Meghalaya or the 'Abode of Clouds' is one of the smallest states in India. Much of Meghalaya is covered with lush forests, rich in orchids. The state of Meghalaya is blessed with numerous nature endowments. There are several National parks, wildlife sanctuaries and majestic waterfalls which enhance the beauty of this beautiful state of India. Meghalaya also offers many adventure tourism prospects such as rock climbing, mountaineering, trekking and hiking, water sports etc. Waterfalls are mostly seen in the capital city of Shillong. The caves in Meghalaya are also important tourist attraction.
Pilgrimage Tourism in Meghalaya
There are quite a few temples and churches in Meghalaya. The Durga temple built in the 16th century holds great religious significance. Most of the religious centers in Meghalaya are scattered in its capital city Shillong. The Catholic cathedral in Shillong attracts a number of devotees. It is located between Dhankheti and Laitumkhrah. The other prominent churches in Shillong are the Mawkhar Presbyterian Church, the jaiaw Presbyterian Church, the Laitumkhrah Presbyterian Church and the All Saints' Cathedral. These churches are spacious and can accommodate thousands of devotees at a time. The Matri mandir of Shillong is a Hindu temple which is dedicated to goddess Kali. Pilgrims come here to offer prayers. The Mahadev Khola Dham is another Hindu temple in Cherrapunjee in Meghalaya. This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva.
Adventure Tourism in Meghalaya
Trekking is a popular sport in Meghalaya. The famous trekking trail is David Scott's Trail. Jaintia hills are another well known trekking trail of the state. While the travelers are busy trekking they will also come across several places of interest, specially, the national parks. The Garo hills are indispensable parts of Meghalaya. Caving and rock climbing are also practiced in Meghalaya. Caving, specially, involves lot of physical exercise. Meghalaya, in its turn, has been successful in attracting cavers all over the world. There are around one thousand caves in the whole of Meghalaya.
Nature Tourism in Maeghalaya
Waterfalls and wilderness will make the trip to Meghalaya a memorable one. There are several waterfalls in Meghalaya. Some of the famous ones are Bishop and Beadon Falls, Spread Eagle Falls, Crinoline Falls and others. While some of these are located within the city limits, some are located within the wilderness. Gushing down the same escarpment into a deep gorge, these waterfalls are scenic and pictorial. The waterfalls are the ideal places to make one's holiday most satisfying. The Crinoline Falls is a must visit destination for the tourists. Below the falls there is a well preserved Swimming Pool which is made to accommodate the swimming buff of all ages. Besides swimming there is an attached restaurant where visitors can enjoy food and regular evening programme are also arranged for the benefit of tourist.
Wild life is a major part of Meghalaya Tourism. There are many parks and wild life sanctuaries in Meghalaya. These are Balpakram National Park, Nokrek National Park, Nokrek Biosphere Elephant Reserve, Siju Bird Sanctuary, Baghmara Pitcher Plant Sanctuary and Nongkhyllem Sanctuary. The Balpakram National Park is situated to the extreme south Garo hills of Meghalaya. Declared as a National park, this place is rich in wild life. Apart from elephants and tigers, the great hornbill, wildcats, wild buffalo and leopards are also found here. Hillock gibbons, the only ape species found in India, are found in this National park. The Siju bird sanctuary is one of the finest bird sanctuaries in the north east region. This sanctuary is a bird watcher's delight. It is a home to many unique varieties of birds as well as those which are on the verge of extinction. Considered as one of the most picturesque states in India, Meghalaya has many man made as well as natural lakes. The Umiam Lake in Meghalaya is a beautiful lake which is surrounded by mountains. This makes for an ideal picnic spot for the tourists. The Ward Lake in Shillong is an artificial lake and is quite popular for boating and water sport activities. There are plenty of fish in the lake and feeding the fishes is one of the favourite pastimes for the visitors. The state of Meghalaya is dotted with numerous caves and a visit to those can prove to be pretty enthralling for the tourists.
Leisure Tourism in Meghalaya
A trip to Meghalaya can soothe the frayed nerves. Hence it is perfect for leisure travelers. Comfortably tucked away within the hills, Meghalaya is famous for its scenic beauty and bracing climate. This is the place where one can stand at a hill top and feel the clouds sweep pass his or her face. The travelers can head to Tripum Castle from Shillong city. It is a short uphill walk past some community buildings into pine-forested hills. Great views of the city can be obtained from there. The Botanical garden in Shillong in Meghalaya is a major crowd puller. Located near the Ward falls, this place is noteworthy for the indigenous and interesting varieties of flora.
A mini-aviary, with rare and vivid species of birds, is a part of the garden. The well-laid path within the garden catches the attention of city dwellers and visitors. Meghalaya's State Museum in Lachumiere, Shillong has exhibits depicting tribal customs, instruments used for hunting, fishing appliances, weapons, and transport equipment, domestic articles like pots, water jug and tobacco box. As a hill station, Shillong, the capital city of the state is the perfect tourist destination. Its scenic beauty will prove to be a memorable experience for the tourists for a long time to come. The Golf course of Shillong is considered to be one of the best in the country.
Visiting Information on Meghalaya
By Air: The Umroi Airport in Shillong is served by domestic flights from different parts of India. The Guwahati Airport can also be utilised by the travellers for accessing Meghalaya. Helicopter services also operate between Shillong and Guwahati which are pretty economical for the tourists.
By Rail: There are no railway services in the state of Meghalaya. The nearest railway station for Meghalaya is the Guwahati Railway station. From here shared taxis and rented cars are available at Shillong to arrive at the expected destination-Meghalaya.
By Road: Meghalaya Transport Corporation and Assam State Transport Corporation run buses for making Meghalaya reachable for the tourists. Road network system in Meghalaya is quite efficient. The road links Shillong with Guwahati, which in turn is joined to other major cities in India.
Meghalaya is famous for its handicrafts, especially, products made of bamboo and cane.
Modest accommodation units are found in Meghalaya. Although the amenities of the metropolis will definitely not be available here but the sheer beauty of the place is enough to wipe away all troubles. The charges in these guesthouses are reasonable too
In Shillong there are several eating outlets where the travelers can try out the local delicacies. The cuisine of Meghalaya can be divided into three parts, such as, Garo, Jaintai and Khashi. Tourist information centers in Meghalaya will also help the travelers in unearthing the different places of tourist interest.
Special Tour Places in Meghalaya
Mawlynnong Village, Shillong
Laitlum Canyon, Shillong
Ialong Park, Jowai
Umiam Lake, Nongpoh
All Saints Church, Shillong
Mawsmai Cave, Cherapunjee
Mawthadraishan Peak, Nongstoin
Elephant Falls, Shillong
Siju Cave, Tura