Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya is rightfully the Scotland of East. This beautiful hill city is covered with cascading hills and pine trees. The city gets its name from Lei Shyllong, a local deity, which is worshipped in the Shillong Peak. Standing at 1496m above mean sea level, this region has a soothing climate, crystal-clear waterbodies, manicured golf courses, museums, and much more. If you are looking for a cultural experience, you can find numerous tribal communities like Bhowal, Mykiem, Khyrim, Langrim, and others. Enjoying their tribal lifestyle and indigenous festivals is an important exotic activity in Shillong.
Given the natural beauty of the land, Shillong is a famous honeymoon destination, summer retreat destination, and a family vacation site. The landscape of this region allows Shillong to be an adventure destination too. Top outdoor sports to enjoy in Shillong are river canyoning, water rappelling, mountain biking, archery, golfing, caving, and others. If you want to enjoy the nature that is flourishing without the interference of westernized tourism, top places to visit are Shillong Peak, Mawsynram, Mawlynnong, Umaiam Lake, Sweet Falls, Jakrem, Cherrapunjee, and others.
Shillong's history is also fascinating and exciting. The city has a long and illustrious history. Shillong was not a large or well-developed city until 1864. Following a treaty signed in 1864, it was given the title of new civil station for both the Khasi and Jaintia hills. This hill station was once the capital of the British regional state of Assam, and it remained so for a long time after independence. For many years, Shillong served as the summer capital of Assam and Eastern Bengal.
However, due to a massive earthquake in 1897, the beautiful city was completely destroyed. Shillong served as the capital city after the restoration, when Meghalaya was declared a separate state in January 1972, and it has remained one of India's most beautiful capital cities since then.
Shillong was named after the famous peak of this hill station, "Shillong peak," according to legend. According to another legend, a boy named "Shyllong" was born to a virgin mother in Bisi, a village near Shilling. He was said to be an incarnation of a Shillong deity by the majority of the locals. As a result, the name of this magnificent hill station was derived from the name of this godly boy.
The Don Bosco Museum provides an insight into Shillong's fascinating indigenous culture. History and art lovers will love the most well-known attractions of Shillong. Several North-east Indian tribes have handicrafts, artifacts, clothing, ornaments, and weapons on display in the complex's 17 art galleries.
Police Bazar is a bustling market that seamlessly blends modern and medieval elements. There is a lot of fun, finery, and food to be discovered among the bustling shops, hotels, and eateries! Explore the beautiful local textiles, fabrics, and weaves. Don't pass up the chance to purchase gooey jams and jellies made from Sohiong, pineapple, and peaches.
Jadot is a charming little cafe that serves traditional Khasi cuisine. You can pick and choose from a variety of vegetarian and non-vegetarian options to find the dish that appeals to you. The smoky beef curry, glazed pork with black sesame seeds, raw fish, and tomato chutney, on the other hand, are all dishes we recommend. You can also order rice, vegetables, meat curry, salad, and chutney as part of a combo meal.
The festivals differ depending on the tribe. The most important holidays are Christmas, Easter, Good Friday, and New Year's Day. The Nongkrem dance, or Ka Pomblang Nongkrem, is one of the most important Khasi festivals. Another important Khasi festival is Shad Sukmynsiem. The Jaintias' festival, Behdiengkhlam, takes place in July. The Garos celebrate Wangala, a festival dedicated to the Sun God.
For enthusiastic travelers, Shillong has a plethora of attractions.
1- The Elephant Falls, located on the outskirts of Shillong, is a popular tourist destination. The Wei Laplam Falls and Wir Phang Falls are two of the most beautiful two-tiered waterfalls in the world. The area was named after a rock that looked like an elephant. The stone was shattered during the earthquake of 1897, but the name has survived. Because Christianity is the predominant religion in Shillong, the city has some of the most beautiful churches. The most popular cathedral in the area is the Cathedral of Mary’s Help of Christmas. This cathedral is thought to be earthquake resistant, and it offers a panoramic view of the majestic Himalayan Mountains.
2- Shillong Peak is another popular destination and the highest point in Meghalaya. Trek to this vantage point for a spectacular bird's eye view of Shillong city and countryside.
3- Lady Hydari Park is a well-known children's theme park with a deer park, a mini zoo, and plenty of open space for kids to run around in. This location was named after Lady Hydari, the first governor of Assam. With willow trees, small ponds, and rhododendron plants, Lady Hydari Park is designed in a Japanese style. The area also has a remarkable stretch of rose-beds, which adds to the beauty of the surroundings. Inside the park, there is a museum with photographs of rare species, dried python skin, elephant skulls, and stuffed leopards.
4-Butterfly Museum is a one-of-a-kind museum in India dedicated solely to the conservation of moths and butterflies. M/s Wankhar, Riatsamthiah in Shillong owns this museum, which houses an incredible 1600 different species of butterflies, moths, and other insects. This is a museum that should not be missed.
5- Golfers will enjoy the Shillong Golf Course. This golf course is compared to the prestigious Glen Eagle Golf Course in the United States because it is located at a high altitude surrounded by natural scenery.
6- Shillong's Umiam Lake is one of the city's most beautiful spots. This location, which is located in the northern part of town, is a perfect blend of beautiful scenery and adventure activities. The natural beauty of the surroundings will enchant you, while adventurers can enjoy boating, kayaking, and cycling on the lake.
For travelers looking for some action and adventure, Shillong has a lot to offer. Spend a romantic evening boating on the Umiam Lake or taking a stroll along Ward's Lake to work on your muscles while waterfall rappelling at Elephant Falls. Attend a music concert in Shillong and you'll understand why it's known as India's Rock Capital! Take a musical journey to see names like Lou Majaw, Afflatus, and Soulmate in their native land; attend a music concert in Shillong and you'll understand why it's known as India's Rock Capital!
Shillong may not have many flashy malls or shopping areas with high-end brands on display, but what it does have is sufficient to meet the needs of both locals and visitors. The place will present you with a variety of options with a rich sense of style and aesthetics, whether it is clothing, handicraft, food, or music. It's nearly impossible to spend a day in Shillong without hearing the name Police Bazaar mentioned at least once! Police Bazaar is a bustling market that combines traditional and modern elements. On the one hand, you'll find contemporary items, while the next shop may sell locally made traditional items. There's Lewduh Market or Bara Bazaar for the old school, which is more of a community gathering spot than a commercial hub!
Shillong enjoys a pleasant climate throughout the year, making it a year-round destination. Summer arrives in March and April, but the weather is still pleasant. There is no excessive heat, and summers are mostly mild, with temperatures ranging from 24 to 15 degrees Celsius. This is an excellent time for sightseeing and other activities.
Rainfall varies from average to heavy from June to September. The waterfalls are even more beautiful at this time of year, and Shillong is even greener. July is the wettest month of the year. Though sightseeing is a little difficult at times, the hotels provide excellent value.
In October, the rains stop and the weather begins to cool. Shillong's winter season officially begins in November. Temperatures can drop to as low as 2°C in the winter. This is the place to be for both honeymooners and leisure vacationers who enjoy the chill of winter. Pack plenty of woolens because the nights can get quite cold.
By Road – If you decide to travel to Shillong by road, be aware that the scenery is breathtaking. However, your journey will begin in Guwahati, on National Highway 40. The trip will take about 2 hours and 46 minutes. You have the option of driving yourself or hiring a private taxi or shared cab. There are also government-run deluxe buses from MTC and ASTC that run regularly.
By Train – If you want to travel by train, you'll need to take one that stops at Guwahati Railway Station. It is the nearest railway station to Shillong, at a distance of 100 kilometers. Don't worry, it's well connected to India's major cities, including Mumbai and Delhi. You can book a taxi to Shillong once you arrive.
By Air – Despite its name, Shillong does not have an airport. The nearest is Umroi Aiport in Barapani, which is only 25 kilometers away. However, it has limited access to other cities. You can fly to and from Guwahati Airport, which has direct flights to and from all major cities. This is about 125 kilometers from Shillong. If you want to be a little more daring, you can take a helicopter from Guwahati.
If you are down for some lazy time, explore the local markets to hunt souvenirs like bamboo articles, wood articles, hand-woven local shawls, tribal head gear, traditional attire, handicrafts, accessories, and more. The next interesting activity to enjoy here is the local cuisine, which is famous for pork dishes prepared with an assortment of local spices.
Shillong is filled with interesting small hill villages, hot Sulphur natural springs, waterfalls, lakes, trails, and much more. The best way to cover all these attractions is by choosing a holistic Shillong Tour Packages between September and end of May. However, if you wish to enjoy athematic vacation with honeymoon activities, adventure activities, or others, you can find customized tour packages too. Check out of the list of itineraries and pick the one that covers Shillong in the way you would cherish.