Meghalaya is named after the clouds. Its literally the home of clouds. This place has scenic scapes true to its name. India is blessed with mountains and landscapes a plenty. So I had a pre conceived idea of how Meghalaya would look like. Tall mountains, deep valleys, a river in between. Picture perfect but cliche. Beautiful, but not exciting. I am glad I was wrong.!
North east, sadly so, is considered like the forbidden forest ( of Harry Potter fame) equivalent of travel destinations in India. When I set out to plan my trip, a lot of time was spent figuring out which town is in which state, what all states will I pass through, and so on.
So, Meghalaya sounded doable in the span of time I had, and again, I’m glad I did so.
Road plan :
Pretty simple. Land at Guwahati airport. From there there are direct sharing cabs to Shillong. It is a picturesque 4-5 hour ride. If you are in a group of your own I would suggest hire a vehicle and go leisurely taking ample stops to absorb the views.
Shillong is like the swag city of North east India. It’s the rock capital. Has a lots of young people. Has amazing weather.And by far is the most popular city that people in mainland India know about from North east.
but, there’s more to it than that.
The people from Shillong look amazing. They are effortlessly beautiful. Have an above average fashion sense. Its not only in the cities, but in little villages too.Language is a bit of a barrier, but people are helpful by nature.
Once in Shillong, go to the Govt. tourist Info center in Police bazaar and take all the pamphlets/booklets there are. They have wealth of handy information about the state. You can take a cheap tour in the bus, or hire a sharing cab for sight seeing which is quicker and flexible too. Carry your Id cards like Adhar car,etc you may need it at ‘Shillong point’.
Once done with regular sight seeing, which takes half a day its time to explore the town on foot. Venture into Police bazaar, then stroll into Bara bazaar. in these lanes you’ll find the everyday people living, shopping, playing, cooking. I find it more fulfilling than just visiting touristy spots.
Shillong night life sucks. Why does it suck is explained here, in this post. In addition to that, recently changed rules have shut down most of the liquor shops. Even if open, they are shut before 8pm, and completely shut on Sundays. We realized that people make merry at home mostly, with friends.
Places to see from Shillong :
- Dawki – Dawki holds its importance for its proximity to Bangladesh border. Besides, on a clear day, one can see pristine waters of Dawki river. These waters are famous for boat rides which look like floating boats due to clear water. We, unfortunately arrived on a cloudy day so missed that. Also, thee were many more Bangladeshi tourists on their side of the river, than Indians on this side.
- Mawlynnong – Its a small village from Shillong, which was awarded the cleanest village in Asia. True to its word, it is very clean. Dustbins everywhere. There is hardly any factory/industry nearby. Its lush green and very peaceful place.
- Cherapunji – This used to be famous being the wettest place on earth. But not anymore. Nevertheless, it is a very beautiful place. There are a couple of spots for local sight seeing. But the main attraction is the Double Decker root bridge. I would strongly suggest one should stay near the bridge overnight. More about it, here.
There is much more to Meghalaya than what I saw. I just went to the touristy places. There are many other forests, waterfalls and adventure sports activities one can indulge in Meghalya. But its a definite must try.
Till then, cheers..!