The capital of Meghalaya, a home to the Khasi tribe, Shillong, populary known as the ‘Scotland of the east’, is one of the smallest cities in India. The 330th most populous city in India, is situated at an average altitude of 4,908 ft. above the sea level. The highest point of the city is the Shillong peak which is at a height of 6,449 ft.
Shillong has grown in size and significance since it was made the civil station of khasi and Jaintia hills by the British. Shillong remained the capital of undivided Assam until the creation of the new state of Meghalaya.
The city is situated on the Shillong Plateau, which is apparently the only major uplifted structure in the northeastern shield. The city lies in the center of the plateau and is surrounded by hills on all four sides.
The city of Shillong features a sub-tropical climate. The summers there are warm and it is constantly raining. Shillong faces vagaries of monsoons, that arrive in June and it rains almost until the end of August. The winters being cool and dry are the best time to visit Shillong, since the glowing green valley and iridescent flowers at their best are a real treat to the eyes and a balm to the sour soul. The months of October, November, April and March are the best time of the year to visit this abode of Gods.
The Must-visits in Shillong
Shillong is gifted with attractive tourist spots that possess the capacity to lure 100s of 1000s of tourists. These spectacular tourist spots either exist naturally or are manmade, but in both cases, they have the capacity to hold your attention and make you gasp in amazement and awe.
Elephant Falls are located 12km away on the outskirts of the city. The falls were named by the British and called the Elephant falls because they consisted of three sections in succession and also there was a rock that resembled an Elephant near the left side of the main falls. The walk around the falls would consume 30-40 minutes of the day. One can see the falls very closely and enjoy the coolness of the crystal clear waters.
Lady Hydari Park, consists of neatly manicured lawns, with a mini zoo and a children’s playground attached to it. The park is nestled in the heart of the city and is managed by the forest department.
Wards Lake is one of the most popular manmade lake in the city of Shillong. The beautiful orchids, the picturesque bridge and the blue waters work as healing magical spells and effortlessly soothe the sore soul. The lake is in the shape of a horse shoe and is a treat for nature lovers. A lazy walk along the lake is a must-do in Shillong. The lake also offers boating facilities that seems to complete the whole endeavor.
Shillong Golf Course is one of the largest golf courses in Asia and is located in the scenic city of Shillong. The course is one of the few natural golf courses in Asia. The rests in the lap of a valley covered with the Pine and the Rhododendron, which makes it a scenic and an enjoyable get away. The Shillong golf course is considered to be the ‘Glen Eagle’ (a luxury hotel) of the east, at the United States Golf Association Museum.
Motphran, was erected in the memory of the 21st Khasi Labor Corps who served under the British in France during World War one. The ‘Stone of France’, locally known as ‘Motphran’, bears the words of the famous Latin poet Horace “It is sweet and fitting to die for one’s country”.
Shillong Peak is an ideal picnic spot located 10km away from the city. Being the highest point in Shillong, it offers a panoramic view of the countryside. The religious priest of the Mylliem State pays homage to the ‘U Shulong’ at the Sanctum Sanctorum situated at the peak, every spring. One must pack a decent amount of food and water with them and also wear comfortable shoes for trekking. The Shillong Peak is a paradise for avid photographers, as the view is clear during the day and at night; one can stare up at the sky and soak in the enchanting beauty of the sky that resembles a box full of glitter.
Captain Williamson Sangma State Museum is for those who are interested in ethnic tribal culture and tradition. The museum offers a glimpse of the lifestyle of the indigenous tribes of the region, as it takes one back into the past of the state of Meghalaya. It helps one to understand more about Meghalaya and its people, through the artifacts, that show the day to day life of the tribal people, displayed in the museum. It is located in the state library complex, where monuments for the great patriots of the state were erected besides the statue of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose.
Don Bosco Centre for the Indigenous Cultures, consists of research of cultures, publications, training, animation programs, which is a place of Knowledge sharing on the cultures of the north east in particular, and of other cultures in general. The place is run by the Silesian order of the Catholic Church and has a gigantic archive of information on the states of Assam, Manipur, Tripura, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya.
Apart from these tourist spots there are many other attractions in Shillong.
Shillong is very well connected by road, but railway and air connections are not all that great, as there are limited flights offered by the Shillong Airport.
Be it lovers of history or nature, botanists or photographers, Shillong has something to amaze and attract anyone and everyone. Take some time out and do visit Shillong, Meghalaya.