Shillong – ‘The Scotland of the East’

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Shuttling between your workplace and home, you often find yourselves lost in clutches of the concrete jungle. It’s time to break free and submerge in the pristine serenity of nature to rejuvenate your life. One such paradise in India is Shillong, a hill-city in the cradles of north-eastern India dominated by local tribes of Khasi and other north-eastern tribes. A place filled with lakes and surrounded by rolling hills, this haven of scenic beauty and rich culture is known as the ‘Scotland of the East’. As per local legend, it derived its name from their local deity, a young and handsome boy ‘Shyllong’ born to a virgin mother. Historians trace back its origin as a modest village formed back in 1870s that grew up to be the capital city of the undivided Assam, before becoming the capital of Meghalaya since its formation in 1972.

One can easily get here by road from Guwahati which is well connected to the rest of India by air and railways. The nearest airport is Umroi Airport but it caters only to limited flights. Ideal time to visit Shillong is during the months of April-May and October-November when you can visit its many lakes and waterfalls like the ‘The Elephant Falls’, ‘The Spread Eagle or Sati Falls’, ‘Sweet Falls’,‘The Ward’s Lake’, ‘Umiam Lake’ among others. Other places of interest include ‘Lady Hydari Park’ where you can visit the mini zoo and see many exotic plants; ‘Shillong Peaks’, the highest point in Shillong where you can enjoy a bird’s eye view of this hilly wonder and the ‘Don Bosco Center on Indigenous Cultures’ where one can get a feel and experience of the cultural heritage and beauty of north-eastern India. Golf lovers are in for a treat as they can relax with some quality golf time at the beautiful and lush green Shillong Golf Course situated at a height of 5200 feet above sea level which is one of the natural and wettest golf courses in India. You can also take a detour to visit the wettest places on earth ‘Cherapunji’ and ‘Mawsynram’ nearby. Shopaholic or otherwise, you can indulge in some shopping at the local market ‘Lewduh’ to buy traditional wooden and bamboo handicrafts, handmade shawls and bamboo shoot pickles which are quite popular. If you are planning to beat the heat this summer, then Shillong is a perfect retreat for having some quality personal or family time, romantic gateways among the pine covered hills and natural beauty of this place.

A word of cautionWhile visiting this rainy and wet place in the abode of clouds, be sure to carry some mosquito repellents and sanitizers which can be quite handy in mosquito and disease prone places like lakes and falls.

Author: Avinash

Image Courtesy: http://northeasttourismindia.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Shimring-Shillong-1024×685.jpg