Shillong is famed for its picturesque landscapes and natural environment. It is also known as the “Scotland of the East” due to its striking similarity with Scottish highlands.
This hill station in Meghalaya has a lot to offer in terms of scenic destinations and attractions to visit during your trip.
In this article, you will get to know about the following places to visit in Shillong,
Let’s see each of these points in detail.
1. Police Bazar
|Distance from city center||1 km|
Police Bazar is the main market of Shillong, which spreads out from the Center point. It is also known as Khyndailad and is a shopper’s paradise. The place sells a variety of items, from household goods to clothes to street food and more. It is famous for its hotels, eateries, and street shopping.
The market also has a flea market section that attracts many tourists. You can find traditional handicrafts, regional clothes, junk jewelry, exquisite Meghalayan souvenirs, and more in the shops and stalls. If you want something authentic, you can buy handwoven shawls, traditional Khasi dresses, handmade knives, coal stoves, Tibetan jewelry, and more. You can also find branded and foreign clothes if you prefer to buy them.
The place is also a foodie’s paradise, with a wide range of street food stalls and restaurants. You can taste traditional Meghalayan cuisine, local dishes, as well as other Indian and continental items. Some of the delicious dishes to try are fish curry, bamboo shoot curry, and smoked pork. All of them are luscious and mouth-watering.
2. Ward’s Lake
|Distance from city center||1.5 km|
This is an artificial lake nestled in the heart of Shillong City. It is also known as Nan Polok and literally exhibits a horseshoe shape. The lake was constructed during the British era in India, under the supervision of Sir William Ward, the chief commissioner of Assam at that time, therefore the name.
The lake is wrapped in lush greenery with seamless flower beds and cobblestone pathways. There is a saying that a Khasi prisoner landscaped the area surrounding the lake to mitigate the monotony of his everyday routine.
In recent times, the place is a popular spot for picnics and boating. There is a wooden bridge in the middle of the lake where you can feed the fish. Tranquility fills the atmosphere and there is a certain calmness to the place.
You can visit the botanical garden enclosing the lake, which holds a wide variety of plants and flowers. You can also sit and relax by the waters and relish the scenes of the luxurious green grassy slopes.
The best time to visit Ward’s Lake is between January and May when the weather is pleasant and the flowers are in full bloom.
3. Elephant Falls
|Distance from city center||12 km|
Elephant Falls is a two-tier waterfall located on the outskirts of the main Shillong city, about 12 km from the city center. The waterfall cascades down two tiers of fern-covered rocks, creating a misty spray and a soothing sound. It is a spectacular sight to behold and attracts many visitors.
The waterfall got its name from a rock that resembled an elephant’s foot, which was later destroyed by an earthquake. This name was given by the Britisher. Before that, the local Khasi people called it Ka Kshaid Lai Pateng Khohsiew, meaning “the three-step waterfall”. Indeed, the waterfall has three distinct sections, each with its own charm and splendor.
The best time to visit Elephant Falls is after the monsoon when the water flow is abundant and the surroundings are vibrant. The magnificence of the fall, however, remains throughout the year and is different for every season.
The waterfall offers a stunning view from different angles and heights. You can also explore the terrain by hiking along the various trails that crisscross the streams and forests. It is a paradise for nature lovers and photographers who want to capture the essence of this scenic wonder.
Elephant Falls is a must-see destination for anyone who visits Shillong. So visit the place during your sightseeing trip, breathe in the natural fragrance, and marvel at the majestic beauty.
4. Shillong Viewpoint (Laitkor Peak)
|Distance from the city center||12 km|
At 1965 m above sea level, Shillong Viewpoint (also known as Shillong Peak or Laitkor Peak) is the highest point in Shillong and a popular tourist attraction. From here, you can enjoy an awe-inspiring panoramic view of the entire city, the Himalayas, the waterfalls, and the plains of Bangladesh.
The place is surrounded by lush greenery and a tranquil atmosphere that will enchant you. You can use a telescope situated there to get a closer look at the scenery or trek to the semi-circular peak for a more adventurous experience. The misty and cloudy weather adds to the charm of the place.
Shillong Peak is a great spot for scenic views, birdwatching, and photography. It is open from 9:00 am to 3:30 pm (except Wednesday) and the entry fee is ₹30 per person. The best time to visit is from September to May when the weather is pleasant.
5. Don Bosco Museum
|Distance from the city center||3 km|
Don Bosco Museum in Shillong is a major attraction for tourists. It showcases the rich and diverse cultures of the indigenous people of North East India.
The museum is located within the Sacred Heart Church premises in Shillong. It has seven floors with galleries flaunting a number of things. Further, the galleries are divided into different themes, namely faith and religious practices, lifestyle, art and craft, musical instruments, and agriculture and food habits.
You can also see beautiful paintings, sculptures, and artifacts. The galleries are well-maintained and presented. The museum also has a library with book collections on North East India.
The museum is accessible from Monday to Saturday from 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM. The entry fee for adults is ₹100 and for children below 12 years is ₹50.
6. Umiam Lake
|Distance from the city center||15 km|
Umiam Lake is a man-made lake in the hills, 15 km north of Shillong. It was created by damming the Umiam River in the early 1960s. It is also known as Bara Pani and covers an area of about 220 sq. km. It is one of the largest artificial lakes in Meghalaya. This generally falls on the Guwahati Shillong route and is a must-visit destination.
This lake is truly a scenic spot, surrounded by hills, grass, and plains. It has a park nearby that is ideal for picnics and relaxation. Thick conifers cover the lake, which is important for the ecosystem of Meghalaya. It provides irrigation, fishery, and drinking water for the people.
The blue waters of Umiam Lake are also a major hub for water sports and boating. You can enjoy paddle boats, water scooters, speed boats, and kayaking on the lake. You can also try fishing or just admire the view. There are resorts by the lake if you want to spend some time in nature.
These are some places to visit in Shillong during your sightseeing trip. Don’t limit yourself to this list of places, but feel free to wander and discover more. You will find plenty of opportunities to try new things and have fun. Shillong will enchant you with its charm and diversity.
To make the most of your trip, you can also chat with the friendly locals and get their recommendations for the best sights and activities in the area.
There are various local travel agents from where you can rent a car for the day and explore these attractions. You can also book your Shillong sightseeing tour online on sites like Klook, and have a memorable experience.
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