If you want to make friends with the clouds or simply feel like you’re on cloud nine, then Meghalaya is the place to be. Its name literally translates to the ‘abode of the clouds’. Nestled in North-East India, this power-packed state has a lot on offer for travelers. It is home to different tribes of unique cultures, adrenaline-pumping adventure opportunities, spectacular scenery, and local legends. This state calls Shillong, the hip musical city, its capital. It is urbane, while still retaining the charms of a rustic way of life. This blend helps visitors experience the best of both worlds. Read on to find out 10 reasons why you just can’t miss out on a holiday in Meghalaya!
1. Limestone Caves
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The Meghalaya Adventures Association organizes expeditions in the state’s limestone caves – they call it the ‘Caving in the Abode of the Clouds Project’. These caves can be spotted over the three main ranges in Meghalaya, namely the Garo, Khasi, and Jaintia Hills. Some of the longest caves in the world can be found here, with nine out of 10 being the deepest Indian caves.
The longest cave in the Indian subcontinent, called Krem Liat Prah, is located in the Jaintia Hills. To enter some of these caves, you have to swim inside them, whereas in others rock-climbing and trekking are mandatory. Whichever route you choose to take, we all know that to unravel the secrets of a cave, some hard work is surely required. What lies on the other side is well, a secret; for if we tell you now, where’s the fun and mystery in that? Unravel the deepest secret of nature, compare and book hotel in shillong here.
2. Adventure Sports
Adrenaline junkies, this one is for you! Meghalaya offers visitors a chance to go trekking, caving, camping, mountaineering, rock-climbing, and also the opportunity to revel in the rush of water sports! The Umiam Lake, situated near Shillong, houses a water-sports complex where you can go water-skiing, yachting, and even hire kayaks, canoes, river buses, water scooters, and the works! Archery is another popular local sport to be enjoyed here.
At Cherrapunjee, one can even attempt river canyoning, which is like trekking on a river. Those adventurous souls better pray for that magical ability to walk on water! Get amazing deals on hotels in lachumiere for fantastic experience.
3. Living Root Bridges
Mr. Dennis P. Ryan, a resident of Madurai, was on a trip with friends in Meghalaya when he fell in love with a Khasi girl and, therefore, decided to stay back. Subsequently, he started a resort in Cherrapunjee and once, while taking tourists around the area, he stumbled upon the living root bridges. Well, they weren’t called that then because he is the one who coined the term! The bridges are made of roots that are sturdy, alive and kicking, as they continue to grow every day.
Some of these are also double-decker bridges, which means that they have two stories. Do visit the Umshiang Double-Decker Root Bridge and Nohwet Living Root Bridge to marvel at these wonders that are as much a manmade feat as they are a feat of nature! Check avalability and book your stay in a hotel in cherrapunjee today!
4. Native Culture
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The three main tribes of the state are the Garos, Khasis, and Jaintias. They all live in specific regions and have unique traditions, cultures, cuisines, and dressing styles. Most of them follow the matrilineal way of living, wherein the mother’s ancestry is considered to be important.
Along with this, they have their own organized political institutions; the Khasis call their council Dorabar Kur, the Garos are under the jurisdiction of the Nokmas, and the Jaintias under the Dolois. Each tribe is self-sustaining right down to the T. Talk about attention to detail!
5. National Parks
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Abundant rain, clouds, greenery, and mountains mean that Meghalaya is blessed with resplendent flora and fauna. Sure enough, the state is home to numerous national parks that hold within them wonders of Mother Nature. Tucked in the Garo Hills, the Nokrek National Park is home to the Hollock Gibbons, which is a type of gorilla. Legend has it that an ape-man lurks in these woods and you’d be lucky, or not, to sight him!
It is also a place to find the ultra-rare red panda and golden cat. For bird lovers, there is the Siju Bird Sanctuary on the banks of the Simsang River. Seashell fossils are found in the Balpakram National Park so it holds great geological importance. Take a minute to let that sink in; sea shells in a mountainous region! Book Hotels in Tura & get amazing deals for this season.
6. Hiking Trails
Mountains automatically translate into hiking trails. However, Meghalaya has an added advantage, because here, it feels like you’re hiking amidst the clouds! The most popular route is the David Scott Trail, named after a famous British explorer who discovered this horse cart route.
Today, the trail is a popular day-time trekking route that leads from the village of Ladmawphlang to Mawphlang, covering a distance of about 16 km. Both these villages are steeped in history and, if you decide to spend a night camping on the trail, you can look up at the sky to find thousands of stars and the Milky Way strewn across a black canvas, staring right back at you! Read reviews and book a hotel in laitumkhrah to experience nature at its best.
7. Scotland Of The East
Shillong, situated in the East Khasi Hills, is also called ‘Scotland of the East’. This term was given to it by European settlers who were reminded of Scotland when they saw the sprawling green hills surrounding the city. Shillong is stylish and a haven for musicians.
Even though it is modern, the city retains the quaint charm of a hill station. It is home to cafes and restaurants where live music and open mic nights can be enjoyed. The city also has an array of shops selling fashionable clothes and accessories at throwaway prices! For panoramic views of the city, just head to Shillong Peak. Book your hotel & enjoy the breathtaking view of Shillong.
8. The Cleanest Village
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Mawlynnong is touted to be Asia’s cleanest village, and rightly so. The villagers here are dedicated to keeping their surroundings clean, setting an example for all of us! The streets of Mawlynnong are lined with bamboo dustbins and villagers, on a rotation basis, are assigned the task of cleaning the village.
Beautiful churches abound here, and the villagers have thrown open their homes to visitors. It is also a good place to buy knick-knacks and souvenirs. Local homestay options are aplenty, with some even offering unmatchable views of India’s border with Bangladesh!
9. Sacred Groves
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Sacred groves are parts of forests that have been cordoned off by tribes for religious and cultural reasons. It is believed that you are not supposed to take anything from these areas. The Mawphlang Sacred Forest is the most popular and beautiful hallowed grove in Meghalaya, housing many monoliths that are revered by the Khasi Tribe.
Legend has it that no one can ever get lost in the forest because its reigning deity always helps visitors find a way out!
10. Local Festivals
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Owing to the fact that Meghalaya is home to three distinct tribes, it comes as no surprise then that each has their own traditional festivals. We are not complaining because this means that the party goes on all year around! The Khasi community considers dance to be a rite of passage, so they have various festivals that focus on it like Ka Shad Suk Mynsiem, Ka Pom-Blang Nongkrem, and Ka-Shad Shyngwiang-Thangiap.
The Garos Tribe celebrates jhum cultivation, nature, and several religious events. The main festivals are the Den Bilsia, Wangala, and the Rongchu Gala. Behdienkhlam and Laho Dance are the important festivals of the Jaintias, who consider the preservation of cultural heritage and solidarity among people to be of utmost importance.
Whatever you decide to do, you should know that Meghalaya will never disappoint you. Whether it is relaxation you are looking for or an action-packed holiday, the state will bowl you over with the myriad things it has to offer. Culture enthusiasts won’t be disappointed either since there is so much to learn about the people of this hilly state! What else can we say? The clouds are calling and you must go!