Tourist attractions you want to explore in Meghalaya

Meghalaya is richly endowed with natural beauty. Everywhere you go, you will never cease to be mystified by the spectacular charm the state offers; from cascading waterfalls, lush green forests, deep caves, amazing and mesmerising culture and tradition to hospitable and friendly people. Visit us and be charmed and captivated for life.

Sohra/Cherrapunjee: Khasi Hills is perhaps best known for Sohra (Cherrapunjee), geographically famous for being the wettest place on earth and also Shillong, one of the most beautiful hill stations in India. Infact the entire Khasi Hills region that forms the central part of Meghalaya is richly endowed with natural beauty.

Mawphlang Sacred Grove: One of the most remarkable features of the Khasi Hills are the sacred forests, which have been preserved by traditional religious sanction, since the ancient days. One of the most famous sacred forests is the Mawphlang Sacred Forest, about 25 kilometres from Shillong.

Mawlynnong Village: Mawlynnong Village has earned the distinction of being one of the cleanest villages. It is situated 90 kms from Shillong and besides the picturesque village, offers many interesting sights such as the Living Root Bridge in the neighbouring village called Riwai.

Nokrek Biosphere Reserve: Nokrek Biosphere is the home of a very rare species of citrus locally known as Memang Narang or orange of the spirits. Memang Narang (Citrus Indica) is considered to be the most primitive and progenitor of all other varieties of citrus plants in the world.

Nartiang Monoliths: The biggest collection of monoliths or megalithic stones in one single area is to be found in Nartiang, Jaintia Hills. These consists of Menhirs (Upright stones), flat stones in the horizontal position. Within the perimeter of these Megalithic collection stands the tallest Menhir erected by U Mar Phalyngki a trusted lieutenant of the Jaintia King between 1500 AD and 1835 AD.

Arts And Crafts Of Shillong

The state of Meghalaya is renowned for bamboo products as well as Khasi artefacts. The best place to buy Meghalaya handicrafts is Shillong. All over the city, you can soak in the culture of the hills by scouring markets for bamboo handicrafts and furniture, wood carvings, khok or thugis baskets, carpets, Tibetan and woollen shawls, forest honey, bamboo shoot pickle and more. The Khasis weave a special kind of durable cane mat called Tlieng, which is quite popular among shoppers. The Garo weave a cloth called Dakmanda that is used to make shirts, bed covers, sheets, etc. They also make baskets called Meghum Khoks. Their pokerwork is a speciality, where they burn designs into bamboo with a red hot pointed rod. Meghalayas Jaintia tribe is known for skilfully making bamboo fishing traps.


Baghmara lies at a distance of about 280 km from the city of Shillong. It is the headquarters of the South Garo Hills district, lying in the southern part of Meghalaya. It is the only town in the district and makes for an interesting exploration site. Rich in flora and fauna, Baghmara is enveloped by rivers, hills and lakes, and visitors would be awed by the pristine beauty of the landscape.

Legend has it that the town was originally called Barokar and got renamed Baghmara (bagh: tiger and mara: killed) when Bong Laskar, a militiaman, killed a tiger by crushing its jaw.

One has to cross Baghmara to go to the famous Siju Cave, which is said to the third-longest cave system in India. Another attraction nearby is Baghmara Reserve Forest, which is popular for sightings of elephants, langurs and birds.

Cathedral Mary Help Of Christians

This church is the primary place of worship for Catholics in Shillong. It is one of the oldest churches in the archdiocese and in all of Northeast India. The church was built over 50 years ago and invites people of all cultures and creeds. With its high arches and stained glass windows, the church is said to be one of the most beautiful buildings in the city of Shillong. The works of art inside it are made of terracotta and are said to have been made by the Art Institute in Munich, Germany. The grave of the first Archbishop of Shillong is on the left of the main altar. Another altar in front of the statue of Mary and Jesus is where special nine-day devotions are held every month.

Cherrapunjee (Charrapunji)

One of the wettest places on earth, Cherrapunjee or Cherrapunji lies at an elevation of 4,500 ft. This stunning location is set amidst misty valleys, foaming rivers and swirling clouds. Its pristine beauty and perpetual mists make it one of the top tourist stopovers in the city. The name 'Cherrapunjee' means land of oranges, and it was first used by tourists visiting from other parts of the country.

This place has only one season - monsoon. The rainfall varies from light to medium to heavy but it rains all year round. Interestingly, it rains mostly at night and day activities are not disrupted by the weather.

The heaviest rainfall is mostly from May to September and during this time Cherrapunjee becomes a sea of tiny rivulets. One can savour the staccato of raindrops hitting the rooftops and get lost in the melodious music of rain unique to the northeastern states of India.

After the heavy downpour relents, the flora of the place acquires soft pastel hues and the grey skies get beautiful rainbow colours.


Buckle up and set off on a splendid drive of 95 km from the city of Shillong to the International trade route border town of Dawki. Located in the Jaintia Hills, this town is sandwiched between the countries of India and Bangladesh and is a major trading centre. Deep gorges and ravines greet one on the way to Dawki and on approaching Dawki, is the Umngot river, the venue of the annual boat race held during the spring months of March - April at Umsyiem. Visitors come here to experience boat rides on the river and enjoy the scenic surroundings. The suspension bridge over the Umngot river, built by the British in 1932, is a beautiful sight and is worth a visit.

Diengiei Peak

Lying about 200 ft lower than Shillong Peak, Diengiei Peak (6,200 ft) is located to the west of the Shillong plateau. Tourists can get a spectacular view of the Umiam Lake from the peak. Another interesting feature of the spot is a huge hollow, shaped like a cup that is believed to be the crater of an extinct prehistoric volcano.

This peak is about 40 km from Shillong and is a popular trekking point. For a height of about 1,000 ft, the gradient is very steep and precipitous and appeals to mountain climbers. Rock climbing and rappelling are some other adventure sports one can indulge in. The best time to visit the peak is from November to June and one should not forget to tote their camera.

Don Bosco Centre For Indigenous Cultures

This museum and research and publication centre, 3 km away from Shillong, provides a glimpse of the life, culture and history of Northeast India. The museum is a fascinating storehouse of tribal artefacts. Its building is seven storeys high, with each level representing one of the seven sister states of the Northeast. The architecture of the building in in the shape of a honeycomb that allows light and fresh air to pass through easily.

The museum houses 17 galleries, which carry exhibits of tribal basketry, weapons, musical instruments, costumes, objects from daily life, jewellery and photographs. As part of its facilities, the centre also has a library with over 10,000 volumes for study, a media hall and a conference hall. Visitors can buy souvenirs to take back home from a gift shop here.


Spanning over an area of 3,819 sq km, Jaintia is one of the 11 districts in the state of Meghalaya. Situated along the Myntdu river, it is bordered on the south by Bangladesh and on the east by East Khasi Hills District. The region is quite rich in hill minerals and the changing colours of the vegetation with topography make this a beautiful spot. Jowai is the most developed town in the region along with being the district headquarters. The Jaintia hills have two districts: the West Jaintia Hills and the East Jaintia Hills. These hills are also home to the Krang Suri Falls, one of the most beautiful in India. The hills are bordered on the north and the east by the state of Assam.


It lies at a distance of nearly 64 km from the city of Shillong and is the administrative headquarters of Jaintia hills as well as the commercial centre. It is situated near the Myntdu river and offers spectacular views of the ambient landscape. Among the major attractions of this town are the buzzing market of La Musiang and the oldest Jowai Presbyterian Church. Tourists can also pay a visit to the Tryshi Falls, which is often compared with the beautiful Elephant Falls. A bridge connects the waterfalls with expansive paddy fields and one can get panoramic views of the Pynthor Nein from here. Adventure seekers can set on a trek to the bottom of the falls. A four-day festival, called Behdeinkhlam, is held in the monsoon month of July and is quite popular.

Laitlum Canyons

Laitlum Canyons is the perfect place to get wide, sweeping and picturesque views of the state of Meghalaya. The name 'Laitlum Canyons' literally means end of the world or end of hills. It is located about 45 km from the city of Shillong. Trekkers, adventure lovers and thrill seekers can have a grand time as the place offers long, rocky and lush green treks. The terrain, though a little difficult to navigate, offers the best views. A long stairway on the side of the mountain with about 3,000 steps is the only route between the village and the nearest market. The best time to visit the place is in the afternoon hours as mornings are usually foggy and the view cannot be enjoyed properly.

Living Root Bridges

The uniquely popular living root bridges in Meghalaya are made of tangles of massively thick roots. They can hold several people at a time and have been classified as double-decker and single-decker root bridges. The Khasi people are experts in growing these bridges, which are over a hundred feet long and take about 10 to 15 years to become fully functional.

The bridges are alive and growing, capable of carrying strong weights of up to 50 people at a time. There is no knowledge about when and how the tradition of growing living root bridges began. Lieutenant Henry Yule's written mention of the bridges in Sohra, Cherrapunji in the Asiatic Society of Bengal journal in 1944, is perhaps the earliest record.

It is fascinating how a living root bridge is made. The pliable roots of the Ficus elastic tree are pulled and guided across a stream or river and then left to strengthen and grow so that they can hold the weight of a human being. It is said that even elephants are able to cross over by using these bridges! There are various ways that a root bridge can be made: one is where the locals pull and manipulate young roots to grow and strengthen without any scaffolding. The second is when the roots are pulled over bamboo or wood scaffolding and allowed to grow. The third method is when the roots are manipulated and allowed to grow through hollowed out areca nut trees that are planted over rivers or streams. Last, but not least, is when the roots are manipulated over already existing bridges, which could also be steel structures.

The longest living root bridge is near Pynursla and the most famous is the double decker bridge in Nongriat Village. Some of the places where one can see this quirk of nature are West Jaintia Hills, Burma village, Rangthylliang etc.Apart from India, living root bridges can also be found in Jembatan Akar in Sumatra Islands, Indonesia and in the Banten province of Java.

Marai Cave

Marai Cave is also called Krem Marai by the locals and is a sacred site that has been mentioned in folklore and legends of Meghalaya. About 16 km from the city of Shillong, it is popular among locals who believe that descendants of the Syiems, who ruled the Mylliem and Khyrim kingdoms, came through this cave. The cave has a complex structure as there are countless passages to enter and exit it. Many believe that if you aren't guided, you are likely to get lost.

Marai cave also invites adventure seekers as it provides opportunities for hiking and trekking. The hike takes about 20 minutes and on the climb up to Shillong Peak, visitors can go through lush green landscapes. The best time to visit the cave is from February to October.


One of the cleanest villages in India, Mawlynnong is located about 92 km from Shillong. In 2003, it won the acclaim for being the cleanest village in Asia and another for being the cleanest in India in 2005. The village is locally referred to as 'God's Own Garden' and is commended for its community-based eco-tourism initiative. Under this, the onus of keeping the village clean lies on every resident and to promote cleanliness, bamboo garbage bins dot the lanes, nooks and corners of Mawlynnong. The waste collected in the bins is sent to a pit and turned into manure. Smoking is prohibited here and so is plastic. Rainwater harvesting is considered very important and is practised by almost all its residents. In addition, the village boasts a 100 per cent literacy rate and most of the inhabitants are fluent in English. Since it is located on the Indo-Bangla border, one can enjoy a sweeping view of Bangladesh. Another reason to mark this place in your itinerary is the natural rock balancing phenomenon that is seen here - the unusual and curious sight of one boulder balanced on another. Tourists can also enjoy a trek to a single-decker living root bridge here.

Mawphlang Sacred Forest

One of the noted sacred forests in Meghalaya is Mawphlang, about 25 km from Shillong. The sacred grove has an amazing life form of plants, flowering trees, orchids and butterflies. An ideal site for nature lovers, the forest has been preserved by traditional religious sanction since time immemorial.

Legend has it that the forest is protected by the Lyngdoh clan. Though it was earlier ruled by the Blah clan, they struggled to control the massive forest and decided to choose another protector. The clan found a woman belonging to the Lyngdoh clan, who had a son. She acceded to their demands on the condition that if the five saplings she had planted grew into trees, she would let her son take over the forest. As it turned out, the saplings grew beautifully.

Nokrek Biosphere Reserve

Nokrek is the highest peak in West Garo Hills, and has a huge population of rare plants and animals. Some of them include a very rare species of citrus-indica, endemic to this place, which the locals call memang narang. Literally translated, it means the orange of the spirits. The park covers an area of about 47 sq km and has been listed as UNESCO’s Biosphere Reserve. Abundant wildlife including herds of wild elephants, animal species like leopard, pangolin, hoolock gibbon, python, hornbill, besides rare orchids abound in the sanctuary. The last few red pandas of the world also call this place home. One can also spot bird species like hornbill, peacock and pheasant. Other attractions are the Simsang River Game Reserve, Ronbang Dare Waterfalls and the Nokrek Peak.

Shillong Golf Course

Shillong boasts one of the oldest and the best natural golf courses in the world. It is considered to be the "Gleneagle of the East" by the United States Golf Association and Museum. Situated at an elevation of about 5,200 ft in an undulating valley, it is covered in thick groves of pine and rhododendron trees, and comprises nine holes. The gold course was built in 1898 and was converted to an 18- hole course in 1924.

Golf was introduced to the city of Shillong by a group of British civil service officers in 1898. The beauty of the golf course is such that it appeals to non-golf players as well. The course is almost always wet and that adds to the charm of the place.

Shillong Peak

Accessible from Upper Shillong or Jowai Road, lying about 10 km away from the city, the Shillong Peak offers you one of the best views in the area. Mostly covered in fog, it stands at an elevation of 1,966 m above sea level. The semi-circular peak looks spectacular and resembles a crown placed on top of Shillong Hill. Tourists can either climb or ride to the top to take in the serene views. On reaching the acme, one would be exposed to a breathtaking view of Shillong spread in all its glory, the Himalayas and the plains of Bangladesh. A telescope is also available for tourists.

It is believed that the city of Shillong got its name from this peak and local lore says that the patron deity of the city, Leishyllong, has his abode in these hills. U Shulong is a sacred site, where the main attraction is a ritual that is organised every spring. This place is also an airport base and has a radar station of the Indian Air Force.

Umiam Lake

Umiam Lake is one of the biggest artificial lakes in Meghalaya that is situated about 15 km from Shillong. It is more easily recognised as Bara Pani, and covers an area of about 220 sq km. The surrounding Sylvan Hills and green Khasi pines add to the majesty of this vast lake, which was created when the Umiam river was dammed to store water for hydroelectric power generation. Though it was initially established as a dam or a reservoir, it is now a popular tourist attraction. It is also known for water sports and adventure facilities such as kayaking, water cycling, scooting and boating.

Since the lake boasts picturesque and panoramic surroundings, it is often compared with the beautiful lakes of Scotland. There is a lovely garden near its shores called the Lum Nehru Park, which is a must-visit point for birdwatchers. Apart from being a popular picnic spot, the park is also known for its orchid house, aviary and sprawling lawns. It is dotted with huge pine trees on either side and has a lot of space where children can play.

Umlawan Caves

Umlawan Cave is located about 60 km east of Jowai and is an exciting stopover for adventure lovers and backpackers. It is believed to be one of the longest cave systems in the Indian sub-continent and is joined by two caves, namely, Umskor and Kot-Sati, which make up its length to about 21 km. This unspoilt and unexplored cave system boasts stalactite and stalagmite formations. It has 24 horizontal and vertical entrances so no part of the cave is more than one hour from the nearest entrance. However, during monsoons, the entrance to the cave is submerged and one has to swim to enter it.

Wankhar Entomological Museum (Butterfly Museum)

Also known as Butterfly Museum, Wankhar Entomological Museum is privately owned and lies at a distance of 2 km from Police Bazaar. It is the only known museum in India devoted to moths and butterflies. Mrs Wankhar, the daughter of Bengali entomologist Dr S Sarkar, runs the museum. She collects specimens from different countries.The museum was established in the 1930s and boasts a vast collection of rhinoceros beetles along with 1,600 species of butterflies and moths. One can also find other stick-insects of various colours and patterns. The museum was once instrumental in the conservation of rare butterfly and moth species as it started a breeding programme. A display in the premises gives an insight into the habitat and life span of insects.

Ward's Lake

A horseshoe-shaped artificial lake, lying near Raj Bhavan and the accountant general's office, Ward's Lake is named after British official, Sir William Ward, the then chief commissioner of Assam. Since he came up with the plan of installing it, the lake was named after him. However, the actual credit for the lake's completion goes to Colonel Hopkins, who oversaw its construction until it opened for the public in 1894. The lake provides shelter to grass carps and gaggles of geese, and one can feed them standing on the bridge that passes over the lake. One can also take a stroll amidst flowerbeds and fairy-lights, and enjoy the greenery in the surrounding. The lake is supplemented by a cafeteria and also has boating options for tourists.

Biju John
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