One interesting outcome that came out of the waves of the pandemic that we have all been facing since 2020 and the various travel restrictions all around the world made us explore the wonders of our own country. Right from Kerala to Rajasthan, India offers completely different experiences depending on whether you choose to travel. One such wonderful North Eastern state is Meghalaya which literally means "abode of clouds" a name derived from Sanskrit Megha, "cloud" + Alaya, "abode") It is also known as “Scotland of the East” for its highlands, fog, and scenery.
The climate there also makes Mawsynram, a village in Meghalaya the wettest place on Earth. Meghalaya has some of the most beautiful waterfalls, and lakes and is also home to various "sacred groves". Sacred groves are areas of forests or natural vegetation that are usually dedicated to local folk deities or tree spirits or some religious symbolism over many generations, often since ancient times. These spaces are found all over India, are protected by local communities and there are quite a few all over Meghalaya. Apart from this Meghalaya is also one state that follows a matrilineal system. We are completely fascinated by this wonderful state and here are 8 more reasons (apart from the ones mentioned above) that you must visit Meghalaya.
What place would be a better start than the state’s capital Shillong? This place is home to some incredible waterfalls and museums. Shillong is known for the forested hills, pleasant climate, and scenic beauty which make it the perfect place for tourists and trekkers.
2. Balpakram National Park
This national park is referred to as the ‘Land of Spirits’ by the local population. This is a must-visit place for all wildlife enthusiasts and wildlife photographers. Animals like elephants, tigers, red pandas, deer, etc. can be spotted here. Nokrek Biosphere Reserve is another spot you should not miss. Nokrek is believed to be home to a mythical creature named Mande Burung or Apeman. Although no concrete evidence is there maybe you could encounter one on your trip. Both these places are on the UNESCO list.
3. Living Root Bridge
This is a well-known bridge made by the roots of an Indian rubber tree and it is one of the most visited places in Meghalaya because it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Our very own Sampada Vaze visited this living root bridge and she was in awe of the structure and the natural beauty surrounding it. This bridge is situated in Cherrapunji and is around 200 years old. The Umshiang river flowing below the river makes it a serene place where you can spend all your day in peace.
4. Mawlynnong Village
This village holds the title of being the cleanest village in Asia. It is located in East Khasi Hills and is one of the exotic locations in Meghalaya. If you’re done with your city life and the concrete buildings then this is the place for you. This village has bamboo houses and green gardens that will make you forget your city life and you can spend some days in quiet here.
5. Nohkalikai Falls
This is the tallest plunge waterfall in India at a height of 340 meters. This waterfall is fed by the monsoon water, so the best time to visit it is after the monsoon season. The waterfall will give you the chills but also at the same time make you feel like you are in heaven because of its gigantic size and the crystal clear water. Nohkalikai waterfall is the pride of Meghalaya. Some other waterfalls you can visit are Elephant Falls which is located near Shillong and is a magnificent site to visit. The second one is Krang Suri Falls in the Jaintia hills. The water in this waterfall is shimmering blue and it has a lush green surrounding. So, all you beautiful people, make sure you visit these waterfalls for Instagram-worthy pictures.
6. Caves of Meghalaya
Arwah caves are located near Cherrapunji and if you are fascinated by ancient life and fossils then this place must be on your list. These are limestone caves and on the walls of these caves, you can see crustacean shells and fish bones fossilized. These caves also provide a breath-taking view of waterfalls when you pass through them. These caves will surely transport you to ancient times and you will love that feeling. Meghalaya also offers spelunking opportunities to thrill-seekers through caves like Krem Dam, Krem Riblai, Krem Puri, Krem Khung, and many more. The cave system in Meghalaya runs across the length and breadth of the state. The best time to explore these mystical caves is in the winter season but do take an expert team with you when you go for cave exploration.
Krem Mawsmai caves have stalactites and stalagmite formations with water dripping from them. These caves give a surreal feeling once you start exploring them.
7. Umiam Lake
Umiam lake is the biggest artificial lake in Meghalaya. It is surrounded by Sylvian hills and Khasi pines which add to the majesty of this lake. This lake was initially established as a reservoir but now is a popular tourist attraction because of all the water sports facilities available at the lake. So, all you adrenaline junkies do visit the lake for activities like kayaking, boating, and water scooter ride.
8. Local Speciality Jadoh
Nothing brings out the culture of a place better than its food and we have something to recommend for the foodies too. Jadoh- It is made with rice and pork mixed with the best spices and Nakham Bitchi is a popular soup made of fish and vegetables is a must-try and is usually served to the guests in Meghalaya. Since rice is a staple part of the diet, the sweet delicacy Sakin Gata is also made from rice. It is a kind of sticky rice cake that is steamed in banana leaves and is really delicious. Along with the food items, you should also try the local drink Kyat. It is fermented rice beer and you will find it in every restaurant and bar in Meghalaya.
So, now we have provided you with a guide to the scenic state of Meghalaya. Do also take a look at this YouTube video of Sampada Vaze traveling through beautiful Assam and Meghalaya.