Discover Meghalaya on a budget

seven-sister-falls-meghalaya
Photos: Amal Christo Santi
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The pine-fresh mountain state, known as Scotland of the East, Meghalaya is nature lovers' nirvana. Sharing a border with Bangladesh, the mountain state can be reached via road or air. Shillong, the capital of the state is roughly 100 km from Guwhati (Assam) via road. You can get a Sumo from Khanapara in Guwhati for Rs 200-300 and an airport taxi for Rs 500 from the Lokpriya Bordoloi Airport in Guwhati.

Be sure not to miss out on the scenic beauty of the state during the 3-hour long drive.

Where to stay?

dawki-river

Police Bazaar (PB) in the heart of Shillong, Laitumkrah 5-6 km away from PB, and Polo have very good hostel accommodations along with guest houses. Oyo rooms are widely available in the capital starting from Rs 500-1000 per night.

PB has its fair share of markets, theatres and restaurants whereas Laitumkrah is known for its fancy cafes and pubs.

What to eat?

Meghalaya has a wide variety of cuisines ranging from the local indigenous food to Mizo, Manipuri, and Naga cuisines. 'Jadoh' which is rice cooked with meat (mostly pork fat) is a Khasi dish that is widely eaten in the capital. One could say it is the equivalent of a biriyani. Jadoh snam is cooked in chicken or pork blood. There are also many local shops along the streets which sell tea and 'jingbam' (snacks). Khasi cuisine is mainly centred around meat like chicken, beef, and pork.

On days where you're willing to splurge Dylan's Café in Dhankethi, Mellow Mood Cafe and ML 05 Café near Maysnram-Shillong road are popular hotspots.

Places to visit

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Laitlum Canyon

Laitlum which translates to 'end of the hills' is located 25 km from Shillong. Cab fares from Shillong range from Rs 200 (share cab) to Rs 1000. Laitlum is the ideal picnic spot with its fantastic view of the sky-high mountains and sprawling canyons underneath. Always have a sweater in hand while visiting Laitlum as it tends to get very windy and chilly at times.

Cherrapunji

seven-sisters-waterfall

58 km from Shillong, the road to Cherrapunji is often covered with mist. Titled as one of the wettest places on earth, Cherrapunji knows only one season and that's monsoon.

Located 4,500 ft above sea level, Cherrapunji has a plethora of tourist attractions to offer.

Seven sister falls: Consisting of seven consecutive waterfalls the Nohsngithiang waterfalls fall from a height of 1033 ft.

Mawsmai caves: Limestone caves located near Cherapunji , it reaches upto 150 meters

mawsmi-cave

Double decker living root bridge: Located near the Nongriat village, to reach the 150+ year old root bridge involves a long and arduous trek. Made by the Khasi tribe who have grown them out of rubber trees native to the region, the root bridge is a sight to behold.

Krang Suri Falls

krang-suri

Located in Jowai, 4 hours away from Shillong, the crystal blue waters of the falls will leave you mesmerised. You can also take a dip in the waters of the greenish blue plunge pool. Camping is also allowed for nature lovers who love a good bonfire.

Dawki

The Umngot river in Dawki is one the cleanest rivers in India. Located 95 km from Shillong one can reach this beautiful place by cab or bus from Shillong. Often known for its crystal-clear waters, you can dive into the blue waters or go boating. Homestays around Dawki range from Rs 400-700 per night, camping tents can also be rented at a cheap price.

dawki-boat

Wahrashi Falls

The Wahrashi Falls/Kshaid is a waterfall along with several waterfalls in the Syntung village of Mawkynrew, Meghalaya. Located some 60 km from Shillong the journey to the village is quite unpleasant with bumpy roads only accessible by trucks and sumos. Despite the bumpy ride Syntung is an explorer's paradise often left unnoticed by tourists due to its inaccessibility.

Best time to visit

To experience the cold climate, one should visit Meghalaya between November and March. It can also be your escape from summers from April to May as rainy season begins June and lasts till August. It is not advisable to visit during the rainy season as the terrain will not allow proper expedition of the region. October and November are the best season to witness the enthralling cherry blossoms.

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