Shillong, India

Written by Tridisha Thakuria.

Also known as “Scotland of the East”, the beautiful city of Shillong is set amidst the rolling hills of Meghalaya. Famous for its natural diversity and scenic beauty, the city and its suburbs have a lot to offer for visiting tourists.

The majestic, cascading waterfalls, the vibrant culture of the three tribes that inhabit the area, namely the Khasi, Garo, and Jaintia tribes, as well as the small churches set in the undulating plains of the countryside, will make one feel as if they have landed in heaven.

The neighbouring areas of Cherrapunji and Mawsynram, two of the wettest places on Earth, are not only rich in a variety of species of flora and fauna, and a biodiversity hotspot, but also house some of the most beautiful waterfalls in the country. The neighbouring village of Mawlynnong features one of nature’s most exotic specimens; a bridge formed naturally by the living roots of trees. In addition to it, Mawlynnong has also been designated as the cleanest village in Asia. It is a serene, beautiful place, just the place you want to go for the weekend when you’re done with the city and its busy, tiring ways.

Now the main question: How to get to these places? Shillong is situated about 2 hours away from the metropolitan city of Guwahati, so you can always book a cab or hire one of the locally provided tourist vans. Or you can fly straight from your place to Shillong, which has a not-so-busy airport. Once in Shillong, you’ll find a lot of yellow and black taxis, and you can hire them for a ride inside the city, or even for outstation trips to Cherrapunjee, Mawsynram, and Mawlynnong.

Inside the city of Shillong, the places you must definitely visit are the Elephant Falls, a series of cascades, Shillong Peak, which offers you a view of the very pretty city, the Police Bazaar, which offers good items at prices that will make you cry with joy, the Golf Course, which was built by British colonial officers for their leisure, as well as the majestic Spread-Eagle falls. There are many hotels in and around the area of Police Bazaar, which will accommodate all types of budgets. Several recreational resorts have also recently sprung up in the outskirts of the city. As for food, Shillong offers various northeastern delicacies. A must try is the chicken and pork momos in any food outlet in Police Bazaar. Chicken cooked with bamboo shoots, mustard and various types of pickles are famous in this area.

The best season to visit Shillong is the period between September to May, during which the usual clamor is not there and the rains are less frequent. People usually visit the hill station during the summer vacations, to cool off the heat, but it ends up leading to excessive crowding. However, once you visit Shillong, it stays with you forever. Such is the magic of nature!

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