TOP 10 THINGS TO DO IN MEGHALAYA
Meghalaya is one of the most beautiful states in India’s North-East. Part of what is known as the ‘Seven Sisters’ in North East India, Meghalaya attracts thousands of tourists all year round. The name Meghalaya translates to the abode of clouds. Tourists who are lucky enough to catch the mesmerizing scenes of Meghalaya’s rolling clouds sweeping down the mountain slopes think of it as a very apt name for this beautiful, serene place.
And Meghalaya’s appeal to tourists is not just in its peaceful set-up, Meghalaya is truly a mix of a variety of destinations, activities and more. From the wettest place in Asia, Cherrapunji; to the cleanest village in India, Mawlynnong village, you can explore everything here. It is also home to the UNESCO site Living Root bridges, which is a true example of nature intermingled with human efforts. Also, there are some amazing waterfalls that can be explored to unleash your adventurous side.
Apart from sightseeing spots, Meghalaya is also known for its vibrant culture that includes unique clothing and some lip-smacking foods. So, you will have many things to explore once you plan a trip to Meghalaya. And in case you are looking for an itinerary, here is a curated list of 10 things to do in Meghalaya, or spots that are a must to include while you visit Meghalaya or nearby states.
Cherrapunji – A Fairytale Land Full of Surprises
An amazing place that glorifies the mist in the most awesome manner, Cherrapunji is a great place to explore. Situated approximately 53 kilometres away from Shillong, it is a beautiful place to be included in your Meghalaya tour packages. A plethora of sightseeing spots covers the area, giving it a diversified scenery. You can witness the amazing flora and fauna in the wettest place in India here. Cherrapunji also has some of the most mesmerizing waterfalls in the region.
Ideal for nature lovers, the scenery in Cherrapunji will leave a mark on your mind and soul, and in the most surreal manner. In addition to waterfalls, there are caves such as the Garden of Caves. For those who want something more, a visit to Dawki is a must. Dawki is close to the borders of Bangladesh and well known with tourists for an unforgettable boating experience on a lake as clear as glass. Eco-parks are yet another sightseeing option. Truly a land of surprises, Cherrapunji is a fairytale land worth visiting once in a lifetime.
Cherrapunji is also a great adventure honeymoon destination for newlyweds. Read up more on Cherrapunji adventure honeymoons.
Living Root Bridges – A Perfect Example of Nature and Man Relationship
A UNESCO marked heritage site, the living root bridges, is a perfect example of the beautiful relationship between man and nature. The entangled thick roots of positively ancient trees are a gorgeous sight to behold. These have grown over a period of time to offer more than strengthening support. These are not bridges that can take you across from one end to another, safely and securely.
Touted as one of the greatest attraction spots in the Meghalaya region, the living root bridges are carefully grown and meticulously made by the Jaintia and the Khasi tribes who have been trained to do so. They not only grow the trees alongside the banks of the stream but also tread the bridge and make it very strong. Living root bridges can easily carry approximately fifty people.
The most famous of the amazing living root bridges here, is the Umshiang Double Decker Living Root Bridge found in Nongriat village. Reaching this arch bridge requires you to hike through beautiful forests and this is quite an excitement for adventure lovers. The suspension bridge deserves a visit once you are in Meghalaya.
Nohkalikai Waterfalls – India’s Tallest Plunge Waterfall
There is something incredibly humbling when you look at Nohkalikai Falls because it is one of the tallest plunges in India. With a 335 meters drop, the waterfall is quite simply one of the most beautiful ones in the state of Meghalaya. The trek to this height is in itself very adventurous, taking you through the evergreen rainforest of the renowned Khasi hill.
If you hike to the top of the falls, there are some shallow sections in the vicinity where you can take a dip, and take some memorable photographs. You can also enjoy a gorgeous panoramic view once you land on the tableland. The gushing waters with their gurgling sound befit the serene ambience with which Meghalaya is synced. And yes, you can go for a truly memorable picnic by Nohkalikai Falls too.
Mawlynnong Village – The Cleanest Village in Asia
Mawlynnong village is one of the cleanest villages in the entire continent of Asia. It has now gained the title of “Gods Own Garden”. Maintained by the traditional Khasis, the village is known for its fruit orchards and lush green surroundings. The village is known for its famous living root bridge, which is prepared by the roots of the Ficus Elastica and it attracts thousands of tourists. The village is also famous for its old Church of the Epiphany which is literally a hidden paradise tucked between the green forests. Bamboo structured tree-houses surround it, inviting people to climb up and view the lands.
Dawki Town – Home of the Crystal-Clear River
Want to feast your eyes on a crystal clear river? Then Dawki is your go-to place. Visit the picturesque town that’s nestled between Bangladesh and India, resting on the quaint Jaintia Hills. The river is clean and is a refreshing change for those living in polluted cities. The area is also famous for boat rides in the famous Umgot River and this attracts many tourists to the town. Floating in the clean water in the serene atmosphere is an enjoyment of a different kind. Dawki also conducts various boating competitions which are famous all over the country. The simplicity of the place is in its low key appeal. It comes from its underrated cold waters and suspension bridges that are truly unique to Meghalaya. Dawki river is one of the cleanest rivers in the region and its clear green waters are seen in almost all Meghalaya tourist photos and travel stories out there.
Mawphlang Sacred Forest – A Pristine Virgin Forest in India
If you wish to witness the charm of a real, natural forest, Mawphlang is the place for you. Spread over seventy-eight hectares, it’s a grassy stone forest known for its piousness. In fact, in some places, you can even see the monoliths which are worshipped by the tribals here. There is a stringent rule here not to pluck any wood, flowers or anything as it is believed that anything taken from here creates an inauspicious vibe. The sacred forest shows off a strange kind of blend, of wood and greenery, and it is worth visiting once in a lifetime.
Nongkhnum Island – A Hidden Jewel of Meghalaya
Encircled by the rivers Kyshi and Namliang, Nongkhum is touted as one of the biggest islands in Meghalaya and second in the country. A quaint island located strategically amidst the gorgeous forests of Meghalaya; it invites a lot of tourists. The sand beach is its main attraction where people can lay back, relax and bask in the sun. Away from the hustle-bustle of the city, Nongkhnum island is a refreshing destination. Activities like boating, camping and fishing will keep you engaged throughout your trip here.
Balpakram National Park – A Perfect Site for a Perfect Wildlife Experience in Meghalaya
Wildlife lovers are in for a treat as the Balpakaram National Park offers almost everything that they desire. Situated on the foothills of Garo Hills, this national park in Meghalaya is touted as one of the most beautiful ones in the region. Its inhabitants are a range of animals such as the barking deer, Bengal tiger, Asian golden cat, marbled cat, red panda, Indian elephant (Asian elephant) and wild water buffalo. Special safari rides are available along with accommodation near the park gate. The area is very beautiful with large patches of greenery. Since it gets fairly windy at Balpakram National Park, its name aptly translates to eternal winds. Local tribes consider it to be a very pious area believing that the soul of the deceased passes through here after their death.
Shillong- A Serene Destination to Fall in Love with Nature
Popularly known as the “Scotland of East”, Shillong, the capital city of Meghalaya, manifests itself as one of the most famed hill stations in India. It is famous for its cloudy atmosphere, crystal clear lakes, waterfalls and some amazing parks. Shillong is also known for its colourful culture especially of the resident tribes, which includes their unique dressing sense and their delectable food. One of the key features of this area is that clouds literally enter peoples’ houses. Waterfalls are also popular attractions that draw many people towards Shillong. There are several famous attractions in Shillong, such as Umiam Lake, Lumpongdeng Island, botanical garden, museums and more. So taking a Shillong tour is indeed worthwhile.
Further, it is an ideal spot for honeymooners as the scenic beauty and ambience are pretty romantic and it is truly a destination that anyone can easily fall in love with. Shillong Peak, which is at an elevation of 6548 feet, offers a romantic viewpoint for couples on honeymoon. Shopping at Lewduh market, a bustling market in Shillong is also a fun couples activity.
Elephant Falls – An Attraction that Best Defines the Beauty of Meghalaya
Meghalaya is famous for its waterfalls and one of the best amongst them is the Elephant Falls. Named after a rock that looked like an elephant but got destroyed due to an earthquake in the late 1800s, the fall is a beauty to behold. The waterfall is known for its three-tier falls of which the third tier is the most prominent one. People visit this spot for taking a dip in the water and for taking some gorgeous pictures. Located at a mere twelve kilometres from Shillong, it is en route to the main city of Meghalaya if you travel via road. If you’re on a road trip, just stop here and enjoy a range of activities like trekking, splashing in waters and picnicking. The best time to visit here is in the summer months.
In addition to the 10 things to do in Meghalaya, this is one more worth mentioning. Meghalaya is known around the world for its subterranean caves that are a subject of study for archaeologists and historians worldwide. Caving is a popular tourist activity here and that’s hardly a surprise when one lists the number of beautiful caves found here, such as Mawsmai Cave, Siju Cave, Garden of Caves, Arwah Caves, Mawjymbuin Cave, etc. These natural caves vary in their constitution, and both, the limestone caves and the sandstone caves here are equally fascinating and worth visiting. These caves are scattered through the whole region from the East Khasi Hills to the West Jaintia Hills and tourists have to hike through dense forests to reach them. This is hardly a hardship since there are astonishing living root bridges and famous waterfalls all along the tropical forests, such as the Mawlynnong Waterfall, Beadon Falls, Bophill Falls, Bishop Falls, Dainthlen Falls, Nohsngithiang Falls, Kynrem Falls, and more.
Other major tourist attractions in Meghalaya that are worth checking out are Khasi Heritage Village, Mawkdok Valley, Laitlum Canyons, Nokrek National Park, Thangkharang Park and David Scott Trails. Here’s a guide to Meghalaya culture and Meghalaya’s Best Foods.
Meghalaya has an incredible history and rich culture. It is definitely worth visiting not just for its green hills, breathtaking views, gorgeous waterfalls and natural attractions such as aerial roots, ancient caves and famous lakes; but also for exploring its tribal culture. Do visit. And if you do, check out this complete Meghalaya travel guide to help you plan better and the top hotels below for the best Meghalaya accommodation.