Wandering in the Hills of East Khasi of Meghalaya is arduous but the sight of the waterfall can leave any visitor wonderstruck. Nature is truly at its best here. The waterfall is a “secret” one, as per the local guide because people rarely visit the place due to the difficult approach road to it. One cannot hear any sound other than the roar of the falling water and chirping of birds and crickets.
This is located in Lapang at East Khasi Hills about 70km from Shillong. The magnificent waterfall comes to full glory during the monsoon with a massive flow of water. The most distinguishing thing is to see big round holes around the falls which are acting as a funnel.
Perched in the East Khasi Hills of Shillong, Hill Laitlum is a little-explored as such is village Smit. The village has a traditional house, the Ling Shad, that belongs to the King of the Khyrim and is believed to be more than 100 years old. The fascinating Nongkrem dance is performed during autumn outside the royal residence.
The house is made without any metal nails. The beautiful pine trees around with a big green amphitheatre makes it more beautiful and adorable. Smit is a absolutely pollution-free, serene and a very pleasant village. The road to Shillong and further to Smit is a pretty good one and very well maintained. The natural beauty of the place is a treat to the eye. A must visit if you Wandering in the Hills of East Khasi.
Exploring the Hills of Jaintia gives you the glimpse of the 600-year-old holy temple which is one of the 51 Shakti Peethas of Hindu religion. It is located on the top of the West Jaintia Hills in Meghalaya. The temple has an idol of Goddess Durga, the main deity. It is believed that there used to be the human sacrifice in this temple but now goat masked with a human face is sacrificed.
From the temple, there is a beautiful view of a series of mountains with the downrushing Myntang river “ Guardian Angel“. During the festival, hymns are chanted and the sacrifices lead to blood flowing down the river. Being the Shakti Peethas very few tourists from other states know about this place. Mostly locals and a single priest handling the temple.
Kiang Nangbah Monument:
Kiang Nangbah Monument was built in the honour of a Jaintia patriot “U Kiang Nangbah” who died as a martyr in the struggle for the freedom of the Jaintia land from the British rulers. This historical monument is at the centre of a vast field known as Madiah Kamai Blai which is on the banks of Syntu Ksar.
The field represents great historical importance, as there was a meeting of Jaintia-leaders took place in 1861. There is a school of fish in the river. You can try your luck by throwing your line in the river. The best spot as if your drawing from the child comes to alive before your eyes. Exploring the Hills of Jaintia with vast plains, a small tributary is flowing and small villages around the foothills.
This might sounds out of context for the beginning of the blog. I truly mean as a solo tourist. It’s a great opportunity to experience as a solo traveller. It gave me a chance places to visit in Meghalaya to conformed with new people and make new friends on the way and help me to explore new places that are offbeat for tourist places that many wouldn’t know, as you won’t find on any search engine.
I travelled solo here and if you are fretting over how safe the place is, be assured, there is nothing to worry about. This state will make you feel at home and you would wish if you could stay here forever. The most curiosity arises when we hear about North-East states and about the hidden nature and culture. This realizes the importance of mother nature and its preservation.
We always have more interest in the unknown and mystique places and North-East states never end to surprise and inspire. Most of the stunning sights are pixie rainforests, living root bridges, roaring high waterfalls, mountain drives under dramatic clouds, the blessing of Shakti Peetha, mysterious natural caves, crystal clear rivers with the islands, and the most friendly people! The places to visit in Meghalaya can be very cheap and affordable.
How to reach?
The only way to reach Meghalaya is via road from Guwahati. Guwahati is well connected by railway and airline. From the station, you may take a bus or taxi to Jorabat. From there you will get a taxi on hire or on a share to reach Shillong. The journey will be smooth and safe as roads are well maintained. The scenic beauty will greet you all the way.
Where to stay?
Shillong is flexible according to your budget. A variety of hotels and lodges are available near Police Bazaar City Centre. You will get rooms starting from ₹400. You may book hotels online.
Where to eat?
Shillong’s local street food is as delicious as any other food for you to explore new cuisines. Else you may have different restaurants according to your preference of appetite, it’s mainly available at Shillong or near tourist spots.
Trekking in the Sacred Forest will make you believe that why Meghalaya is compared with Scotland or any English countryside. There is beautiful green carpeted grass at the entrance of the jungle. The beautiful green land beckons you to its amazing environment paradise for photographers. The actual flavour of this sacred groove can be tasted with mystical vibes as soon as you step inside the forest and enjoy the serenity of this forest.
The distance view of the forest will remind you of some famous Hollywood movies. You can follow the whole trek with the small stream is flowing throughout the groove and can be of 3 to 4km. You need to hire a guide before you enter the 800-year-old jungle. Their rates are very reasonable and it’s according to the period you want to trek in the jungle. They are very gentle and knowledgeable. And remember the most important point- you cannot take anything out of this forest, else according to local beliefs, the deity gets upset. The main attraction is sacrifice-stones and pledge-stone.
Khasi Heritage Village:
It’s a model village just opposite the sacred forest. The Khasi Heritage Village exhibits the traditional lifestyle of the Khasi people. The village has houses built with mud and hay-sticks in the conventional Khasi style and has an amphitheatre. The Khasi people living around this model village still perform a few rituals in the forest and some cultural festivals at their amphitheatre.
You can feel the ambience of the village. There are ritual rocks that have been placed in the traditional Khasi style. The endowment of the forest by the local people has kept this wonderful nature preserved. The villagers’ belief of deity and its power have protected from the outlaws of modernization. If you love to travel slow then you might take daybreak at this amazing spot after Trekking in the Sacred Forest.
Top attractions in Cherrapunjee is its deep gorges, luxurious vegetation and boasts of an innumerable variety of ferns, moss, and orchids. It has alms of the Ram Krishna Mission and the Welsh Missionaries started their services in the Khasi Hills of Meghalaya. There is a famous orange orchard and apiculture around the city. Sohra prevails the British Cemetry locally known as ‘Jingtep Phareng’ wherein eighteen British Officials of the East India Company (1830-1866) lay buried.
How to reach?
There are multiple choices to reach Sohra, Cherrapunjee. Shared taxis are available from Bada Bazaar or you may hire from City Centre. Be brave to bargain before you hire any taxi. For hiring a taxi one-way trip may cost around ₹400-₹600, it depends how good you are at bargaining.
Where to stay?
If you want to feel calm and hear the downrush of waterfalls, it’s the best place to spend a night. There are hotels available at Sohra. The best hotel I found was near seven sister falls. The reception and approach of the staff were very pleasant.
If you love thrill and want to experience zip-lining then its perfect place. Mawkdok is the first viewpoint on the way to top attractions in Cherrapunjee. I must say you will experience the thrill. There are two different routes. One is a small parallel to the one hill and the other is the big one across two valleys. The cost of the small one is ₹400 per person and the big one is ₹800.
It is better to book for ₹800 if you are ready to cross the valley, as it covers the route of ₹400 as well, for the warm-up. Their arrangement is really good and safe. The beautiful waterfall carves out of the mountain and forms into a small tributary that you can only experience from the top.
Living root bridge:
The living root bridges are handmade by Khasi and Jaintia tribes who have mastered the art of guiding the roots into the shape to the bridge. Some of the root bridges in Meghalaya are over 100 feet long and take about 10 to 15 years to get the perfect shape of the bridge. It can bear the weight of more than fifty people at a time It is used to cross the streams across the valley.
One such bridge is located near Mawlynnong village. Drive to Riwai village to reach the root bridge. From there, it’s approximately a 15-minute walk. There are many living root bridges around the hills. All are adorable. In recent double-decker bridges are endowed in the deep jungles of Meghalaya which are precious hard work of the locals. They are more difficult to reach in terms of transportation and long trek.
Around 80kms from Shillong, there is a small village- Mawlynnong which earned its status as Asia’s cleanest village in 2003. Its streets are lined with traditional Khasi huts with gardens that are full of colourful flowers. There are bamboo baskets outside every house to be used as bins. It’s the hard work of the children of the village who keep it clean.
You may have local Khasi food at their food stall which resembles a typical Khasi hut with machan connected to the verandah. You can know more of there hard works which keep their village clean. The people are polite, gentle and friendly and they love to share their experience.
A couple of hours from Mawlynnong there is Indo-Bangladesh border town of Dawki. The jewelled emerald water of the Umngot river. popularly called Dawki river owing to its location, looks as if belonging to another world is one of the top attractions in Cherrapunjee. The alcoves on both sides, coupled with the sound of rippling water and chirps of the birds can give one a heavenly feeling as of the fairytale setting.
You may hire a boat and go around the Umngot river and can witness the Bangladesh border and their patrolling boats or can stroll on the riverbank full of naturally chiselled round and shapely pebbles. The small town after which this lake is the most attractive scenic beauty, it is must-visit for nature lovers.
The West Khasi Hills are locally known as the “Bri U HynniewTrep” – Land of the Seven Huts. How the Khasis had come to settle in these beautiful hills and from where they had come still remains a mystery. Beautiful valley on the Nongstoin meandering across the road viewpoint is just relaxing with the fresh air around. You will never forget this place once visited. One of such places in Meghalaya is Nongkhnum River Island.
Nongkhnum River Island:
This is Asia’s second-largest River Island. To reach there you have to hire a taxi to take the ride of approximately 80kms journey from Shillong. The beautiful countryside views along the winding way are something to admire for though after Nongstoin the road gets worse with stones and dirt. You should carry enough food and water before you reach Nongkhnum River Island. You may sit on the beach to enjoy the blue water surrounded by hills and explore the islands.
There is a walking trail full of long bushes and trees. If you take a stroll of about ten to fifteen minutes among the bush, you can see the immense waterfall pouring down. The fierce sound of the waterfall with vapours formed around is breathtaking. Nature is at its best to give you a picturesque location with an amazing experience of colourful landscape.