There’s this freshness in the air of Shillong which draws one more towards its heart. One can go over and over again and still see something new in the consequent visit to Shillong.
There’s this same thing about friendship. We stay out of each other’s ranges for a long time after our schools and colleges change. Nonetheless every now and then we meet and make up for the time lost. And then we crave for more of each other.
Such a thing happened recently. The school friends met. And we headed out to Shillong,The Scotland of the East; as they call it. Shillong as we speak of it, is becoming increasingly popular in the traveler’s list thanks to social media and its raw beauty.
Once we cross Nongpo the beauty enhances, the road becomes more and more curvy, the valley becomes deeper, the jungles more enchanting and the air obviously more fresh.
The sun kisses you gently and the winds pat your back. The little children here and there or the cute puppies on the roadside and even better the waterfalls on the sidewalks (the number of which is drastically decreasing) just make you crave for an endless path of lush green canopy covered path.
The first stop has to be, must be the amazingly beautiful Umiam Lake. Drive straight to the Orchid Resort and you will land up in heaven! The blueness of the lake, the serenity of the place, the unadulterated calmness will make you long to stay then and there without further advance.
You don’t believe me? Fine, look at the pictures below and decide…
If you still have some doubt then just look at this video of the same.
The Umiam lake doubles up as a picnic spot too. The entry ticket itself covers cooking spot and parking so that’s a plus plus. There are one or two water sports at extra cost. The beauty is beyond words though. One of its kind photo stop. There’s a café inside which provides drinks and snacks at medium cost which is obviously a thumbs up for people who don’t have picnic plans.
The fruit packets sold outside the resort are a must buy as the watermelons we bought were so luscious and sweet that we regretted for not buying more.
Shillong is increasingly becoming a popular tourist hub. People from all over India and outside India keeps the hillstation busy throughout the year. The result is obviously busier roads and alarming traffic on the way.
There are many viewponts on the way to Shillong, where one can wait and click pictures or soothe their eyes with the blues and the lush greens of the valley beneath.
We straightaway drove to the Elephant Falls which is just 10/12 km from Police Bazar. Elephant Falls was locally called Ka Kshaid Lai Pateng Khohsiew (or “Three Steps Waterfalls”) since the falls consist of three sections in succession. However, the British renamed the falls because there used to be a rock resembling an elephant near the left side of the main falls. The rock was destroyed in an earthquake back in 1897 but the name remains such.
There’s a good number of steps to be walked down to reach different sections of the falls. Better be prepared. There’s also this amusement park adjacent to it which can be reached via a different route. It’s very near to the falls but there’s no way one can go directly so we skipped that.
One can rent the traditional Khasi dress and jewelry here(for just 50 INR) and pose for few pictures. Sounds clichéd but its always fun. Besides the color is so vibrant.
The obvious choice after the Elephant falls was the Shillong Peak. The drive is a bit bumpy owing to patches of road in dire need of repairing works. Great music lessens the pain. Also one can always dance to the loud music to keep track with the bumps. Isn’t it ?
So after this long bumpy road we reached Shillong Peak dreaming of being enamoured by its breathtaking beauty. I , ofcourse was dreaming of clicking those breathtaking pictures of myself mostly. But bam! Dreams shattered. It was a Wednesday and hence closed for the public. We silly bunch didn’t even cared to research.
ATTENTION: Shillong peak is closed on WEDNESDAY !!!
There was that cute little boy trying to sell pineapple to us. We were too heartbroken to care then. Somebody please buy from him. He was cute as hell.
We danced our way back to Despacito; aided by the bumpy road. Our stomachs were kicking our brains for ignoring them for the longest time. Thankfully, one in the bunch knew of a great restaurant called STEP IN. Of course, he didn’t know the way. Thanks to GPS and moving in circles for 3/4 times we reached there.
Let me tell you, I loved the cosy vibe inside. The food arrived in no time, was the yummiest and the lightest in our pockets. The prawn fried rice was LOVE. So was the Mi Phoon. And the noodles. And the coffee. Okay just everything.
After good one hour of hogging on yummy Chinese, we tracked down the path to the last destination for the day, The Ward’s Lake. It was already starting to get a little dark. We just laid down on the grass, obviously because we overate! Clicked some amazing pictures. Walked around, chatted, made some funny videos of each other. And that was it !
One can go for boating there which is fun. Also there’s another café inside to have some snacks and beverages.
PRO TIPS: REMAINS CLOSED ON TUESDAY ! Avoid…
Happy, content and refreshed is what I felt while driving back. Mostly because I had awesome company and equally enticing nature around to add to the charm. Promising ourselves to come back again, and again we bid adieu to the Scotland of the East, Shillong.
Shillong is a hill station in the northeastern part of India, and is the capital of Meghalaya, which means “The Abode of Clouds” and is one of the smallest states in India.
Shillong remained the capital of undivided Assam until the creation of the new state of Meghalaya on 21 January 1972, when Shillong became the capital of Meghalaya, and Assam moved its capital to Dispur in Guwahati.
HOW TO REACH
Although well connected by road, Shillong has neither rail connections nor a proper air connection. Umroi Airport located 30 kilometres from the city centre has only limited flights.
Private bus operators as well as state transport buses from other states ply to and from Shillong daily. Taxi services(both shared and private) are also available to destination like Guwahati, Agartala, Dimapur, Aizawl and other North Eastern towns and cities.
The most convenient route is from Guwahati, Assam. Hop into a bus or shared taxi or book a private cab, it’s quite convenient and low cost alternative.
POPULAR TOURIST HUBS
- Umiam Lake: A beautiful lake north of Shillong, which resembles the lakes of Scotland, and is a must-see for all tourists. This lake is man-made and is better known as ‘Barapani’ (big water) for its sheer size. There is a water sports complex with sports such as kayaking, water cycling, scooting and boating.
- Elephant Falls: 12 km on the outskirts of the city, the mountain stream descends through 3 successive falls.
- Lady Hydari Park: The park stretches over a kilometre and has an adjacent mini zoo.
- Wards Lake: An artificial lake with garden and boating facilities.
- Shillong Golf Course: Shillong has one of the largest golf courses (the world’s wettest) in Asia: Gleneagles of the East. It enjoys the rare distinction of being one of the few natural golf courses in Asia. Not only is the Shillong Golf Course scenic and enjoyable, it is also challenging.
- Shillong Peak: A picnic spot, 10 km from the city which offers a panoramic view of the scenic valley.
- Don Bosco Centre for Indigenous Cultures: The Don Bosco Museum is part of DBCIC (Don Bosco Centre for Indigenous Cultures). DBCIC comprises research on cultures, publications, training, animation programmes and the museum, which is a place of knowledge-sharing on the cultures of the northeast in particular, and of culture in general
- Cathedral of Mary Help of Christiansis in Don Bosco Square.
- Spread Eagle Falls: About 3 km from Polo Grounds.
- Mowlynong Village
- Double Decker Root Bridge
have you ever been to this North East Indian beauty? Do share you experiences in the comments below.
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