Best Places to Visit in Shillong
Shillong, the capital city of the northeastern state of Meghalaya in India, has a rich and diverse history that dates back to ancient times. Historically, the Khasi people, the indigenous tribe of the region, have inhabited the hills around Shillong for centuries. The word “Shillong” is derived from the Khasi word “U-Shyllong,” which means “the God of Shyllong,” a significant deity for the Khasi people.
Today, Shillong stands as a vibrant city that beautifully blends its indigenous heritage with its colonial past, making it a unique and captivating destination for travelers from around the world.
How to Reach Shillong?
By Air: The nearest major airport to Shillong is the Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport (GAU) in Guwahati, Assam, which is approximately 125 kilometers away from Shillong. From Guwahati, you can hire a taxi or take a bus to reach Shillong. The journey by road takes around 3-4 hours, depending on the traffic and road conditions.
By Train: The nearest railway station to Shillong is in Guwahati, which is well-connected to major cities in India. From Guwahati Railway Station, you can take a taxi, bus, or shared cabs to reach Shillong. The road journey takes approximately 3-4 hours.
By Road: Shillong is well-connected by road to various cities in the region. You can either drive to Shillong from nearby cities or towns or take a bus. Several private and government-operated buses ply between Shillong and Guwahati, the largest city in the region. The road journey offers scenic views of the picturesque Meghalayan landscape.
What is the best time to visit Shillong?
Post-Monsoon (September to November): This period is ideal as the monsoon rains have subsided, and the weather is pleasant. The landscapes are lush and green, making it a perfect time for nature lovers and photographers. The temperature is mild, ranging from 15°C to 25°C, creating a comfortable atmosphere for sightseeing and outdoor activities.
Winter (December to February): Winter in Shillong is chilly but delightful. The temperature can drop to around 2°C to 15°C, especially during December and January. This season is perfect for travelers who enjoy cold weather and want to experience the beauty of Shillong covered in mist and occasional light snowfall. It’s also a great time for adventure enthusiasts to explore the region.
It’s important to note that the monsoon months (June to August) should be avoided if possible. Heavy rainfall during this period can lead to landslides and travel disruptions. Road travel can be challenging due to the hilly terrain and slippery roads.
Top 10 places to visit in Shillong
- Elephant Falls
- Shillong Peak
- Ward’s Lake
- Don Bosco Museum
- Police Bazaar
- Laitlum Canyon
- Umiam Lake
- Cathedral of Mary Help of Christians:
- Lady Hydari Park
- David Scott Trail
Elephant Falls: Elephant Falls, located near Shillong in Meghalaya. The falls derive their name from a large rock at the foot of the waterfall, resembling an elephant. Divided into three segments, the falls cascade down through fern-covered rocks and lush greenery, creating a mesmerizing spectacle. It’s a must-visit site for anyone exploring the scenic wonders of Meghalaya.
Shillong Peak: Shillong Peak, standing tall at an elevation of 1,966 meters (6,447 feet), is the highest point in the state of Meghalaya. Located approximately 10 kilometers from the city center of Shillong. To reach the summit, visitors can drive up to a certain point and then climb a short flight of stairs to reach the viewing platform.
Ward’s Lake: Ward’s Lake named after Sir William Ward, the then Chief Commissioner of Assam, who initiated its construction in the late 19th century, the lake is a serene oasis in the midst of the bustling city. This man-made marvel is not only a visual delight but also a popular spot for both tourists and locals. Visitors can enjoy leisurely walks around the lake, appreciating the vibrant flowers, scenic views, and the graceful swans gliding on the water. Boating is a favorite activity here, allowing guests to paddle across the clear waters and absorb the tranquil ambiance.
The Don Bosco Museum : The Don Bosco Museum is named after Saint John Bosco, an Italian educator, and philanthropist, this museum is a treasure trove of knowledge about the indigenous tribes, art, culture, and traditions of the region. One of the museum’s highlights is the Skywalk, offering panoramic views of Shillong city. It provides a perfect vantage point to appreciate the city’s landscape and surrounding hills.
Police Bazaar: Police Bazaar is the busiest and most popular shopping destination in the city, offering a wide array of goods and experiences for both locals and tourists. ere, you can find an eclectic mix of traditional Khasi, Jainsem, and western attire, along with handicrafts, accessories, and souvenirs. In the evenings, Police Bazaar comes alive with the vibrant energy of the night market. Whether you’re a shopper, a food enthusiast, or simply looking for a place to soak in the local culture, Police Bazaar is a must-visit destination in Shillong.
Laitlum Canyon: Laitlum Canyon, often referred to as the “End of the World,” is a hidden gem located near Shillong. Once you reach the canyon’s edge, you are rewarded with a spellbinding vista of the sprawling landscape below. Laitlum Canyon is a perfect destination for nature enthusiasts, trekkers, and photographers.
Umiam Lake: Umiam Lake, also known as Barapani Lake, the beauty of Umiam Lake lies in its crystal-clear blue waters surrounded by lush green hills and dense forests. Visitors can engage in various activities such as boating, kayaking, and water cycling, allowing them to enjoy the serene surroundings up close. Apart from its recreational significance, Umiam Lake also has a functional aspect, as it is an essential reservoir for generating hydroelectric power. Whether you’re seeking relaxation, adventure, or simply a break from the city hustle.
The Cathedral of Mary Help of Christians: The Cathedral of Mary Help of Christians was constructed in the late 19th century, the cathedral holds significant historical and cultural importance. It serves as the principal church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Shillong and is dedicated to Mary, Help of Christians, a title used by the Catholic Church for the Virgin Mary.
Lady Hydari Park: Lady Hydari Park is name after the wife of the first Governor of Assam, Lady Hydari, the park is a delightful blend of manicured lawns, vibrant flowerbeds, and tall pine trees. One of the park’s highlights is the mini-zoo, where visitors can encounter local fauna, including Himalayan birds, deer, and other small animals. It’s an excellent place for families and children, offering an educational and enjoyable experience.
David Scott Trail: The David Scott Trail is not just a trek; it’s a journey back in time, offering glimpses of Meghalaya’s historical significance. Trekkers can explore ancient monoliths, sacred groves, and remote Khasi villages, The David Scott Trail is named after a British administrator who established it in the early 19th century, is a historic trekking route in Meghalaya. The trail starts from Mawphlang, a village located about 25 kilometers from Shillong. From there, it winds its way through the East Khasi Hills, passing through lush green forests, bamboo groves, and gurgling streams. Along the way, trekkers can witness diverse flora and fauna, making it a haven for nature enthusiasts and wildlife photographers.
Looking for Meghalaya tour packages?
Muddie Trails provides the Meghalaya tour package that covers hidden gems and major tourist places which makes you explore the region’s diverse attractions. We create customized itineraries that provide flexibility for friends ,family members, and solo travelers to experience off beat places. Contact us for more details.
Shillong offers numerous attractions for sightseeing, including the iconic Elephant Falls, the scenic Shillong Peak, and the picturesque Umiam Lake. Visitors can also explore Ward’s Lake and enjoy the cultural experience at the Don Bosco Museum.
Yes, Shillong boasts historical sites such as the David Scott Trail, a centuries-old trekking route, and the Cathedral of Mary Help of Christians, an architectural marvel. These sites provide a glimpse into Shillong’s rich heritage and cultural significance.
Outdoor enthusiasts can indulge in activities like boating in Ward’s Lake, trekking along the David Scott Trail, and exploring the natural beauty of Laitlum Canyon. Shillong also offers opportunities for adventure sports and water activities at Umiam Lake.
Yes, apart from popular spots, Shillong has hidden gems like the serene Lady Hydari Park, the historical significance of the David Scott Trail, and the cultural experience at the Don Bosco Museum. These offbeat attractions offer unique experiences for travelers seeking a more authentic and less crowded Shillong experience.