The capital of Meghalaya, Shillong lies on the eastern part of the state. Perched at an altitude of 1,520 meters (4,990 feet) above sea level, the city stretches for about 6 km on an elevated tract. It is situated on a plateau bound on the north by the Umiam gorge, on the northwest by the great mass of the Diengiei Hills that rise up to a height of 1,823 meters (6077 ft.) above sea level, and on the northeast by the hills of the Assam valley. The Umshyrpi and the Umkhra rivers, which finally merge and form the Umiam River, water it. Shillong is at distance of 104 km from Guwahati, 295 km from Kaziranga, 578 km from Siliguri and 658 km from Darjeeling.
About Shillong :
It is a picturesque hill station offering a good holiday all year round. One of the most motor-able hill stations a stay at Shillong does not require as much mandatory walking as in other places. Adequate facilities, scenic beauty, cheerful people, clouds and tall pines, mountains, valleys, meadows and an excellent golf course make Shillong a great destination. The people Khasi, Jaintia and Garo hill tribes have a colorful lifestyle and cultural traditions. Shillong can be a base for visiting other places in Meghalaya. The romantic city of Shillong has been one of the important tourist destinations in the northeast. It is often referred to as the “Scotland of the East” due to its striking similarity with the Scottish highlands. The city derives its name from “Leishyllong”—the Superpower or God who is believed to reside on the Shillong peak, overlooking the city. Lying in the cradle of the tall pine conifers and pineapple shrubs, Shillong’s undulating terrain is a constant source of attraction for tourists from both home and abroad.
Prime Attractions of Shillong Tourism :
- Ward Lake : An artificial lake, Ward Lake is situated near the Raj Bhawan. This horse-shoe shaped lake has a beautiful bridge over it and set in a landscaped Botanical Garden. This lake is popular for boating. The boatanical garden and Museum are near by.
- Lady Hydari Park : There is the perfectly landscaped Lady Hydari Park ablaze with roses and flowers of almost every variety even as weeping willows bend into water bodies that house pelicans and the like. There is also a mini zoo and Butterfly museum with colourful species preserved for sale and posterity.
- Butterfly Museum : The Butterfly Museum is at Wankhar and Co, Riatsamthiahopen who have started breeding butterflies as a conservation measure and for their commercial use. They have a good display of mounted butterflies and beetles from India and abroad.
- Bara Bazaar : Bara Bazaar is worth visiting place to see the authentic local colour. It attracts tribal people in their colourful dresses who come to buy and sell vegetables, spices, pots, baskets, chickens and even bows and arrows. The small stalls sell real Khasi food.
- Shillong Peak : Shillong Peak is situated about 10 kms. away from which the city derives its name. This peak rises to 1960 m. It is referred as the ‘Abode of the Gods’ and offers excellent views. Since the area is at present under the Air Force, visitors have to stop at the barrier and enter their names and addresses in a book.
- Crinoline Falls : The Crinoline Waterfalls has a swimming pool surrounded by the orchids, potted Bonsais and a rock pool with reeds and water lilies.
- Elephant Falls : Elephant Falls is situated about 12 kms. away from the city and is a short diversion from the road to Cherrapunji. It is a scenic spot with two high falls, surrounded by fern covered rocks. You can walk down to the lowest pool by wooden steps and bridges and get a good view. However, the mountain stream tends to dry up between November and May.
- Golf Club : The Golf Club has an 18 hole golf course where competitions are held and a Polo ground, restaurant and bar. The course has a reputation of being the wettest but one of the most beautiful in the world. The club was founded in 1898, and the present 5873 yard 18 hole course is from 1924. In an undulating valley covered with pine and rhododendron the fairways are covered in a tough variety of local grass. Despite the wetness the greens have the reputation of being extremely fast.
- Umiam Lake : This lake is a must watch for all the tourists. It is a lovely lake in the north of Shillong which look alike the lakes of Scotland. The huge size of the lake has earned the name ‘Barapani’ for it, which means big water. This lake is man-made and a water sport complex is also built over here for recreational purposes. On the side of this complex there is the Lum Nehru Park.
- Don Bosco Museum of Indigenous North East Culture : This museum is run by the Catholic Church and has immense information about the entire North East states which comprises Assam, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Tripura. The museum is located inside the Sacred Heart Church and showcases a distinct collection of attire, accoutrements, weapons, ornaments and persevered photographs. The architecture of the church is strikingly noticeable especially the spiral shaped edifice. This church is the largest cultural museum in Asia working for the preservation of art and culture.
- Chrysalis the Gallery : This is an art gallery which is on the second floor of the Salonsar Mansion situated at the police bazaar, which is a commercial hub in Shillong. The chrysalis is very spacious and the paintings are displayed in a fashion which looks different from other common galleries. The gallery displays paintings, sculptures, photographs and also handicrafts. The exhibitions a conducted by the gallery is for local artists also like Jaya Kalra along with artists from the rest of India.
- Botanical Backyard : Lady Hydari Park There is certainly the perfectly landscaped Lady Hydari Park ablaze with roses and flowers of virtually each and every range even as weeping willows bend into water bodies that home pelicans as well as the like. There is certainly also a mini zoo and Butterfly museum with colourful species preserved for sale and posterity. There is the completely landscaped Woman Hydari Park ablaze with roses and flowers of just about every single range even as weeping willows bend into drinking water bodies that home pelicans and the like.
- Waterfalls : You will find diverse waterfalls in and about this little and wonderful hill station. Bishop and Beadon falls, Elephanta Falls, Spread Eagle Falls, Sweet Falls, Crinoline Falls (really near to Woman Hydari Park) and so on. Shillong is wealthy in having caves, too.
- Botanical Gardens : Visit the “Sacred groves” or virgin forests. The nearest one is the Mawphlang sacred as it is by traditional religious sanctions. The forest is so sacred that even a dead leaf cannot be eliminated from your region. Together with the sanction of religion, it really is certainly a outstanding way of preserving the ecological program. It’s a secluded but captivating spot having a variety of exotic vegetation.
- Lum Nehru Park : Adjacent for the orchid lake resort in 1 from the bordering spurs, there is certainly a charming park. Apart from lovely lawns and flowers. There is also an orchid-house and an aviary. Plans are afoot to construct an aquarium and set-up musical fountains nearby. Anglican Cemetery Lovers of aged churchyards will appreciate the Anglican cemetery in Rilbong, with gravestones dating again to the last century, including those troopers killed within the Lushai marketing campaign in Mizoram.
- State Museum : Meghalaya’s State Museum, in Lachumiere, has exhibits depicting tribal customs and a weaker selection of historical scriptures from elsewhere in India. It provides a in-depth glimpse from the lifestyle and heritage from the individuals.
- Kyllang Rock : On the road from Mairang to Nongkhlaw lies a massive single granite stone at great height known as Kyllang Rock. It presents an appearance of a circular dome having a diameter of about 1,000 ft.
Shillong Fairs and Festivals :
Festivals are an integral part of the tribes in Shillong. Christmas, Easter, Good Friday and the New Year Day celebrations are the most important. Ka Pomblang Nongkrem, or the Nongkrem dance and Shad Sukmynsiem are the most important Khasi festivals. Behdiengkhlam, the festival of the Jaintias, is celebrated in July. Then there is the Wangala festival of the Garos that is dedicated to the Sun God.
Shillong History :
Shillong was a small village until 1864, when it became the new civil station of the Khasi and Jaintia hills. It remained the summer capital of Eastern Bengal and Assam for many years. In 1874, on the formation of Assam as a Chief Commissioner’s Province, it was chosen as the capital of the new administration. An earthquake destroyed the city in 1897, necessitating its complete rebuilding. In January 1972, Shillong became the capital of the newly formed state of Meghalaya.
Shillong Climate :
Shillong is subject to vagaries of the monsoon. The monsoons arrive in June and it rains almost until the end of August. The climate is hot and humid during summers but quite cold during winters. October-November and March-April are the best months to visit Shillong.
Shillong Shoping :
The main shopping areas are Police Bazaar, Bara Bazaar and Laitumukhrah. On Iewduh, the first day of the eight-day long Khasi week, people from all over eastern Meghalaya come to sell their products here. In the centre of Police Bazar, on the corner of Kacheri road, there are shops selling finely woven baskets of all sizes. For hand-woven shawls, handicrafts, orange flower honey and cane work, one can visit the various emporia like Meghalaya Handicrafts, Khadi Gramodyog and Purbashree.
Shilong Travel Information :
By Air : Shillong airport at Umroi connects to only Kolkata. Guwahati is the nearest major airport, which is nearly 100 km away from Shillong. Shillong can be reached by taxi car and the fare is about Rs 2000. Guwahati Airport is well connected to many major cities in India, including Delhi, Agartala, Aizwal, Kolkata and Imphal. Delhi and Kolkata are the international airports close to Guwahati, both are nearly 1100 km from Guwahati. International travelers can connect to Guwahati through Kolkata or Delhi.
By Bus : Shillong bus stand is located at the city center and regular bus services to Guwahati are available. The State Road Transport Public buses and the private tourist bus providers operate bus services from Shillong to the many cities in Meghalaya and the neighboring state. The bus stand is located in the heart of Shillong.
By Train : Nearest railhead to Shillong is Guwahati, which is at distance of 100 km away. Shillong can be reached by taxi car and the fare is about Rs 2000. The Paltan Bazaar Railway Station in Guwahati is a major railway junction on the North-East Frontier Railway. Guwahati is well connected with all the major railheads of India.
Languages : English, Hindi, Khasi, Garo, Assamese
STD Code : 0364
Area: 2242 Square Km
Significance: Scotland of the East
Altitude: 1496m above sea level
Climate: Summer 12°C – 20°C, Winter 3°C – 14°C .
Best time to visit: October to November, March to April