Even as you read this, some of India’s best musicians are performing in Shillong as part of the NH 7 Weekender. Here’s a quick, handy guide to Meghalaya‘s picturesque capital:
Let’s see, Arjun Rampal is there, Sonu Sood is there, Prachi Desai is there as is Shraddha Kapoor. And of course Farhan freaking Akhtar is there too! If that isn’t enough there’s the whole line-up of musicians who are performing at the NH7 Weekender right about now. Shillong has probably never seen so much action in its history. And while we dread the traffic (it gets bad on a regular evening; we can’t imagine what it must be now), we can’t help but wish we were in Shillong today!
Meghalaya’s capital is indeed one of our most favorite places in this world. The fact that some of our favorite actors and ALL of our favorite musicians are there right now only makes us pine for its winding roads, rolling hills and all those beautiful villages that dot its outskirts. And Cherrapunji — that dreamy place we all read about in school!
What makes Shillong even more endearing is how ridiculously easy it is to reach it!
Step 1: Take a flight to Guwahati.
Step 2: Take a bus or a taxi to Shillong! Three hours tops and you are literally in one of India’s most beautiful capitals!
We’re really running out of reasons to not visit Shillong. And if these pictures don’t make you want to visit it, we really don’t know what will!
Photograph courtesy: Shutterstock
The place everyone read about in the school books isn’t exactly the wettest place on earth we were told about. While the jury is still out on that, the good folks at Cherrapunji (or Sohra) take a great deal of pride in declaring their hometown as the place that receives the highest rainfall. Cherrapunji is, of course, one of the wettest places on earth so if you visit it in the wrong season, the fog is so thick you’ll see nothing beyond the tip of your nose. Let alone any of the waterfalls, like the Nohkalikai Falls pictured above.
The living root bridges are nature’s way of reminding us just who the boss on planet earth. Made by hand from the aerial roots of living trees by local tribes, these bridges are also a shining example of what can be achieved when humans use nature rather than exploit it. Like everything natural, these bridges can take up to 15 years to complete. But once they are done, their lifespan can extend for as many as 500-600 years. While living root bridges like this one (above) are more than a few in number and can be easily accessed by car, there is just one double-decker living root bridge in Nongriat (pictured below). Accessing it requires a three-hour trek (contrary to the directions that assure you it is lesser) that is most definitely worth the effort. Nongriat Homestay (ph: +91-9615-25-2655) is about the only place that offers accommodation. Run by one Byron Nongbri (named after the poet Lord Byron) whose mobile phone is the only way to contact the outside world, spending a night here will be one of the best decision of your life.
Offering unrestricted views of Shillong city, this vantage point is one of the dozen or so places that your local cabbie will cover as part of a package deal. Consider making a pit stop on your way back to Shillong from Cherrapunji here.
4. Shillong bypass
Though not technically a place to ‘see’ the Shillong bypass is one of the best roads in north east India to drive on. With stunning hills and breathtaking valleys, not to mention the dramatic skies, a drive down the Shillong Bypass is one we’d highly recommend. Keep driving and you’ll end up in Mizoram and Tripura (which won’t be such a bad idea after all).
Just a few kilometers from Shillong en route to Cherrapunji are the Elephant Falls. The falls got their name from a rock that the British though resembled an elephant to the left of the main of the three falls. The Khasi name of the falls is Ka Kshaid Lai Pateng Khohsiew (or the three steps waterfalls). The rock that lent the falls its name no longer exists; it was destroyed in an 1897 earthquake.
Photograph courtesy: Shutterstock
Umiam Lake stands on the outskirts of Shillong. If you’re driving down from Guwahati, the lake welcomes you to the ‘Scotland of the East’. Offering stunning panoramic views, Umiam Lake is very popular among locals and tourists alike as it offers breathtaking views of the setting sun… and a promise of a beautiful new day!
Photograph courtesy: Abhishek Mande
Dubbed as Asia’s cleanest village, Mawlynnong is quite simply a must-visit while on your trip to Shillong. The tiny village that boasts of 100 per cent literacy does live up to its name. Several homestays offer comfortable accommodations and a handful of food stalls serve local delicacies including pork and fresh catch. There isn’t anything ‘to do’ really in Mawlynnong but turn off your city watches, slow down and do consider spending a night here.
8. Police bazaar
All roads in Shillong lead to the Police Bazaar chowk. This is where the tricolor is hoisted (until recently amidst tight security and tension) on Independence Day and Republic Day and this is where all the action in Shillong is centered. Except of course during this weekend, when RBDSA Sports Complex hosts the NH 7 Weekender.