In true sense, the capital of Meghalaya, Shillong is a dream destination for the passionate lovers of nature. The term ‘Meghalaya’ itself means ‘Abode of Clouds’. So, naturally, as a capital city of Meghalaya, Shillong offers travelers the magnificent beauty of picturesque landscapes under the roof of floating clouds. Located at the Khasi hill, almost 6077 ft above the sea level, this hill town is popularly termed as ‘Scotland of the East.’ It is one of the most alluring tourist destinations of the Northeast region of India.
Let’s take a glance at the picturesque similarities, which are responsible for the naming of Shillong, ‘Scotland of the East’.
The terrain of Shillong holds mesmerizing sky-scraping hills bestowed with greenish valleys. At the same moment, if you browse the photographs taken in the intense lap of nature in Shillong and Scotland, you will be puzzled about the pictures and will not be able to find out easily which pictures are of which place, until you notice the caption of the photographs.
The intense curvature of the bent roads in Shillong pass, only recommend the experienced drivers for your flawless journey. If you keep an open eye out of the window while traveling in the Shillong bypass, you will definitely feel the fluttering breeze amidst the hypnotic panorama of the Himalayan range just like the rolling hills of Moorfoot and Lammermuir range in Scotland.
In Shillong, tourists can experience exclusive tribal folk performances, which is also popular among Scotland tribes. Besides, the colorful cultural extravaganza, in this Northeast hill town, plenty of things, such as traditional tribal attires, bewitching handicrafts, rituals will boggle the mind of the travelers about Scottish native culture.
The picturesque valleys both Scotland and Shillong, have random shimmering waterfalls. Specifically, the travelers, touring in Monsoon season can satisfy the thirst of their eyes with the majestic appearances of the random waterfalls of the capital city of Meghalaya.
Not only soaring random waterfalls, but the tourists also experience a strong resemblance with Scotland in the tranquil lakes of Shillong. The highly placid lakes scope the tourists to make a serene panorama with the lens while floating on the lake with a boat. It is the best option to inhale the charming natural essence of the crystal clear freshwater encircled by rolling hills.
So, all these points hint about the strong resemblances between Shillong and Scotland.
Therefore, the capital hill town of Meghalaya offers plenty of options to explore the mesmerizing wild essence of nature in the lap of lush green valleys, placid lakes encircled by hills, and the glistering peak of Himalayan range with random waterfalls. Now, let’s take a look at the following lists, which incredibly make your trip memorable in the abode of clouds.
Umiam lake is one of the popular attractions, recommended by Shillong tourism authority. This vast placid reservoir located in the capital city of Meghalaya has another common name, Barapani lake. From the Shillong bus stand, it is only 17 km. In 1960 Assam electricity board founded this placid lake forming a dam on the imam river. It is one of the major sources of hydraulic power generation, fishing, and potable water in Shillong. Rippling hills with draping paddocks encircle this lake, representing a lush flora, which makes the tourists spellbound with its natural and serene green panorama.
Khasi, the dialect of Shillong interprets the name ‘Umiam’ as ‘water of tears’. According to legend, there is an enchanting story about the creation of Umiam lake. Once upon a day, two sisters came together from heaven to visit Meghalaya. During their path of journey, one sister of them got lost. After this incident, when she reached the Abode of Clouds, she was turned with sorrows for her lost sister. Her flowing tears formed the Umiam lake.
Umiam lake is situated in a picturesque location, which is surrounded by wild forests. The wild essence of lush greenery mesmerizes the tourists, coming from all over the world. On the serene bank of the lake, the water sports complex, named Orchid tourist home and Nehru park has different arrangements of adventurous activities that attract the visitors. Here, tourists can inhale the excitement of boat riding, water cycling, scooting, skiing and so on.
Alongside all these attractions, Umiam lake is popular for Boat House on Lumpongdeng Island.
Another artificial lake Ward’s Lake is located at a distance of 1 km from the bustand of Shillong. It’s another popular name is Pollock’s Lake and located at the center of the capital city of Meghalaya. This one of the most attractive tourist spots in Shillong is named after Assamese Chief Commissioner, Sir William Ward. In the pre-independence era, in 1894 this lake was founded by Colonel Hopkins, and a famous engineer Fitzwilliam Thomas Pollock designed its plan. Lush greenery draped gardens encircle this artificial lake, which looks like a horseshoe. The entire boundary of this lake is beautified with a designed pathway of cobblestone. This pathway is a pleasant place for walking. The wooden bridge at the center of the lake scope the visitors to experience the colorful fishes of the lake. The tourists can feed these fishes as a part of enjoyment. The tourists also get the scope of boating on the tranquil water of the Ward’s Lake.
In the adjacent area of this lake, a botanical garden also pacifies the mind of the visitors with plenty of colorful orchids and floral species.
One of the prime attractions in Shillong is Elephant Falls. It is one of the most stunning waterfalls in Meghalaya and located at a distance of 12 kilometers from the bus stand of Shillong. It also has another popular name, that is Ka Kshaid Lai Pateng Khohsiew, which means Three Steps Waterfalls. As this prominent waterfall is located at the side of a rock that looked like Elephant, the British named it Elephant Falls. In 1897 a terrific earthquake destroyed the rock.
This waterfall has a close proximity to the peak of the Shillong. As a three-tier waterfall, Elephant Falls has an exquisite appearance. The first fall has quite broad measurement and it is hidden amidst the trees, second falls is quite inconsequential during winter and the third one mesmerizes the visitors by its crystal clean water jumps from the sharp edges of the rocks. Lush greenery decorates the curves of these waterfalls, which represents the natural extravaganza of Shillong in front of the tourists, who prefer to spend time amidst the lap of wild nature.
In Shillong, Mawphlang village is one of the prominent places, which is popular for its reserved forest named Mawphlang Sacred Grove. It is also known as Lawkyntang, is one of the most recommended tourist spots by Shillong tourism. In the East part of Khasi hills Mawphlang Sacred Grove has been preserved by the natives of Shillong from ancient times along with strong religious beliefs. According to these beliefs, they convey respect to this forest as a divine entity. The tourists can experience plenty of rare trees such as Chinquapin, English Yew, Chinese Sumac, and more, which have ample medicinal values. Alongside all these trees, there are some distinct species of trees such as graffiti, Japanese Blue Oak, and more, which have exquisite power to indicate climate. So, this forest is a distinctive reserved forest having almost 450 rare species of animals, birds, and plants.
According to the beliefs of the local villagers, this sacred forest is blessed with the protection of Lyngdoh clan, who knows the deity Labasa protects the village from the crisis. This sacred forest is also famous as a ritual stage to the people of Hima Mawphlang. They perform several ceremonies for thanksgiving and to get blessings from the deity of the forest. The tribes of Khasi hills burn the bones after death inside the forests. According to a famous legend, anyone tries to take anything, even a piece of leaf from this forest, becomes sick and can die.
Every living museum is one of the prime attractions of the capital city of Meghalaya. It is located at the Mawshbuit area and at the distance of 10 km from the bustand of Shillong. It is a private museum and was founded in 2015. It reflects local history, tradition, culture, and nature. It is entirely divided into three parts such as the main segment, stone segment, and garden. This museum has a colorful orchid garden. It is ethnographic in nature and represents the specific objects, which reflect the customs, rituals of the tribes, Garo, Khasi, Jaintia.
The main museum is full of weapon baskets, which showcase both of the ancient and contemporary weapons of the tribes. Alongside the weapons, it scopes the visitors to explore the conventional tribal musical instruments such as the concertina, bamboo instruments, strings, iron mouth organ, pipes, drums, and more. It also holds huge amusement with the representation of miniature huts, made of bamboo. Usually, these
reflect the type of residence of the Garo and Khasi tribes.
The visitors become surprised to see the whole lifestyle in the form of miniatures, which include curry-making pots, pressure cookers, iron-kettles, even the ancient smoking pipe, used by the tribes.
The handicraft segment is full of miniature baskets, made with bamboo, which contain trapping filters for fish, ancient patterns of jewelry, primeval coins of several centuries, and more.
Among the distinctive collection of stone museums, stone-age weapons, granite, and flintstone rocks exclusively bear the culture of ancient tradition.
Along with all these mesmerizing places, where tourists can inhale the essence of wild nature, as well as experience the tradition of ancient times, Shillong is such a popular prime destination for adventurous travelers.