Shillong is the Capital of Meghalaya and the Headquarter of East Khasi Hills District. It is one of the cleanest cities among other cities in India and it is also referred to as the ‘Scotland of the East’ because of its rolling hills around the town which is similar to the Scottish Highlands. Encircled and lying between the cradle of tall conifers pinewood trees and pineapple shrubs Shillong’s rolling hills and terrain makes a constant source of attraction for tourists which has ultimately boosted Shillong Tourism a lot. It perches at a height of 1496 m above sea level with the highest point being Shillong Peak at 1966 m
Shillong is the home to variety of waterfalls and water bodies and is located on a plateau that is surrounded on the northwest by Diengiei Hills at a rising height of 1823m and on the North by Umiam gorge. Among the key reasons for the boost of Shillong Tourism and tourists visiting Shillong is its breath taking mountain peaks, clear crystal rivers, spectacular Golf Course and the mesmerizing sceneries. Shillong also acts as the gateway to Meghalaya which is famous for heavy rainfall, tallest waterfall, lakes, amazing people and culture. Shillong is also famous as the music capital of India, as many outstanding musicians hailed from State and other music festivals keeps happening around the year.
HISTORY OF SHILLONG
When Shillong became the new civil station of Jaintia and Khasi Hills it was a small village until 1864. Shillong continued to be the capital of Eastern Bengal and Assam for many years during the British administration till separate Meghalaya state was formed in the year 1972. In 1864 Assam was chosen for the capital of new administration after the formation of Assam Chief Commissioner’s Province. Shillong was the capital of composite Assam till 1969 and thereafter the Sovereign state of Meghalaya was formed and Shillong became the capital of fully-fledged state of Meghalaya.
TOURIST ATTRACTIONS OF SHILLONG
Being a perfect blend of cultural and natural heritage Shillong attracts a lot of Indian and foreign tourists all around the year.
Natural marvels in the form of verdant hills and exquisite waterfalls beautifies the geography of Shillong. The scenic sites like Elephant Falls, Shillong peak and Umiam Lake will impress the nature lover with their undiluted charm. There are number of churches in and around Shillong displaying brilliant architecture. The city also houses a few museums that will uplift you further about the rich culture and history of the region. Moreover, the serene atmosphere of the city makes it an ideal destination for an endless holiday experience in the lap of nature.
SHILLONG ATTRACTIONS AND PLACES TO VISIT
Wards Lake: A lush green lake surrounded with garden of trees, exotic plants and flowers strolling the green and calming atmosphere of the Lake. It is one of the major tourist attraction in City.
Botanical Garden: This place is also known as India Orchidarium and Botanical Garden. Located just beside the Ward’s Lake it is a must see place for people who has intrinsic love for nature with its striking collections of various orchids and other different plants.
Shillong Golf-Course:It is one of Asia’s oldest golf courses which was made by the British. It is famous for its serene and calm atmosphere and is a hub for tourists because of its scenic beauty and amazing landscape. Rhododendron trees and Pine trees can be seen everywhere.
Lady Hydari Park: This place is located in Barik, Shillong. On its very entry you can see the beautiful Japanese Style Garden. You can stroll in the park coming across variety of flowers, trees and also ponds. The park is very spacious and it has a zoo where animals like 12 horned deer, tiger, monkeys etc. are kept. You can spend a good time in the park with your loved ones.
Don Bosco Museum: The Don Bosco Museum is one of the premium museums of Asia which exhibits the different cultural and traditional lifestyle of the tribes of north east region. You will get vital information about the culture of north east tribes from the museum.
Grand Madina Glass Masjid: One of the finest architects of the city is the Grand Madina Glass Masjid. As the name suggests it is a grand structure with glass work in it making it a fine master piece. The green dome and the multi-tiered facade can be seen from far. It has an attached garden having variety of beautiful flowers. Spend some time in the serene and spiritual environment and click some memories with your friends and family.
Shillong Peak: It is the highest peak in Shillong and is a picnic as well as a tourist spot. It is 1966m above from the sea level and is ata distance of 10kms from Shillong.It offers a breathtaking panoramic view of Shillong City. Telescope is also available for tourists to get a close view of the beautiful city. One can also trek up to the semicircular peak to get more outstanding view.
Elephant Falls- It is situated at the outskirt of Shillong which is almost 12kms away from city. It is famous for its unique two tier falls set in the dingles of the rocks. This falls has an eye catching beauty and the surrounding greenery makes it a perfect picnic spot.
SIGHTSEEING PLACES AT THE OUTSKIRTS OF SHILLONG
Cherrapunjee: Cherrapunjee which is locally known as Sohrais the well-knownsecond wettest placeon earth after Mawsynram. Cherrapunjee is the sub-divisional town in the East Khasi Hills District of Meghalaya. Cherrapunjee holds an all-time record of the most rainfall till date. It received 9300mms of rain in July 1861 and 26,461mm in the mid of 1860 and 1861.
Nokhalikai Falls- It is the tallest waterfall in India plunging from a height of 340 meters. It is located near Cherrapunjee. The fall is fed by the rainwater on the summit of small plateau and is released at full potential during the monsoon.
Khasi Heritage Village- At a distance of 27kms from Shillong, Khasi Heritage Village is a model village situated at Mawphlang near Shillong. Located adjacent to Mawphlang Sacred Forest it is spread across almost 8 acres, Khasi Heritage Village showcases the traditional lifestyle of the Khasi tribes. The village has houses built in the ordinary Khasi style with bedrooms, kitchens, storehouses etc. A museum is also build to display some traditional artifacts, tools, weapons and some casual items that were mostly used by the Khasi people.
Mawlynnong Village- It is also known as the God’s own Garden for its cleanliness and is greenery surroundings. It is located in the East Khasi Hills district of Meghalaya and is at a distance of 90kms from Shillong city. You can also visit the famous Single Decker Root Bridge during your visit to Mawlynnong Village.
Seven Sisters Falls- Seven Sisters Waterfalls has seven different waterfalls segments that are naturally arranged side by side on a high rugged cliff, giving a very significant looks even from a distance. The view, in fact, becomes captivating when it rains and the entire region comes alive and makes a water curtain.
Mawsmai Cave – Situated around 6Kms from Cherrapunjee, Mawsmai Caves are a major crowd puller that leaves tourists spellbound. These limestone caves have the distinction of being the only caves in Meghalaya that are lit enough to enable the tourists to explore the natural formations of the cave.
Double Decker Living Root Bridge –The astounding Double Decker Living Root Bridge is located in the village of Nongriat. It requires a trek of around 3000 steps downwards to reach the bridge. It is nestled amidst the tropical forest of Meghalaya and shrouded with rain during most part of the year. The Bridge was created by the Khasi Tribes and its roots grow from the ancient rubber trees and can be seen only in the northeast region. These roots are trained by the Khasis to grow in such a manner as be in the form of bridges on the top of a river that are stacked on one another made by the combination of roots.
David Scott Trails- An old trekking route and one of the most popular trekking routes in Meghalaya, David Scott Trail Shillong has been named after David Scott, a British Officer. This route is spread in over 100kms and takes around 5 days to get covered by foot. This trail route is separated into smaller trekking routes and the trail between Mawphlang and Lad Mawphlang, which is the most famous one among tourists, covering the lovely terrain of East Khasi Hills.
GAMES AND SHILLONG SPORTS ASSOCIATION
The Shillong Sports Association (SSA) was established in 1916 and was at first known as the Shillong Football Association with Shri Hara Kumar Roy named as its first General Secretary. It was renamed as the Shillong Sports Association in later years. Until the 1950s, the association was mainly engaged with sorting out hockey and football tourmoments and rivals however later included different disciplines. The constitution of the association was drafted in 1935 and the Deputy Commissioner of the then United Khasi and Jaintia Hills District was elected as the President of the affiliation. During the Annual General Meeting of the Shillong Sports Association held in 1958, Shri Jormanik Syiem was chosen as the first non-official President.
Shillong is the only capital city in the Entire North-East India to manage two Football clubs that participate in the I-League namely Shillong LajongFC and Royal Wahindoh FC. Royal Wahindoh was the Second runner up in the 2014-15 I-League Season.
It is one of the oldest Golf Courses in the Country. Now this spot has been a place of pleasure for the visitors to spend some leisure and quality time. The place has been surrounded by pine trees and rhododendron trees.
Archery also has been a sport among the Khasi people. It was a form of defense for several centuries which was lately utilized for gambling which is also known as teer. While many modern customs has replaced many traditions but the fascination of archery still remains at Shillong.
TRANSPORTATION IN SHILLONG
You can easily reach different part of Shillong via local transportation in Shillong. But the most preferred and best way to get around Shillong city is on foot to cover nearby places along with sightseeing.
BUSES – For places within the limits buses could be the best option for an intra-city ride. Mainly there are two bus services in Shillong – Government City Bus and Bazar Bus.
Maximum of the Bazar buses arrives from villages and remote areas for trading, mostly carrying local fruits, poultry and vegetables to sell in the main market ‘Bara Bazar’. These buses are not preferable for the city ride.
City buses are economical but notoriously slow. The city bus arrives in every 10 minutes in bus stand after the first bus leaves. Although it is slow but it would definitely drop you at your destination at a minimum cost.
LOCAL CABS- Local cabs are mostly preferred by the residents of Shillong. The cabs are un-metered Black-Yellow, Pink-White(For Women) and Green-White cabs which runs in sharing and hiring as well. The rates may vary from minimum price of ₹10 to ₹50 in shared price and for hiring a cab maximum booking price goes up to ₹2000 for Shillong City Tour.
The Drivers often picks up the passengers en routing the same destination.It may be a good idea to hire a cab for full day Shillong sightseeing. Before booking make sure the driver is able to give you a reasonable rate. Else you can simply book a taxi with us in Shillong.
HOW TO REACH
Shillong is well connected by Road and Air but it does not have a rail connection.
The nearest Airport is Shillong Airport which is at a distance of 30kms from the city but it has limited flights services. One should check the flight timings before arriving to Shillong. Recently flights have been made available for Silchar and many other major cities of North East India.
Shillong is well connected by roads with all major neighborhood states out of which major National Highways ‘NH 40, is connected to Guwahati and NH 44 is connected to Tripura and Mizoram’. State Transport Buses and Private Buses runs daily from Shillong to various places of North-East Region like Guwahati, Silchar, Agartala, Imphal, Kohima, Itanagar and other places like Siliguri. Taxi services are also available to reach different major destinations and other minor North Eastern Towns.
Weather condition in Shillong is typically cool and temperate with an average annual temperature of 17.1° C. The summers have a good deal of rainfall while the winters have very few. The warmest month of the year is July with an average temperature of 21°C – 23°C and January is the coldest month with an average temperature of 4°- 10°C. The driest month is December with 8 mm of rainfall and most of the precipitation falls in June which averages at 851 mm.
FESTIVALS OF SHILLONG
Shillong is not just a capital of thunder and clouds and a vast large green state but also the songs and dance of the local tribes are vital souls of joy. In modern times although the peopleof Shillong are more engaged with secondary and tertiary activities but still there are various festivals that are celebrated by them with the same immense enthusiasm and humor. If you are planning a trip during these festivals then it will surely give you an exposureof a whole new version of Shillong which will be cherished by you for a whole lifetime.
Shillong is called the rock capital city of India due to its great passion for music and dance among the residents of the city. The people of Khasi tribe sing songs praising nature and use different types of musical instruments like ‘duitaras’, drums and other traditional instruments. Some significant celebrations like Christmas, Nongkrem Dance and Ka Shad Suk Mynsiem are commended in Shillong with extraordinary excitement and Show
LOCAL FOOD OF SHILLONG
The necessary basic food of the khasi tribe of Shillong is rice which is taken with fish and meat. Some of the The Khasis also prepare rice-beer which is used by them in ceremonies and religious occasions.The local people here eat local tribal dishes like Ja-Doh, Tung-Tap, Tung-Rim-Bia etc.
NIGHT LIFE IN SHILLONG
Shillong may be settled in the sylvan hills of North East but the nightlife out here is fanatical throughout the year. There are enough pubs, bars and nightclubs in Shillong where people are seen spending their time. Most pubs in Shillong play English and Rock Music as both the genres are most popular among Shillong Crowds.The pubs and nightclubs in Shillong serve widely local and Asian dishes. Apart from pubs, bars and nightclubs there is no night life.Some places in Shillong shuts early before midnight so be sure to head early around 7:30pm to 8:00pm.
SHOPPING IN SHILLONG
It would be a great fun while shopping in Shillong if you know the right places and right things to buy. Popular markets in Shillong for shopping are Police Bazar, Bhutia Market and BaraBazar. At Police Bazar you will see vendors at the footpath selling ethinic handicrafts, beautiful handlooms, handmade organic products, vicious fruits and species, winter wear and fashion apparel. The most famous shopping hub in Police Bazar is the Glory Plaza and the Tibetan Market which can meet all your clothing requirements at the cheapest price. Most small scale shops in Shillong do not accept cards so keep enough cash in hand.
Restaurants and Café in Shillong
Apart from sightseeing and touring, Shillong has best restaurants where you can unwind with some best Chinese Foods, Indianfoods and mainly traditional dishes of North Eastern States. The cafes and restaurants of Shillong are well maintained, hygienic and designed in a western style attracting most of the customers by its glorious looks.Local Khasi and Garo dishes are also served in small eateries which present an indigenous experience of North Eastern Dishes.
Literally Shillong is a foodie’s paradise best known for its famous cuisine servings, with variety of restaurants, cafés and eateries. Café and restaurants serves items at affordable price for budget limitations. Few Continental and European Restaurants are there in Shillong which serves great continental and European cuisine including Local Khasi, North Eastern, Chinese and North Indian Dishes. Some of the best restaurants are City Hut Family Dhaba, Centre Point,Lamee, Eden Restaurant andQzine Restaurant.
Vegetarian Restaurants:For Pure vegetarians, there is no need to worry as there are good vegetarian restaurants in Shillong. Two of the best and famous are Jiva Sizzlers and Madras Café. There is also one cheap Marwari pure veg hotel by the name Sharma Hotel at Umsohsun Road in Police Bazar where they serve Thalis which has rotis with ghee, dal and different vegetables at a cheaper rate.
Cafes:Shillong has a wide range of luxurious and attractive cafes where you can go and relax and spend your time calmly. Most famous of them are Café Coffee Day, Café Shillong, Dylan’s Café and ML05 Café. People craving for sweets and cakes can rejoice as Shillong has great options of sweets and bakeries. Famous bakery shopsare R.B. Store and Legacy.