Bounded on the North and East by Assam and on the South and West by Bangladesh, Meghalaya meaning the “Abode of Clouds” is a state rich in picturesque locales, bountiful nature, fresh and refreshing surroundings. It is home to three major tribal populations - Khasis, Garos and Jaintias. The common trait binding all three communities is its matrilineal system in which the family linage is taken from the mother's side. The people of Meghalaya are known to be hospitable, cheerful and friendly.
Shillong is Meghalaya's capital city and also the District Headquarters of East Khasi Hills District situated at an altitude of 1,496 metres above sea level.This picturesque town still retains quite a bit of its picturesque past; the ‘Raj mystique’, cosmopolitan character and westernised lifestyle. During the British Raj, Shillong had become a second home to scores of Englishmen stationed in Assam and Bengal with many settling down here instead of returning to Britain.
PLACES TO VISIT
Lady Hydari Park: There is the perfectly landscaped Lady Hydari Park ablaze with roses and flowers of almost every variety even as weeping willows bend into water body that house pelicans and the like. There is also a mini zoo and Butterfly museum with colourful species preserved for sale and posterity.
Umiam Lake : Located 17 km from Shillong, is a large man made yet beautiful lake which offers water sports facilities including sailing and water skiing
Beadon Falls, Bishop Falls & Elephant Falls: Beadon Falls and Bishop Fallsand Elephant Falls set amid fern-covered rocks 12-km south, are popular waterfalls and picnic sites.
Botanical Gardens: Visit the "Sacred groves" or virgin forests. The nearest one is the Mawphlang sacred as it is by traditional religious sanctions. The forest is so sacred that even a dead leaf cannot be removed from the area. With the sanction of religion, it is certainly a brilliant way of preserving the ecological system.
Spread Eagle Falls: Located on the outskirts of the city, lies a sparkling waterfall, which looks like an eagle with, wings spread out. Hence, the name spread eagle falls. The falls has fairly steep cliffs on three sides with a very deep pool beneath - a soothing setting amidst calm nature. The falls is locally known as "Urkaliar" or the falls into which Ka Liar slipped.
State Museum: Meghalaya's State Museum, in Lachumiere, has exhibits depicting tribal customs and a weaker collection of ancient scriptures from elsewhere in India. Timing: In Summer - Monday to Saturday 10.00 am to 4.30 pm In Winter - 10.00 am to 4.00 pm Closed on: - 2nd and 4th Saturday of the month. Entry: Free Meghalaya's State Museum, in Lachumiere, has exhibits depicting tribal customs and a weaker collection of ancient scriptures from elsewhere in India. Timing: In Summer - Monday to Saturday 10.
Ward Lake: And if nature's bounty was not enough, Shillong boasts of a man made lake- Ward's Lake - right in the heart of the city. The lake, built by Chief Commissioner William Ward in 1893-94, is a picture book lake complete with a white wooden Japanese like bridge and fishes that throng to feed on Channa (Chickpeas). Shillong Peak: For a panoramic view of the city, the best bet is Shilling peak at 1,965 m, the highest point in the state and 10-km from the city. On a clear day, the whole of Shillong spreads below it before disappearing into the distant blue green hills.
A Golfer's Paradise : For those seeking to combine their holiday with a dash of sport, there is the golf club and the 18-hole golf course. It is the third oldest course in the country, termed "the Gleneagle of the East" by the United States Golf Association Library and Museum. The club is a throwback to the old world charms reminiscent of the British.
Cherrapunji is a town in East Khasi Hills district in the Indian state of Meghalaya. It is credited as being the wettest place on Earth. The original name for this town was Sohra, pronounced as "Churra" by the British. It is famous for its pristine beauty, its unusual facets, the perpetual clouds, and the perpetual mist. All along from Shillong to Cherrapunji, there are lots of places with breath taking scenic beauty. Cherrapunji is renowned for its limestone caves and orange honey. Mawsmai Falls, the fourth largest waterfall in India, and the oldest Presbyterian Church in India are located here.
Khasi Monoliths : Near the Mawsmai falls in Meghalaya, lies scattered some rock stones laid down in the memory of the forefathers. The place has some underground tunnels and passages too which would be an exciting adventure ride for adventure enthusiasts.
Mawsmai Falls : This is the fourth highest waterfall in India with a height of 1035 feet. The place offers beautiful scenery where you can relax.
Orchid gardens : The place boasts of a wide variety of orchids blooming in several parts of Cherrapunji.