Shillong

Daylong picnics amidst smoky blue hills thick with pine and orchid singing brooks and crashing waterfalls – for the British in this garrison town it was home. The scenic Khasi Hills remained them of the Scottish Highlands – just perfect for those summer holidays away from the heat and the dust of India’s plain. They setup schools admits those heather covered slopes – the air rang with the sound of the young growing up amidst these unpolluted, pine scented environs. Today, Shillong popular 18 holes Golf Course holds its annual tournament in October. Leisurely days can be spend at the serene Ward’s Lake and the landscaped Lady Hydari Park, which also has a mini Zoo. Shillong Peak about 10 km from town offers breath taking views of the city spread out against its glorious hills slopes. Amongst the popular waterfalls close to town are Spread Eagle Falls (6 km) and the Sweet Falls (8 km) in Happy Valley. There are also the Bishop Fal ls, Beadon Falls and the Elephant Falls (12 km) to explore if you have time. The town is dotted with fine old churches of which the Cathedral of Mary Help of Christian famed for its stained glass windows and lofty arch. Opposite the State Centre Library is the All Saint Church. Shillong has regular pop and rock concerns, which are welcomed with great enthusiasm by the local youth. The Butterfly Museum is worth visiting as it has an excellent collection of these winged beauties.

Getting There:

Air: Meghalaya is well connected with the major part of the country by air. Shillong is only the airport of the state.

Rail: The nearest railhead is Guwahati in Assam only 104 km away of Shillong.

Road: A good road network connects the state to the major parts of the country. The road between Shillong and Guwahati is a dream for motorists.

Tourist Attraction:

Siju & Nongkhyllem: These two sanctuaries are fast becoming popular with visitors. Siju is also reputed for its limestone caves close to the Naphay Lake and the Simsang Game Reserve.

Umhang Lake: This Lake at Bataw village overlooking the plains of Bangladesh is flanked on either side by lush green forests. Here the people of Bataw regard the Umhang Lake with reverence and pay homage along with sacrifices annually.

Khim Moo Sniang: This locally derives its name from an embedded rock in the shape of a pig. The literal translation for ‘Moo’ is stone and ‘Sniang’ refers to pig. A stone deity venerated by the Jaintias for its protected power.

Iawmusiang: The largest Jaintia market as well as the commercial centre of Jaintia Hills. Iawmusiang derives its name from the scared stone within the market, which was brought to its present location from the village of Nongdah. The Iawmusiang market day occurs once in an eight days cycle. On this day people from the villages come here to sell their wares.

U Lum Sunaraja: Near Umkiang village on top of the hill there is a deep lake believed by the local to be the spot where old and aged elephant go to die by plunging themselves into the deep pool.

Jaintia Hills: The Jaintia Hills in the state of Meghalaya is bounded by the north and east by the state of Assam. On the south by Bangladesh and on the west by east Khasi Hills district. The total area is 3819 sq. km. A land of undulating Hills rich in minerals deposit. The natural vegetation changes according to the topography of the land with natural splendor in plenty. Jaintia Hills were part of the kingdom of Jaintiapur now in present days in Bangladesh.

Excursion:

Borghat: This village is situated close to the Bangladesh border. Borghat Temple is dedicated to Hindu religion is located within this village.

Kaing Nongbah Monument: On the banks of the Mynpdu River in the Syntu Ksiar Valley on a field known as “Madiah Kmail Blai” stands a monument dedicated to Kaing Nongbah, a Jaintia patriot during British Rule who died as a martyr for the cause of Indian liberation from British Rule. The last word uttered by him from the scaffold before the public hanging on 30th Dec. 1862 had remained true. “If my face turns eastwards when I die, we shall be free again within a hundred years. If it turns westward, we shall be enslaved forever”.

Syntu Ksair: Syntu Ksair meaning Flower of Gold is a vast stretch of the riverbank of the Myntdu River where people usually go for picnic and angling in the vicinity of Jowai, which encircled 2/3rd of the Jowai Township. The name literally mean Golden Flower. On the banks of Syntu Ksair along side the river Myntdu, and elegant monument has been erected in honour of the Jaintia patriot – U Kiang Nongbah.

Nokrek & Balpakram National Parks: These two National Parks are home to some of its rare wildlife such as the Golden Cat. Approachable from Tura, Balpakram is located in the spectacular Grand Canyon-like environs of the Balpakram plateau, which separates the Garo Hills from the Khasi Hills. The Nokrek Biosphere Reserve is just 2 km room Tura Peak.

Thadlaskein Lake: Thadlaskein Lake is a man made lake, which is situated 8 km from Jowai on NH – 44, fed by a perennial spring. The people of Raid Mukhla who continue to offer sacrifices near the lake revere the lake. A popular picnic spot for local.

Rupasor Bathing Ghat: On the Jowai – Muktapur Road approximately 8 km from Dawki is the Rupasor Bathing Ghat. This bathing pool is hewn out of granite. The water, which comes into the pool, is through the curved trunk of an elephant fed by the Rupasor stream. The Royal King used this bathing pool. The pool measures 19 ½ ft. in length, 15 ft. in breadth and 5 ft. in depth. To the west of the pool there used to be changing rooms for the royal families.

Stone Bridge at Thlumuwi: 16 km from Jowai on the Jowai – Muktapur Road to Dawki lies Thlu Muwi. Because of the rise of the Muwistream during the monsoon a bridge required to be built for king’s journey from Jaintiapur to Nartiang. The bridge consists of huge well-hewn granite stone slabs perched on equally similar pillars. Beside the stone bridge is also the Muwi Waterfalls.

Umiam Lake: Umiam Lake is located about 17 km from Shillong. This lake is highly popular for a relaxing time. The Orchid Lake Resort here has water sports facilities and the near by Lum Nehru Park has an aviary and orchidarium.

Mawphlang: Its vast floral wealth makes Mawphlang (24 km) a great attraction for nature lover. Its orchids are out of this world. You can also enjoy the hot spring at Jakrel (64 km). If you want to travel close up to the Bangladesh border, head for Dawki (96 km), a popular picnic spot. Mairang (40 km) was home of the legendary U Tirot Sing Syiem who led the fight against invaders in 1820s.

Raliang: Shrine of our lady of good Health. In Raliang village, 32 km of Jowai Road there stand a magnificent triple storied octagonal structure consisting of only big hall with the alter in the centre. Atop the dome of the shrine over the alter there is an imposing statue of our lady of good Health made of shimmering white marble standing upon a globe. The shrine is a replica of our lady of good Health at Turin Holy.

Nartiang: Nartiang has a number of famous Jantia stone memorials, which have survive the passage of time. The tallest 27 ft. high is said to have been the working stick of U Mar Phalyngki, the giant of Jantia legend. There is also a temple dedicated to Durga here, which is very popular. Thadlaskein Lake (56 km) is a popular picnic spot.

Lumshnong: The sleepy hamlet of Lumshnong village came into limelight recently when it had been confirmed that the Umlawan Cave situated in this village is the longest and also the deepest in the sub-continent. The Umlawn Cave is interconnected with two other cave namely Kot-Sati and Umskor Caves. The total length of this caves is more 21 km and about 100 mts. in depth. This cave is 60 km from Jowai. Dotted across the entire district there are numerous caves and caverns with spectacular stalagmites and stalactites formation.

Jowai: 64 km from Shillong is the admistrative headquarters of Jaintia Hills as well as the commercial centre. It is situated along side Myntdu River, which encircled 2/3rd of this ever-expanding township.

Ranikor: As pretty as Kashmir’s Pahalgam, Ranikor (140 km) is an angler’s delight as it is famous for Mahseer.

Dawki: Travelling form Shillong to the international trade route border town of Dawki is a splendid drive of 95 km passing through deep gorges and ravines, which s certainly a thrilling experience. On approaching Dawki is the Umngot River, the venue of the annual boat race during March – April at Umsyiem. The Umngot River is the natural boundary between Ripnar or Jaintia Hills with Hima Khyrim of Khasi Hills over, which is a single span suspension bridge, was constructed. This is the gateway to Bangladesh where major import and export transactions takes place.

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