Places To Visit If You’re In Shillong, Meghalaya(India)

The landlocked state of Meghalaya is one of the seven sisters of North-east India. It was formed by carving out two districts from the state of Assam: the Khasi Hills and  Jaintia Hills, and the Garo Hills on 21st January 1972. Road is the only means of transport while the capital Shillong is relatively well connected. The state offers many adventure tourism opportunities such as mountaineering, rock climbing, trekking and hiking, caving and water sports to name a few but more importantly Meghalaya is famous for its serene thick subtropical forest supporting a vast variety of flora and fauna and its majestic waterfalls, springs, and island.

Shillong

Apart from the magnificent and picturesque mountains top views, beautiful streams and rivers and the serenity of the dense forest of the state. Here are some of the five  places you can visit whilst staying in the city especially if you’re staying in the heart of the city Police Bazar :

A view of Ward’s lake


1. Ward’s lake –  Located in the heart of the city, one of the beautiful places to hang out. Open on all days of the week except on Tuesday, and the entry fee is only ₹10 per head for adults and ₹5 for minors. The place looks magnificent in both morning and evening and it is perfect for photography.


2. Golf Links


One of the largest and natural golf course in the whole of Asia, sought by every local as a picnic spot for their lazy Sundays afternoon, is a must  on your travel  bucket list if you’re in Shillong, to add bonus  to that statement,  the entry fee is free of cost with no fences and barricades, one of the most scenic places in Shillong.

3. Iewduh

An everyday scene in Iewduh


If you want to know about the culture and traditions of the people of the state and their livelihood one of the places you have to visit is the local market situated in Motphran, the place exhibit the traditional and cultural existence of the source of livelihood of the people of the state, being one of the oldest and the largest market in Shillong, looked after by the Khasi chieftains. The market is divided into large sections, each area dedicated to a specific possession or ingredient, here you can get anything from a traditional Khasi delicacy or to item or article used by the locals or perhaps a fruit or a vegetable grown only in the state. Honestly, the market is not for the light-hearted, as the lanes are smaller and with the hustling and bustling market, one can easily get lost into it but there’s always a way out as these markets have many exit and entry points. But if you want to explore the state through its core Iewduh is one of the places you do have to visit if you’re in the city.

4. Maitilang Park:

A splendid view of Maitilang Park

Located in Upper Shillong, formed by the Self Help Group of the area, is one of the most beautiful recreational places to visit with family and friends if you’re in Shillong, and the park gives a  good view of the elephant falls located on the opposite side of the park. The entry fee ranges from ₹10- ₹20, with a good parking space and a couple of restaurants and cafes in the park. The park gives out a laid back vibe with the music playing in the background and more importantly, with its majestic view of the elephant falls opposite to it.

5. Shillong Peak
One of the highest peak in Shillong offering a breathtaking and a Panasonic view of the whole of Shillong. The peak stands 2000mtr above sea level. The entry fee is ₹30 per head, the peak is strictly prohibited at the entrance (military zone) and if one climb to the top of the peak on a sunny day depending on the weather, one can get a spectacular view of the city. So if you’re in the state, and probably in Shillong Shillong Peak has to be in your go-to travel bucket list All the places and destination are easily accessible by cabs and buses mention above at a cheap cost.

Discovering Meghalaya: A trip to the cleanest town in Asia

It was a bright sunny day and our destination for the day was Mawlynnong, a paradise among the beautiful land of the Khasi hills. This place has also earned the status as the ‘cleanest village in Asia’ in 2003 by Discover India Magazine. Mawlynnong is a village in the East Khasi Hills district of the Meghalaya state, India. It is located 90 km from Shillong, along with the India-Bangladesh border. Our journey to this beautiful place began at 9 am in the morning from Shillong.

So as we move to our destination, passing through magnificent and mesmerizing picturesque hills and scenic valleys and streams, one could easily fall in love with its beauty. After one hour of traveling, we pass through the most breathtaking views and places as we see the hills, plateaus and the striking valleys of the Ri Khasi reflecting upon the warmth of the mother earth.

A glimpse of the views around us

The picturesque valley is surrounded by undulating hills. Khasi Hills Then our journey continues until we reach a place known as Pynursla where we had a break and to our surprise, it was a local market day. So, we quickly  explored the market and bought some fresh seasonal fruit known as Sophie. 

Then we continued our journey, and after two hours we finally reached our destination, Mawlynnong. It was a scorching day, and every one of us was relieved that finally , we had reached our destination.

Jiengkiengri or Root bridge

As soon as we reached our destination, we could see the purity and serenity of the place and  one could also feel the dapperness of the place, and  it looks amazing and beautiful. Soon after that, we had a little break to relieved, and enjoyed the view mother nature had install for us and admiring the serene beauty of the place. Being in that place we also went and see the famous root bridge or the ‘Jingkiengjri’ as the Khasi said. This splendid root bridge is formed by the roots entwining with each other and this process takes years and years to developed but only  with the help of mother nature and the locals who had been training these roots for years and preserving them to progress and developed into their magnificent bridge .

After that tour, we went back to the village of Mawlynnong, where we had our lunch and we had to prepare for the next tour. The balancing rock is another exciting feature in the village. After that, we went for a sky view which is also near the village, where we have to climb a treehouse, and from there we could see the  neighboring Bangladesh. It was one of the most majestic views where we could see the plains of Bangladesh, and with it one could see the sky and it seems as the sky touched the land. As it was noontime, we could see the sun sets down, and kiss the earth one last time before it leaves for the night, a perfect ending to this exquisite and life-changing trip.

So our journey to this beautiful paradise ended as we boarded our cars, we feel at peace with ourselves, there was an atmosphere of tranquility in the car as if the world has stopped ,everyone refreshed and renewed spiritually and mentally. After spending almost a day in this holistic paradise and learning how to maintained and preserved our mother earth, so that our future generations can also experience and cherished such amazing splendor of mother nature and it’s a gift it has for us.

Thus our experience in this paradise was absolutely pleasant  and we would love to revisit this place again maybe in the near future or so. Thank you Mawlynnong, and in your footsteps, we must follow in whatever way we can as the saying goes: “Cleanliness is next to godliness.”

KWAI: A humble and traditional bridge of hospitality in Meghalaya.

The act of serving kwai is one of the traditional offerings served out to the guests, family members, friends, and even strangers which form a bond and bridges people between the rich and the poor in the Khasi matrilineal society of Meghalaya without any discrimination.

kwai is being consumed or offered whether it is in happiness or sorrow. It is served both in celebrations or funeral, and so the Khasi people never run out of it. It is considered one of the important necessity in every Khasi household and a customary offering of the indigenous people of the state.

kwai has a history of its own, as per the Khasi folktale, there exists a friendship between a rich man and a poor one, the latter being heartbroken and ashamed on not having any food to served his beloved childhood friend committed suicide along with his wife. The friend knowing the act of sacrifice prompted him to take his own life as well, the Gods on seeing this blessed the people of the state with an abundance of areca nut and betel leaf as a way for the poorest people of the state to offer something to their guest visiting their homes without disintegrating their honor and respect,and thus kwai paved a way of social equality for the tribal people of the state.

kwai: A common item in a Khasi household

Offering kwai to someone is an act of lending out a hand of friendship between two strangers, some believed that chewing kwai on your own when you travel alone keeps you accompanied as the chewing of kwai raises your blood circulation and also act as a blessing for the cold winters in the state.

kwai is such an integral part of the Khasi society that they even relate it with death and describe people who are no longer here in this world as “Bam Kwai Ha Dwar U Blei”( maybe translated as they are blissfully and peacefully chewing kwai in the house of God).

So if you’re in any part of Meghalaya, do try kwai and enjoy it.