Places To Visit In Shillong- The Abode Of Clouds!

Elephant Falls

Shillong, the state capital of Meghalaya also known as the ‘Scotland of the East’ is one of the most popular tourist destinations of India. Situated at an altitude of 4,990-feet above sea level, it is a perfect mix of unique culture and natural heritage. If one wants to see the natural charm of the NorthEast than there are numerable places to visit in Shillong.

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The cascading waterfalls, azure lakes, botanical gardens, breathtaking greenery, swaying pine trees, and museums displaying the enriched culture of the Khasis, all make Shillong a perfect holiday destination. The cherry blossoms trees are a sight to behold in the month of October. Shillong, which literally means abode of clouds is a beautiful hill station in the North East part of India nestled amidst the mesmerizing Khasi and GaroHills, and your visit to this enchanting place remains incomplete if you have not visited the following tourist attractions and not witnessed the exquisite beauty that this hill station has to offer.

Top 9 Places To Visit In Shillong

  1. Elephant Falls
  2. Shillong Peak
  3. Umiam Lake
  4. Sohpetbneng Peak
  5. Don Bosco Museum
  6. Laitlum Canyons
  7. Ward’s Lake
  8. Mary Help for Christian Cathedral
  9. Cherrapunjee

1. Elephant Falls

Elephant Falls is undoubtedly one of the main tourist attractions, situated just 12 kilometres away from the state capital. Flanked by the beauty of the frothy water dropping in layers and dense green vegetation, it is a complete sight to behold and can be visited with family on a picnic or with friends for a days’ outing. The awesome waterfall was named by the Britishers after a rock at its bottom that appears like an elephant. However, the uncanny resemblance was destroyed by an earthquake in 1897.With three layers of the falls accessible and surrounded in lush greenery, with crystal clear streams of water brushing through its rock, this mesmerizing sight is a complete tourists’ paradise. Though the falls can be visited any time of the year, monsoons are the best time to see the falls in their full might and the magical feeling will remain engraved in your mind forever. The three-layered cascading natural view is considered one of the most spectacular waterfalls in the region.

Tip: It is advised to leave early from your place of stay to avoid traffic and congestion on the road leading towards the Elephant Falls. Also, the stairs leading to the falls might be slippery, so make sure you wear comfortable footwear with a good grip.

Location: Upper Shillong, Shillong

Best time to visit: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Entry fees:INR 20 per person

Activities/Attractions: Nature photography, sightseeing, shopping for souvenirs, Bamboo handicrafts, and exquisite hand-woven woollen shawls

2. Shillong Peak

Shillong Peak

Another place worth visiting in Shillong, this peak is the highest spot of the city situated at a height of 1965 metres from sea level, and offers a breathtaking panoramic view of the scenic countryside, the lofty peaks of the Himalayas, several cascading waterfalls, and the plains of the neighbouring country, Bangladesh. One can reach this beautiful peak via the Upper Shillong or Jowai Road. Trekking is a highly recommended activity to get the most out of your visit to this tourist attraction, which is often covered by mist and fog. The abundant greenery and magnificent views all around will keep you spellbound. It is a true heaven for nature lovers, trekkers, adventure enthusiasts, photographers, and birdwatchers. It is believed that the patron deity Lieshyllong from which the name Shillong is derived resides in these hills and is its protector. There is a sacred site at the top of Shillong Peak where every spring rituals are organized. The place also has an Airforce base and a radar, and so tourists are advised not to carry their cameras and be prepared for strict security checking.

Tip: Carry a valid ID proof for entry beyond the check post

Location: Shillong View Point, Shillong

Best time to visit: 9:00 AM to 3:30 PM

Entry fees: N/A

Activities/Attractions: Photography, trekking, and bird watching

3. Umiam Lake

Umiam Lake

Umiam Lake is one of the other top places to see in Shillong and is situated at Umiam, at a short distance from the city on the Shillong-Guwahati Highway. Popularly known as Barapani, this refreshing site is a place where you can be at peace with nature or enjoy a variety of water sports such as sailing, water skiing, fishing, cruising, kayaking, and water scooter rides. The place is surrounded by dense coniferous forests on one side and the East Khasi Hills on the other and offers enchanting views, making it the best iconic place for landscape artists and photographers. This huge manmade lake has some small islands and great picnic spots and also houses a dam built on the Umiam River that is worth visiting inspite of the curvy congested road leading to it. The Lum Nehru Park in the vicinity is quite popular amongst locals as well as tourists. Be it students, casual holiday seekers, nature lovers, botanists or adventure seekers, there is something for everyone here. So if you are planning a trip to Shillong do plan a day trip to this getaway. There is an interesting story behind the name Umiam, which means water of tears in the Khasi language. It is said that among two sisters while descending from heaven to Meghalaya one lost her life on the way. The other sister shed so many tears in grief that it formed the Umiam Lake.

Location: Umiam Lake, Shillong

Best time to visit: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Entry fees: INR 20 per person

Activities/Attractions: Pedal boating, fishing, kayaking, and various other water sports

4. Sohpetbneng Peak

Sohpetbneng Peak situated on the outskirts of the city is one of the other must places to visit in Shillong owing to its divine aura and peaceful nature. Regarded as the ‘Naval of Heaven’ by the local people as well as having religious significance for the Hinniewtrep Tribe it’s a photographer’s paradise. Its scenic and mesmerizing views draw touriststo this peak throughout the year. At an altitude of 1343 metres above sea level, it offers breathtaking views of the forest all around it.

Location: Lum Sohpetbneng, Shillong

Best time to visit: 5:00 AM to 9:30 PM

Entry fees: N/A

Activities/Attractions: Trekking, photography, and sightseeing

5. Don Bosco Museum

Don Bosco Museum is the place to visit if you are a history buff. The museum exhibits a wide collection of regional artwork, attires, artefacts, paintings, handicrafts, ornamentation, photographs, and weapons, and is considered one of the largest museums in Southeast Asia. It consists of a seven-storey building with seventeen galleries for viewers to enjoy and covers the cultural heritage of nearly the whole of North East India. This museum of Indigenous Culture is a must visit to get an excellent insight into the rich heritage and culture of the tribes in the North East.

Location: Mawlai, Shillong

Best time to visit: 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM, Monday to Saturday; closed on Sundays

Entry fees: INR 50 per person

Activities/Attractions: History and architecture

6. Laitlum Canyons

Laitlum Canyons

One of the not so famous but enchanting places to see in Shillong, Laitlum Canyons is just a 45-minute drive away from the city. Laitlum literally means ‘The End of Hills’ and the panoramic vistas you can witness here makes it very popular among photographers and trekkers. This tourist spot is perched atop the East Khasi Hills and is surrounded by thick lush green forests and majestic mountain peaks, and one can spend hours here enjoying its solitude and surrounding beauty.

Location: East Khasi Hills, Shillong

Best time to visit: 5:30 AM to 10:00 PM

Entry fees: N/A

Activities/Attractions: Trekking, photography, and sightseeing

7. Ward’s Lake

One of the other popular tourist attractions in this beautiful city is Ward’s Lake. This horseshoe-shaped lake locally known as Pollock’s Lake is situated in the centre of the city is surrounded by a beautiful garden and encircled by a cobblestone walkway and is very popular among morning and evening walkers. The sprawling lotus beds on the borders of the lake and the dancing fountain shows attract couples, picnickers, locals, and tourists in hordes. One can just chill in the cafeteria there or roam about in the botanical garden.

Location: Police Bazar, Shillong

Best time to visit: 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM

Entry fees: INR 10 per person

Activities/Attractions: Boating, fishing, feeding the fish from the wooden bridge on the lake, walking, and sightseeing

8. Mary Help for Christian Cathedral

There are a number of churches worth visiting in Shillong but the Mary Help for Christian Cathedral is a must visit. Founded in the year 1936, this church is a prominent religious place in Shillong and quite famous for its unique and striking architecture. Being an example of Gothic Revival Architecture, it is a great example for the patrons of architecture. Situated on top of a hill this holy building gives a feeling of serenity and spirituality. The high arches and stained glass windows, artwork showcasing scenes from the Holy Scriptures, the white marble building enhances the overall appearance of the church. The statue of Mother Mary looks elegant and grand even today after so many years of it being built. As you enter the cathedral you can see beautiful terracotta stations of the cross that depicts life events of Holy Jesus. This is said to be the cathedral of Roman Archdiocese of Shillong and is the main praying hall of the Christians of East Khasi Hills and Ri-Bhoi. The church is so designed that it can absorb the shock-waves from earthquake tremors. Being in the centre of the city, it’s brimmed with devotees on Sundays. Visitors are advised to visit this holy structure on weekdays to enjoy its elegance and soak in the peaceful environment.

Location: Laitumkhrah, Shillong

Best time to visit: 7:00 AM to 6:30 PM, Monday to Saturday and 8:00 AM to 6:30 PM on Sunday

Entry fees: N/A

Activities/Attractions: Architecture of the building

9. Cherrapunjee

Cherrapunjee

A must place to visit is Cherrapunjee, which is situated at two hours’ distance from Shillong and is 1,300 metres above sea level. Famed for having the heaviest rainfall in the world, this is the wettest place on Earth. Also known as Sohra there are a number of roaring waterfalls, including the famous Nohsngithiang Falls here, and is a very popular holiday destination. There are plenty of reasons for visiting this marvellous gem of nature. The natural beauty of the area, the scene of the rivers that fall from mountains in thunderous waterfalls, the towns famous limestone caves, the thriving flora and fauna, the oranges, the natural honey as well as it being a headquarter of the Syiem of Sohra and a Centre of the Khasi Culture and Literature. With climatic changes, Cherrapunjee has lost its wet slot but even today it’s still stunning with the swirling clouds, misty valley, foaming rivers, cascading waterfalls, and scenic route. This abode of clouds is not to be missed when you visit Shillong.

Location: Cherrapunjee

Best time to visit: October to May, 5:30 AM to 7:30 PM

Entry fees: N/A

Activities/Attractions:  Photography and sightseeing

So, to spice up your whole holiday experience, make sure you include in your bucket list these best places to see in Shillong. All of these places in and around Shillong bring out its natural side and mesmerizing hilly vibes and if you too want to experience it, then we recommend you to include most of these enticing places in your itinerary. Happy holidays!

Paridhi Prasad

Paridhi Prasad

Hi! I am Paridhi. When not downing endless cups of coffee and binge-ing on Masala Fries, I can be found deeply engrossed in contemporary novels. Delhiite by birth and nomad by passion. I travel and I know things. I write travel blogs by day and binge watch thriller and rom-com by night.

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