Very aptly named ‘Meghalaya’, which means ‘the abode of clouds’, the state is blessed with natural beauty. You can see the misty valleys, green meadows and clouds covering the whole of the state. Not to mention the mesmerizing waterfalls, which make your journey to Meghalaya a living memory for ever. Meghalaya has everything from natural wonders to man-made attractions. Visiting this place you also get a glimpse of the culture and tradition of what is typical of this North-East region. The folk dance, songs and cultural celebrations are unique of this state. Indian Holiday lets you explore the enchantingly beautiful state of Meghalaya and know about its rich cultural heritage.
What to do in Meghalaya
What to do in Meghalaya is a question that must have come to your mind before planning a trip to the misty valleys Known as one of the Seven Sisters (as the seven states of North-East are referred), this state is a real beauty to visit for a vacation. The place is inhabited by Jaintia, Garo and Khasi tribes who have preserved the cultural heritage of the region all through the centuries. Natural surprises such as variety of wildlife such as reptiles, mammals, birds and insects, hills, natural caves and waterfalls are predominantly found in Meghalaya. You can plan a visit to some of the top cities with number of great places to visit. You can also enjoy the colorful festivals that mark the cultural richness of the place.
Top places to visit in Meghalaya
Meghalaya flaunts some of the best cities, which are known for their beauty. While some are hill stations, others have unique attractions like colored rocks and monoliths. Some of such wonderful destinations to be checked out during a visit to this North-Eastern region are:
Shillong: Popularly referred as the ‘Scotland of the East’, Shillong is one of the best holiday destinations in Meghalaya. It is a hill station, which lies at an altitude of 1496 meters above the sea level. Shillong is located close to the place that gets the highest rainfall; Cherrapunji. This is where you can check out the Spread Eagles Falls, Butterfly Museum, Lady Hydari Park and Zoo, Elephant Falls and Meghalaya State Museum.
Nongstoin: Nongstoin is known for its colored rocks, which are unique in their own way. The place lies at a distance of 93 kilometers from the state capital. This destination is also known for the saw mills and log wood work. The place has abundance of natural beauty and can be accessed from Shillong Barapani and Guwahati.
|Cherrapoonji falls in Meghalaya|
Cherrapunji: Truly beautiful Meghalaya can be witnessed and experienced at Cherrapunji. The place is at about 4,500 square feet above the sea level. It is famous for its rains, which makes Cherrapunji the wettest place on earth. This place thus holds a name for the same in Guinness Book of World Records. The charming valleys of Cherrapunji covered with mystic mist make it an ideal destination for honeymooners in Meghalaya.
Nongpoh: Nestled in East Khasi Hills, Nongpoh is one of the most resplendent destinations to visit in Meghalaya. Calm lakes and mystic green forests offer the contrasts that make your visit to Meghalaya a memorable experience. Nongpoh lies at a distance of 53 kilometers from the state capital. Nearby attractions to visit from Nongpoh are Orchid Lake and The Road Side Market.
Tura: Another beautiful destination to cover during your Meghalaya trip is Tura. Surrounded by Garo Hills, the place spells magic with its natural beauty. Tura acts as the headquarters of the well known West Garo Hills. The holy Brahmaputra flows through the town of Tura adding beauty to the region. The Tura Peak however is the main highlight of the region.
Nartiang: Lying on the foothills of Jaintia Hills, Nartiang is a wonderful place to visit in Meghalaya. The place is known for its monoliths. One of the major events that took place in the Jaintia Era is the erection of the monoliths.
Well known attractions in Meghalaya
There are numerous attractions to be checked out during your visit to this state blessed with natural wonders. Some of such notable attractions are:
National Parks: If you are fond of wildlife, you must certainly not miss visiting the splendid national parks in the state, which has a huge collection of them. Visit the Balpakram National Park and the Nokrek National Park to checkout well known mammals, birds, insects and reptiles in their natural habitats. You may even come across some of the rare species here.
Waterfalls: Meghalaya is known for its refreshingly beautiful waterfalls. The cascades add beauty to the valleys and also linger in your picture-perfect memories for ever. Sweet Fall, Spread Eagle Falls, Rengthiam Fall, Elephant Falls and Bishop and Beadon Falls are some of such notable waterfalls, which attract travel enthusiasts again and again.
Caves: Garo, Khasi and Jaintia Hills have some of the most intriguing and interesting natural caves. Some of these are dark ands frightening while others are well illuminated. Get close to Krem Mawmluh, Siju-Dobkhakol, Krem Kotsati cave, Krem Dam, Tetengkol-Balwakol cave and cave of Eocene age and love these mysterious dwellings, which exist since ages.
Cultural Festivals in Meghalaya
The state is also famous for its culture, which includes colorful dance performances, musical events and religious ceremonies. If you are lucky to visit the state during that time of the year when colorful festivals are being celebrated, you can actually take back special memories. Some of such cultural festivals and events are:
Doregata Dance: One of the most unique dance festivals in Meghalaya is the Doregata Dance Festival. As per the custom, women take part in folk dances and knock off the turban of their male partners with their head. This custom is considered as a success and is enjoyed thoroughly by the local people.
Nogkrem Dance: Nogkrem Dance Festival is celebrated with great enthusiasm in Autumn. The festival is celebrated in Smit, which is popular as the cultural centre of the Khasi Hills. The festival celebrates the forma of HIMA, which is an indigenous group of the Khasi tribe.
Wangala: Wangala is one of the most important festivals for Garos in Meghalaya. It is observed during Autumn. In the festival, locals pay homage to their god; Parigipa Rarongipa. They observe rituals for four days. It is further celebrated with folk dance and other forms of entertainment. The Dance of Hundred Drums is however the highlight of the festival. It is also known as the warrior’s dance.
Behdienkhlam: Another interesting festival to participate in is the Behdienkhlam. This is celebrated in the monsoon month of July in Jaintia Hill regions of Tuber and Jowai. The festival is marked by dancing around the pool, which is known by the name of ‘eit nar’. The festival is also marked by a football game known as ‘datlawakor’. They play it with a wooden football. Behdienkhlam celebrates good harvest.
What not to do in Meghalaya
Now that you know what to do, what not to do in Meghalaya must be your next question. Here, are some of the things that you must avoid doing when in the state. Some of these include:
- Don’t carry too much luggage while traveling.
- Don’t carry extra cash.
- Don’t drive if you are tired, weak, drunk or unsure of your state.
- Refuse food and drinks from strangers.
- Foreign tourists cannot get the Butanese currency; ngultrum in the state before traveling to Bhutan.
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