Shillong, the present day capital of Meghalaya, was also the capital of the Assam province under the British rule. So, what makes it so special? It is said that the surrounding hills reminded the foreign settlers, of Scotland. Therefore, the town is known as “Scotland of the East”. It is green, clean, pleasant and a friendly place.
So, why should you visit Shillong? Well, to start, the tourist spots, the food, the culture and the colourful festivals are the special and outstanding features of Shillong. The places mentioned below are the hotspots to visit. Make sure not to miss them even one of these whenever you visit Shillong.
Shillong Peak is a beautiful picnic spot, 10 km drive from the city. It offers a panoramic view of the scenic countryside, and is the highest point in the state, leaving you with a breathtaking view of the whole town.
Elephant Falls is another unique spot, on the outskirts of the city; 12km away from the city.
Lady Hydari Park is a mini zoo within the city and if not anyone else, children will definitely enjoy it.
Wards Lake is another attraction for the tourists. Located in the heart of Shillong, it is locally known as Nan-Polok. It is a man-made lake with expansive beautiful garden and a boating facility, for the visitors to enjoy a tour around the park.
Golf link: Shillong has one of the largest golf courses (and world’s wettest) in Asia, called the Gleneagles of the East. It is one of the few natural golf courses in Asia. As people are not that passionate about golfing they rather prefer to go here for picnic with their family.
Motphran: Locally known as ‘Motphran’ (stone of France) was put up in memory of the warriors (locals of the area) who went to fight in Franceduring the World War I, as they served under the British.
Apart from these tourist places, the local cuisines are something you would love to taste. Some of them are Jadoh (a mixture of rice and pork), Dohneiiong (pork mix with local spices), Tungtab (fermented dry fish), and Tarumbai (fermented beans) for the vegetarians. The Khasi (indigenous people) tradition when people visit their home is to offer them ‘Kwai’ (beetle nut) as a sign of welcome. Kwai is easily available at the shops too.
To explore, to understand more about this place, attend the annual events, festivals but it depends on which season or month you visit. The following festivals are the ones around which you can plan your travel, in the month of April is Shad Suk Mynsiem (Dance of the joyful soul); in July you can attend Behdiengkhlam; in the month of October or November, Nongkrem Dance (Harvest & Thanksgiving dance) and Seng Kut Snem (an indigenous festival held annually).
Shillong is green and clean. The weather is pleasant and cool in summers and it is quite warm during the winters. The people in Shillong are friendly and nice.
However, there is a downside to this city as well. Although well-connected by road, Shillong has no rail connection till date, even though it is the capital. Umroi Airport is a shortest way to get to Shillong, which is around 40km from the city. But the best and safest way is to take a flight to first in Guwahati Airport and take cab from there to Shillong. After a three hours long journey enveloped in the beauty and serenity of the mountains, lush greenery, streams and waterfalls and a heartfelt welcome of the people awaits you. It will be a trip you will cherish for life.