Shillong Information

Shillong the capital of Meghalaya is an important tourist destination in the northeast.  It is often referred to as the 'Scotland of the East" due to its striking similarity with the Scottish highlands.  The city derives its name from "Leishyllong" the 'Superpower or God' who is believed to reside on the Shillong peak, overlooking the city.  Lying in the cradle of the tall pine conifers and pineapple shrubs, Shillong's undulating terrain is a constant source of attraction for tourist from both home and abroad.  The Khasi, Jaintia and Garo tribes add color to this hilly city.

Location

The capital of Meghalaya, Shillong lies on the eastern part of the state.  Perchedat analtitude of 1,520m (4,990ft) above the sea level, thecity stretches for about 6km on an elevated trat.  It is situated on a plateau bound on the north by the Umiam gorge, on the northwest by the great mass of the Diengiei Hills that rise up to a height of 1,823m (6077ft) above the sea  level, and on the northeast, by the hills of the Assam valley.  The Umshyrpi and the Umkhra rivers, which finally merge and form the Umiam River, water it.  Shillong is at distance of 104km from Guwahati, about 578km from Siliguri and around 658km from Darjeeling.

Climate

Shillong is subject to vagaries of the monsoon.  The monsoons arrive in June, and it rains almost until the end of August.  The climate is hot and humid during summers but quite cold during winters.  October-November and March-April are the best months to visit Shillong.

History

Shillong, which was made Assam's capital in 1874, remained so till January 1974, following the formation of Meghalaya outside Assam.  The capital city derives its name from the manifestation of the creator called Shulong, born to a peasant girl, but he bestowed the art of democratic governance and rule of justice in the formation of the princely state of Shyllong (Hima Shyllong), which subsequently bifurcated into Mylliem State and Khyrim State in 1830.

Shillong Peak

An ideal picnic spot, 10km away from the city and about 2000m above sea level, Shillong Peak offers a panoramic view of the scenic countryside, and is also the highest point in the state.  Obeisance is paid to Shillong at the sanctum sanctorum at the peak's summit every springtime, by the religious priest of Mylliem State.

Ward's lake

This is located in the heart of the city, popular for short garden walks and boating.  It celebrated is centenary recently.

Cherrapunjee (Sohra)

This is situated about 56km. from Shillong in one of the rainiest rain belt in the world, 13,00m above the sea level.  A pleasant drive to see the roaring waterfalls leaping into deep gorges, including the famed Nosngithiang falls.  The lovely town is also famous for its limestone caves and orange honey.  It is the centre of Khasi culture and literature, and has the oldest Presbyterian Church and also the Ramakrishna Mission.

Umiam Lake

Umiam Khwan (Barapani), 17km from Shillong, offers water sports facilities including sailing, water skiing, water scooter, etc. The Orchid Lake Resort and the adjacent Lum Nehru Park is an ideal quiet holiday resort.

Sohpetbneng Peak

About 1,343m and 20km from Shillong, the Hynniewtrep people regard this peak as sacred.  It is set amidst a beautiful scenic view against the backdrop of a sacred forest.

Elephant Falls

This is around 12km on the outskirts of the city.  The mountain stream descends through two successive falls set in dells of fern covered rocks.

Dawki

96km form Shillong, is a border town, where one can have a glimpse of the neighbouring country of Bangladesh.  The colorful annual boat race during spring at the Umgot River is an added attraction.

Mairang

40km form Shillong, this is the capita l of Nongkhlaw state.  It is the home of the legendary, Tirot Sing Syiem, who spearheaded a war against the British invaders to defend the territorial integrity and cultural identity of the Hynniewtrep people.

Festivals

Festivals are an integral part of the tribes in Shillong.  Christmas, Easter, Good Friday and the New Year Day celebrations are the most important ones.  Ka Pomblang Nongkrem, or the Nongkrem dance and Shad Sukmynsiem are most important Khasi festivals.