North-east India is known for its scenic beauty and the states of Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Mizoram are called the Seven Sisters. Here lies a land of lush green meadows surrounded by mountains and foreven monsoon: Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya. Once the capital of Assam (1874 - 1972), this hill station is located 1496 metres above sea-level in the hills of the sub-Himalayas and is compared with Scotland in the way Kashmir is compared with Switzerland. The name Shillong was derived from 'Leishyllong', the Superpower of God. Shillong was established in the mid-1800s by Colonel Henry Hopkinson, agent to the Governor General of India, as a refuge for the officers and staff of the East India Company during fearfully hot summer months. The ghosts of its colonial past are still to be seen but, today, it is a typical Indian city. It attracts tourist for its natural beauty and scenic location.
This remarkable hill station is connected with Guwahati (101 km away), by a long road twisting between high hills that also connects Silchar and the Gara Hills. It makes a great trip by taxi, car or the MTDC bus (run by the Meghalaya Tourism Development Corporation). You will find the scenic beauty of the hills, trees and Barapani Lake and the experience of the 3-4 hour trip itself very memorable - especially if it rains! You travel through awesome scenery of cliffs, gorges, murmuring rivulets, fast-flowing streams and gurgling waterfalls to be seen en-route. The nearest airport is at Umroi (30 km from Shillong) and this connects to the rest of India. International travellers will fly first to Kolkata or Delhi. This area may sound remote, but then that's just why people go to enjoy the remote beauty to be found where you can be at one with Nature.
You will probably arrive at Police Bazaar in the heart of the city, where most of the hotels are located. This is where the main buzz occurs, including a market where you can buy local products from the emporiums and roadside stalls. Although small, the market offers a wide range of things including dresses, shoes, accessories, warm clothes and bamboo crafts. Take a look in Glory's Plaza, run by the Bhutanese people, famous for its western clothes and accessories. This is a three-story building that will attract any serious shopper - and a handy during a monsoon! (Yes, remember there is a reason why this is a lush, green region!) Also, visit Delhi Darbaar if you like sweets, and EC's restaurants which are very popular and offer great food. Shillong is famous for momos, which taste equally good if bought from the roadside.
Shillong is inhabited by the Khasis people, the only matriarchal
Then there are all the other places of interest and beauty...
Shillong Peak is probably the best place to start. If the sky is clear and there is no 'silver lining' you will see the city from the highest point: located about 10km from the city itself.
Ward's Lake contains colourful fish awaiting feeding and is a wonderful location in an area covered by flowers, plants and trees. Nearby is the beautiful Botanical Garden with its wide selection of trees.
Lady Hydari Park is a beautiful rose garden named after the wife of an ex-Governor of Shillong. Children and deer are equally at home here, and there is also a mini-zoo to further entertain the little people.
Waterfalls and valleys are to be found around Shillong, and the area is also noted for its many caves. Your many choices include Beadon Falls, Elephanta Fall, Spread Eagle Falls, Sweet Falls and Crinoline Falls (very near Lady Hydari Park). No words can describe the beauty to be found in these areas. You get a great sense of peace if you carefully descent to the lower regions of these watery places and you will be sure to remember these cathedrals of calm.
Shillong is famous for having the largest natural golf course in Asia. So if you enjoy golf and want to play on one of the world's most beautiful courses, don't miss this treat!
I would suggest the minimum of one week to do justice to this region, which should also give you time to visit Cherrapunjee (56 km), the place of the rain-gods, and Dwaki (86 km). If you are a confident driver then you can hire a car and discover the area for yourself. Otherwise take the MTDC tour packages. Either way you will not regret enjoying the ups and downs of this region and are sure to fall in love with the inner beauty of Shillong.