Wet and wonderful

Scenic: Waterfalls at Cherrapunjee. Photo: Ritu Raj Konwar  

Meghalaya is a rich reservoir of tribal culture, floral and faunal biodiversity, huge forest cover, a variety of orchids, home to over 250 species of butterflies, making it an exotic and captivating tourist destination.

Meghalaya (the abode of clouds) is a traveller's delight. The wide array of tourist destinations can be clubbed into three chief zones: the Khasi Hills, Jantia Hills and Garo Hills. The Khasi Hills are home to the wettest place on earth – Sohra, popularly known as Cherrapunjee. The Sohra area is on the outskirts of capital Shillong. Dotted by breathtaking waterfalls, deep gorges, swift flowing rivers and can be called the ultimate eco-friendly travellers' destination. It is also the traditional capital of a Hima-Khasi tribal chieftainship.


The living root bridge situated in Nongriat is one of its kind. It is called the Double-Decker Root Bridge or the Umshiang Double Decker Root-Bridge. Other attractions in the Khasi hills are Mawsynram, also considered one of the wettest places on earth. It has the Mawjymbuin with magnificent stalagmites and a dome-shaped rock called the Symper Rock. The Khasi hills are also abode to the second largest river island in Asia, the Nongkhum Island. A wooden bridge from the Weinia Falls leads to the island. The island is formed by the bifurcation of the Kynshi into the Phanliang and Namliang. The picturesque village of Mawlynnong situated in the Indo-Bangla border has the distinction of being the cleanest village in Asia. The villagers, mostly agriculturists, ensure that the virgin forest cover is kept unharmed. The sacred groves that have been preserved over centuries by means of traditional religious norms are a storehouse of incredible of medicinal plants, orchids and more. One of the most famous groves is the Mawphlang sacred forest, an ideal destination for nature lovers.

Smit is the heart of Khasi traditional culture, where the Nongkrem dance is performed every year in November.

The biggest artificial lake is the Umiam Lake, popularly known as Barapani, offers water sports. It is situated on the Shillong-Guwahati highway and is surrounded by pine trees and picture perfect blue skies. Jakrem is famous for its hot sulphur springs, which are believed to have curative medicinal value.

Shillong, the capital, also has plenty of tourist destinations. Known as the Gleneagle of the East, the Shillong Golf Course is one of the oldest and best natural golf courses of the world. Set amid the undulating valleys it has an 18-hole course.In the heart of the city is the Cathedral Catholic Church. The Lady Hydari Park and the Wards Lake are other tourist spots. Enchanting falls around the city include the Elephant falls, Sweet falls and Spread Eagle falls.


Jaintia Hills is a land of hills and prosperous mineral deposits. It is home to the Nartiang village, famous for the summer palace of the Janitia kings. The Durga Temple of Nartiang has a tunnel that reaches the Myntang. The presence of the largest assortment of monoliths in one single area is found in the Nartiang markets: Menhris (upright stones) Moo Shyrang and Dolmens (flat stones in the horizontal position) locally known as Moo Kynthai.

A drive to the border town of Dawki is an exhilarating experience as the road passes through deep gorges and ravines. The Lumshnong hamlet is the dwelling of the Umlan, the largest and deepest in the sub-continent. It is also inter-connected with two other caves: Kot-Sati and Umskor caves.

A beautiful arch bridge connects across a stretch of paddy fields leading to the Tyrshi falls thundering down to the Pynthor below. Jarain Pitcher Plant Lake sits calmly amid gravelled footpaths, pitcher plant garden and green house interpretation centre.

Densely forested Garo Hills is one of the richest biodiversity spots. The Baghmara Reserve Forest is home to langurs, birds and elephants. Siju is famous for Dobakkol or the bat cave, one of the longest caves in the sub-continent and contains some premium river passages. The Siju bird sanctuary lies alongside the banks of the Simsang.Sasatgre village is home to orange plantations and falls within the periphery of the Nokrek gene-sanctuary-cum-biosphere reserve.

Meghalaya is the destination that vacationers will want to venture into. A marvellous blend of nature and adventure is forever ready to be served on a platter for those who dare to think beyond the horizon to the abode clouds. The hill state is a cosy getaway during these times of summer, in the arms of nature, in the land of rain soaring high in the skies this is Meghalaya for you, the consign to be.

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Printable version | Jul 29, 2021 2:25:43 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/nxg/Wet-and-wonderful/article16300216.ece

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