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Shillong is a small hill station in northeast India and the capital of Meghalaya which means “Abode of Clouds” in the East Khasi Hills District. The ancient name of Shillong was Yeddo. The rolling hills around the towns reminded the British of Scotland and got its name as the “Scotland of East”. The three main tribes consist of the Khasi, Garo, and Jaintia. This place is famous for its mesmerizing natural beauty.
Here I will suggest you visit five places whenever you come to Shillong.
1. Umiam Lake
Before entering the city this is the first tourist spot you will glance from your vehicle. This lake also known as Barapani is a reservoir in the hills 15km north of Shillong. This Dam, which impounds the lake was built by the Assam State Electricity Board in the early 1960s. The main purpose of this dam was to store water for hydroelectric power generation. Besides storing water it serves as a major tourist attraction. If you are a person who loves water adventure and water sport, this is the right place for you. This spot is famous for kayaking, water cycling, scooting, speed boating, and water skiing. With all these activities you can also enjoy the mesmerizing beauty of the hill, meadows, and a variety of colorful flowerbeds. This lake serves as a good picnic spot with friends and family. Resorts with water activity facilities are also available.
2. Shillong Peak
Shillong Peak is located at a distance of 10km southwards of the main city, which stands massively 1962 meters above the sea level. It is one of the highest points in the state and offers exotic views of the waterfalls, the Himalayan range, the lush green environment as well as the Bangladesh plains. It also offers a telescope for the tourist for breath-taking bird’s eye view of the city.
The Shillong Peak is often bounded by fog due to its high altitude. The peak is not steep and is in a semi-circular form. You can approach the place through the Upper Shillong or the Jowai Road. If you are really adventurous and a nature lover you must trek this place and don’t forget to carry packed snacks. This place is isolated from the city and really peaceful which will refresh your tiring soul.
This location also features a RADAR station of the INDIAN AIR FORCE. Due to security reasons at the airbase, travelers need to show their original ID cards and surrender their cameras at the check post before entering the viewpoint area. The entry of Foreigners is restricted as it is controlled by the INDIAN AIR FORCE.
3. Elephant falls
The name Elephant Falls was given by a British officer when he spotted a giant rock that looked like an elephant near the falls. The rock was destroyed in 1987 due to earthquake. Since the Elephant Falls shares its name with another famous waterfall in the Da-Lat region of Vietnam, especially international tourists get baffled while visiting the Elephant Falls. The local name of this waterfall is ‘Ka Kshaid Lai Pateng Khohsiew’ which means the three-step waterfall.
The first fall is an example of the horsetail- punchbowl which is board and hidden by the floras. The second fall is domesticated and in the winters (and drier months) looks insignificant. The third fall is the tallest and the looks more spectacular with crystal clear water falling over sharp rocks.
The Elephant Falls is situated about 13km away from Shillong. Hence cabs are available aplenty which includes joint package options which include a trip to Shillong peak along with the Elephant Falls. Many local stalls are available with varieties of the local showpieces and local jewelry pieces, before entering the waterfalls.
4. Don Bosco Museum
People interested in ethnic tribal culture and tradition must visit this govt museum which is under the control of the Art and Cultural Department which shows the lifestyle of all the tribal people of the North East. Besides the monuments of the great patriots of the state the statue of Indira Gandhi and Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.
This is a three-in-one institution combining artifacts a research and publication center that focuses on preserving the heritage culture of the seven sister states. The uniqueness of this museum is the fusion of all the North-Eastern cultures under one roof. The museum contains seventeen galleries displaying the cultural artifacts and paintings. It also offers research and study facilities with a specialized library of 10,000 books. It also provides a media hall and conference hall. This place is frequently visited by the school students and old researchers and anthropologists. The most important part of the museum is the Sky Walking which provides a thrilling view of the city. I personally loved the Sky Walk which was really amazing after a tiring day all in the museum and very windy but you will really enjoy it as you can catch a glimpse of the entire city.
5. The Cathedral of Mary Help of Christians
This is not a tourist spot but I would suggest you visit this Catholic church as it is one of the massive and most beautiful churches in the city with good architecture. It is located in the Laitumkhrah locality in Shillong. It has high arches and stained-glass windows which add to its grandeur.
The Cathedral Church building is that it stands on sand. The type of foundation was recommended since the region, where Shillong is located, is prone to severe earthquakes. The elasticity is provided by the sand on which the structure has been made to stand.
The inside of the church also holds several works of church art that portray scenes from Holy Scriptures and the life of the Saints. The Church also contains a wishing pool with a Mother Mary statue, it is believed if you wish with a clean heart the wish surely comes true.