Known as the “Scotland of the East”, Shillong is famous for its veritable climate, tall pine trees covered with whispering green leaves, lovely waterfalls, excellent scenic beauty and picturesque setting. The city derives its name from the “Leishyllong”- the Superpower or God who is believed to reside on the Shillong peak.
Location of Shillong
Located at a height of 4,909 ft in the East Khasi Hills, Shillong is the capital of Meghalaya, situated in the north-eastern part of India. It is situated on a plateau bordered by the Umiam gorge to the north, Diengiei Hills to the northwest, and the Assam Valley to the northeast.
What to see in Shillong?
Shillong Peak: The Shillong Peak stands at an elevation of 6445 feet above sea-level. It is also famous for being the abode of the Khasi deity U Blei Shillong. Lying northwest of Shillong peak is the Diengiei Peak or Lum-Diengiei and to the northeast lies the Sohpetbneng Peak or Lum-Sohpetbneng and they along with the Shillong Peak stands proudly as eternal sentinels of the Shillong plateau.
Sohpetbneng Peak: Sohpetbneng Peak is regarded sacred by the Hynniewtrep people and lies at an elevation of 1,343 meter above sea level. Set amidst the backdrop of a sacred forest, Sohpetbneng Peak is considered as a heavenly peak as per Khasi mythology since it is said to fill the spiritual emptiness. Ward’s Lake: Ward’s Lake is constructed in memory of Sir William Ward, the then Chief Commissioner of Assam. It is located at the heart of the city and is known for beautiful walks and boating facilities.
Centenary Monument: The Shillong Centenary Monument was built as part of Shillong’s Centenary celebrations. It is a neat triangle of elegant monoliths and a large aluminium-globe with an arrow pointing towards the sky. This monument reminds the people of Shillong of the town’s transition from seat of colonial glory to that of a bustling capital of growing new State.
Sweet Falls: Sweet Falls is located near Happy Valley about 8kms from Shillong. Sweet Falls is one of Shillong’s popular tourist spots, an ideal site for relaxation.
Botanical Garden: Shillong’s Botanical Garden is situated at a secluded spot but contains a rich and exotic collection of trees and variety of colourful birds particularly Tragopan, Pheasant and Wildfowl.
Elephant Falls: Elephant Falls is located 12kms on the outskirts of Shillong and flows through fern covered rocks. This is a beautiful waterfall and one of the most frequented tourist spots of Shillong.
Golf Course: The golf course in Shillong is the third oldest golf course in India which is termed as the ‘Gleneagle of the East’ at the United States Golf Association Library and Museum.
Umiam Lake: 17kms from Shillong, Umiam Lake offers facilities like sailing, water skiing and water scooter.
State Central Library: State Central Library is the central landmark of the city of Shillong. It houses the State Museum which has a good collection of artifacts.
Polo Ground: The polo ground of Shillong was established by British sports lovers towards the end of the century. Polo gained immense popularity among the Shillong gentry.
Crinoline Falls: This is a cool spot near Lady Hydari Park, a must visit place for tourists in Meghalaya.
Spread Eagle Falls: This waterfall is set amidst the calm surrounding of nature which is a visual treat to the eyes.
Excursions from Shillong
Cherrapunji: Located at a distance of 51kms from Shillong, Cherrapunji is famous for receiving the highest rainfall in the world, though the title now goes to the nearby town of Mawsynram. No visit is complete without a visit to Cherapunjee.
Thadlaskein Lake: Thadlaskein Lake lies at a distance of 56kms from Shillong. It was dug with the help of arrowheads and fed by perennial underground springs.
Mawsynram: This is a huge stalagmite formation in the shape of a shivlinga located 56kms from Shillong and locally known as ‘Mawjymbuin’.
Accomodation selection in Shillong
Being a prominent hill station in the northeast, Shillong has some lovely hotels like Hotel Polo Towers near Polo ground, Hotel Pinewood Ashok near Wards Lake, The Royal Heritage near St Edmonds School and Hotel Alpine Continental near Police Bazaar.
Best season to visit Shillong
September to May is the best time to visit Shillong.
How to reach Shillong
By Air: The nearest airport is Guwahati in Assam.
By Rail: Guwahati is the nearest station and well connected with most parts of the country.
By Road: Shillong is well connected by road. Both taxis and buses operate form Guwahati.