Cherrapunji is much more than just clouds and rainfall. A three-hour drive from the state capital, Shillong (Meghalaya), it offers quite a few quirky places to see and experience.

Sohra (Cherrapunji) is a 2.5-hour drive from the state capital. The drive in itself is exhilarating. With every bend of the road, you will see a change in the landscape – deep gorges with clouds hanging like a veil between them, beautiful waterfalls, huge mountains emerging from the horizon and clouds transforming to a menacing greyish hue.

The scenic meandering road cuts across the East Khasi hills offering spellbinding views of numerous waterfalls and deep ravines. There are several places along the road with designated viewpoints.

From trekking to the legendary Nohkalikai Falls to the enthralling walk through Mawsmai Caves, from watching the bizarre Khoh Ramah rock near Bangladesh border to the spectacular visual of the 1000 feet high Kynrem waterfalls, the small town gives ample memories to treasure forever.

NOHKALIKAI FALLS

Rarely will you see such a beautiful plunge pool at the end of a waterfall. Falling straight as an arrow from a height of 1000 feet, this is the most beautiful waterfall in Cherrapunji.

The blue puddle is a unique feature of Nokkalikai Falls and is best viewed on a bright sunny day. A nominal fee is required to enter the hilltop (from which the fall is seen). If you feel adventurous, you can do a 2-hour trek downhill to reach the base of the falls. There are a few stairs at the start which ends abruptly along the way.

Small time vendors have set shop in this beautiful place selling souvenirs, jute hats, puffed masala rice (a local snack), bells and trinkets. Manned by Khasi women, it will remind you of the matrilineal culture prevalent in this magical state of Meghalaya.

As you loiter on the hilltop, the landscape will continue to intrigue you. It was neither rugged nor plain, neither barren nor fertile. It will seem like a hybrid of everything.

Nohkalikai Waterfalls in Cherrapunji
Nohkalikai Waterfalls in Cherrapunji. PC: Sugato Tripathy

KHOH RAMAH

Less than 20 km from the centre of Cherrapunji, lies a unique giant 200 feet natural rock formation resembling an upturned Khasi basket. According to legend, this basket belonged to a cruel evil giant who troubled the people. To get rid of him, he was served food mixed with sharp iron nails. The same basket which he left here turned into a stone.

The Bangladesh plains are clearly visible from here. You can always hear some overenthusiastic tourist guides pointing towards the same in the backdrop.

Khoh Rama Rock in Cherrapunji
Khoh Rama Rock. PC: Sugato Tripathy

THANGKHARANG PARK 

Spread across an area of 5.5 Ha, this is a park with an abundance of breathtaking vantage points. Be it the view of the Khoh Ramah rock, the green fields and meandering rivers in the panoramic view of the Bangladesh plains or the spectacular vision of the 1000 feet high Kynrem waterfalls cutting across the serpentine roads, the experience will be unforgettable It also doubles up as a perfect picnic spot for families with dedicated playing areas for kids.

MAWSMAI CAVES

Stalactites and Stagmites in Mawsmai Caves
Stalactites and Stalagmites in Mawsmai Caves. PC: Sugato Tripathy

This might not be for everyone. If you are claustrophobic, then avoid it. Walking through this 150 meters long, dark, gloomy cave with natural limestone formation can be quite challenging.

There are several spots where one has to crawl or do a 90-degree bend to pass through. Magnificent formations of centuries-old Stalactites and Stalagmites adorn the cave interiors. You will see myriad formations of rocks along the way in various size and shapes. It will seem as if some eccentric sculptor loved working underground and has given such beguiling shapes to the stones.

Narrow passage in Mawsmai Caves
A narrow passage in Mawsmai Caves. PC: Sugato Tripathy

ECO PARK

Landscape of Eco Park, Cherrapunji
Eco Park, Cherrapunji. PC: Sugato Tripathy

Set up by the state government on top of a plateau, it houses indigenous orchids and a golden expanse of autumnal grassland. It offers magnificent views of the surrounding Khasi hills and the Sylhet plains of Bangladesh with which Meghalaya shares more than 400 km of border.

More often than not, strong gusts of wind bring greyish white clouds to this place and engulf the valley. There is certainly something magical and mysterious about these white wonders that come and go.

The long winding roads, the peculiar topography, the verdant surroundings and the ubiquitous waterfalls provide plenty of spectacular visuals for the discerning traveller.

Landscape of Eco Park, Cherrapunji
Eco Park, Cherrapunji. PC: Sugato Tripathy
FACTFILE

Getting There to Cherrapunji and going around – 

  • There are daily flights from Kolkata, Delhi and Bangalore to Guwahati. Shillong is a 3-hour drive from Guwahati
  • The best way to explore Cherrapunji is to hire a private cab from Shillong for a full day trip. Fares: Starts from INR 3500 for a roundtrip
  • You can also rent a car or bike from Guwahati if you wish to go on a road or bike trip through Cherrapunji

Best Time to Visit is October to May

Accommodation –
  • Coniferous Resorts, Lower Cherrapunjee, | East Khasi Hills District, Cherrapunjee,
    • Contact No:- 09436178164
  • Cherrapunjee Holiday Resort, Village Laitkynsew,
    • Contact No: 9615338500
    • Email: cherrapunjee@hotmail.com

Also read: A complete travel guide to Meghalaya, the land in the clouds

Share

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here