The city of Shillong, also known as “Scotland of the East,” is a beautiful combination of tourist friendly activities and deep rooted national heritage. This city is the capital of the state of Meghalaya, which means “Abode of Clouds” in Sanskrit. This city, which was formerly known as Yeddo or Lewdah, is located in the east central part of the state, in the Shillong Plateau. Shillong is named after Lei Shyllong, a deity that is commonly worshipped at the top of Shillong Peak.
This capital city is at the core of one of the largest urban areas in Northeastern India. It also has many well reputed educational institutions, which makes it the center for education in the northeast. Not only is it full of beauty and knowledge, the people are also warm and hospitable towards tourists and travelers. Overall, Shillong is an amazing place to visit.
Why should you visit Shillong?
This city is a true gem of North East India for many reasons. Not only is it full of gorgeous natural landmarks, it is bustling with culture and activity. There is plenty to do for the many tourists that pass through the city, and even the locals never run out of things to do or see.
There is no shortage of culture and beauty thanks to places like the Bara Bazar and the Upper Shillong Protected Forest. The Bara Bazar is the largest open air street market in North East India, providing plenty of things to look at and buy. The protected forest, however, is full of rare and exotic plants.
Among other things, Shillong is renowned and recognized as the music capital of India. Not only is there plenty of music played locally, there are also several music festivals that are held in this capital city each year. The Shillong Autumn Festival takes place every year in October, and showcases much of the city’s culture. It has also hosted the NH7 Weekender Festival, which is one of the largest arts festivals in South Asia.
A perfect balance of the natural and man made world makes Shillong a popular tourist destination and a great choice for vacation, by yourself or with the whole family.
Cultural Museums and Libraries
Whether you are a visiting traveler or a local, Shillong has many amazing places to visit. For those interested in ancestral history and heritage, the State Central Library is full of rare and fascinating books. This library is part of the Arts and Culture Department in the state of Meghalaya. It is dedicated to research and education, and is the perfect place for a curious mind to be.
If you’re looking for an amazing display of cultural customs and traditions in the area, the Williamson Sangma State Museum is the perfect place. In this museum the traditions of the three major communities in the state are on display for visitors to see. The state museum’s goal is to support and preserve the practices, lifestyle, and heritage of these communities. Visitors can find tribal handicrafts, rare archaeological artifacts, plants, animals, and many other historical relics.
Another fantastic display of tradition and heritage is the Don Bosco Centre for Indigenous Cultures. What sets this facility apart from the other breathtaking museums in the city is its genius architecture. It has seven stories, which represent the Seven Sister States of North East India. The architect who designed the facility, Vivek Varma, hails from a family of architects. He takes credit for many other buildings across the country as well, though they are mostly in the North East. The Don Bosco Centre for Indigenous Cultures, or the DBCIC, combines a museum with a research and publication center. It is the perfect place for curious travelers or locals to spend the day learning about the community.
Beautiful Natural Landmarks
One among the plentiful natural landmarks in the city, Ward’s Lake is beloved by tourists, residents, and honeymooning couples as a picnic spot. This man made body of water is also known as Pollock’s Lake. It was named after Sir William Ward, who was the Chief Commissioner of Assam and the man who developed the plans for the lake’s construction. Not only does this spot make the perfect picnic location, it also has a gorgeous garden, and opportunities for fishing and boating.
Another fantastic opportunity to spend quality time in the outdoors is Lady Hydari Park. This park was named after the former first lady of the state, who was known to be an avid nature lover. It is easily accessible, located near the heart of the city. There is plenty of wildlife to see, and beautiful plants and flowers are plentiful. The best time to see the flowers in bloom is reported to be between the months of April and October. This park is the perfect place for travelers to spend time outdoors with family and friends, or even for residents to go for a jog. There are many activities for both tourists and locals, and it is a popular spot among both.
Umiam Lake is said to be a must see for tourists visiting the city. This lake is man made, much like Ward’s Lake, and resembles the lakes of Scotland. This body of water is also known as ‘Bara Pani,’ which means ‘big water’ because of its imposing size. Umiam Lake is one of the biggest artificial lakes in the state. It is a popular tourist attraction and offers water sports such as kayaking, water cycling, scooting, and boating. Whether you’re searching for more gorgeous scenery, or an exciting day of water sports, Umiam Lake is a great place to visit.
Located south of the main city, Shillong Peak is the highest point in Shillong. It stands at a spectacular 1962 meters above sea level. Shillong Peak is a popular place to visit due to the panoramic view of the city it offers those who reach the top. From the very top tourists can see the city, the lush green vegetation surrounding it, Assam Career the waterfalls, the Bangladesh plains, and even the Himalayas.
At the top of the peak lies a sacred spiritual site, where a yearly ritual is held during the season of spring. According to local lore the deity Lei Shyllong, who protects and watches over the city, has her abode on this peak. Overall, this peak is the perfect place travellers and locals alike to visit for a breathtaking view of the area below.
World Renowned Waterfalls
Shillong is known for its many breathtaking waterfalls. Among these, the most popular ones are Spread Eagle Falls and Elephant Falls.
Spread Eagle Falls is a waterfall located in the Shillong Cantonment area, on the outskirts of the city. It was named this because it looks like a majestic eagle with its wings spread. However, it is also known as Sati Falls or Umkaliar. This spot is equally as popular with locals and tourists as an amazing picnic spot. It is one of the widest waterfalls in Shillong, and creates a large pool of water where they cascade down.
Another one of the many waterfalls in Shillong is Elephant Falls. This waterfall is very different from the others. The locals call it Ka Kshaid Lai Pateng Khohsiew, which quite literally translates to “Three Step Water Falls.” What makes this waterfall special is that it has two tiers. Much like Spread Eagle Falls, Elephant Falls is also known to be a fantastic picnic spot. Its name dates back to the colonial era, when the Englishmen spotted a very large rock near the falls that resembled an elephant. No matter what you call it, Elephant Falls is breathtakingly beautiful and the perfect place for any tourist or traveller to visit.
Interesting and Exciting Activities in shilong
Besides the culturally enriching museums and gorgeous natural landmarks, Shillong also has plenty of other activities and things to buy. The Shillong Golf Course and the Bara Bazar are perfect examples of this.
The Shillong Golf Course is one of oldest and largest natural golf circuits in the world. It is located in a valley that is thick with groves of beautiful rhododendron and pine trees. This golf course was first established as a 9-hole course, but was later expanded to an 18-hole course by Captain Jackson and C.K. Rhodes.
Because of its greenery and natural beauty, the United States Golf Association and Museum gave this golf course the title of “Gleneagle of the East.” Since its expansion in 1924 the Shillong Golf Course has been a popular destination for golfers across the world, and it is also the perfect place for any tourist to spend an afternoon.
The Bara Bazar easily has something for anyone and everyone. The Bazar is a great place to get an accurate and fascinating picture of local life. It is the largest open air street market in North Eastern India, and sells everything from food to handmade goods. The most common purchases are traditional handmade woolen shawls and handicrafts made out of bamboo.
It is often described by travellers as a beautiful place with jovial people and warm hospitality. This makes it the perfect place for anyone to visit, whether you are a visiting tourist or a resident of the city.
When should you visit Shillong?
If you are a tourist looking to visit somewhere stunning and culturally enriching, Shillong is the perfect destination. Due to its soothing and pleasant climate, this city is delightful to visit during any time of the year. However, the best time to visit is in the month of June, during what is called Shillong’s “monsoon season.” This time of year there is tremendous rainfall.
Despite the fact that many travellers try to avoid visiting places during their rainy seasons, Shillong is considered to be at its most beautiful during this time. The city is at its cleanest because all of the rain washes away the garbage in the streets. Also, the city’s many waterfalls are at their strongest.
As you can discover by visiting any of its plentiful libraries, museums, and other educational institutions, Shillong is full of rich culture and heritage.
The 1897 Assam Earthquake that affected India completely destroyed the city. Though this natural disaster occurred on June 12, aftershocks of the earthquake were felt until early October. Though only 13 of the 1,542 deaths occurred within the city, property damage was severe. It almost completely leveled the ground, and the city had to be completely rebuilt.
Much of the Shillong population belongs to the Khasi people. Interestingly, the Khasi people are a matrilineal society. This means that the family line and heritage is traced down through the women of the community instead of the men. The majority of the Khasi people practice Christianity, though there is a minority that continues to practice their ancient indigenous religion, which is called Ka Niam Khasi.
Khasi people have lived in the Shillong region for a long time. There were large scale migrations to Shillong that took place after the partition of India in 1947. The immigrants came from the area of Assam that later became part of East Pakistan and is now known as Bangladesh.
Another Nearby Destination
Located close to Shillong is the city of Cherrapunji. Much like Shillong, Cherrapunji is beautiful and a popular tourist destination. This city is located a mere 35 miles southwest of Shillong.
Cherrapunji has one of the world’s highest average yearly rainfall levels, and has set several other records for the amount of rain it receives. It is considered to be the second wettest place in the world. This allows the city to have plenty of gorgeous vegetation and rushing waterfalls, such as the breathtaking Seven Sisters Falls.
This city has many beautiful natural landmarks and displays of unique culture, much like Shillong. Parks, waterfalls, caves, forests, and mountains are a few examples of the plentiful natural beauty that Cherrapunji offers to those who visit. So if you’re looking for another amazing and nearby travel destination, Cherrapunji is the perfect place.
Shillong is known for its jovial people and culture, rich heritage, and beautiful natural landmarks. This capital city would make an amazing destination for any traveller during any time of the year. The people are warm and hospitable, the scenery is breathtaking, and the history and culture is enriching and fascinating. All in all, Shillong is an amazing city and the perfect travel destination.