Shillong, which is referred to as Scotland of the East due to its rolling hills, is blessed with a number of natural beauties that enthrall all who visit the place. Located in the Northeastern part of India, it is the capital of Meghalaya, which literally means The Abode of Clouds. Apart from the natural beauty, the hill station also offers good food, music and a wide variety of stores and markets to shop from.
You can find a number of places to visit with some being close to the city and others in the outskirts. Visitors will be spoiled for choice with the beautiful scenic roads, crystal clear lakes, mesmerizing waterfalls, impressive mountains, walking trails, etc., that it offers.
Here are five of the places one can visit:
It is a sight to behold indeed! This waterfall is located in Upper Shillong around 12 kms away from the bustling city, and it is surrounded by lush greenery that makes it a perfect picnic spot. The waterfall is said to have got its name during the British era, when Englishmen spotted a giant rock that looked like an elephant. To get the full view of the waterfall, one has to travel down a steep, slippery flight of stairs to reach the bottom. Like every other tourist spot, one would have to pay an entry fee and the timings can be from 10 am to 6 pm.
It is one of the most iconic places in the whole of Meghalaya, and receives a good number of visitors every year. Umiam Lake, which is locally called as Dam sait, is a reservoir located 15 kms from Shillong. It was built in the 1960s for the sole purpose of storing water for hydroelectric power generation. Today it attracts visitors for its scenic beauty, and is an ideal spot for picnickers and water activities like kayaking, boating, and cruising.
Another spot that attracts visitors is Shillong Peak. Situated at an altitude of 1,965 m (6,446 feet), it is the highest peak in Meghalaya and offers panoramic views of the city. The site is located at Laitkor and is around 13 kms from Shillong. It offers visitors a panoramic view of the city, surrounding waterfalls, the Himalayan Range, Bangladesh Plains, etc. The radar station of the Indian Air Force is located there so, for security reasons, visitors have to surrender their cameras. The place opens from 9 am to 3:30 pm and is closed on Wednesdays, and there is an entry fee for both people and vehicles.
Located around 21 kms from Shillong, Laitlum Canyon is one of the lesser known or explored places of Meghalaya. Its serene beauty makes it ideal as a quiet and peaceful getaway. With a name that literally means ‘End of Hills’, it provides nature lovers and photographers a great chance to capture and soak in its natural beauty. One can even catch a view of Rasong, a small hamlet that is nestled deep in the ridges of the Laitlum gorge.
There is an abundance of tranquil and scenic places in the outskirts of Shillong, but it also has one that is right in the heart of the city. Ward’s Lake, or Nan Polok as it is locally known, is an artificial lake surrounded by a garden that offers one a quiet place for relaxation. It does get a good number of visitors, and provides people with an opportunity to go boating. Located close to Police Bazar, which is a haven for shoppers, people can visit the lake from around 8:30 am to 5:30 pm.