Shillong seems to be God’s own canvas, with natural decorations of waterfalls, pine trees, gardens, peaks and pleasant whether. It resembles the highlands of Scotland with its natural splendor and thus was named ‘Scotland of the East’ by the Britishers. It is one of the most visited hill stations of India and the best among the natural beauties of the north-east.
Location: Situated in the north-eastern state of India, Meghalaya, at an altitude of 1496 m. It is the political capital of the state. Shillong is around 104 km away from Assam’s capital Guwahati and around 658 km from Darjeeling.
Climate: Shillong experiences a very pleasant climate throughout the year, with temperature ranging from 25 degree Celsius in summers to 5 degree Celsius in winters.
Known For: Peaks, waterfalls, lakes, gardens and churches.
Best Time To Visit: October to April.
At an altitude of about 6445 ft, the Peak is the highest point of Shillong. It is a famous picnic spot of the place, offering an amazing view of the natural splendors around the city and also a glimpse of the majestic Himalayas. It is a perfect recreation spot for the tourists, as it is a convenient 10m km drive from the city centre. It gives a ‘not-to-be-missed view’ of the brightly lit valley, as the Sun goes down the city’s periphery.
A scenic location, just out of a Bollywood movie, Wards Lake is the famous shoe-shaped lake of Shillong. One can enjoy a wide variety of fishes playing in the crystal clear waters, from the arched bridge. The green lawns surrounding the place and the diamond studded sparkling lake under the sun’s rays with Shillong’s Botanical Garden and Shillong Club situated at a close proximity, makes the lake a hot favorite among travelers.
The lofty treasure of Shillong, Elephant falls represents the name well, as it is gigantic but innocent like the princely animal. It is located at around 10 km from the city centre. Columns of water can be seen sliding down the green mountains through the hills, with thundering sounds, bringing the temperature down in the nearby areas and giving a breath-taking view to the onlooker. It is a prefect picnic spot at the areas near the lagoons.
Lady Hydari Park:
A beautiful park, named after the wife of ex-Governor of the State, is an ultimate place for rest and recreation. It preserves a beautiful Japanese garden abundant with a rich collection of roses and other flowers. It also has a small zoo housing the innate creatures of Meghalaya’s forests including Leopard cats and Hornbills.
FAIRS AND FESTIVALS:
It is an annual harvest festival to collectively thank Saljog, the Sun God, for a good agricultural produce. Prayers are offered to the Almighty, during the five day festival, for peace and prosperity of the people. The festival is celebrated in the month of October/November, following the age old customs and traditions of the tribes. It marks the commencement of winter season. People wear colorful costumes during the festival and dance merely to the drum-beats.
Other major festivals celebrated in Shillong are Shad Suk Mynsiem in the month of April and Nongkrem Dance festival, in the month of November, both of which mark happiness and contentment of a good harvest.
Police Bazaar, Lewduh, Bara Bazaar are the major markets of Shillong where handicrafts made by the people of tribes and small-scale industries flourishing in the area. Bara Bazaar offers a huge variety of native agricultural produce like pineapples, honey, wild mushrooms, etc. Lewdah is the largest market of Shillong with retail businesses run by Khasi tribe women organizations.
Meghalaya Handicrafts and Khadi Gramudyog are the prominent places where you can get the specialty of the north-east, hand woven textiles like shawls and stoles, with intricate designs of flowers and borders.
HOW TO REACH: