Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya in Northeast India, is a mesmerizing destination blessed with natural beauty, rich culture, and a vibrant atmosphere. Known as the “Scotland of the East,” Shillong offers a plethora of activities and attractions that cater to diverse interests. Whether you are an adventure enthusiast, a nature lover, or someone seeking tranquility, Shillong has something for everyone. In this article, we will explore the top things to do in Shillong and discover the hidden gems of this enchanting city.
Table of Contents
- Introduction: Discovering Shillong’s Charm
- Soak in the Scenic Beauty: Visit Shillong Peak
- Unveil Nature’s Masterpiece: Exploring Umiam Lake
- Embrace Serenity: Wander around Ward’s Lake
- Immerse in Cultural Delights: Visit Don Bosco Centre for Indigenous Cultures
- Witness Architectural Marvel: Explore Cathedral of Mary Help of Christians
- Connect with the Divine: Seek Blessings at Shillong Baptist Church
- Explore Local Markets: Shop at Police Bazaar
- Taste the Local Cuisine: Indulge in Khasi Delicacies
- Admire Living Root Bridges: Trek to Mawlynnong Village
- Get Adventurous: Trek to Elephant Falls
- Discover Geological Wonders: Explore Krem Mawmluh Cave
- Step into the Past: Visit Lady Hydari Park
- Experience Traditional Music: Attend a Cultural Show
- Escape to Cherrapunjee: Marvel at Living Root Bridges
1. Introduction: Discovering Shillong’s Charm
Nestled amidst the picturesque hills of Meghalaya, Shillong beckons travelers with its captivating beauty and pleasant climate. This bustling city offers a perfect blend of modernity and tradition, where colonial-era architecture coexists with vibrant street markets. As you venture through the winding roads of Shillong, you will encounter breathtaking landscapes, cascading waterfalls, and a warm and welcoming local culture that leaves an indelible mark on your heart.
2. Soak in the Scenic Beauty: Visit Shillong Peak
For a panoramic view of Shillong and its surroundings, a visit to Shillong Peak is a must. Situated at an altitude of 1,965 meters, this vantage point offers a bird’s-eye view of the entire city, the lush valleys, and the mist-covered mountains. Capture the breathtaking vistas, breathe in the fresh mountain air, and let the beauty of nature rejuvenate your senses.
3. Unveil Nature’s Masterpiece: Exploring Umiam Lake
Umiam Lake, also known as Barapani Lake, is a serene water body located on the outskirts of Shillong. Surrounded by hills and adorned with lush greenery, this man-made lake is a paradise for nature lovers. Take a leisurely boat ride, indulge in water sports activities, or simply relax by the lakeside, soaking in the tranquility of this idyllic retreat.
4. Embrace Serenity: Wander around Ward’s Lake
Nestled in the heart of Shillong, Ward’s Lake is a captivating oasis of tranquility. Surrounded by beautiful gardens, blooming flowers, and a vibrant aviary, this man-made lake provides a peaceful escape from bustling city life. Take a leisurely stroll around the lake, enjoy a picnic amidst nature, or simply sit back and admire the serene surroundings.
5. Immerse in Cultural Delights: Visit Don Bosco Centre for Indigenous Cultures
To delve into the rich cultural heritage of Northeast India, a visit to the Don Bosco Centre for Indigenous Cultures is highly recommended. This unique museum showcases the art, artifacts, and traditions of the indigenous communities of the region. Explore the various galleries, interact with the local artisans, and gain a deeper understanding of the diverse cultures that make Shillong and its surrounding regions truly remarkable.
6. Witness Architectural Marvel: Explore Cathedral of Mary Help of Christians
The Cathedral of Mary Help of Christians, located in the heart of Shillong, is a splendid example of Gothic architecture. With its towering spires, stained glass windows, and intricate detailing, this grand cathedral stands as a testament to the city’s colonial past. Step inside to admire the serene ambiance and offer a moment of tranquility in this sacred place.
7. Connect with the Divine: Seek Blessings at Shillong Baptist Church
Shillong Baptist Church, also known as the Cathedral Church, is one of the oldest churches in the city. Known for its impressive architecture and serene atmosphere, this church provides a peaceful sanctuary for worshipers. Take a moment to seek blessings, marvel at the architectural marvel, and experience the serenity that fills the air.
8. Explore Local Markets: Shop at Police Bazaar
No visit to Shillong is complete without exploring the vibrant markets, and the iconic Police Bazaar tops the list. This bustling commercial hub offers a wide array of shops, boutiques, and street stalls, where you can find everything from traditional handicrafts to fashionable apparel. Immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere, bargain for souvenirs, and get a taste of the local shopping scene.
9. Taste the Local Cuisine: Indulge in Khasi Delicacies
Shillong’s culinary scene is a delight for food enthusiasts, especially those who appreciate unique flavors and local delicacies. Try the traditional Khasi cuisine, which includes dishes like Jadoh (rice cooked with meat and spices), Dohkhlieh (a spicy salad with meat), and Nakham Bitchi (fermented fish chutney). Head to local eateries and street food stalls to savor the authentic taste of Meghalaya.
10. Admire Living Root Bridges: Trek to Mawlynnong Village
Embark on a fascinating trek to Mawlynnong Village, renowned as Asia’s cleanest village. Along the way, you will encounter marvelous living root bridges, masterpieces of bio-engineering created by the indigenous Khasi tribes. These bridges, formed by intertwining the roots of ancient trees, offer a unique blend of natural beauty and architectural ingenuity.
11. Get Adventurous: Trek to Elephant Falls
Nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts can fulfill their cravings by embarking on a thrilling trek to Elephant Falls. Located on the outskirts of Shillong, this three-tiered waterfall cascades down amidst lush green surroundings. Trek through dense forests, cross bamboo bridges and witness the awe-inspiring beauty of this natural wonder.
12. Discover Geological Wonders: Explore Krem Mawmluh Cave
For those seeking an underground adventure, a visit to Krem Mawmluh Cave is a must. This extensive limestone cave system offers a fascinating glimpse into the geological wonders of Meghalaya. Explore the dark passages, marvel at the stalactite formations, and listen to the mysterious echoes that fill the cavernous chambers.
13. Step into the Past: Visit Lady Hydari Park
Take a leisurely stroll through Lady Hydari Park, a well-maintained botanical garden that offers a serene ambiance and a glimpse of Shillong’s colonial past. Adorned with colorful flowers, manicured lawns, and a peaceful lake, this park provides a perfect spot for relaxation and unwinding amidst nature’s tranquility.
14. Experience Traditional Music: Attend a Cultural Show
Immerse yourself in the enchanting melodies of traditional Khasi music by attending a cultural show in Shillong. Witness mesmerizing performances of indigenous instruments like the duitara, bamboo flute, and drums, accompanied by soulful vocals. Let the rhythmic beats and soul-stirring melodies transport you to a world steeped in rich musical traditions.
15. Escape to Cherrapunjee: Marvel at Living Root Bridges
A short trip from Shillong will take you to Cherrapunjee, known for its lush landscapes and record-breaking rainfall. Explore the breathtaking living root bridges that adorn the region, including the famous Double Decker Living Root Bridge. These architectural marvels, created by the ancient techniques of the Khasi tribe, are a testament to human harmony with nature.
Shillong, with its scenic beauty, cultural heritage, and adventure opportunities, offers a unique and captivating travel experience. From panoramic viewpoints to serene lakes, from architectural marvels to hidden natural wonders, this city has something for everyone. Immerse yourself in the vibrant culture, explore the breathtaking landscapes, and create unforgettable memories in the “Scotland of the East.”
- Is Shillong safe for tourists?
Shillong is considered a safe destination for tourists. However, it is always advisable to take general precautions and be aware of your surroundings.
- What is the best time to visit Shillong?
The best time to visit Shillong is between September and May when the weather is pleasant and favorable for outdoor activities.
- Are there any adventure sports available in Shillong?
Yes, Shillong offers various adventure sports like trekking, water rappelling, zip-lining, and river canyoning for thrill-seekers.
- Can I visit Shillong with my family?
Absolutely! Shillong is a family-friendly destination with plenty of attractions and activities suitable for all age groups.
- How can I reach Shillong?
Shillong is well-connected by road and air. The nearest airport is Umroi Airport, located approximately 40 kilometers away, and Guwahati Airport is the major airport with better connectivity. Regular buses and taxis are available from Guwahati to Shillong.