The Scotland of the East
Just as you expect to see yet another beautiful
hillock at one of the many bends of the G-S road (Guwahati
- Shillong), the road suddenly opens up to the bridge across
the magnificent Umiam lake aka Barapani when you are only
about 14kms away from the "Scotland of the East". This is
how Shillong gives a sparkling, spellbinding welcome to its
visitors. You will then be left curious till reaching the
city of what all is in store.
Shillong - the beautiful
capital of Meghalaya is one of the most attractive tourist
destinations of North East. Shillong has its landscape dotted
with picturesque cottages which are mostly reminiscent of
the British era gone by when it was the summer capital of
Assam. It is now a major tourist hub for domestic as well
as international tourists and also a major Educational center
of the North East. Shillong boasts of many elite schools and
colleges where many significant personalities have completed
their education. To name a few, St. Edmund's School, St.Anthony's
college and School, Loreto convent, IIM, NIFT , NEHU are all
present at Shillong.
MUST-SEE PLACES IN SHILLONG:
Shillong Peak: Although the name compels
one to imagine that it is a unscalable peak like most other
mountain tops usually are, it has a motor able road in good
condition connected from the city right to view point. It
is about 10 kms from the main city. It offers a panoramic
view of the city below. The area is maintained and occupied
by the Indian air force as it has its Eastern Command located
there. However there are no restrictions to visit the peak
although on special occasions a visitor maybe asked to produce
his / her identification. So it is wise to carry one. Refreshments
are available at the Shillong peak. Forest of fir, birch and
pine cover the area below the peak.
Elephant Falls: Not far
away from the Shillong peak, it is one of the many waterfalls
that dots Shillong's landscape. A trip can be planned where
one can visit Shillong peak and Elephant falls at the same
time. The road from Shillong peak to Elephant falls passes
through the eastern command of the Indian air force which
in itself makes a memorable experience.
Sweet Falls: About 8 kms
away from Happy valley, Sweet Falls is the highest waterfall
in Shillong with the height of 96m. It is a great picnic spot
and the area around it is also beautiful and peaceful. The
view of the falls is breathtaking.
Ward's Lake: It is a manmade
lake in the heart of Shillong not far from the main market.
It is named after William Wards, the chief commissioner of
Assam under the British rule. It offers a refreshing break
in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the city, where
one can enjoy boating and the beauty of the well maintained
gardens. You can just feed the fishes from the bridge built
over the lake or take a walk around it. An eerie story goes
around that Lady Wards is sometimes seen boating in the middle
of the lake at midnight. It adds to the charm of the lake.
Hydari park: Another place
to unwind in Shillong is the Lady Hydari park and zoo. An
ideal place to go for a day out with family, it is thronged
by locals and tourist alike especially on weekends. It houses
many species of animals along with an array of flowers in
the gardens maintained. Refreshments are available outside
Umiam Lake also known as
Barapani, gives a striking impression with its brilliant view
that is especially mesmerizing at sunrise and sunset. It is
a picture of spellbinding beauty. Apart from the breathtaking
view, it also has gardens and boating facilities and makes
a perfect picnic spot especially during the spring time i.e.,
March-April which is the best time to visit the place. The
lake can be visited as part of a day trip from Shillong. It
can also be visited on the way from Guwahati to Shillong.
The great lake is fed by the Umshyrpi and Umkhrah rivers.
The Shillong golf club is
the second largest in Asia. It is also called Gleneagles.
It was a 9 hole golf course when it first opened in 1889.
It was later developed into an 18 hole in 1924. It makes a
pretty sight on a sunny day. Apart from the places listed
above, Don Bosco Cathedral, Crinoline falls, Capt.Williamson
Sangma museum are other places to visit in Shillong.
PLACES TO HANG OUT AND GRAB A BITE:
Laitumkrah is ideal for chilling out and getting something
good to eat within the budget. The area is popular amongst
the young school and college going crowd as most of the colleges
and schools are located around there. Fast-food joints and
cafes are aplenty .Swish café and Matter of Taste are two
of the many popular hangouts there. Apart from that confectionary
shops are also aplenty that serve authentic European confections
like the éclairs with sour cream and others.
Police Bazaar on the other hand houses the
very famous Delhi Mistaan Bhandar which is more than 45 years
old. It serves the best Gulab Jamuns, Paapri Chaat and Jalebis
prepared in pure ghee. Bombay bites and Café coffee day around
the same area are also good.
If you are looking for a good hearty meal
with a classy ambience at Shillong than Broadway restaurant,
Bamboo hut, Yalana restaurant and Pinecone are some renowned
ones which will serve your purpose. These are located in and
around the Police Bazaar area. Kimpao also located in Police
bazaar and "The Wok" at Lachumiere, Laitumkrah serves the
If one is keen on tasting the local cuisine
like Jadoh, a popular dish of rice and pork, they can head
to Tratoria at Police Bazaar and Neolith at Motphran. However,
it should be noted that these are mostly non-vegetarian fare.
The best way to end these meals is to have a gua-paan or betel
nut and leave.
HOW TO GET THERE:
Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi airport at Guwahati is
nearest airport at 128kms that connects Shillong to rest of
the country by airways. However, a daily flight service from
Guwahati airport to Umroi airport near Barapani in Shillong
is also operated by Air India.
The nearest railhead is the Guwahati station. Sumo
and bus service are readily available at the station.
The Guwahati - Shillong road connects the two cities.