Shillong, the “Scotland of the East” is a beautiful capital and hill station of a North-Eastern state, Meghalaya. It is also known as “The Abode of Clouds”. In 2016, Shillong was voted “India’s Favorite Hill Station”. It has the distinction of being located near to many famous tourist destinations including Shillong itself. Earlier Cherrapunji and now Mawsynram are the places which receive highest rainfall in India. The Asia’s cleanest village (Mawlynnong) is located at a distance of about 100 kms. Not only this, if you have time then you can visit Kaziranga National Park (famous for its one horned Rhino) and popular Kamakhya Devi temple (located about 100kms away at Guwahati).
Coming back to Shillong, it is one of the most beautiful places of country with a moderate climate and heavy rains throughout the year. It mostly rains heavily from May to September although it is because of these rains that the lush greenery is always bathed and as fresh as new. There are lot of attractions and amazing places to eat.
If Umiam Lake or Bada Pani is must visit for all water sports lover and then Don Bosco Museum is place not to miss and you must preferably have plenty of time (at least 2-3 hours) to peacefully explore the hexagonal edifice with seven storeys. We had a great time exploring the different cultures of North east in great detail starting from a beautiful and informative movie. Each floor has a different story to tell about the geography, vegetation, occupation, culture and life style of the people of North Eastern states. The sensor operated lights switch on automatically as you enter and they are switched off as you leave, thereby saving power. Everything about the museum is good but the experience of lifetime was the skywalk till the end of sloping rooftop that gives view of the whole city.
Ward’s Lake known locally as Nan-Polok is located at the heart of the city and is a man-made lake with luxury of Boating and a park. The Ward’s lake maintains its beauty and charm since olden days. It was one of the major tourist attractions in Shillong since long and Britishers were in love with this lake. Rabindranath Tagore used to spent time here during his stay in Shillong. We too spend some peaceful and quality time there.
Shillong Golf Course is one of the largest golf courses (the world’s wettest) in Asia and enjoys the rare distinction of being one of the few natural golf courses in Asia. The course is set in a valley covered with Pine and Rhododendron trees. It is considered to be the “Glen Eagle of the East” at the United States Golf Association Museum. We enjoyed a long stroll at this beautiful place.
There is a private museum known as Butterfly Museum and is not known to even many of the local people. It is very commendable considering the efforts and collection of a single person. The collection is no doubt mind boggling with different varieties of beetles, moths, spiders, some strange insects and butterflies of different shapes, sizes and colors from forests across the world. I had never visited something like this before. It is for the first time that we came to know about an interesting fact that in Meghalaya the youngest female member is the heir of the family property. In a country where patriarchal system of society is predominant, this matriarchal system comes as a pleasant surprise.
A waterfall known as Elephant falls is located about 12 km on the outskirts of Shillong and a must visit place. Getting wet in the sudden and unpredictable showers of rain now and then, looking at the greenery which is as fresh as the first leaves of the season, enjoying big and small falls every now and then as you drive towards your destination is truly amazing. Icing on the cake is huge elephant fall in whose music you are lost. We were transported to meditative state while listening to the sound of waterfall. It is divided into three levels and at the lowest level one can have the luxury of entering the waterfall and get clicked with wallpaper like background.
Another waterfall situated at Cherrapunji known as Seven Sisters falls is also a natural beauty that mesmerizes. There is a small stretch from where you can see seven different waterfalls side-by-side cascading the cliff from a distan
ce. The best part is that there is an exquisitely developed private hotel at the best view point.
You may stay there or enjoy a short and sweet meal at their restaurant and explore Shillong further. You can even visit one of the seven sister fall which has been developed as an Echo Point. You can see massive waterfall from this place that overlooks Bangladesh.
If one has never explored a cave then Mawasmai caves near Mawsynram is the best place to venture. We had a nice experience of entering this limestone cave from one end and exiting from other. There is little water in the cave, therefore, the best thing to wear are crocs. The pictures that are clicked in the cave are not very clear but have interesting special effect due to the reflection caused by water on the rocks. This magnificent natural wonder is the handiwork of years of natural abrasion and underground water.
Royal Heritage Tripura castle (near St Edmunds College) that once was a Royal Palace is now converted into an excellent restaurant. Here we were offered one of the best Indian vegetarian foods. At Dejavu we ate the tastiest momos till date and we were bowled over by the food and ambience of City Hut Family Dhaba (near Police Bazaar) and there is Shillong Cafe too if you want to have a quick bite.
Shillong from its climate to cuisine, rich flora and fauna, scenic landscapes, cultured and art loving populace, excellent educational institutes, justifies every bit of its Sobriquet “Scotland of the East”. A place worth visiting by persons of all age group as it offers something or other to all.
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