Shillong

Before Meghalaya was split into a new state Shillong used to be the capital of Assam. It is one of the beautiful places in Northeastern India and now a capital of Meghalaya. The place is covered by pine trees and has a pretty mild climate which is different from other corners of the country. Approximately 1496 meters above the sea level the city of Shillong has often been referred to as the Scotland of East. Travelling to this place would still showcase the British legacy from the food habits and the architecture of the region. The beauty of the place gets enhanced with the slating roofs and Assamese style homes which have several windows and are made of wood.Shillong is an area which gets rains throughout the year and is located in an earthquake prone region. It is recommended not to visit the place during the monsoons as the region is prone to landslides. One quick tip while you travel to the city would be packing an umbrella within your bag. There is no guarantee that it won’t rain in any part of the year. Most people in the area are Christian and belong to the Khasi tribe. A large number of Nepali and Bengali minorities may also be found in the region.

Shillong

Interesting Facts about Shillong

  • The founder of the Automated Teller Machine i.e. John Shepherd Baroon was born in Shillong.
  • Shillong was the witness to the last public lecture by Swami Vivekananda
  • In the entire region the society is matrilineal which means that the mother is regarded as the head of the family. As per traditions the youngest daughter of the family owns the entire property while the surname of mothers is used by their children.
  • In the year 1897 Shillong witnessed a strong earthquake which literally wiped out the entire region. However, the people living in the area rebuilt the place and it stands as a beautiful city in the East.

Shillong’s Location

Shillong is located on a plateau which is a part of the East Khasi hills district of the state. Situated in the North eastern part of India it is about 6436 square kilometers in area.

Languages Spoken

  • English (Principle Language)
  • Khasi
  • Pnar
  • Garo
  • Hindi

How to reach Shillong?

Reaching by Air

If you wish to travel by air to Shillong then the nearest airport to land would be Umroi which is about 35 kilometers from the city. Flights are operated by Air India and regular buses as well as taxis ply from the airport to the city. The price per passenger to travel from Umroi to Shillong ranges from Rs.100-Rs.150 for buses. Taking a flight to Guwahati and landing at the Gopinath Bordoi Airport can also be an option. Shillong is about 128 kilometers and there are several options to travel from Guwahati to Shillong.

One may even take the helicopter service to travel from Guwahati to Shillong which is about 20 minutes journey.

Reaching by Rail

Although there is no railway station in Shillong the travelers need not be disappointed. Getting down at Guwahati Railway station can be the best option. Buses as well as private vehicles are available for hire which makes it easier for people to travel to Shillong. There are no rail lines in Meghalaya. The nearest railway station is Guwahati. It is 104 km from Shillong and very well connected with all major cities of India.

Reaching by road

Travelling by road is possible by taking the NH40 where the roads are in pretty good shape. All sorts of vehicles are available for hire from Guwahati and it is recommended not to drive by oneself in the location.

Roads to Shillong
Roads to Shillong

Best time to visit Shillong

Shillong is one of those places which can be visited at any point of the year. Although the summer temperatures touch as high as 25 degree Celsius the place remains cool throughout the year. However, to get the best experience of Shillong it would be recommended to visit it during the months of September to March.

Travel Around Shillong

Travelling around the city and adjoining areas offers hosts of beautiful landscapes. It is surrounded by the Umian ravine at the north while the north western portion is full of flora and fauna. Being at the nature’s lap the place has loads of places to be explored for the adventure seekers as well as the nature lovers. With several waterfalls, crystal clear water bodies, museums, zoo, and the best golf courses in the country it is splendidly full of places to see. It virtually has everything for every visitor here.

If one visits Shillong in the months of June or July they can witness the Behdienkhlam festivals in the town of Jowai. Travelling to the limestone caves, Presbyterian Church, and many more such places can be a great experience. With amazingly warm people the experience of being here could be quite interesting. One can travel all over the city with enough travel modes available. Buses, Taxis, or even on foot the place is definitely worth exploring. Fishing in the region is one of the other popular activities which the tourists might like.

Attractions at Shillong

There are numerous monuments and places to visit around the area. Besides the buildings there are hosts of options available for the adventure seekers as well. Some of the popular places which fall a part of must visit areas have been listed below:

  • Butterfly Museum: The place offers you the option to check out the beautiful butterflies and even let them land on your hands. Located at Riatsamthiah the place is home to some rarest yet best moths and butterflies. One may even check out the insights regarding the life cycles and anthology of moth within the museum.
    Butterfly museum
    Butterfly museum
  • Bara Bazaar (Iewduh Market): Popular as the Iewduh market the place is famous for being a huge colorful jamboree. It is among the most recommended places to visit for every traveler. The 1st day of the Khasi week which is referred to as the Iewduh witnesses millions of activities after large sections of people from all over Meghalaya visit this market. Bargaining and buying some traditional things here can be a great option for the shoppers.
  • Meghalaya State Museum: This museum is the place where the state has preserved its tribal culture and heritage which is seen as an effort to create their own separate identity. Located at Laichumiere, it has the State Central Library Complex which portrays the cultural diversity of the Khasi and other tribes of the region.
  • Shillong Golf Club: For the golf lovers this is truly a paradise in the country. It has the very 1st 18 hole Golf course in our country and is located at an altitude of 5200 feet. The popularity and the beauty of this place have earned it a reputation of being as good as the “Glen-eagle Course” in the United States. Visiting the place can be an enchanting experience which is boasted with spectacular panoramic views presenting the entire city of Shillong at the back of the snow-capped mountains in the Himalayas.

    Shillong Golf Club
    Shillong Golf Club

Waterfalls

One of the major attractions to Shillong is the waterfalls which are located in and around the city. There are numerous ones to explore and some of the most recommended ones would be the following:

  • Bishop’s Falls: This is one of the loveliest waterfall which creates a beautiful sight of its own. The big waterfall while gushing inside the huge gorge creates a mystic rainbow with its sprinkled droplets. For the trekkers it is a great option as the emerald pool at the bottom provides ample options for discovering the greatness of nature.
  • Crinoline Falls: This fall is exactly in the center of the Shillong city. It is a lovely waterfall which cascades down the luxuriant woodlands. The bottom of the waterfall presents a great natural swimming pool and swimming inside it could a lifetime experience.
  • Beadon Falls: The best among the waterfalls in India, it characterizes itself to be completely different from all in the country. It stays the same throughout the year and is surrounded by the verdant forests from all corners. The waterfall is about 100 feet in height and has crystal clear water. Picnicking or trekking in the region is a popular activity for both the locals and travelers to this place.

    Beadon Falls
    Beadon Falls
  • Elephant Falls: Another popular waterfall to this region, the elephant falls is about 10 kilometers from the city. It is unique in its own way and provides a gigantic impression to the viewer. The waterfall provides an amazing sight with the basin surrounded by the greenery and sky at the backdrop.
  • Spread Eagle Falls: One of the other sights to visit in Shillong is the spread eagle falls. They are about 3 kilometers away from the Polo ground and are famous for the forest and silence across. Entering the region presents a very silent gateway which converts into the roar of the waterfalls while getting closer to it. Locals also call it as the Sati Falls and it is one of the widest waterfalls in the entire state.

    Spread Eagle Falls
    Spread Eagle Falls
  • Sweet Falls: Another name for the falls is Weitden which is located near the Happy Valley. Falling from the height of 96 meters it is among the major crowd pullers during the weekends. With increased footfalls and availability of basic facilities for the travelers it has emerged as a popular location for the tourists in Shillong.

Other attractions

  • Shillong Peak: The highest point of the state of Meghalaya this peak is situated at above 2000 meters above sea level. It provides a great place for picnicking and offers spectacular view of the villages downhill. At the night looking down from this peak could provide a beautiful view of the city lights and the night sky above.
    Shillong Peak
    Shillong Peak

     

  • Mawlynnong: Named as the cleanest village in Asia this is a small hamlet situated on the eastern khasi hills. The striking feature of this village is the bamboo dustbins or the pits made to collect organic as well as inorganic wastes. It is about 90 kilometers from the city of Shillong and using plastics is strictly banned in the village.
  • Umiam Lake (Barapani): Popular among the locals by the name of Barapani which means big water it is an area having a huge hydroelectric dam. It is about 15 kilometers from the main city and is a popular attraction for the people interested in water sport activities. Options such as Kayaking, boating and water cycling are available at the Umian Lake. It also features the floating restaurant with its ferry services.
    Umiam Lake
    Umiam Lake

     

  • Wards Lake: It is referred to as an artificial lake which lies below the Raj Bhawan. It has a tale to its creation as it is believed that a Khasi prisoner who was bored with the regular routine had requested to do something creative. Upon being allowed he created this beautiful site. Locals call it as Polok’s lake. Visitors can enjoy boating and walking around the lake.

What’s in store for the shoppers at Shillong?

As mentioned in the popular places to visit in Shillong, Iewduh market is the largest open street market in the North-Eastern India. The market is full of local fruits and vegetables. Buying honey and a variety of fishes is also an option for the marketers. For the tourists travelling across the market presents an opportunity to get a taste of the local culture. Among the buying options they may buy the traditional bamboo handicrafts or the handmade shawls. Bamboo and wood art-crafts are among the other popular buying options for the travelers. Make sure you take home the bamboo shoot pickles from the market.

One of the surprises for most of the tourists is the availability of branded clothes and accessories. It has actually earned Shillong the name of fashion capital of India with hundreds of shops selling clothes and accessories from popular brands. Among the popular buying hot-spots are:

  • RAPs Apparel in Raps’ Mansion MG Road
  • Broadway Collection
  • Style Craft
  • In-Fashion
  • Uncle Shop
  • Selection Centre
  • Police Bazar

Where and What to Eat at Shillong?

Shillong presents a totally different flavor for the tourists travelling from any part of the country. The cuisine includes the Khasi and Tibetian dishes which involve boiling or roasting instead of frying food. The food cooked includes very less spices and there are hundreds of popular hotels in the city. Most of the big ones are in the Police Bazaar area where people can get the flavors of Indian, Tibetan, and Chinese Dishes. There are several Dhabas which are famous for their food in the city as well.

Hotels in SHillong
Hotels in SHillong

Momos is certainly among the must try foods here. For the non-vegetarians there are hosts of options for pork dishes. When it comes to drinking it is a paradise for the drinkers as well. Alcohol is available cheap thanks to the tax structure within the state and buying some and partying within your hotel rooms could be a great option. Some of the popular restaurants to try out within Shillong are:

  1. Cafe Shillong: Below NIIT Shillong, L.P. Building, Main Road, Laitumkhrah, Shillong, India, Phone: +913642505759
  2. Cafe Shillong HERITAGE: Royal Heritage Tripura Castle, Cleve Colony, Shillong 793003, India, Phone: +(91)3642501111
  3. Munchies Shillong: Close to Don Bosco Sqaure , Main Road | Laitumkhrah, Shillong 390003, India Phone: 8974087724
  4. City Hut Family Dhaba: Earle Holiday Home Oakland Road Shillong, Shillong, India,
  5. Royal Heritage Tripura Castle Restaurant: Tripura Castle Road, Shillong 793003, India, +91 364-2501111
  6. Delian’s Hearth: Laitumkhrah Main Road, Shillong 793003, India, Phone +91 98 56 003727
  7. Barbeque Restaurant: near Lila Brothers, G.S.Road, Police Bazaar, Shillong, India
  8. Pinecone Restaurant: Pinewood Hotel, Rita Road, Shillong, India
  9. Dominos: near Payal Cinema, Police Bazaar, Shillong, India
  10. Broadway: Police Bazaar, Shillong, India

There are several pubs and clubs in Shillong to explore as well.

Where to Stay in Shillong?

For the people travelling to Shillong it is advised that they book their rooms well in advance. Options are available in plenty but due to the fact that it is traveled all throughout the year it is better to have your accommodation booked before. Luxury hotels charges around Rs.4,000 for a 24 hour stay while budget hotel options range from Rs.1,000 to Rs.2000. Some of the popular hotels in Shillong would include:

Luxury Hotels in Shillong (prices from Rs.3000 and above)

  1. Ri Kynjai: U.C.C Road Ri Bhoi, Uminiuh Khawn, Shillong 793103, Phone: +91986242 0300
  2. Hotel Polo Towers: Polo Grounds, Shillong 793001
  3. Hotel Royal Heritage Tripura Castle: Cleave Colony, Tripura Castle Road, Shillong , Meghalaya,793003
  4. Hotel Alpine Continental: Police Bazar,, Shillong 793001, India
  5. Centre Point: Police Bazaar, Khyndailad, Shillong 793001, Phone: +91 8575 016 903

Budget Hotels in Shillong (Prices from Rs.800 and above)

  1. Lake View Inn: MG Road, Opposite Meghalaya Co-operative Apex Bank, Shillong 793001, India
  2. Hotel Knight Inn: K.L Complex, near SBI, opp NEEPCO, Behind Polo Ground, Maccabe Road,, Demseiniong, Maccabe Road , Shillong , Meghalaya,793011
  3. Hotel Monsoon: G.S. Road Police Bazar, Shillong 793001, India
  4. Mi Casa Hotel: Keating Road, Shillong 793001, India
  5. The Zara Residency Hotel: Keating Road, Shillong 793001
  6. Hotel Pegasus Crown: Wards Lake Road, Shillong 793001, Phone: +9436304984

Low Budget Hotels in Shillong (Below Rs.800)

  1. J K International: Jail Road, Police Bazar, Opp. Visgal Mega Mart , Shillong , Meghalaya,793001

 

Post Author: Aditya Gupta

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