Best places to visit in and around Shillong, the Scotland of the East! - Hindustan Times
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Best places to visit in and around Shillong, the Scotland of the East!

BySoumya Vajpayee
Dec 01, 2023 11:59 AM IST

Planning a trip to the beautiful city of Shillong? Here’s our recommendation for the places you must visit

Shillong, also known as the Scotland of the East, has been attracting hoards of tourists this year, thanks to the cultural events organised in the Meghalaya capital. From the recently concluded Shillong Literary Festival and the Shillong Cherry Blossom Music Festival to the upcoming Hills Festival that starts on December 1, the beautiful city of the northeast has been flooded with Indian as well as international travellers. “We are glad that our state is being looked at as a hot travel destination. The idea behind organising festivals like Cherry Blossom and bringing big international artistes is to attract people from across the world to our state and to also give our artistes an opportunity to showcase their talent on big platforms,” Paul Lyngdoh, Tourism Minister of Meghalaya, told HT City. “The Cherry Blossom Music Festival brought close to one lakh tourists to Shillong,” a source from the Tourism Ministry of Meghalaya told her. So, if you’re headed to Shillong anytime soon, here are a few places in and around the city that you must check out.

Nohkalikai Falls in Cherrapunji(Shutterstock)
Nohkalikai Falls in Cherrapunji(Shutterstock)

Ward’s Lake

Also known as the Pollock Lake or Nan Polok, this is among the most popular tourist attractions in Shillong. Location at the middle of the city in the Police Bazar area, is it said to be around 100 years old.

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Ward's Lake in Shillong(Soumya Vajpayee/HT)
Ward's Lake in Shillong(Soumya Vajpayee/HT)

If you love to spend time with Nature, the Ward’s lake is your go-to place, as it’s surrounded by a lush garden with flower beds and cobble-stone footpaths. You can enjoy boating in the lake that is priced at Rs200 for 25 minutes or dress up in traditional Khasi outfits for Rs100 and get pictures clicked for Rs50 per photo.

Umiam Lake

Located 15km from Shillong in the Ri-Bhoi area, the Umiam Lake was created by damming the Umiam River in the early 1960s to generate hydroelectric power. It’s encircled by lush green East Khasi Hills that form one of the best panoramic sights for Nature lovers in the country.

Umiam Lake(Shutterstock)
Umiam Lake(Shutterstock)

When in Shillong, the sunrise at the lake cannot be missed. It is a popular destination for water sports and adventure activities, including kayaking, water cycling and boating. You can also indulge in snacks, including momos, Maggi and beverages, from the food trucks at the lake.

Nohkalikai Falls

Located near Cherrapunji, one of the wettest places in the world, the Nohkalikai Falls is famed for being the world’s fourth-tallest waterfall, plunging from a height of 1,115 feet.

Nohkalikai Falls(Soumya Vajpayee/HT)
Nohkalikai Falls(Soumya Vajpayee/HT)

It draws many adventure enthusiasts and shutterbugs due to the beautiful trekking trail and panoramic views it offers. The Nohkalikai Falls is rain-fed and is visited from 9am to 5pm.

Mattilang Park and Elephant Falls

A recent addition to Shillong’s travel itinerary is the Mattilang Park located in Upper Shillong. One of the primary attractions of the spot is the magnificent views of the Elephant Falls, one of the major tourist places in the city.

Elephant Falls(Shutterstock)
Elephant Falls(Shutterstock)

The place attract thousands of visitors daily because the two-tier waterfall makes for a great view. It’s open from 10am to 6pm.

Arwah Cave

Located at a distance of 3.5km from the Cherrapunji Bus Stand, the entrance of the Arwah Cave is straight out of the Arabian Nights, a large sunken chamber that leads to a complex set of caverns.

Arwah Cave(Soumya Vajpayee/HT)
Arwah Cave(Soumya Vajpayee/HT)

One of the most famous caves in Meghalaya, Arwah is frequented by tourists for its fossils that can be observed in the lit-up interiors, especially towards the end of the cave. You can find crustacean shells and fish bones fossilized in the limestone walls of the cave, which also has underwater streams.

Mawkdok Dympep Valley Viewpoint

If you want to enjoy the spectacular views of the valley with lush hills on either sides, the Mawkdok Dympep Valley View Point on your way to Cherrapunji from Shillong is a must-visit stop.

Mawkdok Dympep Valley Viewpoint(Soumya Vajpayee/HT)
Mawkdok Dympep Valley Viewpoint(Soumya Vajpayee/HT)

Adventure lovers can try ziplining here to get a bird’s-eye view of Meghalaya’s ethereal beauty from 1200 feet above the ground. While one short ziplining experience costs Rs400 per person, the big one across the valley costs Rs800.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Soumya Vajpayee is the Senior Editor (Lifestyle & City) for Hindustan Times HT City (Mumbai and Pune) and writes on music, entertainment and lifestyle.

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