>  Explore   >  Meghalaya – In the abode of the clouds

A two hour flight from Delhi got my daughter and I to Guwahati, the gateway city to India’s North East. We headed to Cherrapunji & Sohra the two wettest spots on earth located in picturesque Meghalaya where the Garo, Khasi & Jainitia tribes reside in harmony amidst serene surroundings. The British were always in search of cooler climes and chose Shillong as their summer retreat while naming the region, the Scotland of the East.

The 5 hour road journey from Guwahati airport en route to the land of oranges offers beautiful vistas across the Brahmaputra valley, Lake Umian & the hair raising bends through the Khasi hills. We stopped for lunch about 2.5 hours into our journey at Jiva, a nice homely restaurant which serves delicious vegan cuisine and offered clean loos. The Meghalaya govt does run a check for visitors at the Assam/Meghalaya border and having registered online as a potential visitor it helped to save considerable amount of time at the border post.

Early evening we checked into the Polo Orchid Cherrapunji built at the edge of a cliff with stunning views of the valleys and the Nohsngithiang falls. There are a few sights which are a “Must see” – the Nohkalikai & Dainthlu falls and the awesome Stalactites and Stalagmites formations in the Mawsmai cave, which is also a barometer for testing the flexibility of one’s muscles & spine!!

The Sohra House Bistro at the Polo resort serves breakfast, lunch & dinner and we enjoyed breakfast on the patio overlooking the 7 sisters falls. On chilly evenings the hotel’s friendly staff set up a bonfire while local musicians entertained us with popular folk , Bollywood songs & English hit numbers of the 50s/60s making the evenings very special. We also had lunch one afternoon at the Jiva Grill restaurant in the Jiva resort and were pleasantly surprised with the delectable Chinese cuisine.

On day three of our journey through Meghalaya we drove to Shillong which derives its name from Lui Shyllong an idol worshipped on the peak overlooking the city. This jovial and friendly city has a young feel to it, possibly emanating from its westernized culture and the numero uno spot as India’s music capital. Shillong  has abundant greenery, cloud laden rolling hills & lakes and relatively disciplined traffic hence we were not disappointed. An absolute “Must” is to visit the Don Bosco school museum which showcases an impressive indigenous culture and is ranked among the best 25 museums in Asia hence would recommend factoring in at least 2-3 hours for a visit to this reservoir of knowledge.

We stayed at a former diplomat’s home -Mid hill cottage in the Nongshilliang area run by Margareta which we reserved through Air bnb  and enjoyed her hospitality, kindness  and the comfort of her home and checked out the Tripura palace Heritage hotel which was actually our first choice to stay whilst in Shillong but the hotel was unable to offer accommodation as it was reserved for a wedding celebration.  This property has a nice location and the wherewithal to accommodate many more guests.

There is still a lot to see & do in the “Abode of the clouds” and we know we will return in the not so distant future…. perhaps for the next concert of the famed Shillong choir and/or to see the international cherry blossom festival which takes place in Shillong every year in mid November and attracts people from far & wide to see trees abundant with white & pink flowers during the day and when illuminated at night the sight is apparently spectacular.

As we said goodbye to Meghalaya we were reminded of a quote by Turkish playwright novelist and thinker Mehmut Mur Ildan – “Some look at the hills from far away and see only the barren lands: some travel amongst the hills and find the most beautiful valleys”.

Getting there– The distance from Guwahati airport to Shillong is 100 kms/60 miles and it takes about 2-3 hours depending on traffic

Shillong to Cherrapunji- 55 Kms/32 miles

Best time to visit – Cherrapunji & Sohra – in July & August – the waterfalls are spectacular at this time

Shillong- is located at 4500 feet hence the weather is pleasant throughout the year   

March-June- 15C-25C

July-September- 12C-16C

October-February-2C -16C


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