among the wettest places on earth. 

The Cherrapunji belt receives the highest rainfall in the world.

Home to an extraordinary diversity of peoples, the Khasi, Jaintia, and Garo tribes, Meghalaya is one of the most picturesque states of India, which serves as an ideal gateway for people in search of beauty and tranquillity.

The panoramic landscapes, foggy hills, cascading waterfalls, serpentine rivers, and terraced slopes soothe the minds of weary travellers.

Meghalaya is blessed with rich wildlife. The dense forests of Meghalaya are inhabited by many rare species of birds and animals including elephants, Tigers, Golden Cats, Binturongs, Slow Loris, Monkeys, and birds like Hornbills, Partridges, Teals, Snipes, and Quails.

Meghalaya is dotted with numerous tourist spots. Shillong, the capital city of Meghalaya has many beautiful sites such as Lady Hydari Park, Elephant Falls, Ward’s Lake, Shillong Peak, and the golf course, one of the best in the country.

Best 50 Tourist Places To Visit In Meghalaya 

1.Nohkalikai Waterfalls (54 km from Shillong)

The tallest waterfall in India is Nohkalikai Waterfall. Standing 1115 feet tall, this spectacular waterfall is a wonder of nature in itself.

2.Double Decker Living Root Bridge (65 km from Shillong)

This 3 km long-living root bridge stands at a height of 2400 feet. People take a trek into the rainforest of Cherrapunji that normally takes 7 hours to reach the spot where this famed bridge is situated. 

3.Umiam Lake (15 km from Shillong)

The lake is vast in a literal sense as it covers an expanse of 221 sq. km. Umiam is a perfect place to capture perfect frames and to admire the flawless creativity of nature and human’s limitlessness. 

4.Elephant Falls (12 km from Shillong)

The popularity of Meghalaya is largely attributed to the numerous astonishing waterfalls it is blessed with. One of the most popular ones among these waterfalls is Elephant Falls. It is a 3-tiered waterfall situated in the middle of a refreshing lush green forest.

5.Mawlynnong Village (78 km from Shillong)

A village that won the status of being the cleanest village in 2003, not just in India, but entire Asia. Mawlynnong Village is also known as “God’s Own Garden” and the reason is evident from the beauty God has blessed it with. 

6.Laitlum Canyon (21 km from Shillong)

This place qualifies for one of the most spectacular landscapes in India and one of the best places to visit in Meghalaya.

This not-so-explored Meghalaya tourist spot is worth at least a visit for more than just a couple of reasons. 

7.Dawki – Umngot River(81 km from Shillong)

Dawki is a small city located on the border of India and Bangladesh and is also the trade hub between the two countries.

Dawki a tourist magnet is Umngot River – the river with crystal clear water. And by crystal clear, we mean so clear that you can see the shadow of your boat into the bottom of the river floating with your boat. 

8.Cherrapunji (53 km from Shillong)

Cherrapunji during any month of the year to drench yourself into a “seemingly unending” rain which is more common than anything else here.

9.Mawsynram (65 km from Shillong)

Mawsynram is the place where the clouds and drench yourself in an unlimited supply of rains as it is popularly known as the world’s rainiest place since it receives an average annual rainfall of 11,872 millimetres. 

10.Shillong View Point (11 km from Shillong)

The beauty of Shillong justifies its position as the capital city of Meghalaya.

Located atop the Shillong Peak at an elevation of 6548 feet, Shillong ViewPoint is the best viewpoint from where you can witness scenic vistas of the magical lush greenery that surrounds the region and the spectacular city. 

11.Mawsmai Cave (58 km from Shillong)

Caves are mysterious. Caves are historical. Caves are intriguing. If you agree, there is no way you are not going to love Mawsmai Cave. It is one of the most accessible caves in Meghalaya.

12.Mawphlang Sacred Forest (25 km from Shillong)

The state of Meghalaya is known for its Tropical rainforests, and one of the most popular and sacred ones among them is Mawphlang Sacred Forest.

A nature lover’s fantasy cannot bewilder than this forest. This forest houses an extraordinary network of plants and trees, some of which are believed to be more than 1,000 years old. 

13.Krem Liat Prah (58 km from Shillong)

Meghalaya is home to numerous natural wonders including an uncountable number of natural caves, some of which are still unexplored.

The current length of the cave is 34 km which is expected to grow as more connected caves are discovered. 

14.Khasi Hills (46 km from Shillong)

Khasi Hills is a physiographic region of Meghalaya, endowed with untainted nature that forms its very character. 

The region is majorly known for being the home to the wettest places on earth i.e., Mawsynram and Cherrapunji.

Khasi Hills are encompassed with picturesque hills and dense rainforests, offering a refreshing retreat to tired bodies and scraped souls. 

15.Garo Hills (313 km from Shillong)

A part of the Garo-Khasi range, Garo Hills is a geographic subdivision of Meghalaya, comprising of 5 districts.

The region is majorly famous for its interesting tribal culture and its dreamy, cloud-bound landscapes among tourists. The region features densely forested hills and is a perfect escape from the humdrum affairs of life. 

16.Seven Sisters Falls (58km from Shillong)

Seven Sisters Falls or Nohsngithiang Falls will do the trick. Located 1 km south of Mawsmai Village, these magnificent seven-segmented falls are among the most popular tourist places in Meghalaya. 

17.Siju Cave (254 km from Shillong)

Siju Cave is an ideal spot for history buffs and is a must-visit a site in Meghalaya. It boasts of some of the finest river passages in the world.

Also popularly known as ‘Bat Cave’ this cave has magnificent limestone rock formations that leave spectators awestruck, and it is, of course, home to many different species of bats. 

18.Lalong Park, Jowai (65 km from Shillong)

Meghalaya is the abode of nature lovers. Located in Jaintia Hills District, Ialong Park is home to many sacred groves. Whether you want a nature outing with family or want to test your landscape photography skills, this is the place you should be. 

19.Lady Hydari Park (3 km from Shillong)

Named after the wife of the first governor of Assam, because initially, Shillong was under the Assamese government, this park is a great highlight to visit in the city.

Landscaped gardens built with the basis of Japanese garden style in mind, the place has many ponds dotting the area and making for a pleasing sight to look at. 

20.Don Bosco Museum (3 km from Shillong)

Meghalaya is a state with rich culture and heritage, and there is no better place to learn about the culture and the cultural history of Meghalaya than Don Bosco Museum, which has also been acclaimed as one of the finest and the largest museums in Asia.  

21.Balpakram National Park (134 km from Shillong)

Balpakram National Park is going to leave a lasting impression on your memory with its wide range of exotic flora and fauna and its picturesque landscapes. 

Sitting at an elevation of 3000 feet, this wildlife park, located near Garo Hills in Meghalaya, covers a verdant land of 200 sq km.

22.Mawthadraishan Peak (73 km from Shillong)

One of the most scenic tourist places in Meghalaya, Mawthadraishan peak is located on the northern side of the main road that connects Nongstoin and Shillong.

The fish ponds located at the top add to the picturesqueness of this place. 

23.Nartiang Monoliths (62 km from Shillong)

Arguably the most interesting site for an archaeology enthusiast in Meghalaya, Jaintia Hills is known to be the home to the world’s tallest monoliths.

Though monoliths can be found in various parts of Khasi and Jaintia hills, Nartiang Market claims the largest collection of monoliths in one place. The collection is made up of Menhirs, Moo Shynrang and Dolmens.

24.Dain-Thlen Falls (56 km from Shillong)

Dain-Thlen Falls is one of the best spots in Meghalaya to find solace in the lap of nature.

The sight of the water stream plummeting down from a great height into the pool below and the sound of the gushing water will calm your nerves. The height of the fall is between 80 to 90 meters.

25.Air Force Museum (13 km from Shillong)

The museum gives some interesting insights into the history of the Indian Air Force and the wars the country has fought.

Here, you can find photographs from Indo-China and Indo-Pakistan wars. On your visit to this museum, you can see, among the wide range of things on exhibit, miniature models of aircraft, the uniforms of air force pilots, missiles, and rockets. 

26.Police Bazar (2 km from Shillong)

Police Bazar, located in the heart of Shillong, is the best place where you can indulge in shopping fun to satiate the shopaholic in you.

Being a one-stop-shop for all kinds of visitors, the place also offers food and entertainment options. This modern marketplace features modern and traditional shops, multi-cuisine restaurants, and hotels. 

27.Ward’s Lake (3 km from Shillong)

One of the most famous tourist places in Shillong, the Ward’s Lake, or the Pollock’s Lake is an artificial lake amid enviable greenery, and in the middle of the city.

Shaped like a horseshoe, the lake is surrounded by several promenades paved in cobble-stones. 

28.Mawkdok Dympep Valley (50 km from Shillong)

The most scenic place in Meghalaya ends at Mawkdok Dympep Valley. An abode of clouds, shrouded by the blankets of velvety green vegetation – the beauty of this valley is ecstatic in the truest sense.

A viewpoint at Duwan Sing Syiem Bridge is the best spot from where you can witness the breathtaking vistas of this valley and capture them in your camera. 

29.Nokrek National Park (148 km from Shillong)

Meghalaya has no dearth of places to entice wildlife and nature lovers with. Holding spot on UNESCO Biosphere Reserves List, Nokrek National Park is among the best Meghalaya tourist places to explore biodiversity. 

30.Wah Kaba Falls (46 km from Shillong)

When in Meghalaya, you are never away from nature. Wah Kaba Falls, located on Shillong – Cherrapunji Road at a distance of 7.5 km from Cherrapunji, is another waterfall adding grace to the list of spectacular waterfalls in Meghalaya. This seasonal waterfall is popular among tourists and picnickers during monsoons. 

31.West Jaintia Hills (75 km from Shillong)

It is a district carved out of the mountainous region of Jaintia Hills in Meghalaya. It is popular among tourists for its picturesque valleys, hills and the plethora of tourist spots it possesses within its realm.

32.Arwah Cave (51 km from Shillong)

Meghalaya is home to one of the largest, extensive, and most amazing cave formations in the world. With that said, one of the most famous spots in the list of Meghalaya Tourist Places is the name of Arwah Caves.

33.Rainbow Falls (54 km from Shillong)

The lesser-known, yet one of the most beautiful places to visit in Madhya Pradesh, the Rainbow Falls near the small village of Tyrana known for the amazing living root bridges are a sight to behold for sure.

34.Kynrem Falls (70 km from Shillong)

Located at a small distance of about 12 km from the city of Cherrapunji, the Kynrem Falls find their home in the Thangkharang Park of the East Khasi Hills of Meghalaya.

35.Thangkharang Park (64 km from Shillong)

One of the main attractions of the city of Cherrapunji, the National Park is famous for providing and an amazing view of the country of Bangladesh from here.

Home to the amazing Kynrem Falls and the famous Khoh Ramhah Rock, the park is a scenic wonder in all senses and becomes more so when it starts raining here. 

36.Khoh Ramhah or Motrop (64 km from Shillong)

Located in the Thangkharang National Park, this single rock entity is known as the Khoh Ramhah, Pillar Rock, or the Mothorp, is a major tourist attraction in Cherrapunji. The shape of this somewhat conical rock is just mesmerizing to look at. 

37.Tyrshi Falls (58 km from Shillong)

Falling on the road between Shillong and Jowai (NH 44), these waterfalls demand a short trek to be taken to reach the location of their spectacular beauty.

Walking a beautiful arch bridge, you reach the waterfalls, which not only is beautiful because of the presence of the waterfalls.

38.Thadlaskein Lake (54 km from Shillong)

A great attraction on the National Highway 44, this lake is located at a distance of 8 km from Jowai and is fed by a natural spring.

Associated with many legends, one of which says that the lake was dug by an ancient chieftain of the kingdom and his disciples, with the end of their bows, this place has become a great attraction for tourists and is a favorite picnic spot for the locals. 

39.Caves of Meghalaya

Meghalaya is renowned all over the world for many remarkable places nature has blessed it with. The popularity of Meghalaya among tourists is largely attributed to its caves that are among the longest ones in India.

Caves of Meghalaya comprise caves in different districts of Meghalaya including Jaintia Hills, Khasi Hills, and Garo Hills. 

40.Garden of Caves (49 km from Shillong)

Ka Bri Ki Synrang, literally translating into the Garden of Caves, this place is located in a small village Laitmawsiang of Sohra, Meghalaya. Located amid dense forests, the park contains breathtaking sceneries, whichever way you look. 

41.Ramakrishna Mission Ashrama (2 km from Shillong)

Started in the year 1924 by the great Swami Vivekananda himself, the Ashrama has evolved to become one of the best places to visit in Meghalaya, right here in Cherrapunji.

Surrounded by a sea of green, the iconic building is most easily recognizable by anyone entering Cherrapunji or living here. 

42.David Scott Trail (28 km from Shillong)

A part of the famous horse cart trail that was built by the famous British Administrator David Scott in the years of his stay in the Khasi hills.

The 16 km trek originally started in Cherrapunji and went up to Bangladesh, which also resulted in a war between the Khasi tribe and the British back in the day. 

43.Mary Help of Christians Cathedral (2 km from Shillong)

The primary place of worship for more than 300,000 Catholics residing in the area of Shillong, East Khasi Hills, and the Ri-Bhoi regions, the Mary Help of Christians Cathedral is more than 50 years old and has earned a significant place in the hearts of locals, as well as people coming from outside to witness the mesmerizing beauty. 

44.Jingmaham Living Root Bridge (90 km from Shillong)

The village of Mawlynnong is famous for various reasons, but one of them sure has to be the amazing living root bridges that the locals have created to make their commute easier.

Instead of using conventional construction materials, this bridge uses the roots of the Banyan Fig Trees on both sides of the river, which are intertwined together to make a strong and sturdy bridge.

45.Spread Eagle Falls (2 km from Shillong)

These falls located in the East Khasi Hills of Shillong, they were initially called Umkaliar but were later renamed to the Spread Eagle Falls as the shape of the falls resembled an Eagle in flight (wings spread out).

46.All Saints’ Church( 2 km from Shillong)

One of Shillong’s Oldest Churches, this place dates back to the Colonial Times. The original church was destroyed in the year 1897 due to an earthquake, and the current church was created in the year 1902 in a different location from the first one. 

47.Kyllang Rock

Kyllang Rock is a giant dome placed in the West Khasi Hills of Meghalaya. The Rock which is 5400 ft above sea level and has a width of around 1000 ft is a mammoth block of granite which is part of the Khasi folklore and seems beautiful in its shape. 

48.Nohsngithiang Falls

The Nohsngithiang Falls, located at a distance of about 4km from Cherrapunjee, is one of the tallest waterfalls in India and a major tourist spot in Cherrapunjee.

49.Baghmara

Situated in Meghalaya, Baghmara is not only rich in flora and fauna, but it is enveloped by lakes, rivers, hills, and every significant element of nature.

50.Nongpoh

Nongpoh is a petite town, north of the East Khasi Hills and is a favourite stopover before reaching Shillong.

Meghalaya Is Famous For:

Meghalaya Dance- The most famous dance of Meghalaya is Ka Pom-Blang Nongkrem, Ka-Shad Shyngwiang-Thangiap, and Laho Dance which is performed on folk music. 

Meghalaya Dress-   Jainsen is the Meghalaya dress. The tribe of Khasi wears a Jainsen along with a blouse.

The clothes worn by the Garo tribe were a hand made lungi called Dakmanda, which is wrapped around the waist.

Meghalaya Food- Jadoh, Doh Khlieh, Nakhmam Bitchi, Pumaloi, Doh-neiiong, Tungrymbai, Pudoh, Minil Songa, Pukhlein, Sakin Gata, Kyat is a very popular dish among the Khasi community of Meghalaya. 

Meghalaya Arts & Culture- The people of Meghalaya are known for their weaving skills and creating cane mats, stools, and baskets.

A special kind of fabric is known as Dakmanda is weaved by the people of the Garo community.  

Meghalaya Occupation- Agriculture is the main occupation of the people of Meghalaya.

Some of the common food crops grown here are rice, maize, wheat, potato, juice, mesta, cotton, areca nut, ginger, turmeric, betel, leaf, and black pepper. Art and crafts are part of their culture. 

Fairs and Festival of Meghalaya:

Its people are the soul, and its song and dance the vital source of joy. These ancient people have perfected the art of life and are being passed on to its young.

In Modern times though the people are engaged in secondary and tertiary activities, the festivals are always celebrated with great pomp and gaiety. 

1.Shad Suk Mynsiem

The Shad Suk Mynsiem is celebrated in April. The rituals or ceremonies are conducted by individual family clans or the Khasi state (Hima). The dance is performed to signify the matrilineal and patrilineal structure of the Khasi society. 

2.Nongkrem Festival

The most important of festivals among the Khasis, the Nongkrem Festival is celebrated every year at Smit, 15 km away from Shillong. It is an essential seat of the Hima Khyriem (Chief of Khyriem).

The rituals are performed by the Syiem, the head of the Khasi state, and ka Syiem Sad (head priestess) who is revered as the caretaker of the ceremonies and the people. 

3.Behdeinkhlam Festival

One of the most important festivals of the Jaintia people is the Behdeinkhlam Festival. It is celebrated by the people of the Niamtre religion. It is celebrated in July before the seed sowing season.

The literal meaning of Behdeinkhlam is ‘Chasing away the Plague’. Rituals and sacrifices are made by the priest accompanied by the beating of drums and flutes.

4.Shad Sukra

The Shad Sukra is celebrated by the Jaintia people every year in April or May. It is a celebration before the sowing season. Every Jaintia farmer waits for this festival before he can begin the sowing of seeds.

Rituals and dance are accompanied by the drums and the flute to pray for a bountiful and fruitful season.

5.Wangala Festival

meghalaya tourism

The Wangala Festival is one of the most important festivals of the Garo people. It is a post-harvest festival celebrated to mark the end of the agricultural year.

It is a thanksgiving festival to the god of fertility, known as Misi-A-Gilpa-Saljong-Galapa.

6.Strawberry Festival

Meghalaya has been hosting the Strawberry festival every year to promote farmers and food production from the fruit. The climate of the state is perfectly fit for the much-loved fruit.

People throng to Umsning and Sohliya village in Ri-Bhoi district every February on Valentine’s Day to enjoy lush and sweet strawberries. 

7.Bacardi NH7 Weekender

Meghalaya is not complete without its music scene. The capital city of Shillong is dubbed as the Rock Capital of India for a reason. With the pleasant climate and a laid-back attitude of everyday life, the youth and the old indulge in music.

Best Time To Visit Meghalaya:

Planning the Meghalaya holiday in summer offers an ideal escape from the scorching heat. The temperature in many parts of the state never goes beyond 28°C.

Mornings are as pleasant as evenings. Many regional festivals are also conducted from April to June. Thus, summer is the best season to visit Meghalaya.

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