Shillong | India
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Shillong is the capital and the largest town in the North-Eastern Indian state of Meghalaya.


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Shillong (pop. c. 270,000) was the capital of Assam, but after the state was split as Assam and Meghalaya, meaning 'The abode of the clouds', it became the first capital of the newly-formed State of Meghalaya. The best time to visit Shillong is the rainy season - most of the famous waterfalls including those in Cherrapunji are in full flow in this time of the year. Located in undulating pine-covered hills, the city has a milder climate than tropical parts of India. The city centre is 1,496 meters above sea level. Home to several waterfalls, it is also known as the Scotland of the East. The British legacy is still visible in the architecture and the food habits of the population. The Assam-style houses with slanting roofs, a large number of windows, and wooden floors look like a piece of art (and happen to be very good idea, considering Shillong lies in a area where rains and earthquakes are very common). Weather Shillong receives heavy rainfalls during monsoon and the rainy season usually lasts longer than in the rest of India. An umbrella is therefore a necessity while packing your bags. Although people avoid the rainy season, it is generally the time when the city is clean (rains wash the streets of all garbage) and waterfalls are in full strength. People Most of the Shillong population belong to Khasi tribe, who are predominantly Christian. There are significant Bengali and Nepali minorities. An interesting aspect of Khasi culture is that they are a matrilineal society - the mother is head of family, the youngest daughter owns all the property and the mother's surname is passed on to the children.


Planning a Trip

1 Get in 1.1 By plane 1.2 By helicopter 1.3 By train 1.4 By bus 1.5 By car By plane Gopinath Bordoloi Airport (GAU) in Guwahati (104 km from Shillong) is connected to rest of India with regular flights. It is also connected internationally by Druk Airlines (Royal Bhutan Airlines) from Bangkok, Thailand. Shared cabs (typically small cars from the airport, and larger Tata Sumos from Guwahati town center) are available from outside airport connecting to Shillong. The rate (as of June 2007)is ₹300-₹500 per passenger from Guwahati Airport to Shillong and takes 2.5-3 hours depending on traffic. The cab drops you off at Police Bazaar from where you can get a ride to almost any part of Shillong. En route from Guwahati to Shillong, you'll probably stop mid way at Nongpoh to freshen up and get some refreshments. Nongpoh is also a good place to pick up bamboo pickles and other condiments. Shillong Airport (SHL) is in Umroi, about 40km from Shillong (also known as Barapani Air Force Base or Umroi Airport). It is a small airport with flights via Air India to/from Calcutta on certain days of the week. A bus operated by M.T.D.C runs from Airport to Shillong market. By helicopter The government of Meghalaya operates a twice-a-day helicopter service to Shillong from the Guwahati Airport and back. The helicopter flies to the ALG (Advanced Landing Ground) Shillong, an Air Force Heliport located around 15 km away from the city center. Tickets are modestly priced at ₹1500 (28 USD) per person. Travelling by helicopter reduces the tedious 4 hour road journey by road from the Guwahati Airport (which is the airport which you'll probably arrive at if visiting Shillong) to a pleasant 20 minute flight. Tickets can be booked from the Meghalaya Helicopter Service counter at the Guwahati airport (for details, talk to the Meghalaya Tourism helpdesk in the Arrival Lounge) and from the Meghalaya Transport Corporation counters in Shillong. By train There are no rail lines in Meghalaya. The nearest railway station is Guwahati. It is 105 km from Shillong (reportedly takes 5 hours via taxi) and very well connected with all major cities of India. By bus The main interstate bus stand is located right next to Guwahati railway station. Buses run by Assam State Transport Corporation (ASTC) and Meghalaya Transport Corporation (MTC) ply every half an hour from Guwahati to Shillong. The ticket fares vary between ₹30 to ₹100, depending upon bus class (ordinary, semi-deluxe and deluxe). Many of the buses are very old, and the only visible difference among bus class is the number of people allowed to sit. Many private run buses also run between two cities but they leave from Paltan Bazar area and cost around ₹70. Private buses might be better built but are occasionally crowded and have more stops en route. Buses usually take around 4 hours with a mid-way stop at Nong-poh. By car Shared taxis are quite easily available from Paltan Bazar area, which is adjacent to the railway station in Guwahati. These are generally SUV-sized vehicles (Tata Sumo, Toyota Innova and Mahindra Bolero) shared between 8 people. They take around 3 hours to reach Shillong from Guwahati. Prices in shared taxis (SUV vehicles) range from ₹150-₹250. Sleek cars (Tata Etios and Maruti Swift Dzire) are also available, at prices of about ₹1500-₹2500 (depending on the type of car).


Things to do

The facade of the cathedral with the statue of Mary Help of Christians Bishop & Beadon Falls. Located in Suna valley,these two are very beautiful falls. Suna is the home to wild animals such as deer, leopard,langurs,wild cats and numerous bird species.  Butterfly Museum. There is a huge collection of different types of butterflies. Students of zoology will find them interesting. This place is also attractive for adults where they can see the natural beauty and play with the beautiful and colourful butterflies. This museum presents some of the finest and rarest species of butterflies.  25.5679791.891761 Cathedral of Mary Help of Christians. Cathedral of Mary Help of Christians is the cathedral of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Shillong which covers the Khasi and Jaintia hills of Meghalaya. The Cathedral is the principal place of worship of the over 300,000 strong Catholics of the Shillong Archdiocese which covers the Khasi and Jaiñtia Hills of Meghalaya. It is one of the most beautiful churches and is perched on a hill. It is located in the Laitumkhrah locality in Shillong. This Cathedral is named after Mary the mother of Jesus Christ. Besides being the pride of the Catholics of the region, the church has also become a great tourist attraction.  Elephant Falls 25.5931291.882352 Don Bosco Museum of Indigenous North East Culture (Don Bosco Centre for Indigenous Cultures). Run by the Salesian order of the Catholic Church, the Don Bosco Museum is a truly amazing repository of information on the entire North Eastern states of Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh and Tripura. Located within the precincts of the Sacred Heart Church, Mawlai, the edifice iteself is shaped like a spiral and its distinct form is discernible from quite some distance away. It has an amazing collection of attire, accoutrements, weapons, ornamentation and rare photographs. This is also the largest cultural museum in the whole Asia. Fr Sebastian is the priest who has taken up the cause of preservation of art and culture with 'missionary zeal!  25.5361391.823083 Elephant Falls. It is in Upper Shillong area which also houses the Eastern Air Command of Indian Airforce. The scenic fall is not continuous and more of collection of smaller falls. It has footpath leading to bottom fo fall where it reaches a small lake. Its name elephant falls was given by British. Because there was a rock by the side of fall which resembled elephant. The rock was destroyed in earthquake.  25.5896291.898684 Golf course. Shillong golf course is located at an altitude of around 5200 ft. This is the first golf course of India which has 18 holes in it. This place is like a dream come true for the putters. This golf course is so beautiful and located at the unique location that some time it is compared with the “ Glen Eagle Course” of the United State.  Sunset at Umiam Lake 25.5654291.881625 Lady Hydari Park. The park has variety of local flowering plants and orchids. It also has a small zoo within it. Children wiil like it as there are few swings, sea-saws, slips for them. It is a famous picnic spot for local population. This park is named after the Lady Hydari, the first lady of the state, wife of the Governor of Assam. This park has a mini zoo and a deer park, which is spread over more than one kilometre.  25.5473891.875066 Shillong Peak. Shillong Peak is the highest point in state of Meghalaya (1965 meters above sea level). There is a view-point where you can get breathtaking view of Shillong city. Peak is easily accessible from the Upper Shillong or Jowai Road. The city view during night is a scene to remember. It is host to a radar station for Indian Air force and tourists are advised to declare their cameras while reaching view-point and not to take pictures of radar facilities.  Wards Lake 25.5646291.956147 Sweet Falls. Located in Happy Valley, it is a very steep fall. Extreme caution is advised as there are no barricades and rocks are nearly always slippery (due to rain or dew).  25.6654291.892838 Umiam Lake, meghalaya (north of shillong). A beautiful lake north of Shillong, which resembles the 'Lochs', or lakes of Scotland, and is a must-see for all tourists. This lake is man-made and is better known as 'Barapani' (big water) for its sheer size. It was created by damming the Umiam river in the early 1960s. There is a water sports complex with sports such as kayaking, water cycling, scooting and boating. There is a garden (Lum Nehru park) by the side water sports complex.  25.5758191.886579 Wards Lake. This horseshoe-shaped artificial lake is below the Raj Bhavan (Governor’s Residence). Boating facilities are available in the lake and surrounded by a fairly large garden. It has a wooden bridge at the middle. The winding walkway around the lake's periphery provides an enchanting experience of passing through flowerbeds and fairyland lighting with gradually undulating grounds, hemmed in by lush greens. Lots of lotus plants with leaves are there on either side of lake. One can find lots of colourful fishes (mostly grass carp) in the lake. A cafeteria is there to provide refreshment. A fountain dancing to the tunes of song is also there.