The Scotland of East : My Backpacking trip in Shillong.

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Shillong is a hill station in one of the states of seven sisters, Meghalaya. It is the capital of Meghalaya which means ‘’ The Adobe of Clouds ‘’. Shillong is a beautiful city, which will make anyone fall in love with its scenic beauty.

The average altitude of Shillong is around 4,908 feet above sea level. It is a beautiful city residing in the valleys covered with pine trees. It derives its name from ‘’Lei Shyllong’’, an idol worshipped at the Shillong Peak. This hill station is famous for its delightful sights and traditions. This city has descendants of different tribes such as Khyrim, Maharam, Bhowal and Langrim tribes but surprisingly it has westernized culture.

REASON BEHIND THE NAME “SCOTLAND OF EAST” :

1. The striking similarity in the landscapes of Scotland and Shillong is the major reason behind its name. All the valleys, as well as the hills, are a true vision of nature that is untouched and in its deepest natural form.
2. The strolling paths in between the valleys make your way to heaven. I believe that your destination will be treacherous only if you enjoy your path.
3. The highlands of both the amazing places glisten’s with roaring waterfalls.
4. The phenomenal resemblance of lakes in Scotland and Shillong.
5. Music festival and culture of both places are almost identical.
6. Europeans named it as The Scotland of East.

Shillong is a place where one can go either with friends, family or Solo and feel absolutely delighted by the beauty and people. I guess being a traveler everyone has a bucket list of places, in which almost everyone has the North-Eastern territory included.

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Hop on the board….

I had an amazing experience in Shillong. It was my solo trip to Shillong, I was mesmerized by its beauty. My trip started from Kolkata International Airport, from where I took a flight to Guwahati.
The change in weather I experienced when I got there was absolutely stunning; it was all cloudy and chilly. Shillong is 98.8 km from Guwahati, you can get there either by cab or it will be cheap if you take a bus.

The meandering roads amidst the valleys you experience there are marvelous. And if you get a chance to travel by bike in those valleys please don’t miss it; this is the one thing I regret whereas it is unsafe so take care.

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Where Nature exhibits its best form….

My exploration in Shillong started from the first site i.e., Elephant waterfalls. It is 12 km from Shillong. On our way on Shillong’s main road, a small road goes towards the waterfalls where a small stream rises from highlands and splatters down the stream running on the rocks making Elephant waterfalls.
It’s very refreshing when you see a cascade of waterfalls in front of you. The name was given by the Britishers, it was once called ‘’ Ka Kshaid Lai Pateng Khohsiew’’ which means the ‘’Three Steps Waterfall by the local Khasi people.

This name was given to it because of a rock near it resembling an Elephant which was unfortunately destroyed in an earthquake in 1897. As I reached the end of the road I saw a gently descending path carved of stairs and heard the roaring sound of the water rushing down the rocks.

After walking around 60 steps I saw the first stage of the waterfall and after getting down 70 more steps I saw a transverse bridge in between the second and third stage, “this is stunning” was the first thing that got of my mouth. Further 50 steps and I was standing completely at the bottom of the waterfall, and there I had the complete view of the beautiful cascade.

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On the waters with my reflection…

The next place I visited was Ward’s Lake. It is the most popular attraction of Shillong. Ward’s lake is a must-visit place in this pristine north-eastern city. It is also known as Pollock’s Lake. This lake is encircled by an extensive lush garden and lies in the middle of the city.

I just walked around this horse-shoe shaped lake on the cobble-stone path simply admiring the colorful floral beds in the garden. The cherry blossoms, ducks and a bridge across in between the lake beckoned me. This lake is named after the Chief Commissioner of Assam, Sir William Ward.
The pleasure of boating in the lake was just beautiful. I was peddling all around the lake to see its beauty. After spending some time in the gardens I walked out heading to my next destination.

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The city from 6437ft…

A breathtaking place that will leave your mouth wide open, A place from where you will get to see the entire of Shillong, located at a distance of 10 km southwards of the main city, Shillong peak has an impressive height of 6437 feet.

Shillong peak is the highest point in Shillong. This location gave me the best experience I could possibly find because to go to this place you will have to go through some checking procedures since the road to peak passes through Air Force Base Station. On the way to peak, I was not allowed to capture photos due to security concerns.

The wide-angle vista of Shillong from this point was a treat for my eyes. There were two towers on both the sides of the place, from one tower I got to see Shillong through a telescope which was free of cost. Since I visited this place at last, on seeing the entire of Shillong in one glance my whole trip crossed my mind.

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My PRO Tip?

I just want to tell you that the local cuisine out there is a must. Many tourists believe that noodles and momos are the only food in North-East. Khasi and Jaintia cuisine are similar and usually comprise of meat and rice. Their cuisine is generally steamed and boiled with a great taste of various spices. The most preferred are ‘’JA doh’’ and ‘’JA doh snam’’, both rice dishes are either cooked in meat or pork stock.
I would like to suggest a place where I wasn’t able to go. Mawlynnong, this village is 90 km from Shillong. This village is claimed to be the cleanest village in Asia. It has an astonishing natural beauty.

This concludes my trip to Shillong, as I headed back to Guwahati to catch a flight to Kolkata.
I hope you loved living my experience. Stay CONNECTED for more…

 

By

Abhishek Raushan, Travel Blogger.

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