Famous For: Shillong is a popular tourist town. This town is famous for its limestone caves and orange honey. Here you can visit some interesting places, which are given below-Elephant Falls, Umiam Lake, Laitlum Canyons, Shillong Peak, Police Bazar, Mawphlang, Mawlynnong, Mawsynram, Don Bosco Museum, Ward’s Lake, David Scott Trail, Lady Hydari Park, Nohsngithiang Falls, Sweet Falls, Jakrem, Diengiei Peak, Spread Eagle Falls, Kyllang Rock, Khasi Hills, Sohpetbneng, Meghalaya State Museum, Mawjymbuin Cave, Garo Hills etc.Major Attractions: Lady Hydari Park, Elephant Falls, Umiam Lake, Laitlum Canyons, Shillong Peak, Ward’s Lake, Mawlynnong, Jakrem, Sohpetbneng, Museum’s In Shillong.Ideal Visit Time: Just after the monsoons and before the winter, October to November is the best and ideal time to visit the city. In this time, temperature varies from 22 °C to 10 °C. So, a few woolens and jackets will keep you warm in the cold nights. Carrying an umbrella while visiting Shillong is always a good idea due to the whimsical rains.
Shillong is a hill station in northeast India and capital of the state of Meghalaya. ‘Shillong’ means ‘The Abode of Clouds’. It is the headquarters of the East Khasi Hills district and 330th most populous city in India. Shillong is the only hill station in the country that is accessible from all sides. The name Shillong is derived from U-Shyllong, a powerful deity and is situated at an altitude of 1,491 m above sea level. The presence of many well-reputed educational institutions, many of them established by various missionary groups make Shillong the hub of education for the entire north-east.
Now, let’s talk about some attractive places of Shillong below –
Lady Hydari Park
Lady Hydari Park is one of the well-known attractions in Shillong. The Park is frequently visited by locals and is a well-visited tourist spot of the region. It was named after the first lady of the province, Lady Hydari, wife of the Governor of Assam. This park features a mini zoo that has about 73 species of birds, 140 species of reptiles and other mammals. Besides all this the park has a wide variety of local flowering plants and orchids, and is landscaped in Japanese style. Take a walk and enjoy watching deer that are present in the one corner of the park.
The Park is best known for beautiful bed of roses that blossom here in various colours. The park also has a butterfly museum a special play area for kids that offer swings like sea-saws, slips and other small rides for children.The Lady Hydari Park is very avidly maintained and is an ideal place to spend some peaceful time. You may sit in the green garden and relax while reading a book or just enjoying the beautiful nature around.
The fall was named by the British because of the presence of an elephant-shaped rock on one side of the waterfall – Elephant Falls. But the stone disintegrated and was washed away due to an earthquake in 1897. It’s located 12 km away from the capital city of Shillong and it is one of the most visited falls and most popular waterfalls in the beautiful state. It is a tourist paradise, attracting hundreds of tourists every season.
The local Khasi people call this cashew elephant waterfall ‘Ka Kshaid Lai Pateng Khohsiew’, which means ‘The Three Step Waterfalls’, as these waterfalls consist of three memorable waterfalls in a row. The first of the three waterfalls survives among the dense trees and it is very wide. The second waterfall is reduced to thin strands of water and is almost negligible in winter due to the water level in the water. The third and the most visible waterfall is the tallest with clear water flowing like a sheet of milk on the dark rocks in the backdrop.
The third of the three waterfalls is considered by the visitors to be the most impressive. It is a great stopover destination before heading further to Meghalaya. Elephant Waterfalls is a superb place for spending some time in the midst of nature while capturing the incredible moments for your keepsake.
Umiam Lake is a popular man-made reservoir, which is located about 15 km north of the capital of the north-eastern Indian state of Meghalaya, Shillong. The lake was created after a dam was built to generate hydroelectric power. The lake was formed after a dam was constructed to generate hydroelectric power.
This beautiful lake or reservoir is surrounded by dense coniferous forests and extends over an area of about 222 sq km. Students and nature lovers can study the science behind the dam as well as admire the flora and fauna on Umiam Lake. Children can spend some time in the park with their parents also. Visitors can take long boat rides on the lake and adventure lovers can do boat rides and various water sports.
Apart from the tranquillity that Umiam Lake has to offer, one can also observe the daily life of the natives who come to the lake in search of twigs and grass or the fishermen canoeing in the still waters. In summers, the shores are adorned by beautiful Gulmohar trees while in winters, the water level recedes and turns azure.
However, this natural Umiam Lake is surrounded by green eastern Khasi hills which is one of the best panoramic attractions for nature lovers in the country. Treat to watch the sunrise on the lake and it should not be missed. There is a park next to Umiam Lake which is a hot spot for picnics and frequented by the locals to get out of their busy time.
Perched at the top of the Eastern Khasi Hills, the Laitlam Canyon is one of the most scenic tourist and trekking destinations in Shillong, though rarely explored. The valley is located about 21 km south of Shillong which is about 1.30 hour away. Literally, translated into ‘The End of The Hill’, this exotic viewing site provides the best panoramic view of the whole of Meghalaya, embraced by scenic hills and valleys. The spot is ideal for secluded and clean, quiet and peaceful travel. It can be visited by family, friend groups and couples.
To reach Laitlum Canyons, you have to take a short route through a long route for about 2 minutes or more. This long, rocky and detour path provides a sense of adventure for enthusiastic trekkers. From the top of the canyon, one can also see a view of Rasong, a small village located in the deep part of the ghat of Laitlum. This is a must see for any nature lover or photographer. To get the most out of this place, go to Latlium Gorge at sunrise or sunset.
Shillong Peak is the highest point in Shillong at an altitude of 6449 feet or 1965 meters above sea level. It is said that Shillong gets its name from the Shillong Peak itself. It offers panoramic views of the entire city, the Himalayas, its waterfalls as well as the plains of Bangladesh. A telescope is available for tourists to get a bird’s eye view. This semi-circular Shillong Peak is highly recommended for the best viewing tracking but it is often confined to heavy fog.
Regional stories say that the patron deity ‘Leishyllong’ lives on the hill and protects the city from all evils. The ‘U Shulong’ site at the top is sacred and a ceremony is held there every spring. Shillong Peak is located at the Air Force Base and features a radar station of the Indian Air Force. For security reasons, heavy checking is done on the doors and tourists are asked to submit their cameras. However, it’s a very nice place to spend time with friends and family.
Located in the heart of Shillong city, Ward’s Lake is an artificial lake, which is surrounded by a green garden. This lake was named after Sir William Ward, the chief commissioner of Assam, initiated the construction of this lake. It was planned for the whole city. It’s also known as ‘Pollock’s Lake’. This mesmerizing lake is a popular picnic spot among locals and travelers who come here just to wander or sit around the horse-shaped lake and admire the stunning flowerbeds that throw unforgettable colors.
A small bridge has been built in the middle of the lake so that visitors can see the whole lake or feed the small fish floating in the water (fished rice is available for fishing at the entrance of the lake). The main highlight of the lake is of course paddle boating. Since Ward’s Lake is located centrally, you can easily reach it through any means of local transport.
Mawlynnng is a small village, which is located about 90 km from Shillong in the eastern Khasi hills of Meghalaya and is also known as its own beautiful garden. This village is a community-based ecotourism initiative where the entire community made collective efforts in making and maintaining the cleanliness of the village. It was declared as the cleanest village in Asia by Discovery India in 2003 which has definitely made it one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Indian state.
Mawlynnong presents a number of scenic natural beauties, including lush green valleys, crystal clear waters in the river, abundant flowering orchids in tree trunks and extremely clean roads that make this small village a great tourist destination in Meghalaya. The village of Maulanang provides pleasant weather throughout the year and especially during the monsoons, the village enhances its charm which makes the visitors feel like paradise on earth. You can spend some quality times with your friends and family.
Jakrem is located on the Mawkyrwat-Shillong Road and it’s about 64 km from Shillong. You can hire a local taxi or opt for the local bus to reach here. This attractive spot is famous hot water spring of sulphur. Popular as the land of hot springs amongst the locals. Jakrem is blessed with sulphur springs believed to have curative medicinal properties. The site has slowly developed into a health resort which is visited by people from far and wide to take a dip in the hot spring and spend some time detoxifying themselves.
Jakrem is also a favourite picnic spot in the region during the winter with bathing compartments built for the public.
At the height of 1343 m above sea level, this is an ideal location to meet nature. ‘Sohpetbneng’ means ‘navel of heaven’ in the local language and is truly heaven – with the breathtaking view of Shillong it offers. If you are a real nature lover, then you shouldn’t miss this mysterious place.
Museum’s In Shillong
There are innumerable museums in Shillong. The Arunachal State Museum, Meghalaya State Museum, Wankhar Entomology Museum, The Butterfly Museum and the Rhino Museum – there are so many, each as wonderful as the previous one. If you are a history lover and want to gain your knowledge, then you can visit those museums.
How To Reach
By Road: The main interstate bus stand is located in the city of Guwahati and the buses are run by the Assam State Transport Corporation (ASTC) and Meghalaya Transport Corporation (MTC). Two major highways pass through Shillong, NH 40, connecting the city to Guwahati and NH 44 that connects the city to Tripura. Private buses are also available between the two cities of Shillong and Guwahati and the service is economical.
By Train: There is no railway connectivity in Meghalaya. However, the nearest railway station is Guwahati, which is located 105 km away from Shillong and is well-connected with all the major cities of India such as New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, etc. After reaching the railway station, you can easily hire a private taxi or take a bus to reach the main city of Shillong.
By Air: Shillong Airport is located in Umroi, which is around 40 km from the heart of the city and is also known as ‘Barapani Air Force Base’ or ‘Umroi Airport’. It is a very small airport and has flights that are operated by Indian Airlines that run only to/from Kolkata on certain days in a week. However, the flights to Umroi are generally cancelled at the last minute due to adverse weather conditions. Due to this, the airport in Guwahati is a much better option, which is located 104 km from Shillong and is connected to other cities in India.