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10 Best Places to visit in Shillong

10 Amazing Places to visit in Shillong: A hidden gem of northeast India

From tranquil lakes and waterfalls to ancient forests and vibrant markets, there is no shortage of places to visit in Shillong.  This picturesque capital city of Meghalaya, is a true gem in the northeast region of India. With its rolling hills, lush greenery, and pleasant weather throughout the year, Shillong has become a popular destination for tourists looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. The city’s rich cultural heritage, colonial architecture, and stunning natural landscapes make it a must-visit destination for both domestic and international travelers.

In this article, we will explore the top tourist places to visit in Shillong, so you can plan your perfect itinerary and experience the best that this beautiful city has to offer.

Ward’s Lake

10 Best Places to visit in Shillong
Ward’s Lake in Shillong | Places to visit in Shillong

Ward’s Lake is a picturesque man-made lake located in the heart of Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya. The lake was built in the 19th century by the British, and is surrounded by lush greenery and a well-manicured garden. It is a popular tourist spot and one of the most favorite places to visit in Shillong among locals who come here to relax and unwind.

Ward’s Lake is located in the middle of the city, and is easily accessible by both public and private transport. The lake is located near Police Bazaar, which is one of the busiest markets in Shillong, making it a convenient stop for tourists who want to explore the city.

The lake is surrounded by a beautiful garden that is perfect for a leisurely stroll or a picnic with family and friends. The garden is home to a variety of flora, including colorful flowers and exotic plants, making it a photographer’s delight.

The lake itself is a serene and tranquil spot that offers boating facilities to tourists. Visitors can rent a paddleboat or a rowboat and explore the lake at their own pace. The boat ride is a peaceful and enjoyable experience that allows visitors to take in the natural beauty of the surroundings.

There is also a small cafeteria near the lake where visitors can enjoy a cup of tea or coffee and some snacks. The cafeteria offers a beautiful view of the lake and the surrounding garden.

In the evenings, the lake and the garden are lit up, creating a magical and romantic atmosphere. It is a popular spot for couples who come here to enjoy a peaceful and intimate time together.

Ward’s Lake in Shillong is a must-visit tourist spot that offers a peaceful and serene atmosphere amidst the hustle and bustle of the city. Its central location, beautiful garden, and boating facilities make it a favorite among tourists and locals alike.

Shillong Peak

Places to visit in Shillong
Shillong Peak in Shillong | Places to visit in Shillong

Shillong Peak is surely one of the most perfect tourist places to visit in Shillong, Meghalaya. It is the highest point in Shillong, standing at an elevation of 1965 meters (6449 feet) above sea level, and provides a stunning panoramic view of the entire city, its surrounding hills, and valleys.

Located about 10 kilometers from the city center, Shillong Peak is easily accessible by car or taxi. The drive up to the peak is a beautiful experience in itself, with lush green forests and winding roads that lead up to the top. Once you reach the peak, there is a parking lot where you can park your vehicle and then climb a few steps to reach the viewing platform.

At the viewing platform, visitors can enjoy breathtaking views of the entire city, including the Umiam Lake, which is visible from the peak. On a clear day, you can see as far as the plains of Bangladesh from the peak. The best time to visit the Shillong Peak is during the early morning or late afternoon when the view is at its best.

Apart from the stunning view, there are also several food and souvenir stalls near the parking lot, where you can enjoy local delicacies and purchase souvenirs to take back home. Additionally, there is a small park near the peak, where you can relax and enjoy the peaceful surroundings.

It is important to note that the weather at Shillong Peak can be quite unpredictable, and it is advisable to carry warm clothing and an umbrella or raincoat, especially during the monsoon season. Also, the road leading up to the peak can be steep and winding, and visitors with motion sickness may want to take precautions before embarking on the journey.

Don Bosco Museum

Places to visit in Shillong
Don Bosco Museum in Shillong | Places to visit in Shillong

The Don Bosco Museum in Shillong is a one-of-a-kind museum that showcases the rich culture, heritage, and traditions of the northeastern region of India. It is located in Mawlai, a suburb of Shillong, and is one of the most popular places to visit in Shillong. From a tourist’s point of view, the museum is a must-visit destination that provides a unique and immersive experience of the region’s history and culture.

The Don Bosco Museum is a seven-story building that houses a vast collection of artifacts, handicrafts, and photographs that represent the diverse cultures of the seven northeastern states of India – Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, and Tripura. The museum’s exhibits are organized thematically, covering various aspects of the region’s culture, such as art, music, dance, architecture, and religion.

One of the most striking features of the Don Bosco Museum is its architecture. The building is designed to resemble a traditional Khasi house, with a thatched roof and bamboo walls. It is not only an aesthetically pleasing structure, but it is also an excellent example of sustainable architecture that uses traditional building techniques to minimize the building’s impact on the environment.

The museum also has a unique audio-visual presentation that provides a fascinating insight into the region’s history and culture. Visitors can also enjoy a panoramic view of Shillong city from the museum’s terrace.

The Don Bosco Museum is open every day from 9:00 am to 5:30 pm, and the entrance fee is Rs.100 for adults and Rs. 50 for children. The museum is easily accessible by local taxis or buses from different parts of Shillong city. Visitors are advised to plan for at least 2-3 hours to explore the museum thoroughly.

Elephant Falls

Places to visit in Shillong
Elephant Falls in Shillong | Places to visit in Shillong

Elephant Falls is one of the most popular places to visit in Shillong, Meghalaya. Located about 12 kilometers from the city center, the falls are situated in a beautiful valley surrounded by lush greenery and rocky terrain. The falls get their name from a rock adjacent to the waterfall that resembles an elephant’s trunk. Elephant Falls is a must-visit destination for tourists visiting Shillong due to its scenic beauty and natural charm.

To reach the Elephant Falls, one has to take the road towards Upper Shillong from the main city. After driving for about 10 kilometers, one will reach a parking area from where the falls are just a short walk away. The falls are divided into three sections, each offering a different view of the cascading water.

The first section of the falls is the most accessible and can be viewed from a well-constructed staircase that leads down to the falls. The view from the staircase is quite breathtaking as the water gushes down from a height of around 20 feet, forming a small pool at the bottom. The sound of the falling water, coupled with the serene surroundings, creates a peaceful and calming atmosphere.

The second section of the falls is slightly higher up and requires a short trek up a steep path. The view from this section is equally stunning, as the water cascades down in two streams, with the sound of the water echoing throughout the valley.

The third section of the falls is the highest and offers the most panoramic view of the surrounding valley. This section requires a more strenuous trek up a steep hill, but the view from the top is definitely worth the effort.

The falls are open from 9 am to 5 pm every day, and the best time to visit is during the monsoon season (June-September) when the water is at its fullest. Tourists can also enjoy a cup of hot tea and local snacks at the small tea stalls located near the falls.

Laitlum Canyons

Places to visit in Shillong
Laitlum Canyons in Shillong | Places to visit in Shillong

Laitlum Canyons is a beautiful and picturesque viewpoint located in the East Khasi Hills of Shillong, Meghalaya. “Laitlum” translates to “end of hills” in the local Khasi language, and as the name suggests, the viewpoint offers a stunning panoramic view of the surrounding hills and valleys.

Located about 25 kilometers from the city center, Laitlum Canyons is accessible by both road and trekking. The journey from Shillong to Laitlum Canyons is scenic and passes through dense forests, winding roads, and small villages. The final stretch to the viewpoint involves a steep and narrow uphill road, so it is recommended to hire a local taxi or guide for a hassle-free trip.

Once you reach the viewpoint, you will be greeted by a breathtaking view of the surrounding hills and valleys. The rolling hills covered with lush greenery and dotted with small houses create a mesmerizing sight that will leave you spellbound. The viewpoint also offers a glimpse of the distant plains of Bangladesh on a clear day.

For adventure enthusiasts, Laitlum Canyons offers trekking and camping opportunities. The area is surrounded by dense forests and pristine waterfalls, making it an ideal location for camping and trekking. The trek down to the valley is steep, and it is advisable to wear comfortable shoes and carry enough water and snacks.

While visiting Laitlum Canyons, it is recommended to carry warm clothing as the weather can be quite chilly, especially during the winter months. It is also advisable to carry a camera to capture the stunning views and scenery.

Overall, Laitlum Canyons is surely one of the unmissable places to visit in Shillong for anyone traveling to Shillong. The mesmerizing views, tranquil atmosphere, and adventure opportunities make it an ideal location for nature lovers, adventure enthusiasts, and anyone looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life.

Umiam Lake

Places to visit in Shillong
Umiam Lake in Shillong | Places to visit in Shillong

Umiam Lake, also known as Barapani Lake, is a picturesque man-made reservoir located in the outskirts of Shillong, the capital city of the northeastern Indian state of Meghalaya. The lake is situated at a distance of around 15 km from the city center and is easily accessible by road.

The lake was formed as a result of a dam constructed on the Umiam River in the early 1960s. Spread across an area of around 220 square km, Umiam Lake is surrounded by lush green hills, which offer breathtaking views and serene surroundings.

For tourists, Umiam Lake is a popular destination for a day trip, picnic, and water sports. Boating is one of the most popular activities here, with options for both paddle boats and motorized boats. One can also indulge in kayaking, water skiing, and other water sports at the lake.

There are several viewpoints around the lake that offer stunning panoramic views of the surroundings. The Lum Nehru Park is a popular spot, which provides a good vantage point to admire the beauty of the lake. The park also has a well-manicured garden, a small zoo, and a cafeteria that serves snacks and refreshments.

Umiam Lake is also a popular spot for photography enthusiasts, who come here to capture the stunning landscapes, especially during the monsoon season when the surrounding hills are covered in lush greenery.

For those looking for a more relaxed and tranquil experience, there are several resorts and guesthouses located around the lake that offer comfortable accommodation, with stunning views of the lake and the surrounding hills.

Umiam Lake is surely one of the must-visit places to visit in Shillong for tourists visiting Shillong, offering a perfect combination of natural beauty and adventure activities.

Cathedral of Mary Help of Christians

Places to visit in Shillong
Cathedral of Mary Help of Christians in Shillong | Places to visit in Shillong

The Cathedral of Mary Help of Christians, also known as the Shillong Cathedral, is a Catholic church located in the heart of Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya in Northeast India. This cathedral is considered to be one of the most beautiful churches in the region and if not the best, one of the best places to visit in Shillong for tourists.

Location:

The Cathedral of Mary Help of Christians is located on the Laitumkhrah hill in Shillong, about 6 km from the main city center. It is easily accessible by road, and taxis and buses are available for transport. The cathedral is situated on a hilltop, providing a stunning panoramic view of the city and the surrounding hills.

History:

The Cathedral of Mary Help of Christians was built by the Salesian Fathers in 1936. The construction of the cathedral took several years, and it was finally completed in 1942. The cathedral has undergone several renovations over the years, and the current structure is a combination of Gothic and Roman architectural styles.

Architecture:

The Cathedral of Mary Help of Christians is an architectural masterpiece that showcases the blend of Gothic and Roman styles. The cathedral’s exterior is made of red bricks, and the interior is adorned with stained-glass windows, sculptures, and paintings. The high arches and towering pillars add to the grandeur of the cathedral, and the intricate carvings and paintings on the walls are a sight to behold.

Tourist Experience:

Visitors to the Cathedral of Mary Help of Christians can expect a peaceful and spiritual experience. The cathedral is open to the public, and visitors can attend daily Mass services or explore the cathedral’s beauty. The cathedral is especially crowded during Christmas and Easter, when locals and tourists alike flock to attend the special services.

The cathedral’s location on the hilltop provides a breathtaking view of the city and the surrounding hills, making it an ideal spot for photography enthusiasts. Visitors can also explore the nearby Laitumkhrah bazaar, which is a bustling market known for its local handicrafts and food.

The Cathedral of Mary Help of Christians is a beautiful and peaceful destination that offers visitors a glimpse into the rich culture and history of Meghalaya. Whether you are a religious pilgrim or a curious tourist, this cathedral is a must-visit place in Shillong.

Mawphlang Sacred Forest

Places to visit in Shillong

Mawphlang Sacred Forest is located in the village of Mawphlang, which is around 25 km from Shillong, the capital city of Meghalaya. The forest is spread across an area of approximately 78 hectares and is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna.

As the name suggests, the forest is considered sacred by the Khasi people who have been protecting and preserving it for centuries. It is believed to be one of the oldest surviving forests in the region, dating back to over 800 years.

The forest is known for its dense vegetation, towering trees, and unique biodiversity. It is home to various species of birds, insects, and animals such as the wild pig, civet, and macaque. The forest also has a rich collection of medicinal plants, some of which are endemic to the region.

As a tourist, Mawphlang Sacred Forest is an excellent place to explore nature and learn about the culture and traditions of the Khasi people. You can take a guided tour of the forest, where the local guides will share their knowledge and stories about the various species of plants and animals. The tour also includes a visit to the Khasi Heritage Village, where you can witness the traditional way of life of the Khasi people.

Apart from the guided tour, you can also indulge in activities like trekking, camping, and bird watching. The forest has several trekking trails, including the David Scott Trail, which is a popular trekking route in the region.

Mawphlang Sacred Forest is best of the best places to visit in Shillong for nature enthusiasts and anyone interested in learning about the Khasi culture and traditions. With its serene atmosphere, rich biodiversity, and unique history, it offers a one-of-a-kind experience that is hard to find elsewhere.

Police Bazaar

Places to visit in Shillong
Police Bazaar in Shillong | Places to visit in Shillong

Police Bazaar is one of the most popular and busiest commercial places to visit in Shillong, the capital city of Meghalaya. It is located at the heart of the city and is easily accessible by various modes of transportation. The bazaar is a must-visit destination for tourists as it offers a range of shopping and dining experiences.

From a tourist’s point of view, Police Bazaar is an excellent place to explore the local culture, buy souvenirs, and try out local cuisine. The bazaar is lined with various shops, restaurants, and cafes, and is an excellent place to spend a day exploring.

Shopping at Police Bazaar is a unique experience, as it offers a range of items, including traditional clothes, handicrafts, souvenirs, and food items. The bazaar is a great place to buy traditional Khasi shawls, bamboo handicrafts, and handmade items. Tourists can also buy local spices, tea, and coffee from the various shops.

When it comes to food, Police Bazaar is a food lover’s paradise. The bazaar is home to some of the best restaurants in the city, serving traditional Khasi cuisine, Indian, and Chinese food. Tourists can try out traditional dishes like Jadoh, Tungrymbai, and Dohneiiong, or enjoy a cup of tea at one of the local cafes.

Apart from shopping and dining, Police Bazaar is also a great place to experience the local culture. The bazaar is bustling with locals and tourists, and is a great place to interact with the locals and learn about their way of life.

Air Force Museum

Places to visit in Shillong
Air Force Museum in Shillong | Places to visit in Shillong

The Air Force Museum in Shillong is surely one of the best must-visit places to visit in Shillong for all aviation enthusiasts. Located at the headquarters of the Eastern Air Command in Upper Shillong, the museum is a fascinating place to explore the history of the Indian Air Force (IAF).

The museum is located about 15 kilometers away from the main city center of Shillong, and can be easily reached by taxi or private vehicle. The best time to visit the museum is during the morning hours, as the weather is pleasant and the museum is less crowded.

The Air Force Museum in Shillong is spread over a vast area and has a vast collection of exhibits, including vintage aircraft, arms and ammunition, uniforms, and photographs of the IAF. The museum also showcases a range of aircraft engines, including the Rolls Royce Avon engine, which is used in the famous Hawker Hunter fighter planes.

One of the main highlights of the museum is the MiG-21FL aircraft, which was the backbone of the IAF during the 1971 Indo-Pak war. The aircraft is displayed outside the museum and is a popular spot for photography.

The museum also has a section dedicated to the history of the Eastern Air Command, which was established in 1959. The section showcases the various operations carried out by the IAF during the 1962 Indo-China War, the 1965 and 1971 Indo-Pak Wars, and the Kargil War.

The Air Force Museum in Shillong is an excellent destination for tourists who want to learn more about the history of the Indian Air Force. The museum is well-maintained and offers a unique insight into the life of an Air Force personnel. It is a perfect place to spend a few hours and is a must-visit destination for anyone visiting Shillong.

Wrapping up!

In conclusion, Shillong is a mesmerizing destination that has something to offer for everyone. From the serene waterfalls and the lush green parks to the lively markets and the vibrant music scene, the city is a perfect blend of nature, culture, and modernity. Each one of the places to visit in Shillong mentioned above are just a glimpse of what Shillong has to offer, and there are many more hidden gems waiting to be explored. So, if you are planning a trip to the northeast, make sure to add Shillong to your itinerary and get ready to be captivated by the city’s beauty and charm.

FAQ

  1. <strong>What is the best time to visit Shillong?</strong>

    The best time to visit Shillong is from September to May, as the weather during these months is pleasant, and the city is at its scenic best. However, if you are interested in experiencing the monsoon season, you can plan your visit between June and August.

  2. <strong>What are the top tourist attractions in Shillong?</strong>

    Some of the top tourist attractions in Shillong include Shillong Peak, Ward’s Lake, Elephant Falls, Umiam Lake, Don Bosco Centre for Indigenous Cultures, and Laitlum Canyons.

  3. <strong>How can I reach Shillong?</strong>

    Shillong can be reached by air, train, and road. The nearest airport is Shillong Airport, which is well-connected to major cities in India. The nearest railway station is Guwahati Railway Station, which is about 100 km away from Shillong. You can also reach Shillong by road, and the city is well-connected to nearby towns and cities.

  4. <strong>What is the local cuisine of Shillong?</strong>

    The local cuisine of Shillong is a blend of traditional Khasi, Garo, and Jaintia cuisines, along with popular dishes from other parts of India. Some of the must-try dishes in Shillong include Jadoh (a rice dish), Tungrymbai (fermented soybean dish), Doh Khleh (Khasi pork salad), and Momos (steamed dumplings).

  5. <strong>Is Shillong a safe place for tourists?</strong>

    Yes, Shillong is generally considered a safe place for tourists. However, like any other tourist destination, it is advisable to take necessary precautions and be aware of your surroundings, especially when traveling alone or at night.

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