During my brief stay in Shillong, I made sure to visit some of its natural spots such as Shillong Peak, Elephant Falls and Umiam Lake. Shillong Peak was a long drive from the hotel, however, the inundated roads were lined with lush greenery, making the journey seem shorter than its actual course. The lyrical nature was reciting itself in the hidden backdrop, while the dramatic mountains were unfolding one after another. All along, the craft of cloudscapes and fascinating skylines added to nature’s theatrical, wherein hundreds of houses roosted amid this spectacular setting mark social and tribal continuation.
Arriving at Shillong Peak is a breeze of fresh air. Dotted by yellow-orange flowers and skylines starring mammoth clouds, this peak is the highest point of Shillong at the height of 6.4K ft above sea level. From here, you can observe the awe-inspiring bird’s eye view of Shillong, Himalayas and even Bangladesh meadows. A telescope has been made available for visitors. Profoundly surrounded by dense fog, Shillong gets its name from this peak, itself. Local stories narrate that guarding god Leishyllong lives in the hills. The sacred U Shulong at the summit is worshipped every spring with a ritual. As Shillong Peak is positioned near air force base and radar station, there is tight security in this area, and you will even, be required to deposit your cameras before entering.
After Shillong Peak, I visited the famous Elephant Falls in the East Khasi Hills District. Elephant Falls is the British name of what the Khasi(s) call “Ka Kshaid Lai Pateng Khohsiew” or Three Steps Waterfall. I learnt that the British named the falls after an Elephant because earlier at this site, there was a rock resembling his shape. The waterfall is spellbinding, to be honest! Close to the waterfall, there is a photography studio. I got myself a picture clicked here in the traditional Khasi dresses. It only takes 5-minutes to get dressed in this traditional outfit, however, the memory lasts forever. Besides, when you wear these clothes, you feel so very close to North Eastern culture.
Next, I visited Umiam Lake, or as locals call it, the Barapani Lake. Positioned fifteen kilometres from Shillong, Umiam is a 220 sq km long, crystal clear Olympic-blue lake encircled by beautiful hillocks. This reservoir in the hills was formed in the early 1960s by damming the Umiam river. This lake is also popular for water sports. Umiam lake depicts the spectacular beauty of Meghalaya. In summer, this lively lake is beautified, by a series of several blossoming Gulmohar trees. The bordering Nehru Park is a perfect place to enjoy picnics and motorboat rides.
Before leaving Shillong, I visited the city’s museums, took a short tour of Kamakhya Devi temple in Guwahati and revisited the shopper’s street.