A whirlwind Trip to Shillong & Cherrapunji
One of the seven sisters of the north east of India (Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh & Mizoram are referred to as seven sisters of the north east). It is surrounded by Assam on the north and east and by Bangladesh on the south and west.
Meghalaya is blessed with tremendous natural beauty in the form of flora, fauna, waterdfalls, rivers, hills& of course clouds (Meghalaya means the abode of clouds). Khasis, Jaintias and Garos are the main tribes of Meghalaya. The major religion is Christianity. People esp the womenfolk are in the habit of chewing ‘Tamul’ all the time. The people are short, with blunt features, smiling n friendly.
We had the opportunity to visit Shillong on 1-3 of May 2010. We took the intercity from Jorhat to Guwhati which is an overnight journey n from Guwhati we hired a taxi car. This ride takes about 2-4 hrs (depending on the traffic jams which are very common).
Shillong is full of sight seeing for the tourists.
~Wards Lake: has a garden & obviously a lake. It is a popular boating destination. I’m not so much into boating but I really enjoyed the walk around the lake n it had many wonderful photo click opportunities. The lake has beautiful n plentiful lotus & wide variety of colorful fish.
~Don Bosco Church:
~Lady Hyadri Park: This park has a mini zoo and a deer park. I spotted some beautiful pelicans in the park & met a very cute Meghalaya boy here.
~ Elephant Falls: It is located in Upper Shillong area which also houses the Eastern Air Command of Indian Airforce. But in May when the rains had not actually started it looked more like mouse fall. At elephant falls I met a very enterprising lady who runs a shop for renting ‘Khasi’ tribal dress to get yourself photographed. I had good fun dressing up in all the tribal fineries right upto their headgear decorated with long stem flowers!!!!
~Shillong Peak: Shillong Peak is the highest point in state of Meghalaya. There is a view-point where you can get a view of Shillong city. The city view during night is a scene to remember.
~Barapani Lake: is one of the most beautiful manmade marvels that Meghalaya has on offer. It is also known by the name of Umiam Lake. The lake changes color with the changing hues of sunlight through the day. The lake is the catchment area & serves as a reservoir for Shillong n nearby places.
~ Golf course: of Shillong is huge & beautiful. It looked as if it was being used more as a picnic spot than for playing golf.
As we were short on time we missed ‘Don Bosco museum’ & ‘Butterfly museum’ & caught only a glimpse of ‘Barapani lake’ through the car.
Next day we visited Cherrapunji (now renamed Sohra but the world still knows it as Cherapunji) which earlier held the record of highest rainfall in the world. Cherapunji is nearly 2 hrs drive from Shillong. One can either hire a car taxi (Rs 1200-1600 depending on the number of points covered) or tourist bus run by Meghalaya tourism deptt (Rs 250 per person). The drive from shillong to Cherapunji reminded me of the drive from Bombay to Lonavala n in a way I found cherapunji very similar to Lonavala. Cherrapunji has several waterfalls n a cave called mawasmai. But the place is to be enjoyed more for it’s weather, rainfall n natural beauty rather than the ‘spots’ n the ‘points’.