Tourism in Meghalaya
Meghalaya is a beautiful state located in the northeastern region of India. Known as the “Abode of Clouds,” Meghalaya offers stunning landscapes, lush green hills, cascading waterfalls, crystal-clear rivers, and vibrant cultural heritage. It is a popular tourist destination for nature lovers, adventure enthusiasts, and those seeking tranquility.
Meghalaya is renowned for its breathtaking natural beauty. The state is home to the famous Living Root Bridges, unique architectural wonders created by interweaving the roots of ancient trees. The picturesque landscapes of Cherrapunji and Mawsynram, known as the wettest places on Earth, attract visitors with their mesmerizing waterfalls and mist-covered valleys.
Meghalaya is a paradise for adventure seekers and cave explorers. The state boasts a vast network of caves, including some of the longest and deepest caves in the world. The Khasi Hills and Jaintia Hills regions are particularly famous for their limestone caves, such as Mawsmai Cave and Krem Liat Prah, offering thrilling experiences for spelunking enthusiasts.
Meghalaya is home to various indigenous tribes, including the Khasi, Garo, and Jaintia communities, each with their unique traditions, festivals, and handicrafts. The vibrant culture of Meghalaya can be experienced through traditional dance forms, music, and local cuisine, showcasing the state’s rich heritage and diversity.
Shillong, the Capital
The capital city of Meghalaya, Shillong, is a popular tourist hub. It is known for its pleasant climate, British colonial architecture, and panoramic views from viewpoints like Shillong Peak and Elephant Falls. The city is also famous for its vibrant music scene and hosts the annual India International Cherry Blossom Festival.
Meghalaya offers various adventure sports opportunities. Trekking enthusiasts can explore the scenic trails of Meghalaya, including the popular David Scott Trail. The state also offers opportunities for river rafting in the Umngot River and angling in the crystal-clear waters of Dawki.
Wildlife and Nature Reserves
Meghalaya is home to several wildlife sanctuaries and national parks, preserving its rich biodiversity. The Nokrek National Park, Balpakram National Park, and Baghmara Reserve Forest are notable wildlife destinations, where visitors can spot rare species like the Asian elephant, clouded leopard, and hornbill.
To promote tourism, the Meghalaya government and local communities have been working towards sustainable and responsible tourism practices, ensuring the preservation of the state’s natural and cultural treasures. Visitors to Meghalaya can expect a unique and immersive experience in the lap of nature, away from the bustling city life.
Things to do in Meghalaya
Here are some things you can do in Meghalaya:
Explore the Living Root Bridges
Meghalaya is famous for its unique living root bridges, which are natural wonders created by the indigenous Khasi and Jaintia tribes. The most popular ones are the Double Decker Root Bridge and the Single Decker Root Bridge in the village of Mawlynnong.
Visit Cherrapunji (Sohra)
Cherrapunji, also known as Sohra, is one of the wettest places on Earth. It offers breathtaking views of waterfalls, including the Nohkalikai Falls, which is the tallest plunge waterfall in India. You can also visit the Mawsmai Cave and the Seven Sisters Falls.
Explore the Mawlynnong Village
Known as “Asia’s Cleanest Village,” Mawlynnong is a picturesque village with well-maintained roads, beautiful flower gardens, and an eco-friendly atmosphere. You can stroll around the village, interact with the locals, and experience the local Khasi culture.
Trek in the Khasi Hills
Meghalaya is a paradise for nature lovers and trekkers. The Khasi Hills offer various trekking routes that take you through dense forests, valleys, and charming villages. The David Scott Trail, Mawphlang Sacred Forest trek, and Nongkhnum Island trek are popular options.
Visit the Mawphlang Sacred Forest
Located near Shillong, the Mawphlang Sacred Forest is a protected grove believed to be over 800 years old. It is considered sacred by the local Khasi people and is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna. Take a guided walk through the forest and learn about its cultural significance.
The capital city of Meghalaya, Shillong, has a unique blend of modern and traditional influences. Visit the Ward’s Lake, Don Bosco Museum, and Shillong Peak for panoramic views of the city. Enjoy the local cuisine, shop for traditional handicrafts at the Bara Bazaar, and soak in the vibrant music scene for which Shillong is famous.
Discover the Caves of Meghalaya
Meghalaya is known for its numerous caves, many of which are still unexplored. The Mawsmai Cave near Cherrapunji is a popular tourist spot, but there are several other caves worth exploring, such as the Krem Mawmluh, Krem Dam, and Krem Liat Prah.
Experience the Nongkhnum Island
Located on the Brahmaputra River, Nongkhnum Island is the largest river island in Meghalaya and the second-largest in Asia. It offers serene surroundings, sandy beaches, and opportunities for boating and fishing. You can also visit the nearby Langshiang Falls.
Attend the Wangala Festival
If you happen to visit during November, don’t miss the Wangala Festival, which is the most important harvest festival of the Garo tribe. It showcases vibrant traditional dances, music, and cultural performances, giving you a glimpse into the indigenous heritage of Meghalaya.
Remember to check the local weather conditions, plan your trips in advance, and respect the local customs and environment while visiting Meghalaya.
Meghalaya Tour Packages
FAQs on Meghalaya Tourism
Meghalaya is a state located in northeastern India. It shares borders with Assam to the north and east, Bangladesh to the south and southwest, and the Indian state of Tripura to the southeast.
Meghalaya is well-connected by air, road, and rail. The nearest major airport is in Guwahati, Assam, which is about 125 kilometers away from Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya. From Guwahati, you can hire a taxi or take a bus to reach various destinations in Meghalaya. Meghalaya is also accessible by road from other parts of the Northeast and neighboring states. The nearest railway station is also in Guwahati.
The best time to visit Meghalaya is during the months of October to April when the weather is pleasant and rainfall is minimal. The monsoon season (June to September) should be avoided as the region experiences heavy rainfall, which can disrupt travel plans and make certain areas inaccessible.
Meghalaya offers several picturesque tourist destinations. Some of the popular ones include Shillong (known as the “Scotland of the East”), Cherrapunji (famous for its living root bridges and waterfalls), Mawlynnong (recognized as the cleanest village in Asia), Dawki (known for its crystal-clear river and the Umngot River boat rides), and Nongriat (home to the famous Double Decker Living Root Bridge).
No, Indian nationals do not require any permits to visit Meghalaya. However, if you are a foreign national, you would need to obtain an Inner Line Permit (ILP) to visit certain restricted areas in Meghalaya. The ILP can be obtained from the Meghalaya House or specific entry points in the state.
Meghalaya offers a range of activities for tourists. Some popular activities include exploring the living root bridges, trekking through scenic trails, caving in the limestone caves, boating on the Umngot River in Dawki, enjoying the local cuisine, experiencing the vibrant culture and festivals, and witnessing the breathtaking views of waterfalls and landscapes.
It is advisable to pack comfortable clothing, especially during the summer season, as Meghalaya experiences pleasant weather. Additionally, pack rain gear, as the region receives a significant amount of rainfall. It is also recommended to carry sturdy shoes for trekking and exploring caves, insect repellent, sunscreen, and a camera to capture the beautiful landscapes.
Meghalaya is generally considered safe for tourists. However, like any other destination, it is advisable to take standard precautions such as avoiding isolated areas at night, keeping your belongings secure, and following the local customs and regulations. It is also recommended to check for any travel advisories or updates before visiting.