Meghalaya is not your usual destination. Everything here seems to be untouched by commercialism, it is laid-back, pristine and beautiful. Earning reputations such as the Scotland of the East, the Wettest Place on Earth and the Abode of the Clouds, you know there's something different to the state that you must experience even just once in your life. From its tribes, cultures and natural attractions like waterfalls, living root bridges and caves, it is sure to satisfy the nature lover in you. Teeming wildlife and panoramic sceneries are the cherries on top of this offbeat destination. Be one with nature, be one with Meghalaya! History of Meghalaya Before the British colonial rule, Meghalaya was ruled by three main tribes, namely: the Khasis, the Garos and the Jaintias. The Khasis were the earliest settlers, whereby they come from Myanmar (some scholars say they came from Bangladesh) and migrated to the state. The Garos are believed to have originated from Tibet and migrated to Habraghat Pargan in the state. Lastly, the Jaintias' origin is not known, but they were also one of the earliest settlers in the state. When the British conquered the country, Meghalaya was part of the regions which was ruled over. The three tribes and their kingdoms came under the British rule in 1815. However, for the most part, they were semi-independent. The Khasis came under a treaty with the British which exempted them from paying taxes and provided them with some freedom. The same goes for the other tribes, where there is some sort of freedom even though they went under the colonial rule. Meghalaya was then also reinstated as a part of Assam, this was in 1912. After the rule of the British, Meghalaya was declared as a separate state from Assam in 1972. Getting There 1. By Air - There are only two airports in Meghalaya: the Umroi Airport (Shillong Airport) and the Baljek Airport. Only the Umroi Airport has commercial flights although they are all domestic only. It is about 35 kilometres away from the state capital, Shillong. There is one daily flight from Kolkata to Umroi Airport operated by Air India. Here is its schedule: AI 9711 - Departs at 12:35 from Kolkata and arrives at 14:20 in Umroi Airport. Fare is at Rs. 4,217 per passenger. There are regular bus services from the Umroi Airport to Shillong. These buses have departure times that match with the arrival times of the flight from Kolkata to Umroi. They depart from the Meghalaya Transport Corporation Station near the Police Bazaar. Fare is at Rs. 100 per passenger. Journey duration is under an hour. If you're coming from other parts of the country, a more convenient option for you would be the Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport in Guwahati. This airport is about 117.5 kilometres away from Shillong. Some of the flights from Delhi to the Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport are the following: Air Asia I5 791 - This departs from New Delhi at 6:05 and arrives in Guwahati at 8:25. Fare is at Rs. 6,281 per passenger. I5 785 - This departs from New Delhi at 17:25 and arrives in Guwahati at 20:05. Fare is at Rs. 6,281 per passenger. Indigo 6E 251 - This departs from New Delhi at 5:35 and arrives in Guwahati at 7:50. Fare is at Rs. 6,364 per passenger. 6E 939 - This departs from New Delhi at 7:45 and arrives in Guwahati at 10:10. Fare is at Rs. 6,364 per passenger. Air India AI 20 - This departs from New Delhi at 14:25 and arrives in Guwahati at 11:10. Fare is at Rs. 9,664 per passenger. AI 764 - This departs from New Delhi at 17:00 and arrives in Guwahati at 11:10. Fare is at Rs. 9,664 per passenger. From Guwahati, there are also regular buses plying to Shillong. You can buy your ticket at the Meghalaya Tourism Information Centre, located in the Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport itself. Bus timings are: MTDC Airport Buses - Departure times from Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport are 2:00 pm and 4:00 pm. Fare is at Rs. 250 per passenger. These buses will drop you off at the Police Bazaar as well. Journey duration is around 4 hour. There are also frequent helicopter services from Guwahati to Shillong. Some of the information about the helicopter services are the following: Guwahati Shillong Helicopter - Departure times from Guwahati Helipad are 9:00 am and 12:30 pm. They arrive in Shillong at 9:30 am and 1:00 pm. Fare is at Rs. 1,500 for adults, Rs. 1,000 for children aged 2 to 12 years old and Rs. 500 for children below 2 years old. 2. By Bus - There are no direct buses from Delhi, Kolkata or Mumbai to Meghalaya. You need to reach Siliguri first, then Guwahati and from there, ride another bus to Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya. If you're coming from Delhi, you need to reach Muzaffarpur first. Only a few buses ply this route, two timings available are: Shive Bhole Nath Travels (Tata AC Seater/Sleeper Bus) - Departs from Nangloi Metro Station at 7:00 pm and arrives in Muzaffarpur at 3:30 pm. Fare is at Rs. 1,200 per passenger. Travel Point (AC Seater Bus) - Departs from Jahangir Puri Metro Station at 5:00 pm and arrives in Muzaffarpur at 10:00 am. Fare is at Rs. 1,199 to Rs. 1,500 per passenger. Journey duration is around 17 hours. So once you reach Muzaffarpur, you have to board another bus to reach Siliguri. Here are some timings: Raj Bus Services (AC Seater/Sleeper Bus) - Departs at 6:00 pm and arrives at 4:00 am. Fare is at Rs. 450 to Rs. 500 per passenger. Mitruka Pushparaj (Non-AC Seater/Sleeper Bus) - Departs at 8:15 pm and arrives at 6:00 am. Fare is at Rs. 350 to Rs. 380 per passenger. Journey duration is around 10 hours. From Siliguri, you then ride another bus to Guwahati, here are some timings: Jay Ram Krishna Bus Service (Non-AC Seater Bus) - Departs at 1:30 pm and arrives at 4:00 am. Fare is at Rs. 490 per passenger. Swapna Travels (Non-AC Seater Bus) - Departs at 4:00 pm and arrives at 6:00 am. Fare is at Rs. 540 per passenger. Journey duration is around 14 hours. Now, from Guwahati, you need to ride another bus to reach Shillong. Here is one private bus timing: Jagannath Travels and Tour (Non-AC Seater Bus) - Departs from Guwahati ISBT at 6:00 am and arrives in Dhankheti Bus Station in Shillong at 9:00 am. Fare is at Rs. 130 per passenger. Journey duration is around three hours, more or less. 3. By Train - Meghalaya doesn't have its own railway station so you need to reach Guwahati by train first and from there, ride a bus to reach Shillong. Here are some train timings from Delhi to Guwahati: Avadh Assam Express Train No. 15910 - This train runs daily, departs from Delhi at 7:45 and arrives in Guwahati at 3:00 the next day. North East Express Train No. 12506 - This train runs daily, departs from Anand Vihar at 6:45 and arrives in Guwahati at 16:50 the next day. Dibrugarh Rajdhani Train No. 12424 - This train runs daily, departs from New Delhi at 16:10 and arrives in Guwahati at 19:50 the next day. Brahmaputra Mail Train No. 14056 - This train runs daily, departs from Delhi at 23:40 and arrives in Guwahati at 14:45 the next day. Fares would be around Rs. 4,680 for First Class, Rs. 2,690 for Second Class, Rs. 1,825 for Third Class and Rs. 685 in Sleeper Class. Journey duration is around 27 hours or more. From Guwahati, there are regular buses plying every hour to Shillong. They depart from the Inter State Bus Terminus in Beltola. It is about 10 kilometres away from the Guwahati Railway Station so you need to ride a taxi to reach the bus station. Buses start as early as 6:00 am and last until 5:00 pm. 4. By Private Vehicle - From Delhi, the distance to cover to reach Meghalaya is about 1,965 kilometres. It can take about two days to cover this distance. Here is the route that you can take: Delhi > Agra > Lucknow > Muzaffarpur > Kishanganj > Siliguri > Jalpaiguri > Bongaigaon > Goalpara > Meghalaya. Meghalaya Quick Facts Region - Northeast India Capital - Shillong Largest City - Shillong Official Language - English Other Languages - Khasi, Garo and Bengali Attractions - Waterfalls, Living Root Bridges, Lakes, Caves and Forests Best Time to Visit Meghalaya Earning the title, the Wettest Place on Earth, it's only right to experience Meghalaya during the monsoon season. But if you're that person who hates the rain, then you might not enjoy the state during this time. Rainfall averages about 11,000 mm in some regions in the state. Monsoon season is between June to September, with July having the heaviest rainfall. The waterfalls become alive during this time as they are fed by the monsoon rains. As thick rains envelope the state, lush greenery also becomes apparent. You might also get great discounts on many hotels as this is off-peak tourist season. After the monsoon, the winter season begins, from October to February. Temperatures range between 4°C to 16°C but it's not uncommon for it to go as low as 2°C as well. It is the peak tourist season for the state as the pleasant temperatures are good for sightseeing. Night times can get very chilly so it's important to pack your light woollens or thick woollens if you come from a region with higher temperatures. Trekking, sightseeing, shopping and other outdoor activities can be done during this time as well. The remaining months, from March to May, are the summer season. Temperatures rarely go beyond 28°C so a visit during this season is also recommended. Flowers are in bloom during this time and if you'd like to visit the national parks of Meghalaya, this is also a good time to do that. Adventure activities can also be enjoyed during this time due to the pleasant climate. Places to Visit in Meghalaya Meghalaya can be divided into three regions according to its tribes, namely: the Khasi Hills Region, the Garo Hills Region and the Jaintia Hills Region. Khasi Hills Region - This can be further subdivided into four districts which are East, West, Southwest and Ri-Bhoi. The state capital, Shillong, is also located in this region. Most of the tourist places in Meghalaya are located here. Some of the must-visit places here are: 1. Shillong - At an average elevation of about 1,490 metres above sea level, Shillong is one of the best hill stations to visit in the state. Being the capital of Meghalaya, it also has many infrastructures for tourists. Aside from its natural sceneries, you can also explore other attractions like museums and churches. Shillong is easily accessible as well as the Umroi Airport is just a few kilometres away from it. Here are the best attractions in the city: Religious All Saints Cathedral - The present structure, located opposite the State Library, was recently constructed during the year 1902. The original All Saints Church, which was established in 1877, was destroyed by an earthquake and fell into ruins although the original baptismal font and bible were left undamaged. These items were transferred to the new church which was given the name All Saints Cathedral. The cathedral has sloping roofs, white facade and wooden exteriors & interiors. The walls are decorated with paintings depicting the stories from the bible. Outside, the surrounding greenery is very refreshing and adds to the serenity of the cathedral. Cathedral of Mary Help of Christians - The ever blue facade and imposing arches of this cathedral is quite apparent in the city. Its location is where the the first ever church in Shillong was built, the Church of the Divine Saviour. In 1963 though, this church was destroyed by a fire and so in the same year, the foundation for the new church which was named the Cathedral of Mary Help of Christians was laid. Inside, there are numerous artwork depicting scenes from the bible and relating the stories of the lives of saints. Outside the cathedral, there's an underground grotto that you can also visit. The Grand Madina Masjid - From the outside, the white and green facade of the mosque is very pleasing to eyes. It is the only mosque in the region and it looks quite beautiful when lit at night. This is also supposed to be the first glass mosque to be made in the country which is why it warrants a visit from anyone visiting Shillong. The peaceful and serene vibe given by the mosque are also reasons why tourists put this attraction in their bucket list. Bodies of Water Elephant Waterfalls - These are actually waterfalls falling into three steps which gave it the original name Three Steps Waterfalls. However, when the British conquered the state, they renamed the waterfalls into its present name, as there was a rock that resembled an elephant here. This supposed elephant rock was destroyed in the earthquake though. The first step waterfall is quite broad and easily distinguishable. The second step waterfall is quite small and recedes in level during the winter and summer season. The last step waterfall is the tallest and has very powerful water flow. There are bridges connecting one area to another. The steps to climb the falls are quite well-maintained but can be steep and slippery. You can reach this waterfall about 12 kilometres away from the city centre of Shillong. Sweet Waterfalls - Falling at a height of about 315 feet, this is one of the highest waterfalls in the city. The water from the falls flow in a single drop and with the corresponding height, it looks quite stunning especially during monsoon season. Tourists are not allowed to venture close to the waterfalls as there have been incidents of accidents and drowning here. There are some haunted stories as well related to the waterfalls which add to the mystery and spookiness of the place. Bishop Waterfalls - This waterfall flows from a height of 440 feet above sea level. The falls drop from three tiers which can be very beautiful even if you can only see it from a distance. This waterfall also counts as one of the highest in the country. It is best visited during the monsoon season though to fully see the power of the waterfalls. Mawphlang Waterfalls - Although this is a fairly small waterfall, the water here is a pure white, almost appearing milky in colour. During the monsoon season, the water from the falls is fed by the monsoon rains and appears thicker. You need to travel a bit to reach the waterfalls since it is located in Mawphlang, which is about 25 kilometres away from Shillong. Beadon Waterfalls - Along with Bishop Waterfalls, Beadon Waterfalls flow into the Umiam River. They are sometimes referred to as the Twin Waterfalls and can be viewed from the same point in Mawlai. However, viewing Beadon Waterfalls might be a bit more tricky since it is covered by the rich vegetation of the forests around it. Make sure you visit during a clear day to get a good photograph of the waterfalls. Spread Eagle Waterfalls - This waterfall is located at the cantonment area of Shillong, about six kilometres away from the city centre. Its name was derived from its appearance, whereby it looks like an eagle with its wings spread out. The water from the falls is fed by the monsoon rain and during summer season, there might be limited to no water to view here. Thus, only visit this waterfall during the rainy season. Umiam Lake - This manmade lake was created from damming the Umiam River for the Umiam Umtru Hydro Electric Power Project. It is one of the most popular attractions in the city. There are boating facilities here that tourists can enjoy. Alternatively, you can also just have a picnic beside the lake and enjoy the picturesque views. Ward's Lake - Built around the colonial era, Ward's Lake is a popular picnic attraction in the city. With its flower gardens, fountains and even a wooden bridge, the surroundings provide some respite from the city pollution. Even the locals can be seen frequenting this attraction. There are also boating facilities here that you can try out. The lake is also teeming with wildlife like fishes and ducks. Parks/Gardens Lady Hydari Park and Zoo - For those travelling to Shillong with kids, a visit to the Lady Hydari Park and Zoo is a must. The mini zoo has about 140 species of reptiles alone and also has many species of other animals. Some of mammals you can spot here are the jackals, leopards and Himalayan black bears. Bird species like vultures, owls and pelicans can also be seen here. The park has a beautiful rose garden and has well-manicured lawns. Nature Shillong Peak - This is located about 10 kilometres away from the city centre. It is about 1,960 metres above sea level and gives one a panoramic view of the surrounding forests, waterfalls and even the Himalayan peaks. If you're the adventurous type, go to the View 360, located a kilometre before the Shillong Peak. Reaching the top of the hill requires a steep climb but you'd be rewarded by stunning views in the end. Laitlum Canyons - Yet another viewpoint, but this one is about 30 kilometres away from Shillong. Since it is located further away from the city, not a lot of tourists go to the Laitlum Canyons. But the views here are fantastic, from the white clouds that surround the peak to the views of the valleys and the never-ending greenery. It's a must for adventure seekers to visit this place. Mawjymbuin Caves - Located at a distance of about 56 kilometres away from Shillong, the Mawjymbuin Caves is a natural tourist attraction in the city. There's a stalagmite formation here in the form of a shivalinga that devotees visit. There are narrow passages within the cave that can be hard to pass through. Some of the paths are slippery as well so do be careful. Thus, visiting the caves is only apt for the physical fit people, crossing out the elderly, weak and children. It makes for a great adventure for adults and groups of friends though. Museums Don Bosco Centre for Indigenous Cultures - This museum aims to preserve the culture and tradition of the North Eastern India states. Here, you can find exhibits about the agriculture, art, weapons, music and lifestyle of the indigenous tribes of the region. There are seven floors dedicated to specific exhibits which you can explore. The topmost floor is an open air location where one can enjoy a panoramic view of the city. There is also a souvenir shop and cafeteria located within the museum premises. It is open for visitors everyday except Sundays. Indian Air Force Museum - To learn more about the Indian Air Force, like the weapons they use and their costumes, a visit to the Indian Air Force Museum in Shillong is a must. Displays of miniature air crafts, rockets and missiles can also be viewed here. The history of the Indian Air Force along with its fights against China and Pakistan are also highlighted here. 2. Cherrapunjee - The second wettest place on Earth, that is after Mawsynram another town in Khasi Hills, Cherrapunjee is gaining popularity as a tourist destination in the state. Just like Shillong, Cherrapunjee is also elevated at 1,480 metres above sea level. Perhaps the most well-known attraction here are the living root bridges, which have become quite synonymous with Cherrapunjee. Nature Living Root Bridges - Cherrapunjee is known for their living root bridges. The specific tree used for these bridges is the Ficus Elastica. In a way, the villages grow their bridges instead of creating them from wood or other materials like iron. This practice has been evident since the year 1844 which makes it an ancient practice already. It takes over 10 years for a living root bridge to be fully functional. About 10 kilometres from the city centre of Cherrapunjee, the Double Decker Root Bridge can be found, the only one of its kind in the world. An additional third level is being added into the double decker root bridge which is certainly going to add more tourists to the place. Mawsmai Cave - A great attraction for adventure lovers, going through the Mawsmai Cave requires some bravery and effort. There are narrow passages that you need to sit down to be able to pass through. The stalagmite and stalactite formations here are also quite beautiful. Some areas of the cave are lit while others can get quite dark. During monsoon, the cave paths can be very slippery so do be careful. Mawmluh Cave - The entrance to this cave is very narrow and there are some parts within it that are quite steep as well. The cave becomes submerged in water during monsoon season so it's not a good time to visit it during that time. There are also pools within the cave, even if it's not monsoon season, that you have to pass through. The stalactite and stalagmite formations here are quite beautiful and even resemble some animals if you look closely. It's recommended that you get a local guide before exploring the cave as the paths can be confusing. Arwah Cave - A relatively new cave but has millions of years old fossils inside it, that's the trademark of Arwah Cave. Fossils of fishes, prawns and moths can be found here. A lot of the areas of the cave are closed for tourists though as they are not yet lit. The few parts that you can cover take around 30 minutes or more to explore. Mawkdok Dympep Valley - This point offers great panoramic views of the valleys around Cherrapunjee. You can also enjoy zip lining here if you're up for an adventure. There are numerous food stalls offering local cuisine to tourists too. You need to climb down for about 30 steps before you can reach the view point. If you're bringing a car, you can park your vehicle just outside the point. Ka Khoh Ramhah - This is a cone-shaped huge rock, surrounded by two smaller rocks of the same shape. There's also a small stream passing by the rocks which add to the attraction in the place. From the rock's point, you can also spot the valleys and surrounding hills. You can even spot the Bangladesh plains from one angle. Historical Khasi Monoliths - These monoliths are graves for the important people of the Khasi tribes. You can find them in various places around Cherrapunjee. The vertical monoliths are for males and the horizontal monoliths are for females. Unfortunately, these monoliths don't have engraved carvings nor any information about them so you won't be able to decipher who they are for. But they're still worth seeing as they reflect the tradition of the Khasi tribes. Waterfalls Nohkalikai Waterfalls - This is the highest waterfall in India, falling at a height of about 1,115 metres above sea level. Nohkalikai can be translated to the Jump of Ka Likai. According to local legends, this is where Likai, a widowed woman with an infant who remarried, jumped after eating the meat of her own child. Despite this gruesome story, the waterfalls can be quite beautiful especially during monsoon season. Seven Sisters Waterfalls - This is yet another of the tallest waterfalls in the country, falling at a height of 1,000 metres above sea level. It goes by other names like Nohsngithiang Waterfalls and Mawsmai Waterfalls. The waterfalls have seven segments that's why it was given the name Seven Sisters Falls. However, it's hard to get a good view of the waterfalls especially when it's foggy. Dain Thlen Waterfalls - This is about seven kilometres away from the city centre of Cherrapunjee. It is easily accessible though and needs about 200 metres of walking only to reach the top of the waterfalls. The government has provided railings on the sides to ensure the safety of the tourists. You can enjoy the top view of the falling water from the falls this way. Kynrem Waterfalls - At a height of about 1,000 feet above sea level, this is one of the tallest waterfalls in the country as well. It is located within the Thangkarang Park though so you need to pay an entrance fee to see the falls. The waterfalls look quite full all throughout the year, which is a nice treat for those travelling during the summer season. Wah Kaba Waterfalls - This waterfall is located about 20 kilometres before Cherrapunjee so make sure you drop by it on your way to the town. The waterfall is sometimes referred to as the Canyon Waterfall because it is surrounded by canyons and deep gorges. You can view the waterfalls from the opposite point or climb down to reach the falls proper itself. The climb down can be slippery though so wear shoes with good grip. Parks Eco Park - This park gives one a good view of the surrounding waterfalls in the area. There is also a glass house here housing some ornamental plants like orchids. You can also enjoy the gushing of the stream located within the park premises. There's also a small play area with swings and merry-go-round that children can enjoy. Thangkharang Park - This park is about 12 kilometres away from Cherrapunjee. It has two viewpoints wherein you can see the Ka Khoh Ramhah quite easily. There are many plants within the park that add to the greenery in the place. A few souvenir shops are also located within its premises. There are specific walking paths here that tourists can use to stroll inside the park. Garo Hills Region - The Garo Hills Region can be divided into five districts, namely: South, West, East, North and Southwest. The region is mostly inhabited by the Garos, one of the three main tribes of the state. Most of the region is unexplored but the best city to visit would have to be: 1. Tura - This is the largest city in the Garo Hills Region. Unfortunately though, terrorism has struck through some of the areas in Tura. Thus, it remains largely unexplored for tourists. If you do have the means and bravery to visit the region, it's untouched terrains are very much worth a visit. Nature/Wildlife Tura Peak - This is a good attraction for adventure seekers as it requires a bit if trekking to reach it. The first part of the trek is easy to moderate while the second part of the trek is a bit more challenging. The views from the peak are very rewarding as it gives you a commanding view of the Bangladesh plains along with the valleys below. Trekking also gives you the opportunity to see some of the wildlife in the region. It is thus a must visit attraction especially for those who are physically fit. Siju Caves - This is the third longest cave in the country and until now, no one has reached the end of it. It is relatively untouched and unexplored which makes for an offbeat destination. Do carry a torch with you so you can fully explore the dark areas of the cave. There are no hotels nearby so you'd have to stay in the government forest lodges or guest houses. There are also no restaurants nearby so bring your own snacks and drinks. Balpakram National Park - This is about 167 kilometres away from Tura. It is worth a visit despite the distance because it has numerous mysteries surrounding it. For instance, the Areng Patal is a massive rock which has a magnetic pull that can attract many animals and then they get trapped in the hollow forever. Then, there's the Wakso Chiring, a stream resembling the intestines of a pig which strangely emits a rotten smell as well. Of course, wildlife species like barking deers, elephants, red pandas and tigers can also be spotted here. It is also home to many species of birds and is a haven for bird watching. Nokrek National Park - The most prized species here are the red pandas and the Asian elephants. The national park is home to a number of red pandas, that are endangered already. Other animals that you can spot here are tigers, pig-tailed macaques, wild buffalos and clouded leopards. The Nokrek Peak can also be trekked within the national park. Other attractions here are the waterfalls and rivers located within its premises. Waterfalls Pelga Waterfalls - This is a popular picnic spot for locals and tourists alike. It is located about seven kilometres away from Tura. There's a viewpoint wherein you can view the waterfalls from a distance. Some enjoy angling within the nearby Ganol River, wherein a bamboo bridge is also located. However, the waterfalls do not look that majestic during the summer season. Jaintia Hills Region - This region can be subdivided into two districts, namely: the West and the East. Perhaps this is the lesser populated region in the state, with the residents mostly comprised of the Jaintias. Landscapes-wise, the region is untouched by commercialism and you'd find greenery everywhere you look. There are natural sceneries to visit like waterfalls and rivers as well as manmade ones like temples and monoliths. 1. Jowai - This is one of the most developed cities in the region. Most of the attractions here are natural ones like waterfalls and caves. You can also find major infrastructures for tourists here unlike with the other remote areas in the region. Do visit these attractions: Waterfalls and Bodies of Water Krang Suri Waterfalls - This is located about 30 kilometres away from Jowai. To reach the waterfalls, you need to climb down for about 30 minutes amidst slippery stairs. It will take you directly to the lower point of the waterfalls. As soon as you reach the pool below, the mesmerising aquamarine colour of it would attract you. It's an unusual feature as most waterfalls plunge pools are muddy in colour. This virgin waterfalls is surely worth a visit for the nature lovers. Bophill Waterfalls - This is yet another beautiful waterfall in the region. It has pristine white water flowing from the top until the lower area. There's a bridge here where you can have a good view of the waterfall. Swimming isn't permitted here though as the water pressure can be quite strong. Thadlaskein Lake - This is about 20 kilometres away from Jowai. The lake is very serene with several boating facilities for guests. It is surrounded by trees and there's a backdrop of the hills which provides stunning views from the lake. In the middle of the lake, there's a little cafeteria that you can access through a wooden bridge. Historical Nartiang Monoliths - This is also known as the Garden of Monoliths. It is the largest of its kind in the country. The monoliths are dedicated to the Jaintian kings who have ruled the region. The largest monolith here is called the Moo Iong Syiem and is over eight metres in height. The other monoliths here were built around the 17th century. Unfortunately, the roads leading to the monoliths are not that maintained so make sure your car has a high ground clearance before approaching. Religious Durga Temple - Being a predominant Christian state, the Durga Temple in Jowai is one of the few Hindu temples in Meghalaya. This temple is revered as very sacred to the Hindus as it is 1 of the 51 Shakti Peethas and this is where the left thigh of Durga fell. The temple itself is small and has bright exteriors. Centuries ago, the practice of human sacrifice was done here and you can even see the exact altar and swords used for the practice here. Now, only animal sacrifices are done in the temple. Jowai Presbyterian Church - This church was built over 150 years ago by the missionaries from Wales. The church is very simple though, with its white facade and bricked sloping roof. The interiors are also simple but spacious enough to accommodate a large group of people. There are still masses held here regularly which sees a number of churchgoers. Nature Umlawan Cave - The longest cave in the country deserves a mention here as well. With a length of about 21 kilometres, it can take a long time to fully explore the cave. The cave has existed for a long time but was only opened to the public recently. Thus, it remains largely unexplored and untouched by commercialism. There are formations of many stalactites and stalagmites within the caves, formed over thousands of years. During the monsoon though, the cave is filled with rain and therefore you have to swim to explore its areas as it has depths reaching about 100 metres deep. Accommodation Options in Meghalaya Khasi Hills Region - Most of the hotels in this region are located in Shillong. Hotels range between budget ones to mid-range ones. Once you reach the other towns, you'd have to opt for guest houses or home stays. So here are some hotels in Shillong: Budget Hotels in Shillong 1. Hotel Yalana - You can choose between their Deluxe Rooms and Standard Rooms. Their rates are very economical and would fit even the budget travellers. The hotel also offers internet access, parking, shuttle services and locker facilities to guests. They also have an in-house restaurant serving local cuisine. For business travellers, they also conference facilities that they can use. Tariff - Single Standard Room at Rs. 1,000 per night and Double Standard Room at Rs. 1,500 per night. Address - Main Road, Laitumkhrah, Shillong, Meghalaya 793003. Contact Number - +91 364 221 1240. 2. Hotel JK International - This hotel is just 100 metres away from the Police Bazaar, where all buses from Guwahati drop passengers off. Rooms are very simple but comfortable. All rooms have an attached private bathroom as well. Parking is also available for guests with cars. They don't have an in-house restaurant but they do serve meals via room service to guests. Tariff - Standard Single Room at Rs. 750 per night and Double Standard Room at Rs. 1,440 per night. Address - Jail Road, Police Bazar, Opposite Vishal Mega Mart, Shillong, Meghalaya 793001. Contact Number - +91 364 250 1588. Mid-Range Hotels in Shillong 1. Hotel Lake View Inn - This hotel is located nearby the main attractions of Shillong like the State Museum and the Don Bosco Centre for Indigenous Cultures. Their rooms with a view of the Ward's Lake come at a higher price but does provide stunning backdrops of the lake. Rooms have wooden flooring and furnitures and come with attached private bathroom. Their in-house restaurant serves Indian, Continental and Chinese cuisines. They also provide car rental services for guests. Tariff - Standard Double Room (without view) at Rs. 1,600 per night and Executive Double Room (with view) at Rs. 1,800 per night. Address - MG Road, Secretariat Hills, Shillong, Meghalaya 793001. Contact Number - +91 364 221 0128. 2. Hotel Majestic - This is just a few minutes of driving away from the Cathedral of Mary Help of Christians. The hotel have elegant rooms that make it seem like you're in a luxury hotel despite the price tag. They also have a banquet hall that can accommodate up to 150 persons. For breakfast, you can opt for their room service for the ultimate indulgence. Tariff - Executive Room at Rs. 2,649 per night. Address - Me-ba-ai Plaza, Polo Market, Shillong, Meghalaya 793001. Contact Number - +91 364 250 6597. Luxury Hotels in Shillong 1. Ri Kynjai - This hotel overlooks the beautiful Umiam Lake. Their rates are higher but they do provide top-notch quality in terms of services and amenities. Aside from their rooms, they have traditional thatched roof cottages which are perfect for groups or families. Their in-house specialty restaurant serves authentic Northeast Indian, Continental and Chinese cuisines. They also have a spa providing authentic Khasi curative massage to guests. Tariff - Supreme Room at Rs. 8,000 per night and Superior Room at Rs. 9,000 per night. Address - Umniuh Khwan, UCC Road, Ri Bhoi District, Meghalaya. Contact Number - +91 98624 20300. 2. Hotel Polo Towers - This hotel is under three kilometres away from the Lady Hydari Park and Zoo. All their rooms come with free internet, television, work area, mini-bar and attached private bathroom. They even have four different restaurants that you can choose from. For those with a sweet tooth, they also have a cupcake parlour. They also have different banquet rooms that guests can rent in. Tariff - Premiere Single Room at Rs. 5,995 per night and Premiere Double Room at Rs. 6,950 per night. Address - Oak Land Road, Near Polo Grounds, Shillong, Meghalaya 793001. Contact Number - +91 364 222 2341. Garo Hills Region - There are only a few hotels in this region, even at the most developed city, Tura. You have to opt for guest houses in the more remote regions. In Tura, here are some accommodation options that you can stay in: Hotels in Tura 1. Hotel Rikman Continental - This hotel is centrally located, nearby the shopping and commercial areas of Tura. All their rooms come with free WiFi, television, attached bathroom and complimentary breakfast. They have an in-house restaurant serving Garo, Indian and Chinese cuisines. They also have a bar serving some cocktails and alcoholic drinks to guests. They also have power back-up as well as laundry services. Tariff - Economy Single Room at Rs. 1,199 per night and Economy Double Room at Rs. 1,499 per night. Address - NH 51, Tura, West Garo Hills, Meghalaya. Contact Number - +91 82570 27075. 2. Hotel Polo Orchid - This hotel is just two kilometres away from the Nokrek National Park. Their rooms offer either a garden view or mountain view. These views can be enjoyed at your own private balcony. All are fully furnished with modern amenities as well. They also have a multi-cuisine restaurant within the hotel premises. You can also have access to their indoor games facilities one you become their guest. Tariff - Deluxe Twin Room at Rs. 3,600 per night and Executive Suite at Rs. 6,100 per night. Address - Araimile, Tura, Meghalaya 794001. Contact Number - +91 3651 232 082. Jaintia Hills Region - There are no hotels proper in Jaintia Hills Region. Most of the hotels are located in Shillong, which is just 30 kilometres and above away from Jowai. There is one hotel/guest house located near Thadlaskein Lake in Jowai though: Hotel in Jowai 1. Orchid Inn - This hotel is located just opposite the Thadlaskein Lake. Their room rates are very affordable and they even have cottages for larger groups of people. Their restaurant serves Indian, Continental and Chinese cuisines. They do provide some heating for the rooms during winter and also gives the guests some blankets. Tariff - Standard Room at Rs. 650 per night and Deluxe Room at Rs. 950 per night. Address - Towards Filchar Road, Jaintia Hills District, Thadlaskein 793150. Contact Number - +91 9856 003 662. Cuisine in Meghalaya To distinguish the cuisine in Meghalaya, keep in mind that the main focus of their meals are rice and meat. The meats used in their dishes are usually from pigs and goats, although some dishes do use cows. Chickens are also sometime used in their dishes. Fishes are also eaten quite frequently, usually it's dried first though. Here are some of the best dishes to try when you're in Meghalaya: Ja Doh - This is mainly red rice cooked in chicken or pork stock. It also has bits and pieces of meat mixed with it. Then, other ingredients are added like tomatoes and chillies to add some flavour to the dish. Doh Klieh - This is mainly a salad made with pork, onion and chillies. The main part of the pig used is its head which is then boiled with the other ingredients. Ja Stem - This is another rice dish which has turmeric and black sesame seed in it. The turmeric adds to the yellow colour of the dish. Misa Mach Poora - Although the dishes in Meghalaya are mainly meat ones, there are also some vegetarian dishes. Misa Mach Poora is made using baby corns, shrimps and green peppers. This dish goes great with rice and it's not spicy as well so suits well for most people. Bamboo Shoot Fry - This is yet another vegetarian dish, comprised of sliced bamboo shoots, fenugreek and dry red chillies. It is a good side dish or even as a main dish. That's the end of the guide, guys. I hope this helps you and you can enjoy your travel to Meghalaya.