Shillong is a scenic, mesmerizing and breathtaking miracle of nature. The town is still a travel destination secret – a hidden, living paradise on this planet earth. Much has been said and written about this mysteriously hypnotic location but one has to visit this place to really understand its splendor.
“Scotland of the East” is what Shillong is famously known as. The European settlers found the rolling hills much like Scotland. It is a “once in a lifetime” must visit – a heaven on earth. Interspersed with lakes, waterfalls and floating in the clouds with misty soft rains – ask anyone who has been to Shillong and he will tell you that it is a must visit.
Shillong is the capital city of Meghalaya which means “Abode of Clouds” and is situated at an average altitude of 1,496m above sea level. This capital city has a climate to die for as summers are mild and pleasant with rains making it more soothing and cool, while winters are cold and the best season to travel to this marvelous structure of nature.
Getting to Shillong
Getting to Shillong is not difficult, but is a bit of an adventure as it s a city in the mountains.
By Air: Shillong has a small airport at Umroi, approximately 35 km from Shillong. Air India flies ATR42 type of aircraft on this route. Buses / Taxis are available between Umroi and Shillong. Flights to Umroi are not regular and it is not well connected with the rest of India. As such it is more advisable to fly into Guwahati (128 km from Shillong) which is connected by road to Shillong. Share taxis, and busses are easily available from Guwahati – it will take from 3 to 4 hours to get to shillong from Guwahati. The Gopinath Bordoloi Airport in Guwahati is a major airport with fights to Guwahati from all major Indian cities.
Helicopter Services: Helicopter service is available from Guwahati to Shillong and Shillong to Guwahati daily except on Sundays. It takes 20 mins. To reach Shillong from Guwahati this means of transportation is very economical and convenient.
By Rail: There are no trains to Shillong. You would have to get to Guwahati by train and then use share taxis or buses to get to Shillong.
Tourist visiting this hill station would always have one question in mind and that would be regarding accommodation. People visiting Shillong should be tension free regarding accommodation as the city has many good hotels and lodges in all price ranges. People looking for Luxury accommodation can opt for the Orchid Resort located at the Umiam Lake for some memorable moments amidst nature.
The tag of cosmopolitan city goes very well with Shillong in terms of food cuisines as well. There are a number of multi-cuisine restaurants in Shillong along with cheap food stalls. If you are a real foodie you must experience the local “Khasi food” of the hill people. Typical elements of local cuisine are sticky (glutinous) rice, and dried meats especially fish. The food is extremely spicy and very different from normal Indian food. An interesting style of khasi cooking is, food cooked after being wrapped in leaves or in bamboo cylinders – imparting subtle exotic flavors to the food.
What to do in Shillong
Just sit back, go with the flow and absorb nature’s abundant offerings is my advice. But there are several sites to visit and activities to keep you occupied .
Cool nature spots
A land of waterfalls, lakes and hills, there are more spots that you could possibly do justice to – some that stand out are, Shillong hills, Sohpetbneng Peak, Ward’s Lake, Barapani or joyful swim in the Crinoline Falls. If you can please try to make a trip to Cherapunjee (Sohra) – it gets the highest rainfall in India. (Visit link to get some idea of the location)
Eco recreational activities
Fishing, water sports, river rafting, kayaking, swimming in the falls, trekking or simply picnicking and nature walks are some of the Eco recreational activities waiting for the active tourist. Lady Hydari Park, Wards Lake, Umiam Lake and Dawki are some such spots.
Culture lovers visiting Shillong could visit places like Capt. Williamson Sangma Museum Don Bosco Centre for Indigenous Culture, Chrysalis the Gallery and the State Museum to have a brief history about the culture of Meghalaya and other north-eastern states.
Flora and Fauna:
Meghalaya has flora and fauna which is indigenous to this place and for those who want to get glimpse of various indigenous flora and fauna species may visit the Entomological Museum or Botanical Garden.
A picturesque city with a quaint charm you will just fall in love with this place. My parting song -“Nature lovers sink into the magic of Shillong and observe its beauty and mystery and fall in love with this special GOD’s creation.” [Article View] : 3221