It gives me immense peace and calm as I close my eyes, take a deep breath of fresh air and release all the stupid thoughts in my mind, opening my eyes to the breathtaking views of the hills. Nothing can make me happier than lush green hills and forests (okay maybe food, that’s an exception;))
They say there’s always something or the other in which you find solace and your inner self can relate to it so much that it literally gives you goosebumps when you think about it. That’s nature for me, specially hills and forests. It surprises me beyond imagination each and every time with another of it’s hidden beauty and secrets, leaving me in awe and desire for more.
Shillong, capital of Meghalaya, popularly known as Scotland of the East, is definitely a place you would want to put on your bucket list if you’re a mountain lover. Literally meaning the Abode of clouds, Shillong’s weather is pleasantly unexpected as it’ll be sunny one moment and within minutes it’ll all get covered by clouds and start pouring. It is said that the rolling hills around the town reminded the European settlers of Scotland. Hence, they would also refer to it as the “Scotland of the East”.
The main highlights from my visit and places that you shouldn’t miss when in Shillong are listed below.
1. Ward’s Lake
Ward’s Lake is a refreshing pool surrounded by beautiful gardens in the heart of the city. The serene lake and the cool shades of trees around it, makes it a nice spot for sightseeing and boating. In winter the park sheds most of its hues along with the leaves; except for the oddly rejuvenated cherry blossoms, which paint the park in lovely off-white pink.A stylish white wooden bridge suspended in the middle of the lake is the most recognisable feature of Ward’s Lake.
2. Elephant Falls
Elephant Falls was the British name of what the local Khasi people once referred to as Ka Kshaid Lai Pateng Khohsiew (or “Three Steps Waterfalls”) since the falls actually consisted of three sections in succession. The British renamed the falls because there used to be a rock resembling an elephant near the left side of the main falls (which I think was the bottommost one). However, that rock was destroyed in an earthquake back in 1897.
3. Don Bosco Centre for Indigenous Cultures
If you are an explorer for cultures and have a love for history like me, then this is place you can’t miss while being in Shillong. A three-in-one Institution combining a museum with a research and publication center, for promoting and preserving the rich cultural heritage of North East India -a unique fusion of all the sister states under one roof. In terms of design the DBCIC is startling: built in hexagonal shape, its seven floors represent the seven states of North East India. The building rises to form a flame, expressing the reality that if cultures are understood well, they can form a communion of cultures for a better society.
Credited as being the wettest place on Earth and holds the world record for the most rainfall in a calendar month and in a year. The original name for this town was Sohra. It’s a beautiful little town around 54 kilometers(approx.) from Shillong and is famous for the breathtaking views and waterfalls.
5. Nohkalikai Falls
Nohkalikai Falls is the tallest plunge waterfall in India. Its height is 1115 feet (340 metres). The waterfall is located near Cherrapunji. The name of the falls in Khasi language meaning “Jump of Ka Likai” is linked to a legend about local women Likai who jumped off the cliff next to the falls.
6. Mawsmai Caves
This was my favourite part of the trip. Mawsmai caves are a few miles further away from Cherrapunjee. The caves are made of limestone and I was literally stunned as I entered these caves. The entrance is well lit, but as one enters further inside, the eeriness and the mystery, starts unfolding. Coupled with that, the constant dripping of water from the cave roofs and the formation of stalactites and stalagmites, a phenomena specially found in limestone caves, where the roof and the floor of the cave joins together to form pillars, adds to the beauty of the place. While at some places, the openings are big enough for a person to just about crawl through, at others, the roofs as high as 40 feet! Interestingly, while the entrance is large and roomy, the exit is so small, that a full-grown person has to kneel down for coming out into the open.
7. Seven sisters waterfall
High on beauty quotient, Seven Sister Waterfall is a famous waterfall in Meghalaya. Meghalaya is a land blessed with various waterfalls such as Bishop and Beadon falls, Elephant Falls, Spread Eagle Falls and many more, but Seven Sister Waterfall has a unique charm to it. During good season one can seven different falls side-by-side cascading the cliff, which gives the waterfall its name. It is a seven segmented waterfall that overlooks Bangladesh.
An experience never to be forgotten. Although I had a little time of three days for this trip but made good use of it. Next time would be another of the Eastern states of India, hopefully soon 😉