For an urbanite, there is nothing like the first breath of fresh hill air. As we drove from Guwahati towards Shillong the air just got cooler and better. True to its name ‘abode of clouds’ Meghalaya greeted us with a canopy of dense clouds. By the time we rolled into Shillong, it was already dusk and we headed straight to our hotel.
After an early morning delicious breakfast, we set out on a scenic ride to discover some wonderful gems of Meghalaya. Dotted with charming waterfalls, sublime hills and strange yet breathtaking natural wonders, the fascinating landscapes of Meghalaya kept me in awe of this place. It was a 6-day long sojourn for me and I managed to see some mind-blowing natural marvels. Here is a list of seven such fascinating places to visit in Meghalaya.
A Quick Glance Through
- List of Places
- How To Get There
- Where To Stay
- When To Visit
List of Amazing Places To Visit in Meghalaya
1. Living Root Bridge
A little over 2 hours drive from Shillong, the single root bridge in Mawlynnong is an incredible feat of natural engineering.
These astonishing structures are formed by interwoven pliable aerial roots of rubber trees. The native tribes of northeast India have mastered the art of growing such root bridges.
It wasn’t merely like walking across another bridge. I felt absolutely elated to see this wonder of nature right in front of me, about which I had read a lot in books. This quaint bridge is one of the best places to visit in Meghalaya for nature enthusiasts.
Spend some me-time basking in nature and enjoy the awe-striking beauty of the place. To avoid crowding, visitors are not allowed to stand on the bridge. Here is a small video clip of the living root bridge.
2. Umngot River
One of the most talked-about Indian rivers in social media, the Umngot river is known for its crystal clear waters. The river is so clean that it creates an illusion of boats floating in thin air.
The river water becomes muddled during rains and you may not see the transparent view if travelling during monsoon.
It flows through the quaint town of Dawki and further into Bangladesh. Dawki is just 1-hour drive away from Mawlynnong and I managed to visit both places on the same day.
One more point of interest near the Umngot river is the Dawki suspension bridge, which was constructed during pre-independence days by Britishers.
The entrancing beauty of this place makes it one of the unmissable places to visit in Meghalaya.
3. Nohkalikai Falls
The Nohkalikai Falls is at such a great height that by merely looking at it I felt a shiver go down my spine – of excitement mixed with some bit of trepidation. The sparkling plunge pool is equally impressive with its multi-hues of blue.
I was fortunate to get clear views of the falls as the sky was almost clear after a brief rainfall.
Set at a height of 1115 ft and about 5 km away from Cherrapunji town, it is the tallest plunge waterfall in India. The falls are fed by rainwater only. So, the best time to visit Nohkalikai falls is after monsoons when it looks most voluminous.
You may also like: 6 Most Beautiful Waterfalls in Cherrapunji
4. Krang Suri Falls
A tranquil waterfall away from the common tourist circuit, Krang Suri falls is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Meghalaya where you can be at one with nature. Located in the peaceful town of Jowai, the falls is almost 3 hours drive from Shillong.
You have many things to do here – take a dip in the plunge pool, go boating or just sit on a rock beside the pool and enjoy the mesmerizing beauty this place has to offer.
5. Mawlynnong Village
Famed as ‘Asia’s Cleanest Village’ Mawlynnong is known for cleanliness and eco-friendly ways of living. You can find bamboo garbage bins placed in every nook and corner of the village. The onus of keeping the village clean lies with the residents.
Replete with greenery, Mawlynnong village is also referred to as ‘God’s Own Garden’. You can see a fenced blooming garden with colourful flowers in almost every home.
Taking a stroll around the village, I came across this signboard welcoming visitors to God’s Own Garden.
This video gives a peep into Asia’s cleanest village. See it to believe it!
6. Umiam Lake
It is almost impossible to miss this emerald green colour lake on your way to Shillong. Located merely 15 km away from Shillong, Umiam lake catches everyone’s attention with its astonishing beauty.
I stopped over for a quick boat ride in the lake and it was such a refreshing break after a long drive from Guwahati.
There is a small scenic island in the middle of the lake called Lumpongdeng Island. It is open for an overnight stay, but you need to book far enough in advance. It is a great place for photography as well.
Without any doubt, Umiam lake is one of the most amazing places to visit in Meghalaya and you must include this in your itinerary.
7. Arwah Cave
Just before entering the town of Cherrapunji (Sohra) lies the magical Arwah cave. It doesn’t take more than 20 minutes to reach here if you are put up at Cherrapunji.
From the parking area, it is about 500 meters walk to the cave through a scenic pathway offering some awesome viewpoints. It’s huge and only a portion of the cave is open for visitors.
I felt the temperature drop by at least a few degrees, the moment I entered the cave. It has so much to offer that as an ignorant city dweller I couldn’t even imagine.
Meghalaya caves are known for its magnificent limestone structures but what impressed me the most was the ancient marine fossils. It was absolutely thrilling experience for me.
I have earlier written a detailed post about caving experience in Meghalaya. Check out if you are interested in finding out more.
One more place worth a visit is the double-decker living root bridge in Cherrapunji. It involves about 2.5 hours of arduous trek one way. So, you need to keep aside one full day for visiting this bridge.
How To Get There
Meghalaya’s only airport is situated in Umroi, some 30 km from the center of Shillong city. It is a domestic airport with limited flight connectivity to and from Kolkata and Delhi.
Guwahati Airport, around 120 km away from Shillong, serves as the major aerodrome. It has direct flights from several major cities like Mumbai and Delhi. From the airport, it takes about 3.5 hours to reach Shillong by cab.
Guwahati Railway Station is the nearest train station, which is roughly 100 km from Shillong.
Where To Stay
Shillong, the capital city of Meghalaya, offers a wide range of lodging options. You can visit several tourist places as a day trip from Shillong.
Hotel Polo Towers is an excellent mid-range hotel, located in the heart of the city.
Spend a few days in Cherapunji, if you are on a longer vacation. It lies in proximity to prominent attractions like Nohkalikai Fall and Arwah Cave.
For budget travelers, San Nael la Resort in Cherrapunji is a good choice.
When To Visit
There are two best seasons for travelers, summer season from March to June and the other between October and November.
The weather stays pleasant during the summer months. It is neither too cold nor too hot in the daytime, perfect for sightseeing. Though it may rain anytime even in summer, the sky usually becomes clear after a brief shower.
As the monsoon sets in, there is heavy downpour on most of the days. October is when the monsoon season is over. This time of the year is ideal for witnessing Meghalaya’s gorgeous waterfalls.
With the onset of winters, the mercury drops to as low as 2 degrees. So, tourist footfall is usually low in winter.
Over To You Now…
With so many charming and truly incredible places to visit in Meghalaya, it is a nature lover’s delight.
Have you visited this beautiful land of clouds in Northeast India? Share your experiences with us in the comment section below.
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