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Editor's Note Shillong  
ShillongShillong or Scotland of the East is one of the most romantic cities in the northeast. And when you visit it, you'll just about know why. A relatively unexplored land, splendid visions of rows of pine trees, lush hills and quaint cottages greet you, all reminiscent of the British era gone by. The city derives its name from the 'Leishyllong', the super God who resides on the Shillong peak, as if protecting the city. There might not be much to do here except relax and soak in the legends that resound in every house. The polo ground almost wears a forlorn look minus the horses and forest conversation efforts have narrowed your chances of bagging an exquisite wooden ware. Nevertheless, Shillong abounds in such natural beauty that is definite to awe you.
Summer Summer
April-June, Cool & pleasant
Temperatures - 15°C-25°C
Monsoon Monsoons
June-late August, Heavy showers daily & damp weather
Annual rainfall - 2,954 mm
Winter Winter
October-March, Freezing cold, often sub-zero temperature
Temperature - 4.0°C-12.2°C
Local Languages: Khasi, Garo, Jaintia, Bengali, Hindi, English
Best Time to Visit: October - November & February - June
Clothing: Light woolens and cotton clothes during summers & heavy woolen during winters. Carry your best raingear if traveling during monsoons, especially raincoats, umbrella and heavy boots to walk through the slush.
Moving Around: Best explored on foot since the city is in itself small and hilly. Also available are yellow and black taxis and some private buses and vehicles that can be hired for sightseeing.
Tourist Offices: Directorate of Tourism
Govt of Meghalaya, Nokrek Building
Lower Lachumiere, Shillong
Tel: 0364-2226054
  Meghalaya Tourism
9, Aurangzeb Road
New Delhi
Tel: 011-23014417

Shillong Peak: Shillong's most defining feature, some legends have it that Shillong derived its name from this hill. An ideal picnic spot, at 1965 m it offers spectacular views of the city and the eastern Himalayan ranges. It is also believed that the patron deity Leishyllong has her abode at these peaks and protects the city from here. The views of the light-studded city are especially beautiful in the evening.

Cherrapunji: Actually located over 50 kms from Shillong, Cherrapunji was at one time known as Sohra. It is situated in one of the most prolific rain-belt of the country. Hence, at all times you would be greeted by the greens of the hills and trees. Take a tour through the waterfalls, especially the famous 1,000 ft Nohsngithiang Falls, cascading into gorges. Cherrapunji is also known for its limestone caves and orange honey. It is a great centre to explore the Khasi culture and is home to an ancient Presbyterian Church and a Ramakrishna Mission.

Sohpetbneng Peak: An area that's spiritually inclined, it is revered by the Hynniewtrep tribe. Literally meaning the 'navel of heaven', Sohpetbneng is set amidst scenic views of a forest and it is believed that people traveling here are sure to receive spirituality and peace.

Ward's Lake: A beautiful and serene horse-shoe shaped lake located in the heart of the city, Ward's Lake is also known as Polok Lake. The lake is fantastic for boating, talking walks along the cobble-stoned paths and striking flowers and is a popular haunt for tourists, honeymooners and picnickers. Don't miss out on the Botanical Garden located below the Ward's Lake, which is home to a range of exotic plants and flowers.
Open from: Botanical Garden - 9.30 am-6.00 pm

Umiam Lake: Umiam is a majestic lake surrounded by green hills in the Khasi region. It has a Water Sports Complex that provides a range of activity options, including row-boats, paddle-boats, cruise boats, sailing boats, water scooters and speed boats.

Lady Hydari Park: This is the site of some of the most beautiful varieties of roses you'd ever find. It also has a lake hat abounds with pelicans, a mini zoo and a Butterfly Museum with several multi-coloured species within. Open from: Butterfly Museum - 11.00 am-4.00 pm
Entry fee - Rs 5

Golf Course: Said to be the third oldest golf course in India, this is the place for golf lovers. It was started as a 9-hole course and later converted to 18-holes. Also called 'Gleneagle of the East', it is picturesquely set amidst pine trees and rhododendron bushes.

Meghalaya State Museum: Located in Lachumiere the museum has exhibits dating to the tribal era, including a collection of ancient scriptures. Open from: Summer - Monday-Saturday 10.00 am-4.30 pm;
Winter - 10.00 am-4.00 pm
Closed on the 2nd and 4th Saturday of the month

Waterfalls: Shillong has several quaint-named waterfalls dotting its landscape. Bishop and Beadon Falls cascade together in the same gorge disappearing into seemingly mists. Elephant Falls is located 12 kms from Shillong and is particularly charming because of the stream descending through falls located amidst fern-covered rocks. Spread Eagle Falls or Urkaliar Falls, so called because of its appearance as an eagle with its wings spread. The fall has steep cliffs reaching to a deep pool. Sweet Falls near Happy Valley and Crinoline Falls near Lady Hydari Park are popular hangouts for family picnics and outings. At a distance of 15 kms Rengthiam Falls is a relatively unexplored area, apt for simply viewing the pristine beauty of nature.

Anglican Cemetery: This is an old churchyard in Rilbong, with gravestones dating centuries.

Kyllang Rock: A mammoth sized circular granite rock located between Mairang and Nongkhlaw with a diameter measuring to 1,000 ft.

Lum Nehru Park: Located next to the Orchid Lake Resort, this park has beautiful well-tended lawns and houses exotic flowers, an orchid-house and an aviary.

Thadlaskein Lake: This Lake is located en route Jowai from Shillong amidst grasslands, rice fields and rows of pine and oak trees. Legends have it that the lake was dug with the bow tips of the followers of Sajar Nangli, one of Jaintia's famous war leaders.

Jakrem: Located over 60 kms from Shillong, this is famous for their hot springs of sulphur water, which are believed to have medicinal properties.

Ranikor: An angler's delight, test your skills at baiting the Golden Mahseers, Golden Carp, Silver Carp and Common Carp.

Mawsynram: Located 55 kms from Shillong, this is also located in the rain belt of the region. Its other attractions include an unexplored cave with a giant stalagmite sloping into a natural Shivalinga.

Dawki: Another excellent picnic spot, Dawki is made of silver streams and deep waters and offers magnificent views of the Khasi Hills.

Syntu Ksiar: Actually a vast pool, the Myntdu River here appears to encircle the Jowai town and appears to come to a sudden halt. This spot is Syntu Ksiar meaning Golden Flower. Catch picturesque views of nature here.

Jaintia Hills Caves:Located close to Shillong on the way to Jowai, these magnificent caves were used as hideouts during wars between Jaintia Kings and foreign intruders.

Shillong Its special cuisine includes Chinese and Tibetan. The Elgin and Bamboo Hut are especially known for piping hot momos, which anyways is available throughout the city. Check out the Jadoh Stall for its particular rice-and-pork preparation. In fact, Jadoh in itself is considered the staple food of the region and is extremely affordable. Kimpoo and Kowloon are known for their Chinese fares especially noodles and wanton. For multi-cuisine fare, head out to Broadway and Swiss Café and Bombay Bites are well known fast-food outlets. Finally don't miss out on the local food, which is thoroughly non-vegetarian and consists mostly of meat and fish. Pickled bamboo shoot is also popular. A range of rice cakes called Ki Kpu is relished among them as is a special variety of beer made of fermented rice or millet.


The best shopping experience would be at Shillong's Bara Bazaar and Police Bazaar, which also host the Iewdeh, the weekly local market. This market is filled with goodies that are locally produced and include handicrafts, wooden items and bamboo artifacts. Particularly popular is the forest-made honey. Get your hands on some of the souvenirs typical to Shillong - hand-carved knives, Tibetan shawls, bamboo cutlery and artifacts. The Police Bazaar is known for its traditional Khasi silk skirts, called jain-sayem, which though a tad bit expensive are worth the price. Also savour the locally grown fruits, Sayang and Saflang, which are wrapped in banana leaves and sold.


One of the most popular festivals is the Ka Pomblang Nongkrem, a religious dance festival celebrated in thanksgiving for a good harvest and peace and prosperity of the city. The festival is held for 5 days in November and is characterised by the Pomblang Ceremony, during which goats are sacrificed and offerings made to the ancestors of the rulers and the patron deity Leishyllong. The Nongkrem dance is the most colourful aspect of this festival, when your boys and girls don bright garments and jewels and dance to the tunes of drums and pipes.

Ka Shad Suk Mynsiem or Dance of the Joyful Heart is another important Khasi festival that lasts for three days. Celebrated in April, it is characterised by song and dance performances by men and women dressed in traditional garbs. The Wangala Festival is an important celebration among the Garo tribe. This harvest festival is held in honour of Saljong, the Sun-god of fertility and is characterised by sacrifices made to please the sun god. A must-see event during this festival is the dance performed by locals, who dress in colourful costumes and feathered headgears. Christianity is extremely prevalent; hence Christmas and Easter are celebrated with great fervour.

We seriously recommend visiting Shillong during the famous Shillong Autumn Festival. This festival is probably the best time to watch the cultural richness of the region as traditional songs and dances and sports are organized. There are a variety of cuisines, stalls selling handicrafts and activities including kite flying, archery and boat racing - everything that is guaranteed to entertain you.

Hotels are available, though not too many options. Most hotels range at the budget category and you are likely to get accommodation easily. If you don't wish to spend too much, try and get a room at Mi Casa Hotel, which is advantageously situated close to the bus stand. Other comfortable options include Hotel Lake View Inn and Hotel Alpine Continental, which are located in the heart of the city. For hotels towards the higher end, check out Hotel Polo Towers and Royal Heritage Tripura Castle, which are good options for exploring not just Shillong, but places nearby. And for a stay with a local touch, Ri Kyanji - Serenity By The Lake is the closest you can get. It is located next to the Umiam Lake and designed with a typical Khasi architecture, complete with bamboo fittings, red pine local stones and thatch roofs.
Air: Air Umroi Airport at Shillong is the closest option and taxis are available for traveling within the city. Another option, which is possibly more reliable, is the airport at Guwahati. Buses are also available from Guwahati city to Shillong.
Rail: Railway Shillong does not have its own railhead. The closest station is at Guwahati, connected by several superfast trains.
Road: Roadways Guwahati to Shillong is about 4 hours' drive through NH 40. It has an excellent network of roads, though narrow in certain parts. The main interstate bus stand is located right next to Guwahati railway station. Buses are also operated by Assam State Transport Corporation (ASTC) and Meghalaya Transport Corporation (MTC), plying every half an hour from Guwahati to Shillong.