Blessed with abundant greenery, wettest place on earth, crystal clear rivers, high hills, flat plains, countless waterfalls, and amazing culture, Meghalaya is probably the most beautiful state in India. Not only would you find Meghalaya endowed with immense natural beauty, if you go about understanding the ways of this part of the world, but you will also without a doubt be left startled. Nicknamed as ‘Scotland of the East’ by the British empire, Meghalaya. Meghalaya has thus remained relatively pure both in terms of geographical landscapes and hearts of people and culture of the state, and this is what makes it a must-visit place for travelers.

1.DOUBLE DECKER BRIDGE:

It takes around 15 years for a new root bridge to become strong enough to bear the weight of people crossing it. However, it will continue to grow and strengthen even more over time.

Some of the bridges are believed to be hundreds of years old, although no one knows their exact age. Their tangled webs of roots are almost eerie in nature and wouldn’t look out of place in a fantasy world The root bridges provide a stable alternative to wooden bridges, which decay and get destroyed during the lengthy monsoon seasons. One of the most fascinating, exhilarating and amazing hikes of my life. Clear blue water, root bridges, winding steps, challenging terrain, incredible view and vibe and the most amazing weather. Honestly, one needs to really go there to experience it. And do build up on enough stamina beforehand.

Located in the thick tropical forest of Meghalaya, cloaked with rain during most parts of the year are the fantastic man-made cum natural wonders of the living root bridges. These bridges are an amazing alternative to wooden bridges that dwindle with so much rain falling on them. The most popular tourist attraction of Cherrapunjee, these double-decker living root bridges are 2 bridges that are stacked one on the other, made because of the entanglement of roots.

A new root bridge takes about 15 years to get strong enough so that it can bear the weight of people who would be crossing it. Over a span of next few years, the roots become even stronger. It is believed that some of the root bridges are over five hundred years old.

2.LALONG PARK:

It is known for its sacred grove and for its setting which overlooks the beautiful Pynthorwah Valley. Through the Special DRDA Tourism Project, the District Administration has taken a step to beautify the park by creating infrastructure such as water dams and canals, toilet facilities with changing rooms, hoardings, jungle clearance which has attracted tourists far and wide.

Sprawling over an area of 12.80 hectares, Lalong Park is known for its sacred groves and a viewpoint that offers breathtaking views of Pynthorwah Valley. The park is constantly being renovated and beautified under the Special DRDA Tourism Project taken up by the District Administration. The place is well accommodated with water dams, toilets, canals, changing rooms, etc. A variety of flowers, some native to Meghalaya adorn the park. One can sit on the grassy slopes and enjoy the mesmerizing sunset from the park.

The park also has Traveller’s nest, run by the Lalong Tourism Cooperative Society Limited, which provides a comfortable stay in nature lap. Treks & campsites along the meandering Myntdu River are arranged all year round except the rainy season. Besides, the park also hosts monthly archery competitions for the local inhabitants as well as tourists.

3.ELEPHANT FALLS:

Elephant Waterfalls is a superb place for spending some time in the midst of nature while capturing the incredible moments for your keepsake.

The breathtaking Elephant falls were referred to as ‘Ka Kshaid Lai Pateng Khohsiew’ by the local Khasi people, which means ‘The Three Step Waterfalls’, as these falls consist of three mesmerising falls in succession. The first of the three waterfalls are tucked between the dense trees and are very broad. The second waterfall reduces to thin strands of water and is almost negligible in winters due to the receding water levels. The third and the most visible waterfall is the tallest with clear water flowing like a sheet of milk on the dark rocks in the backdrop.

Out of the three, the third waterfall tends to strike the visitors as the most impressive. Elephant Falls is a great stopover destination before one head for further journeys into Meghalaya. Located 12 km away from the capital city of Shillong, it is one of the most visited falls in the beautiful state.

4.SIJU CAVES :

Siju, one of the largest limestone caves in India is also one of its hidden treasures. You require only one night to visit the cave and so you can easily fit in your itinerary for Meghalaya.

Siju is famous for Dobakkol or the bat cave with impressive stalagmites and stalactites. It is one of the longest cave in the Indian Sub-continent and contains some of the finest river passages to be found anywhere in the world. There are magnificent limestone rock formations inside, especially named princes, Di’s chamber by the excavators will fill any visitor with awe. It is highly recommended that you take the help of a guide as you don’t want to be lost in dark passages and chambers. Caving equipment is available from guides around the cave, but ensure that you carry an extra pair of clothes.

Impressive experience. Carry basic tools such as torchlight and waterproof shoes. As water is flowing continuously, the rocks are slippery. During rainy season Water level may increase without warning. It’s recommended to seek guidance from natives. Road to Siju is tough to negotiate. Four-wheel drive vehicle is recommended.Have a safe and curious site visit, people!

5.DAWKI :

Dawki lies about 95km from Shillong and it is just 2 km away from Bangladesh border. A journey amidst the hilly regions from Shillong will take you to this thriving centre.

It is really hard to ignore the crystal clear water of the Umngot River of this town. Boat ride in this pristine river is a major tourist attraction. Travelers enjoy being part of this magnificent scenery and enjoy nearby sights and sounds. The soothing natural beauty of this town and rushing water of Umngot River is a perfect combination for all kinds of visitors either looking for peace or for an adrenalin rush through adventure. This town has it all. Often visited by tourists around the world, this place has a scenic beauty that travelers can’t quit talking about even months after their visit to this attractive town.

The city becomes a hotbed of tourist activities especially during the spring months as it hosts the boat riding competition on the Umngot River. The surrounding greenery, the cold water of the river and the beautiful suspension bridge on the River Umngot make Dawki a place worth a visit.

6.JAINTIA HILLS:

A relatively smaller hill district as compared to the Khasi and Garo Hills, the Jaintia Hills still amazes travelers with its pristine lakes and lush greenery. Jowai, the administrative headquarters, is the most developed town in this region and is the only place connected to other towns outside the hills. The Jaintia hills comprise of two districts: the East Jaintia Hills and West Jaintia Hills.

A land of undulating hills rich in mineral deposits. The natural vegetation changes according to the topography of the land kingdom of Jaintiapur now in present-day Bangladesh.

The Jaintia Hills is home to one of the most beautiful waterfalls of India, the Krang Suri Falls. Set against the backdrop of the rugged rocks with the verdant creepers and trees, the unreal shade of blue taken on by the water inspires the artistic side of anyone who views it. The beautiful village of Nartiang is also situated in these fascinating Jaintia hills where one can find the remnants of the Summer Palace of the Jaintia King.

7.KYLLANG ROCK:

The southern side of the rock is very steep and inaccessible, but the rock can be accessed from its northern and eastern sides. The Bright red granite is claimed by the geologists to be several million years old.

The southern side of Kyllang Rocks is embellished with enormous blocks of rocks. The northern flank is lush green with rhododendron trees and oaks. Rock climbing enthusiasts often visit Kyllang rock.

The Rock which is 5400 ft above sea level and has a width of around 1000 ft is a mammoth block of granite which is part of the Khasi folklore and seems beautiful in its shape. A hike to the top of Kyllang Rock allows you to treasure the marvellous landscape of the surrounding area.

Surrounded by age-old Red Rhododendrons, Kyllang Rock is said to have a special magnetic field which makes sure that people don’t fall off it. The mammoth dome is inaccessible from its southern side whereas the northern side is full of rhododendrons and bushes. Rock climbing lovers flock to Kyllang Rock to test their skill and enjoy some unhindered adventure. Trekking to the top of the rock takes around 30 minutes but the view from the top is worth it. You can also climb to the top by the staircase at the site.

8.GARO HILLS:

It is densely forested and hence one of the richest spots in bio-diversity.The Garos predominately inhabiting the three districts of the State namely East Garo Hills, West Garo Hills, and South Garo Hills are basically superstitious, believe in spirits and have a rich traditional tales of myths and legends.

The tree of Boldak Matchu Karam, the rock of Naka Chikong, and the lake of Napak are all examples of these traditions, and the maintenance of the same attracts hordes of tourists all year round. Between the months of September and December, the post-harvest festival of 100 Drums Wangala is celebrated with great pomp at the Asnang village, now becoming a multicultural attraction with neighboring tribes participating in the festivities with great enthusiasm as well. The largest town in the hills is Tura, which is also the most developed area and home to all the important administrative buildings.

The Nokrek Biosphere Reserve, one of the most important national parks with international importance, is located in this nature-rich area. The hills are also decked with splendid waterfalls, enriching the ecological coherence of the place. Garo Hills are basically superstitious, believe in spirits and have rich traditional tales of myths and legends. To the Garos everything that is interesting and unnatural has to have the lore of some kind.

9.UMIAM LAKE:

Umiam Lake, a mesmerizing man-made reservoir, is located at a distance of 15 kilometers north of Shillong which is the capital of the north-eastern Indian state of Meghalaya. The lake was formed after a dam was constructed to generate hydroelectric power.

Intended initially as a reservoir for a Dam, the Lake quickly became one of the most popular tourist’s spots in Shillong, becoming a prominent venue for kayaking, water cycling, boating and scooting. Tourists can also enjoy riding rowboats, paddle boats, sailing boats, cruise boats, and speed boats as well.

Due to its picturesque, panoramic setting, surrounded by the lush and lofty East Khasi Hills, Umiam Lake is often compared with the beautiful and mesmerizing Lakes of Scotland. The lake also features a beautiful garden named Lum Nehru Park, near its shores that add to its charms. Moreover, there are small islands that rise from the water that looks exceedingly beautiful and when glimpsed from UCC.

The scenic Umiam Lake is encircled by lush green East Khasi hills that form one of the best panoramic sights for nature-lovers in the country. The sunrise at the lake is a treat to watch and shouldn’t be missed. The Umiam Lake has a park adjoining it which is a hotspot for picnics and frequented by locals for a getaway from their busy scheduled.

10.MAWLYNNONG VILLAGE :

Not only is this village spotless clean but it’s one of the prettiest ones you’ll see in the country. The cleanest village in India, Mawlynnong Village is also known as God’s Own Garden and for all the right reasons.

In 2003, Mawlynnong was awarded the title of the cleanest village in Asia by Discover India. Alongside cleanliness, the village has achieved a lot- be it 100 percent literacy rate, or a women empowerment scenario that the rest of the world can only dream of. During the rainy season, village and its surroundings become lush green and thus turn absolutely picturesque.

The onus to keep the village clean lies with every person residing in the village. Local cleaning the roads, picking up leaves and throwing garbage in the bin is a very common sight. Bamboo garbage bins adorn every nook and corner of the village highlight the consciousness of cleanliness among the villagers. Cleanliness is an age-old tradition and a way of life for all villagers. The village has won the accolade for being the cleanest village in Asia in 2003 as well as the Cleanest Village in India in 2005. The village also offers a breathtaking view of Bangladesh plains as it is located on the Indo-Bangla border.

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