11 Amazing Places To Visit In Shillong
Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya, is a place that deserves much more tourist attention than it currently gets. This dreamy destination is a paradise for nature lovers. Surrounded by majestic hills, misty valleys, and meandering pathways, Shillong will capture the heart of every traveler. The striking beauty of Shillong has earned it the name ‘Scotland of the East.’ The city is just as bustling as any other capital, but move around a little, and you are overwhelmed by the beauty of nature. Here is a list of 11 amazing places to visit in Shillong, so you don’t miss out on any during your tour to Meghalaya.
1. Shillong Peak
This peak is the highest point in Shillong, and the best place to get a glimpse of the entire city. The view from top is simply breathtaking. A short drive from the city will take you to the Peak. Go for an early morning outing, and you feel like you have entered the world of clouds and mist. If you go in the evening, another spectacular view awaits. Standing on the peak in the night, you are transported to heaven. Star-studded sky overhead, and the starry lights of the city beneath! This is one place in Shillong, though very close to the vibrant city, radiates calmness and that takes the top position in our list of 11 amazing places to visit in Shillong.
2. Don Bosco Museum
This one is for the history aficionados. Don Bosco Museum is the go-to place, if you are interested in learning about the history and culture of the tribes of northeastern India. It is housed in a huge building, and has dedicated galleries for different aspects of northeast. A visit to the museum will tell everything about the tribes, how they lived in olden days, the tools they used, the dresses they wore, and a lot more. Surely, you need to have a liking for history to enjoy it thoroughly. But the amazing skywalk on the roof of the building is for everyone, history lover or not. A very good way to combine a little adventure to a history-filled outing. Don Bosco Museum with its significance in Meghalaya’s tourism, gained its position in our list of amazing places to visit in Shillong.
3. Mawphlang Sacred Forest
Though a little away from the city, Mawphlang Forest is a must-visit attraction in Shillong. A thick jungle cover awaits you in Mawphlang. A jungle that has an amazing assortment of trees, plants and flowers. But there is a point to be remembered while going there. The place is sacred for the locals, as they believe that it is the abode of their deity. It is their belief that nothing, not even a fallen leaf, should be taken outside the forest. The locals perform offerings in the forest, but no one ever takes anything out of it. As a tourist, it is always good to respect local traditions. this serene and nature friendly spot in Shillong gains much of importance and so surely among the most interesting places to visit in Shillong during your trip to Meghalaya.
4. Laitlum Canyon
Shillong and nearby areas are blessed with bounties of nature. Laitlum Canyon, located close to Shillong, is one such place which will leave you speechless. The word ‘Laitlum’ means ‘end of hills.’ So you know what to expect. There are beautiful hilltops that abruptly end, giving way to deep canyons and valleys. Stand on an edge, and peep down the valleys. You feel so tiny, in front of nature’s wonders! If you are a trekker, you will have the best time of your life, exploring those deep valleys. Even if you are not a trekker, there is nothing like a few hours on the hills, with nature by your side. Not far from the city, this is 4th among our best places to visit in Shillong.
5. Umiam Lake
Umiam Lake is an artificial lake in Shillong. It is a reservoir created by building a dam across Umiam River. The beautiful lake is surrounded by greenery of Khasi Hills. With a lovely garden and several quaint islands, the lake is a perfect setting for shutterbugs. Being an ideal destination for a family outing, the place is thronged by tourists. There are enough water activities such as boating, kayaking, and pedaling. If there are kids in your group, don’t miss this place. They are going to love it. Charming beauty of Umiam Lake is obviously superior among the best places to visit in Shillong.
6. Elephant Falls
Meghalaya has many pretty waterfalls. Elephant Falls, 12 kms from Shillong, is one such. Though not very huge in terms of size, it is the simple charm that makes your heart skip a beat. It is also called as ‘three step’ waterfall, as the water falls in three steps. The best part is that tourists can go very close to the falls. You get to walk to all the three steps of the waterfall. There is a huge rock resembling an elephant’s head, near the fall. It is said that the British named it as ‘Elephant Fall’ owing to this rock. During monsoons, the falls swell up making the view even better. So a must-visit, especially in monsoons.
7. Shillong Catholic Cathedral
Worship places are the sanctums of peace and solace. The Catholic Cathedral in Shillong is one of the oldest and largest churches in India. It looks majestic with its Gothic styled buildings. Not a far cry from the city, but a drastic change from its humdrum. Neatly maintained structure and nearby lawns add to the aura of peace. The imposing architecture does not take your attention from the peace and serenity that pervades the place. When you feel exhausted running around, catching up with all the places, head to the cathedral and spend some quiet moments to get energized.
8. Sweet Falls
This is one of the steepest waterfalls in Meghalaya. Water falls from a height of over 300 feet, in one deep plunge. The whole area is covered by pine trees, adding a fairytale touch to the place. Though the waterfall looks splendid from far, it is not easy to access. The way to the waterfall is treacherous, and has caused many accidents. Many people have fallen to their deaths from the slippery stones on the high hills. The place has also witnessed many suicides. Though the name is ‘sweet,’ there is some spookiness attached to it. Despite this, it is one of the famous tourist spots of Shillong.
9. Lady Hydari Park
A park with everything needed to entertain kids, right in the middle of the city- Lady Hydari Park. The biggest attraction of the park is the Japanese styled garden with uniquely shaped structures and fences. There are a variety of flowers, such as orchids and rhododendrons. A visit during the flowering season will be a feast for your eyes. The mini zoo inside this park has some animals for the kids to fall in love with. A small pond with lots of pelicans, well-maintained lawns, and pathways, there is no room for complaint when you go to Lady Hydari Park.
10. Mawlynnong, the cleanest village
Vegetarian Meal @ Mawlynnong
Though a little far from Shillong, you simply cannot miss this one when you are in Shillong. Take a day tour to Mawlynnong, the village that is famed for its cleanliness. Don’t expect the manicured, plush look that you find in swanky cities. A village with simple charm, and rustic feel that you instantly fall in love with the place. Bamboo fences and flowering shrubs adorn both sides of the road. There is no litter anywhere! A village where every person takes the responsibility of keeping his premises clean, is something unheard of! You will surely take a lesson home.
11. Mawsmai Caves
This one also takes up an entire day, when traveling from Shillong. Mawsmai Caves are one of the most visited attractions of Meghalaya. There are natural limestone formations inside, giving the other-worldly appearance to the caves. The caves are well-lit, so you don’t panic or lose your way inside. But it is not for people suffering from back pain or knee problems. In many places, you need to bend and even crawl on all four! So ensure your physical fitness, if planning to visit Mawsmai Caves.
In Meghalaya, every bend in the road treats you to a beautiful view. These are just some of the places that Shillong and its surroundings will entice you with. There are many more paths, waiting to be trodden.
Author: E Jey
Just a passionate traveler who loves scribbling his expeditions @ www.jauntmonkey.com, www.outonroads.com, and www.blogthatall.com