Best Of Shillong: Must Visit Places For The Authentic Meghalayan Experience
If you’re planning a trip to witness the beauty of northeastern India, then you will find natural beauty in the city of Shillong worth exploring. This historic, tranquil city sits in the shadow of India’s tallest mountain ranges and has a culture unlike elsewhere. With many tourist places in
Shillong, it is a preeminent hill station in the Northeastern state of Meghalaya that seeks the attention of all and sundry. It is also the gateway to India’s northeast region and every traveller’s choice for a Christmas and New Year tour.
This city is often regarded as the “Scotland of the East” due to its cool climate, breathtaking views, and beautiful surroundings. It is prominent for its scenic beauty, waterfalls, and rolling hills. Scenic waterfalls of Meghalaya, including Umiam Falls on Umiam Lake, besides Elephant Falls, Lady Hydari Park, Welsh Falls, etc., bring it into the limelight. In addition, several small streams are tributaries to the river Brahmaputra. Once you get here, you’ll find plenty to explore and do. You can also visit attractions like the Shillong Peak, which offers picturesque views of the city and nearby mountainside villages.
Here’s a list of some of the most important places to visit in Shillong, where you can witness the true beauty of northeastern India, a must read for for those planning a trip to Meghalaya.
1. Umiam Lake
Umiam Lake is a reservoir and a popular tourist attraction in Shillong. It is 4 km from Umiam town and has an area of 2.27 sq. km. The lake is an important source of drinking water for the city and remains one of the most popular tourist places in Shillong. The lake has a garden house where you can stay and enjoy the view. Some people pay a small fee to rent the place for picnics and parties.
The artificial lake was created after constructing a dam under a hydroelectric power project. With the magnificent East Khasi Hills surrounding it, you can enjoy boating and other fun watersports or sit quietly by the lakeside to cherish the stunning sunset. It is located on the banks of Sohra Dam, one of the biggest in northeastern India.
You can indulge in a fishing session or take a quick dip in the cool water. The number of tourists visiting this place is increasing rapidly because of its beauty, its proximity to Shillong city and for other tourist places in Shillonglike Mawsmai Caves, Ukhrul and other prominent locations on the East Khasi Hills.
What to Do Here:
- Boating, swimming, and several other watersports for adventure lovers;
- Camping/Rent a place to stay overnight;
- Enjoy the view of the surrounding hills, forests, and waterfalls;
- Kayak/Canoeing, or hire one and enjoy the calm water of this beautiful lake.
2. Shillong Peak & Sunset View Point
Extending to an elevation of 1962 metres above sea level, this landmark is a breathtaking vista point with spectacular views of the surrounding hill-scape. It is one of the highest and most prominent peaks in northeastern India. It offers scenic views of Umiam Lake and its surroundings including Dzukou Falls, which is 100 km from here.
Shillong Peak is on top of all lists of tourist places in Shillong because of its scenic outlook of the beautiful city.. You will have to walk for about an hour to reach the summit where a lookout point has been built. Those who love hills and trekking will find this place a paradise with incredible panoramic views of nature.
The distance of Shillong Peak from the main bus stand is approximately 10 km, which means you hardly have to go to any remote location. The locals believe this peak to be the abode of their deity protecting the village that makes it one of the most unique places to visit in Shillong.
Visiting Shillong Peak is one of those moments which you will cherish for your life.
What to Do Here:
- Some adventurous and fun outdoor activities like mountain biking, trekking, etc.
- Enjoy the scenic views of the hill-scape.
Also Read : New Year Celebration Places In India
3. Elephant Falls
Elephant Falls is one of the many amazing waterfalls in Shillong. Measuring 64 metres, 50 metres, and 28 metres in height respectively, they are named Onaphaa Gynyrchieng (the female elephant), Riang Khliehriat (the male elephant), and Nohkalikai Falls.
The falls are named after the shape and size of the surrounding rocks. The water flows on all sides of the rock to dwindle in drops of water in little streams. People who live near this place call it the “Elephant Waterfalls,” which is a beautiful sight to watch. This waterfall is not very far from Shillong but has been hiding from tourists for quite some. Once you look at it, you will instantly fall in love with this place, and would want to explore more with Shillong sightseeing.
It has become one of the best places to visit in Shillong,offering spectacular views of Umiam Lake. The most suitable time to visit and explore it is around sunset, when visitors can enjoy a breathtaking view of the lake and some breathtaking sunsets.
What to Do Here:
- Watch local boatmen rowing and fishing from boats;
- Hire anyone of the boatmen for a ride through the lake;
- Take a stroll on the promenade around this lake.
4. Laitlum Canyons
This group trekking destination is connected to a series of canyons. It mainly consists of Nohkalikai Canyon and the Meghalaya Backwater Park. It takes 45 minutes to trek down Nohkalikai Canyon and 30 minutes to reach this place from Shillong. There are some fun activities that you can do at this popular Shillong tourist spot which include rock climbing, trekking and loads of other scenic activities.
The sheer beauty and sound of falling water will take your breath away as it rushes through these large canyons that guide it to the river below. The river meanders through these canyons, and you will see some mysterious rock formations, black lines, and other weird shapes.
It is recognised as one of the sought-after tourist places in Shillong for an incredible view of the city from the top of a hill overlooking the magical Meghalaya.
What to Do Here:
- Kayaking, rock climbing, and trekking tours through the canyons;
- Visit this place and watch the breathtaking sunset.
- Enjoy delicious meals on the way back;
Also Read : New Year Celebration In-Delhi
5. Sweet Falls
Sweet Falls is a steep (96 metres) and mesmerising waterfall cascading from a mountain on the town’s periphery near Happy Valley. However, unlike the name “Sweet,” the route to this waterfall is quite dangerous, with lots of slippery stones. In addition, the waterfall has a linear stream of water falling from a rock located at a great height, which makes it dangerous to stand directly under it.
Tourists recognise Sweet Falls as the best place to visit in Shillong around sunset, as you can witness some spectacular sights against the backdrop of Shillong. However, you will also have to watch out for some small forest fires along the way.
The recommended route to view these beautiful waterfalls stretches through 3 km of jungle trail, where you will have to climb up and down a steep path. Many locals visit this place to indulge in activities like hiking, trekking, rock climbing and other adventure activities. You can easily find people willing to hire bikes or trekkers to see this gem of all the places to visit in Shillong.
What to Do Here:
- Trek through the jungle trails or hire a guide to apprise you of more places to see in Shillong;
- Rock climbing if you are into adventure activities. ( Note that only experienced climbers should attempt rock climbing here.)
6. Khasi Heritage Village
Khasi Heritage Village is the first and the only heritage village of Khasi Hills. It occupies an area of 21 acres and was set up as a Christian outreach project in 1990 by the Presbyterian Church of Meghalaya. The village features several Khasi people where you can encounter the tribal lifestyle and their traditions.
The key objective behind this project is to bring people closer to Khasi history, culture, and tradition, so you can get a closer look at all the daily activities of tribal people and see their artefacts, storehouses, kitchen, tools, and other items of everyday use. This village’s heart lies in a local market surrounded by shops selling traditional Khasi handicrafts like silver jewellery and blankets.
There are also some live demonstrations of Khasi crafts by the locals which are fascinating to watch. Visiting Khasi Heritage Village is an excellent idea if you want to feel the Khasi’s local culture, tradition, values and get some insight into their way of life. What makes this one of the most loved tourist places in Shillong is the Monolith Festival of the Khasi tribe.
What to Do Here:
- Watch traditional culture, dance and other activities;
- Participate in local activities and learn tribal dance.
- Visit the amphitheatre to watch some notable documentaries on the Khasi tribe;
Also Read : Resorts In Meghalaya
7. Police Bazar
The Police Bazar is a small market known as ” police paradise” by local people because this market is always bustling with people. Many people come here to buy small items like t-shirts, vegetables, clothes, and other things. The best time to visit this place is when the market starts to set up. This market is among Shillong’s famous places for its street food and popular restaurants like City Hut and Jiva Sizzlers to enjoy the local cuisine.
The most suitable time to visit this place is around sunset, when you can watch some breathtaking sunsets against the backdrop of Shillong. You will find many beautiful and artistic souvenirs during your Meghalaya road trip in this market. It is quite a large market where you can find handicrafts, local outfits and other traditional items.
What to Do Here:
- Enjoy local food with tasty flavours;
- Take away souvenirs and local handicrafts;
- Watch breathtaking sunset against the backdrop of Shillong.
8. Meghalaya State Museum & Art Gallery
Meghalaya State Museum & Art Gallery is the only museum in Meghalaya and definitely one of the most unique places to visit in Shillong. It is located on the premises of the State Secretariat. The gallery has a vast collection of artefacts, artworks, and sculptures that showcase this region’s rich heritage and culture. You can explore rare paintings and learn more about their history, craftsmanship, creation process and meaning.
This is a tourists’ favourite among all tourist places in Shillong where you can learn more about the culture of the locals, region’s rich history and traditions. Some significant exhibits include prehistoric artefacts like stone axes and rubbing tools, ancient Khasi sculptures, tribal jewellery made from glass beads and many more exciting collections.
What to Do Here:
- Explore some rare collections and learn more about their history, craftsmanship and creation process;
- Witness an interesting collection of Khasi artworks and sculptures;
- Have a look at the well-maintained artefacts that tell a lot about the culture of Meghalaya.
If diving deep in the culture and heritage of Meghalaya is something that you always fantasised about, then Shillong is the perfect place where you will get to know a lot about this beautiful state’s history, tradition and culture. You can learn about some deep-rooted customs and traditions that are still followed by people in this region. In addition, you can visit these beautiful Shillong places in Meghalaya that have historical significance and contribute to the state’s uniqueness. We at WanderOn are always eager to offer all possible assistance.
Frequently Asked Questions about tourist places in Shillong
1. Is it worth visiting Shillong?
Yes, it is worth visiting Shillong. This place is famous for its tourism and nature. For nature lovers, Shillong has several beautiful and panoramic natural sites worth seeing.
2. How many days does it take to see all the famous places in Shillong?
If you are a traveller who likes exploring the place, you will have to spend at least a few weeks in the city. Shillong is not a large city, but you need to plan to cover all major tourist spots.
3. What is the best time to visit Shillong?
The best time for visiting Shillong is from September to October, when you can witness some of the most beautiful sunsets around this region and experience the region’s fantastic weather. However, the rainy season is a bit challenging and it’s best to only visit during the peak rainy season.
4. What are some of the best places to witness nature’s beauty in Shillong?
Many places in Shillong are enriched with natural beauty. You can visit places like Elephant Falls, Shillong Peak, the Himalayan Zoological Park, etc. These places have something unique to offer regarding nature related activities and you will have fun exploring these sites.
5. Is it safe to travel to Shillong?
Keeping all sorts of misconceptions apart, travelling to Shillong will undoubtedly be an experience of a lifetime for you. It will surely help if you take precautionary measures to make your journey memorable and enjoyable.
Written By : WanderOn