Elephant Falls in Meghalaya: Travel Guide to Shillong’s Natural Gem

 In Holidays, India, Meghalaya, Travel

While exploring the natural beauty of Meghalaya – an enchanting northeastern state of India with the Meghalaya Tour Packages, you simply cannot miss visiting the cascading Elephant Falls. One of the most famous waterfalls in Meghalaya, the Elephant Waterfall, perfectly reflects the natural beauty of this state and is truly a work of art by Mother Nature.

About Elephant Falls


The captivating natural wonder of Elephant Waterfall is one of the most popular tourist places in Shillong – the capital hill station of Meghalaya. The Elephant Falls in Meghalaya is just 12 km away from the capital and the roads are very smooth till the entrance, making this waterfall easily accessible. 

Visiting the Elephant Waterfall is one of the top things to do in Shillong, as the location of this waterfall allows you to connect with nature. Tucked beautifully amidst the lush green forest and pristine natural landscape, you can spend some peaceful time admiring the waterfalls to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Before the British named this fall Elephant Waterfall, this stunning waterfall had a different name in the Khasi language. Locally, it was known as ‘Ka Kshaid Lai Pateng Khohsiew,’ which translates to ‘The Three-Step Waterfall.’ This name was inspired by the unique three-tiered structure of the falls.

These three distinct tiers of the Elephant Waterfall offer a different face of beauty with each layer. As you approach Elephant Falls, you are greeted by the first tier, which is easily accessible. This tier provides a panoramic view of the falls and the surrounding landscape. The water flows gracefully, creating a serene atmosphere.

The second tier of the waterfall can be accessed by taking a short hike, which offers closer views of the Elephant Falls. Here, you will be able to observe the water in its full splendor (during monsoon), which is a treat to the eyes. Post-monsoon, the second tier almost disappears, as this waterfall is fed by the rainfall. 

The third tier of the waterfall is best for those looking for an adventure. Although it is a bit more difficult to access, the experience is worth the challenge. Here, visitors will find a natural pool where they can relax and take part in boating activities. The third waterfall is the most impressive of the three, with a continuous flow of water that makes it appear as if a vast quantity of milk is trickling down the black rocks.

The name ‘Elephant Falls’ was given by the British during colonial rule. It was named after a massive rock located at the foot of the falls that looked a lot like an elephant. But, the 1897 earthquake destroyed and washed away this elephant-shaped rock. 

The Britishers were mesmerized by the beauty of this waterfall and the lush greenery surrounding it. Over time, the name “Elephant Falls” became popular and replaced the Khasi name. When you stand in front of Elephant Falls today, you can’t help but feel the same awe as the early British explorers. 

Things To Do At Elephant Falls in Meghalaya

  • Waterfall Exploration: Waterfall Exploration is one of the most popular water sports in Meghalaya, as this state is blessed with natural beauty by its abundant number of waterfalls. So, when you visit Elephant Falls, the primary attraction is, of course, the waterfall itself. You can spend your time exploring the three tiers of the falls, each with its unique charm. Feel the cool mist on your face as you get closer to the cascading waters. It’s not just a sight but an experience that will leave you in awe of nature’s beauty.
  • Photography: If you’re a photography enthusiast, Elephant Falls is a paradise for you. With its lush green surroundings, mesmerizing waterfalls, and the play of sunlight on water, every angle is a perfect shot. Don’t forget to bring your camera or smartphone to capture these beautiful moments. You’ll return with stunning pictures to cherish.
  • Hiking: For adventure seekers, Elephant Falls offers hiking opportunities in Shillong. The hike to the second tier of the waterfall is an exciting activity. As you trek through the lush forest, you’ll be rewarded with a close-up view of the cascading waters. It’s an adventure that lets you connect with nature on a whole new level.
  • Shop Souvenirs: Don’t forget to explore the local souvenir shops near Elephant Waterfall. You can pick up unique mementos, such as handicrafts, jewelry, and traditional Khasi clothing, to remember your visit. It may not be the best shopping places in Shillong, but it’s a great way to take a piece of this beautiful place back home with you. 
  • Dress Up in Traditional Clothes and Get Photographed: What better memory to take back home, than your perfect photograph in a traditional outfit of the place you have visited? To make your visit memorable, consider dressing up in traditional Khasi clothes. You can rent these outfits and get some fantastic photographs. It’s a fun way to immerse yourself in the local culture and create lasting memories.
  • Boating: Boating is one of the most popular adventure activities in Shillong. The last tier of the waterfall has created a beautiful pond, where you can indulge in a boating experience. It’s the best way to take a closer look and enjoy the beauty of these falls as you are not allowed to swim in Elephant Falls in Meghalaya.

In conclusion, Elephant Falls, Shillong, is not just a destination; it’s an experience that takes you on a journey through time and nature’s masterpieces. Its rich history, unique three-tiered structure, and the story behind its British name make it a place of both natural and cultural significance. Whether you’re an explorer, a nature lover, or a curious traveler, Elephant Falls has something special to offer you. So, next time you’re in Shillong, make sure to visit this enchanting natural gem of Elephant Falls in Meghalaya.

How To Reach Elephant Falls?

  • By Air: The nearest airport to Elephant Falls is Shillong Airport, also known as Umroi Airport. It’s approximately 30 kilometers away from the falls. Once you land in Shillong, you can hire a taxi or take a bus to reach Elephant Falls. You can also travel by road from Guwahati Airport since this airport has better connectivity than Shillong Airport.
  • By Road: If you prefer a road trip, you can reach Shillong by road. It’s well-connected to major cities in Northeast India. The journey offers stunning views of the hills and forests. Once you’re in Shillong, you can hire a local taxi or use public transportation to get to Elephant Falls, which is about 12 kilometers from the city center.
  • By Railway: Although there isn’t a direct railway connection to Shillong, you can take a train to Guwahati Railway Station, which is well-connected to major Indian cities. From Guwahati, you can continue your journey to Elephant Falls by road. The drive from Guwahati to Shillong is approximately 100 kilometers and takes around 3-4 hours.

Frequently Asked Questions For Elephant Waterfall 

What can visitors expect to see at Elephant Falls?

You can expect to see a stunning three-tiered waterfall surrounded by lush vegetation. The first level offers panoramic views, and the second and third levels provide opportunities for a closer look and a boat ride in the natural pool. The site is also a photographers’ paradise with local souvenir shops selling unique souvenirs.

Is there an entry fee to visit Elephant Falls?

Yes, there is a nominal entry fee for visitors to Elephant Falls. This fee helps in maintaining the site’s facilities and preserving its natural surroundings, ensuring a delightful experience for all who visit. The entry fee is somewhere around ₹100 per person.

What is the best time to visit Elephant Falls?

The monsoon season, spanning from June to September, is the ideal time to experience Elephant Falls in all its splendor. The heavy rains during this period enhance the waterfall’s magnificence, creating a truly breathtaking spectacle. You can also visit these falls in winter and summer, but the flow of the waterfall is less comparatively. 

Why are they called "Elephant Falls"?

Elephant Falls earned its name during the British colonial era when a rock formation at its base resembled an elephant. The British explorers found this resemblance fascinating, thus naming the falls after it. But this rock was washed away in the 1897 earthquake.

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