More great attractions in Shillong

 
In the page for Top Attractions in Shillong I discussed the best places you should visit in and around Shillong if you are vacationing in Shillong for only 2-3 days. If you plan to stay longer, I can assure you that there are lot more great attractions to explore. Here they are... 
 
Mawsynram 
60.9 km away from Shillong 
Takes about 2 hours to reach Mawsynram by Taxi from Shillong 
 
Mawsynram currently holds the record of being the wettest place on earth and that in itself is a good reason to visit it. This is actually a quaint village in Meghalaya. The place abounds with beautiful green flora and exotic fauna... travelers and naturalists will love Mawsynram. 
 
 
 
There is a botanical garden there holding an impressive array of fruits and plants. Another place worth visiting is Dwarksuid... thatís actually a lovely pool surrounded on all sides by interesting rock formations. Another great place to visit is the small Aviary that has many species of colorful birds. 
 
Mawsynram is also home to the famous Mawjymbuim caves that contains fascinating speleothems which have shaped themselves to take on the structure of a shivalinga. The Mawsynram village is near Bangladesh and you can also see the neighboring country and the shared river from the top of a flattish rock called Symper. The simplicity and genuine friendliness of the villagers of Mawsynram adds to the charm of the place. A delicious special version of tea called Kwai is served there... donít forget to taste it before you bid adieu to Mawsynram. 
 
In case you are interested, there are numerous hotels and travel lodges in Mawsynram which provide decent accommodation. Small restaurants and convenience stores are also found there. You can also find tribal markets convening in this area... check out unusual looking tribal jewelry and local products. 
 
Marai Caves 
16 km away from Shillong on the way to Jowai. Top of Army Public School. 
 
The Marai Caves are also called the Mother of all caves and they are at the base of the hill which goes up to become a part of the Shillong Peaks. Whatever vehicle you take to travel to the Marai Caves will only go till the base of the hill (incidentally this is also the source of Umiam River). As you glance up from the base, you would see huge boulders balancing on top of each other. 
 
The Marai Cave is alternatively known as Krem Marai in local lingo and it is a holy place that is talked about in many local legends and folklore of this area. According to popular tales the descendants of Syiems ruled over the Mylliem and the Khyrim kingdom and they emerged through the dark caves of Marai. Some other stories say that the presiding deity of Shillong peak had a lovely daughter who lived here. Her name was Pah Syntiew (meaning ďone who is lured by flowersĒ) and she came to dwell in the caves at the persuasion of U Sati Mylliemngap. The entire clan of Syiem tribes is rumoured to have been sprung from her womb. 
 
Many slabs in the form of rocks lie at the base of the cave and form a deep unusual looking structure.  
You have to cross rich fertile agricultural tracts as well as rocky terrain while climbing up to the caves. The front of the cave offers a stunning view of Shillong with majestic mountains and numerous settlements along with Assam Regimental Center. 
 
Jakrem 
64 km away from Shillong, †Shillong Mawkyrwat Road 
 
Jakrem is a small village in Meghalaya that is recently gaining tourist interest. Its primary attractions are the numerous Hot water springs around that have potent sulphur water which have curative medical properties. Jakrem is now known as a good health resort and it attracts foreign tourists too. Numerous bathing compartments are built on the side of the springs and the public can wash themselves in the potent sulphur spring water. This is also a very famous picnic spot and there is a naturally formed swimming pool here. †An MTDC run health resort is now operated in Jakrem. 
 
David Scott Trails 
The David Scott trail is a hiking route that originated from a bridle Path introduced by a British Officer David Scott in the early 1800. People used it to commute between Bangladesh and Assam. Though the original trail is about 100 km and takes 5 days to cover, the best known stretches of the trek lies between the villages of Mawphalang and Lad Mawphalang. The stretch of 16 km through the east Khasi Hills is one of the most popular options for the trek and itís roughly a 4 hour journey. During this trek one can experience meadows, lush groves, streams, indigenous Khasi villages and Khasi settlements. One can also take a detour to some interesting caves nearby. 
 
The trek moves through a lovely wood and passes by a stream surrounded by unusual foliage. For first time trekkers, the trek can be a little difficult and it is advisable to take a guide. Carrying water and dry snacks like fruits, nuts, chocolates etc. along with water is also advisable. The trail is famous for offering superb views and involves crossing several smallish streams which can be slippery in nature. Carrying a First Aid box and travelling in a group is advisable. The best time for embarking on this trek is Late October and November, post monsoons. If you wish to, you can avail camping opportunities in the Umiam Valley (a part of the trek). 
 
 
 
Museums in Shillong 
Most museums in Shillong have free entry and most close down by 5pm on weekdays so plan your visit accordingly. 
 
Meghalaya State Museum / Captain Williamson Sangma State Museum 
IGP Point, Shillong, Near Police Bazaar 
Timings: 10.00 am to 4.00 pm 
 
This museum is a part of the State Central Library Complex and it is under the Art and Culture Department of Meghalaya. The lives of tribals, their culture, lifestyle and history are demonstrated in this museum. The Museum is divided into two galleries which are a tribute to the indigenous Meghalaya tribes. The first gallery focuses on the Khasi and Jaintia tribes and there are wooden toys, crafts, beaded and feathered tribal dresses, traditional weapons, ornaments, and pottery and musical instruments on display. The highlights are the exquisite Muga Cloth, hand woven baskets and wein pottery items. 
 
The second gallery focuses on the Garo tribes and has components of the lives of the mountain tribes like their hunting and fishing equipment, transport systems, agricultural tools, utensils, tobacco boxes and baskets are displayed. 
 
Though the museum is not very large, the way it has been arranged including correct utilisation of space and great maintenance have made it impressive. The complex within which the museum is contained is the State Central Library Complex where statues of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, Indira Gandhi etc. are erected. FYI, Williamson Amphlang Sangma was a Garo leader who became the founder Chief Minister of Meghalaya in 1972. He was also Mizoramís Governor in 1989 
 
Arunachal State Museum 
Cantonement Area, Shillong 
Timings: Monday - Sunday: 10.00 AM - 5.00 PM 
 
The Arunachal State Museum is located in the Cantonment area of Shillong and it displays exhibits related to the culture, customs, and tribal ethnicities of Arunachal Pradesh. Interestingly, Arunachal Pradesh has 26 tribal groups with their own segregated and fascinating identity and culture. 
 
Zoological Museum 
Risa Colony, Near Dhanketi, Shillong 
Monday - Saturday: 10.00 AM - 5.30 PM 
 
The Zoological Museum of Shillong is managed by the North East Regional Center of Zoological Survey of India. The museum is dedicated towards showcasing the beautiful and unusual fauna of NE India. There is a library in the premises that has many acclaimed international journals and rare looks on animals, birds and reptiles of NE India. 
 
Rhino Heritage Museum 
Zigzag Road, Ōewduh, Bara Bazar, Near Military School 
At the T junction of NH44 and NH 40 
Timings: Monday - Saturday: 10.00 AM - 5.00 PM 
 
Rhino Heritage Museum is a significant tourist destination in Shillong and is one of the most prominent war museums in North East India. The exterior of the museum is a cute pink (unusual considering it houses so many war weapons) and there is a jolly Rhino statue on the side. 
 
There are many historical photographs in the museum that are related to military activities, wars in North East and local cultural events. The building of the museum was built in the year 1928 and itís said that Japanese prisoners of World War 2 were kept captive here. A gallery in the museum is named in the memory of Captain Keishing Clifford Nongrum and this has several photographs, medals of bravery, photographs copies of handwritten manuscripts etc. 
 
The weaponry and ammunition used in the Bangladesh War of Liberation along with machine Guns and rifles made by NATO, China and Iraq are also kept on display. The exhibition is great for lovers of history and world affairs apart from students. Watch out for the biggest exhibit is the great Caribou fighter plane that was used in the 1971 Indo Pakistan war. 
 
Meghalaya Butterfly Museum 
Timings -: Monday - Friday: 10.00 AM - 4.30 PM 
Saturday: 10.00 AM - 4.30 PM  
Sunday: 10.30 AM - 1.00 PM  
Near Christian Academy School, Raitasmathiah, 1 km away from Shillong 
 
The Meghalaya Butterfly Museum has more than 1600 species of moths, butterflies and insects of dazzling patterns, strains and colors. These species are collected from all across the world and are housed here for the benefit of naturalists, entomologists and lepidopterists. However the bulk of the collection is from Meghalaya itself as itís well-known that the state has an impressive variety of fauna. 
 
This institute was responsible for initiating the breeding program for butterflies and that has now expanded and morphed into butterfly and other anthological centers. Itís also interesting to note the unusual collection of beetles in the museum. 
 
A visit to this museum is an interesting experience for people of all age groups but school kids would especially benefit from this. 
 
Shillong hosts a record number of museums and some others worth visiting are: 
  • Tribal Research Institute thatís an ethnological museum displaying tribal life artefacts in Mawlai  
  • Forest Museum in Lady Hyadari ark that hosts a stunning collection of animal skeletons, dried skin of snakes, stuffed leopards etc 
  • Botanical Museum at 4th Furlong which hosts an impressive array of indigenous flora species. 
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    Waterfalls in Shillong 
     
    Beadon Falls 
    Suna Valley, 2 km away from Bara Bazar 
    Shillong, East Khasi Hills District. 
     
    One of the two major waterfalls in the beautiful Suna Valley of Shillong, Beadon Falls is just 2 km away from the Bara Bazar area and thus itís easy to visit this fall even if you are staying in the heart of this town. 
     
    The waterfall moves through steep beautiful rock formations and then merges into the Umiam River. Falling from a steep ridge, straight into a deep ravine formed by the Umiam river... the Beadon Falls has a powerful roar and majestic beauty that attracts many travelers. What makes this roaring waterfall all the more special is itís pristine and quiet surroundings with acres of lush green forests and huge rocks. 
     
    A thin road from Mawlai leads to a vantage point from where one can get an awesome view of the Beadon Falls. Like all other waterfalls in Meghalaya, the best time to visit Beadon Falls is in the monsoons. Photographers and couples are especially attracted to this place. 
     
    Bishop Falls 
    Suna Valley 
     
    The twin of Beadon Falls... Bishop Falls is also located in the lovely Suna Valley of Shillong. The Bishop falls is said to be more visually appealing and it falls from a stunning height of 443 feet. This is a 3 tiered waterfall with gushing white water that plunges down into the Umiam River. You can spot the big hydroelectricity powerhouse at the base of the waterfall. The Bishop Falls is surrounded by large rocky structures and lush forests. There is a small road from Mawlai which one can access to reach a vantage view point that provides a great view of the fall. 
     
    Crinoline Falls 
    Laban, Lachumiere, Crinoline Swimming Pool, Near Lady Hyadari Park 
     
    The Crinoline Falls is right there in the heart of Shillong which contributes to its immense popularity. MTDC (Meghalaya Tourism Department) organizes several tourist events and cultural programs at the site of the Crinoline Falls. There is also a 3 star restaurant here and you can have your meals while looking at the beautiful waterfall. 
     
    The presence of a mini zoo and a large swimming pool makes the Crinoline Falls area more lucrative. If you are traveling with kids then this area is a must visit... the look and feel is like that of a popular amusement park. Otherwise if you are a waterfall aficionado, Crinoline Falls with its 13 meter height wonít impress you much. However the surrounding woods and the beautification done by the State Government are indeed impressive. 
     
    Monuments and Churches of Shillong 
     
    Motphran  
    Bara Bazaar Market Center 
     
    Motphran is basically a monument thatís a tribute to the Labour Corps who had fought during the First World War. The inscription on the monument by the Latin poet Horace reads ďitís sweet to die for oneís countryĒ. The khasi labour corps had transported ammunition, weapons and other items for the British soldiers. The English had built the monument to uphold the memory of 67 porters who died a glorious death in the war. Originally, the monument was named Mot France and the locals naturally changed its pronunciation to Motphran. Right now the monument stands at a traffic junction in the famous Bara Bazaar of Shillong. 
     
    All Saints Church 
    Shillong IGP Point, Kacheri Road 
    Opposite Central Library 
     
    This Church is one of the most ancient ones in Shillong and it was built in the times of British Raj. The original Church was built in 1897 on the Kacheri Road and then an earthquake ruined it completely, post which a new Church was built in 1902. This colonial style beautiful church has a wooden structure and lovely architectural elements. This is a good place to spend some moments of solitude and the Sunday Mass is worth attending too if you are looking for a spiritual experience. The Church is quite well maintained and itís a great place for photography. The highlight is the magnificent stained glass windows in the two storied Church. 
     
    Lady Hyadari Park, the Crinoline Falls and the Butterfly Museum are the nearby attractions. So you can combine a visit to all 4 places at one shot. 
     
    Anglican Cemetery and Angelical Church 
    Rilbong, Shillong 
     
    The rather colonial looking cemetery has graves of soldiers who were killed in the Lushai campaign of Mizoram. The cemetery has a rather spooky aura and looks straight out of a horror movie. The Church is rather pretty and has graceful architecture.  
     
    In case you stay in a nearby hotel in Police Bazaar then the Cemetery and Church visit can make for an interesting evening/ morning walk destination. 
     
     
     
    Peaks of Shillong 
     
    Sohpetbneng Peak 
    Though not the highest peak in Meghalaya, Sohpetbbneng is probably the most beautiful peak in this state. The peak is 20 km to the north of Shillong and each year on the second Saturday of February many hundreds of Khasi believers walk more than 7 km uphill to the peak right from the highway. Indigenous dances, sacred rituals and rites and holy chants are a part of the journey as the travelers pray to U Blei (the creator according to Khasis) for the wellbeing of the earth and all life on it. 
     
    There is a lake on the route called U Diengei and itís a testament to the lore that said that humans once dwelt happily with their brothers and sisters of the sky till a catastrophe separated them. The Mayan, Jaintia, Bhol, War tribes still believe that a mythical golden bridge will appear on top of the peak and link heaven to earth again. The peak s 1343 m above sea level and it provides a birdís eye view of the whole of Shillong. Incidentally, the name Sohpetbneng means ďthe navel of heavenĒ. 
     
    Deingei Peak 
    The Diengei Peak is about 200 feet shorter than the Shillong Peak and is situated at the western side of the Shillong Plateau. The peak gives travelers an opportunity of viewing the marvellous green hills and lovely foliage on them along with the beautiful Umiam Lake. You can take the road leading from Umiam Union Christian College via the Mawmaram motorable road thatís accessible from NH 40. 
     
    The most interesting aspect about Diengei is a large cup shaped hollow atop the peak and geologists are of the opinion that a pre historic volcanic explosion had caused the crater. 
     
    Botanical Survey of India Orchidarium 
    Near Wards Lake, Shillong 
    Timing: Monday to Friday: 9.30 AM - 6.00 PM  
    Saturday: 9.30 AM - 6.00 PM  
    Sunday and Public Holidays: 9.30 AM - 6.00 PM 
     
    If you visit the Wardís Lake then you cannot miss the Botanical Garden thatís right there in the middle of the Mawphlang Sacred Groves. 
     
    Nature lovers, photographers and young students will be enchanted with the Botanical Survey of India Orchidarium which hosts a stunning array of orchids and indigenous plants of Meghalaya. The state is fiercely protective about its ecological balance and this is why itís not allowed to take out a single leaf or a twig or anything else from inside the Mawphalang groves and the Orchidarium... 
    There is also an aviary with an impressive array of birds nearby. Whatís really impressive about the place is the governmentís efforts to preserve its indigenous wealth of flora and fauna. 
     
     
     
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