Shillong, the capital city of Meghalaya, is the preferred destination for those who thirst for natural beauty. The city, situated in the northeastern part of India, is also famous as the “Scotland of the East”.As per the 2011 census, the population of Shillong is 143,007, which makes it the 330th most populous city in India. The city is at an average altitude of 1,496 metres above sea level.
HOW TO REACH
Shillong airport at Umroi connects only to Kolkata. You can get a taxi to Shillong from the airport. Guwahati is the nearest major airport, about 100 km from Shillong. Guwahati airport is well-connected to major cities, like Delhi, Agartala, Aizawl, Kolkata and Imphal. International travelers will have to travel to Guwahati through Kolkata or Delhi.
Regular bus services connect Shillong with Guwahati. The bus station or depot is located at the centre of Shillong. State transport corporation and private operators run bus services from Shillong to many cities in Meghalaya and neighboring states.
Guwahati is the nearest railway station, around 100 km away. From station you can hire a taxi to Shillong. Guwahati is well-connected to all major railway stations of India.
WHAT TO SEE
Shillong has long been a favoured popular tourist destination given its natural beauty and pleasant weather and there are many places of interest here. Here is a list of popular tourist attractions in Shillong
Situated on the outer reaches of the main city of Shillong, the Elephant Falls is a two-tier waterfall. The two falls that enhance its beauty are known as the Wir Phang Falls and the Wei Iaplam Falls. It was named ‘Elephant Falls’ because a stone near the falls looked like an elephant. The stone was torn down by an earthquake in 1897, but the name has stuck.
The Shillong peak is the highest point in Meghalaya. It is located 5 km to the south of Shillong and is 6,433 feet in altitude. From here, one can enjoy the spectacular bird’s-eye-view of the city and the countryside.
Cathedral of Mary help of Christians:-
With Christianity being a dominant religion in the city, there are many beautiful churches in Shillong. Among them the most popular is the Cathedral of Mary Help of Christians, which is the cathedral of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Shillong. The cathedral is earthquake resistant and on a clear day one can see the River Brahmaputra and the peaks of the Himalaya Mountains from here.
The Entomological Museum, established in the 1930s, is more popularly known as the Butterfly Museum. It is a private property owned by M/s Wankhar, Riatsamthiah, Shillong. It is the sole museum in India which is dedicated to preserving the species of butterflies and moths. This colourful museum, with 1,600 species of butterflies, insects and moths, is a veritable treat for visitors. The museum remains open from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. from Monday to Friday, and from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday.
Lady Hydari Park:-
The Lady Hydari Park, a children’s themed park, derives its name from the wife of the first Governor of Assam, Lady Hydari. Established and maintained by the Forest Department, this park incorporates a mini zoo, a deer park, and an open area for children to play. The vast stretches of rose-beds make it strikingly beautiful. The park has been designed in a Japanese style, as there are several elements like rhododendron plants, small ponds and willow trees which remind one of the garden style of Japan.There is also a museum in a small house located inside the park. The rich biodiversity of Meghalaya has been showcased in this museum, which includes photos of rare species, stuffed leopard, dried skin of python, and skulls of elephant.
The Shillong Golf Course located at an altitude of 52000 feet, this is India’s first 18 hole golf course. Owing to its beautiful location, this golf course is sometimes compared to the Glen Eagle Golf Course in the United States.
The Umiam Lake, located in the north of Shillong, combines beauty and adventure facilities. It is also famous as Barapani or Big Water. It is an admired tourist destination for water cycling, kayaking and boating.The lake also provides a number of ecosystem services, like storing water for electricity generation and downstream irrigation.
A beautiful manmade lake named after Sir William Ward, the then, Chief Commissioner of Assam. A beautiful little lake with short garden walks and boating facilities – this is a popular spot for both local and visiting tourists.
Don Bosco Centre for Indigenous Culture:-
This museum displays a vast and very impressive collection of tribal artifacts along with a gallery on work done by Christian Missionaries in the area. Compulsory tours last for an hour and depart every half hour.
There are a variety of restaurants in Shillong. Most of the better ones are located inÂ Police BazarÂ area. Chinese, Indian and Tibetan foods are popular and even khun ksew. Service is poor in most places except those that are professionally managed. Besides, most eating places close early (before 9PM) so don’t be caught hungry.
Iewduh(Bara Bazar)Â Also known as ‘Barabazar’ is one of the oldest and largest traditional markets and trade centres in the whole of northeast India, Iewduh was originally located in the capital of Hima Shillong-Nongkseh but was later shifted to the present site. The hub of trade and commerce, where most of the shopkeepers are women, it comes under the direct management of the Syiem of Mylliem. Certain rituals are performed every year within the market area known as “Khlieh Iew” where huge monoliths are erected. The religious ceremony signifies invoking the blessings of ‘U Blei Shyllong’ – the Shillong God and also the market deity ‘Ka Iew- Lei Hat-Lei Khyrdop’, for trade and commerce to flourish and the upliftment of the economy of Ri Hynniewtrep land of the Khasi State of ‘Hima Mylliem’.