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Meghalaya Tourism: A Backpackers’ Traveling Guide

Written by Bhairavi Jaiswal
Standing amidst lush green mountains, the wind gushes past you. Skies turn amber, and the rainbow’s unending arc disappears behind the mountains. The slight drizzle accompanies you while you embrace the exquisiteness of Nature. Well! That’s Meghalaya tourism defined in the shortest world that I could’ve used.

Parked in the picturesque East of India, Meghalaya is the epitome of Nature’s best and one of the hottest tourism spots for an Indian traveler.

A tranquil abode to some of the most exclusive rivers and lakes amid greenery infused villages. Upholding a diversity of wildlife spread across the expanse of the state. It is a traveler’s getaway from the concrete jungles and hustle-bustle of city life.

Camping in the wild

Seeking a retreat in nature’s lap?

A perfect one for adventure aficionados, lovers bliss, solo travelers and wildlife lovers.

There is an inimitable experience possible for each one of you here. The locals of the state are of an affable nature and welcome you dearly.

A Characteristic Experience of The East – Shillong

Ethnicity and culture are extremely imperative in defining a place. The kindness extended by the inhabitants is beyond heartfelt. The communities here include Khasis, Garo and Jaintia.

Entering the state of Meghalaya, the easiest commute is via Umroi Airport. Another route you can travel is through Guwahti International Airport. Thereafter, travel using the roadways to Shillong.

The riveting beauty of Shillong

Experience shopping at Police Bazar. The style that the North Easterners exhibit is nothing short of stunning. An entire market devoted to all you need and even more.

The street food that you get to consume here is delicious with some mouth-watering specialties. The momos of the North East can get you coming back for more.

Traveling a distance of 15 km from Shillong, you witness the marvel of Umiam Lake. A scenic route through and through, you can engage yourself in water sports here.

Umiam Lake

Khasi Hills engulf the lake in the middle. You can also picnic by the lake shore. Surrounded by Gulmohar trees and coniferous forests in the distance.   

Krang Suri is located in the Jaintia Hills, 90 kilometers from Shillong. The mesmerizing waterfalls here are captivating and worth the travel.

You can camp overnight, enjoying the bonfire with your loved ones. If you are a solo traveler, there is absolutely nothing to worry about. 

Camping At The Rainiest Place In India– Cherrapunjee and Mawsynram

Remember in school, Geography textbooks referred to Cherrapunjee?

Well, now you can witness it in person. You can camp in the forests here and explore them.

Discover some of the many unexplored caves. And, multiple waterfalls formed at various junctures.  

Nohkalikai Waterfalls
Nohkalikai Waterfalls

Mawsynram, which has taken the title from Cherrapunjee, exposes you to the traditions of the Khasi people. An adventure infused village surrounded by natures’ ultimate.

The pristine lakes invite you to swim through their crystal-clear waters. You have alternates of going kayaking or swimming through them even.

You can explore the mountains around you and wander on treks here. The locals are the true experts, who guide you through as well.

Breathtaking Villages – Mawlynnong and Mawphlang

Akin to a fairytale, it lies motionless. A portrait of the mountains closing in. The rocks below glimmer under the sunlight. The beauty of the River takes your breath away. As you stand astounded in its captivating gaze.

Dawki River
Dawki River

Dawki, a village near the India-Bangladesh border will render you dumbfounded. The heightened beauty that nature exuberates here is nothing short of heaven.

At the extreme south-eastern border of the state, lies a quaint village. This small village holds the title of being ‘Asia’s Cleanest Village’.

The river here exhibits unparalleled beauty.

When you take a swim here, you can see the bottom of the river! The boats floating here form a picturesque sight for the beholder’s eyes.

There is another village that you should witness for its alluring charm. En route Cherrapunjee, you can halt at Mawphlang. A village recognized for its sacred forests as per the Khasi beliefs!

Mawphlang Sacred Groves
Mawphlang Sacred Groves

Enchanting landscapes with the Umiew river in frame. David Scott’s trail here is a must on your visit here.

You could set aside a couple of hours here as well. If you do not intend on staying here long.

An Intriguing Marvel – Living Root Bridges

Doesn’t it sound intriguing? It very much is.

The Living Root Bridges or Jing Kieng Jri are made from rubber trees. The Khasi and Jaintia natives weave the roots of the rubber trees. Using the roots’ mechanical strength, it withholds these bridges.

This is an architectural marvel promoting sustainable development. Could you imagine that their sustenance can be up to 500 years?

Living Root Bridges
Living Root Bridges

It is also claimed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

There is a Double-Decker Bridge in the state as well. Who would’ve stopped at buses, right? It is located in Umsiang, in Meghalaya. You will come across a few in your travels through the state.

Savor a Delightful Experience

The best part about a virgin location is the abundance of exploration it allows you. Be it the destinations, the food, the language or the heritage!

‘A delight to your taste buds’ – don’t devoid yourself of the pleasure the cuisine delivers here.

Delicacies of Meghalaya

Here is a selection of dishes that you must try here. With plenty of rivers, the standard meal here comprises a variety of fishes.

Nakham Bitchi, a soup dish made with fish is found in every household. Pumaloi is a rice dish which can be consumed during any time of the day.

If you are a meat lover, pork is consumed here in profusion.

Jadoh rice

Jadoh rice, from the Khasi community is a preparation with rice, pork, eggs and vegetables. Dohkhleih, a pork salad preparation is another delicacy here. Bamboo Shoots, composed of chunks of pork and has an extremely spicy preparation.

One cannot forget the scrumptious momos of the North East! You get them with all kinds of fillings.

Meghalaya – Backpacking Tips

With all that has been described, there are a few mandates here. The list of essentials is bare minimum but you cannot do without these.

Meghalaya and its diversity

Depending on the duration of your stay here, you can carry this travel kit. A raincoat/rain gear, hiking boots, sports shoes, mosquito repellent, a torch, sunscreen lotion and toiletries.

Considering the weather is humid and it rains most of the time. You can carry clothes that can dry easily! A light jacket for the nights in the forests, as it gets chilly.

If you do not intend on carrying much, you can shop at Shillong as well. Extremely economical and chic; you have a backup right here!

Police Bazaar at Shillong

What you need to keep in mind is, you’re in a wildlife centered location. While your guides and locals advise you, you need to care for yourself. And, be cautious not to wander off unattended!

That being said, Meghalaya Tourism ensures your safety throughout. Be it different tours and travels that you select. Or explore with the locals – it is a safe place.

A haven for solo travelers. Make your way through those unwinding mountain roads. Discover villages, understand the roots of the indigenous natives here.

Image Courtesy: Curly Tales

Travel to your heart’s content. Who knows, you will discover something unheard of!

About the author

Bhairavi Jaiswal

A travel enthusiast with a craving to explore the immense diversity prevalent in the world. Someone who has learnt from experience and lives each day to the fullest.

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