Sunday, April 28, 2013

Shillong: On The Top Of Rain Drops

barapani lake in shillong highway
Barapani Lake (photo courtesy- Mayank Singh )
My father before retirement worked in the defense service, and had a transferable job. It is common thing for military personnel to transfer from one state to another in the course of their duty. So, inevitably we got the opportunity to see many places in India, stayed and mixed with native culture of the regions. When I was a teenager I had this opportunity to see the verdant hills of Shillong and lived there for some months with my father. Although I have had a good memory of my trip, still it's been a long time ago, so I have to research a bit on Shillong and some pieces from my memory to put it down as much as information I could. It is noted that the photos here are stock images and I've given due credit to photographers.

Shillong welcomes you with hoardings of Smirnoff and McDowell, as the region is tax free zone for alcoholic beverages. The beautiful drive from Guwahati to Shillong will anyway make you high. There are vast differences between Northern Indian Mountains and Eastern hills, the most prominent I feel Northern Himalayas are more aggressive in compare with the mellow and lush hills of Eastern Mountains of India.

shillong street
Shillong street
If you haven’t still tasted the original momos, you can stop for a while at Nangpoh to relish some delicious chicken dumplings. The shimmering Barapani Lake and ubiquitous betel nut trees confirm you are in the Khasi zone. Shillong is hailed as Scotland of East, though I don’t like to compare any place with foreign region, still the salubrious climate and history of large number of Britons to settle in this small city of northeastern state testified the love comparability between Shillong and Scotland.

                                                             Things To See And Do

First thing you notice about this place is women. You’ve probably never seen such large number of beautiful women in any place of India. They are fashionable, joyful, free and a queer mixture of traditional culture and freshness. From the roadside tea stalls to large showrooms, they rule here. However, while seeing women, do not neglect the natural beauty of Shillong; lakes, peaks, falls and pine-covered mountains will leave a lifelong memory.

Water Beauties

The abundant water bodies are found everywhere in this ‘land of cloud’. The first water body you will encounter while coming from Guwahati is Umiam popularly known as Barapani Lake, 16 km before Shillong on NH40. The lake is the source of Umiam River, which is utilized to generate electricity. This big lake is an attraction of tourists because of facilities like water skiing, rowing, and speed boating. The picturesque lake is surrounded by verdant hills and a meadow.

Another popular place you can go is Ward Lake, which is situated exactly in the middle of the town. This lake is a standard picnic spot because of surrounded green meadows and colorful flowerbeds.  You can feed thousands of fish there but don’t think they will serve them as your dinner. Fishing is strictly prohibited here.

I remember Elephant Falls on the outskirts of Upper Shillong near the Indian Air Force office. It is specially show its true color during rainy season.

ward lake in shillong
Ward Lake
See the Top from the Hill

Shillong Peak is perched at a height of 6,433 feet, offering a panoramic full view of Shillong city and its countryside.  The view is periodically changing into a mystery by floating clouds. If you are enthusiast of butterflies, you must visit Butterfly Museum nearby. State Museum showcases variety of items depicted Khasi lifestyle.

Beyond Shillong

Jowai

By the Myntdu River in the Jaintia Hills, Jowai is the second biggest town in the state and serves as the summer capital of the Jaintia kings, who still operate around the region. The place is dotted with limestone caves and temples, some famous caves are Krem Umlawan, Krem Kotsati, Krem Umshangktat and Krem Lashinng. Some caves have multiple entry point, some show you fossil passages.

10 km from Jowai, Naritiang invites curious archaeologists from all over the world for its stunning megaliths.

Cherrapunji – Mawsynram

It takes around 2 hours to reach these two wettest places in the world. Mawsynram has the highest annual rainfall rate in the world. Cherrapunji, the ‘Valley of Cloud’ has many things to offer, starting from huge waterfalls to numerous caves. If you are in the town don’t forget to taste roadside momos, fresh pineapple and tea. As a souvenir carry some orange honey from here.

Waterfalls in Cherrapunji (Photo courtesy: Shreyasi)

Thangkharang

If you love birds, explore Thangkhrang bird sanctuary located 12 km from Shillong city. You can also watch 180 degree view of Bangladesh border from here.

Ranikot

You may miss angling at various lakes in Shillong but you can fulfill you desire at Ranikot, 140 km from Shillong. It is anglers’ paradise for huge carps and other fresh water fish.

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1 comments:

  • This comment has been removed by the author.
    Hai Baji says:
    May 8, 2013 at 4:52 AM

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