Shillong is located in the North-Eastern State of Meghalaya and is also the capital of the same. Shillong is a hill station and is always abided by the clouds. Also, familiar by the name Scotland of the East, the rolling hills that surround the beautiful town of Shillong reminded the British about Scotland. Shillong is also the headquarter of East Khasi Hills District.
The town of Shillong is located 103kms away from Guwahati, the main air and rail link to reach Shillong. Shillong town derived its name from U-Shyllong, a deity. The town is located at an elevation of 1,491 meters above sea level and is the busiest town of Meghalaya. Shillong is also renowned for well-reputed education institutions and is the educational hub for whole North-Eastern India.
Being the capital town of Meghalaya, Shillong acts as an entry gate to this state of North-Eastern India. Apart from its picturesque view and soothing climate throughout the year, Shillong is famous for its green peaks, museums, golf course, crystal clear lakes, waterfalls and many more worthy places to visit in Shillong.
Shillong houses some of the jovial peoples of the country and is rich in westernised culture. This handsome town of Meghalaya is also known as the Music Capital of India as many well-known musicians belong to this town. Shillong is also famous for its cafe culture and as one can find various cafes scattered throughout the town serving delicacies of different cuisines.
How To Reach
Shillong is the capital town of Meghalaya and is thus well connected. One can reach Shillong by air or by train.
- To reach Shillong you need to board a flight from your nearby airport to Shillong Airport, commonly known as Umroi Airport, located 30kms away from the main town of Shillong. However, flights to this airport are very rare and often get cancelled due to dicey weather conditions.
- The best way to reach Shillong by air is to fly to Guwahati Airport (Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport) in Assam. There are lots of private and shared cabs standby outside the airport which can further drive you to Shillong.
- Shillong is not connected by Raileheads. So, the easiest way to reach Shillong by train is to board a train to Guwahati. Located 70kms from Shillong it is the only way to reach Shillong via train. From Guwahati Railway Station, one can hire a private or shared cab to Shillong. Also, there are various bus terminuses at Guwahati from where one can find a bus that runs up to Shillong.
- To travel within the town of Shillong you can hire a taxi. Taxis are available throughout the town. Also, various buses operate throughout the town.
- If you are looking for a more convenient way, it is better to hire a private vehicle to visit all the sightseeing points in Shillong.
Best Time To Visit
One can visit Shillong during any time of the year. You can visit Shillong according to the time of the view you want to relish it. Below are noted the times when one can visit Shillong.
- March to May sees the advent of summer in Shillong. However, being a mountainous town the weather remains pleasant and offers you with quite a clear view. However, the waterfalls during this time remain dry and thus, one cant experience the real beauty of it.
- June to September sees the monsoon. This is not the time to visit Shillong as it rains almost throughout the day and thus one cannot get a clear view of sightseeing places in Shillong. However, this is the time when the waterfalls remain in its full flow enriching the beauty of the surrounding area.
- Mid of September to mid of October is one of the ideal times to visit Shillong to experience the beauty of the waterfalls of the town.
- October to February is the best time to visit Shillong as the weather remains cool during this time. It is also the best time as during this time as it rarely rains and so the weather remains clear offering you with the best view of the sightseeing places in Shillong.
Where To Stay
Shillong being the most important town and the capital of Meghalaya has abundant hotels and homestays. One can opt for any one of them among the long list. For hotel recommendations please look at the end of the article.
Places To Visit
The town of Shillong has quite a lot to offer in terms of places to visit in Shillong. Down here is a list and short description of the most famed places to visit in Shillong.
Umiam Lake is located at a distance of 15kms from the northern part of Shillong and is one of the most famous places to visit in Shillong. It is a man-made reservoir and was constructed to breed hydroelectric power for Shillong. The lake is encircled by the plush green Khasi (one of the most famous tribes of Meghalaya) hills and offers one of the best panoramic views in Shillong. Watching the sunrise over this lake is worth a lifetime experience. There is a park adjoining Umiam Lake that serves as a picnic hotspot for the local peoples.
Umiam Lake is spread across an area of 222 square kilometres. People visiting the lake can enjoy the boat ride service that is available at the lake. Children can enjoy the adjoining park with their parents while the old people can sit by the lake and admire the beauty of it. The lake provides a wide scope for the students who are interested to study about various floras and faunas as the place is surrounded by a wide range of the laters.
Afar from relishing the tranquillity of the lake one can also watch the natives and the locals fishing in the stagnant waters of the lake. You can also see the natives searching for twigs and grasses by the side of the lake for their household works. The lake turns azure during the winters as the water level decades and during summer the shores of the same are filled by the Gulmohar trees.
Shillong Zoo, widely known as Lady Hydari Park is another famous sightseeing place to visit in Shillong. This place is named after the first lady province of the town Lady Hydari. She was also the wife of the then governor of Shillong. This park is built in Japanese style with long willow trees, hedges in round shape and many small ponds that are scattered throughout the park. One will also find a small lake within the park premises where ducks and various fishes can be spotted. Other than ducks and fishes one can find various local animals and birds of Shillong caged inside the park.
Visitors of all ages can visit this park and take a stroll around it through the paved walkway while admiring the beauty of the place and its natural green carpet lawns. One can also cherish the huge collection of rhododendrons and orchids that are found inside the park. Children enjoy themselves in the park as there is a large playing area inside it. During the winters one can visit the park in the afternoon to relax under the bright sunshine. Lady Hydari park also provides a lot of options for the photographers.
Lady Hydari Park is open from 8 AM to 5 PM and remains closed on Mondays. Please note the entry fee of the Lady Hydari Park:
Adults: Rs 10.00/-
Children (up to 5 years of age): Rs 5.00/-
Senior Citizen: Rs 5.00/-
Differently Abled Persons: Rs 2.00/-
Shillong Peak is situated at an elevation of 6449ft and is the highest point of the Shillong town. This place is one of the best places to visit in Shillong as it offers a stunning panoramic view of the whole town along with its waterfalls and even the plains of Bangladesh. Hiking to this semi-circular peak is highly recommended for one of the best views within the town. However, being located at a high altitude this place most of the time is bounded by dense fog.
According to the natives, Shillong obtained its name from this Shillong Peak. as recited by them the powerful deity LheyShillong used to reside in this peak and safeguard the town from all negativity. At the utmost top of the peak, there is a U Shylong site which is considered sacred by the locals. At every spring a ritual is organised there to offer prayers and seek blessing from the deity.
Shillong Peak is located at the base of the Air Force and has a radar station of the Air Force. Thus, as a reason for security heavy checking is done at the entrance gate of the Shillong Peak. Cameras are forbidden to the place and visitors are asked to deposit the same.
Shillong peak is open from 9 AM to 5 PM with an entry fee of INR 10. The peak is weekly closed on Wednesdays.
Shillong Air Force Museum:
Shillong Air Force Museum brilliantly displays the country’s air force defence. Shillong’s Air Force Museum is one of the best places to visit in Shillong to learn about the history of our country’s Air Defence. This Air Force Museum of Shillong is located in the Upper Shillong Area and is a great place for people of all ages.
Shillong Air Force Museum displays a wide range of India’s Aircraft products like various aircraft models, pilot’s uniforms, miniature models of machineries, rockets, missiles and different technologies denoting the Indian Air Force – Eastern Command. Besides, it also exhibits various pictures of Indo-Pak and Indo-China wars.
Shillong Air Force Museum is closed on Sundays and Mondays. There is no entry fee to enter the museum. Please note the timing of the museum on all the other days except Sunday and Monday.
During Summer: 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM (Tuesday to Saturday)
During Winters: 9:30 AM to 4:30 PM (Tuesday to Saturday)
Break hours: 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM (both seasons)
Wards Lake is located at the heart of Shillong around which the whole town has been constructed. It is one of the major tourist places to visit in Shillong. The lake has been named after the Chief Commissioner of Assam, Sir William Ward, who began the construction of this lake. Wards Lake is also known as Pollock Lake is surrounded by copious green gardens. The lake is horseshoe-shaped and attracts a lot of tourists and has been popular picnic spots among the locals.
There are flower beds by the lake that create a hue of colour all around the lake. One can take a stroll around the lake and admire the beauty of it. There is a small wooden bridge at the centre of the lake formed for the visitors to have a panoramic sight of the entire lake. This bridge is also used by the visitors to feed puffed rice to the tiny little fishes that swim around in the lake. The main attraction of the lake for the tourists lies with the option of paddle boating.
Wards lake is open from 8:30 AM to 7:00 PM from March to October and from 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM during the winter months of November to February. Please note the entry fee of the lake.
Adults: Rs 10
Children: Rs 5/-
Senior citizens: Rs 5/-
Differently abled persons: Rs 5/-
Shillong Golf Course:
Shillong Golf Course is located at a distance of 4kms from Shillong bus stand. It is another picturesque and worthy place to visit in Shillong. Shillong Golf course is one of the oldest and finest golf courses in India. The place is located at an altitude of 5200ft.
Shillong Golf Course was first inaugurated by the British Civil Service Officers in 1898 as a 9 hole golf course. Later it was converted to an 18 hole golf course in 1982 by Capt. Jackson and C.K. Rhodes. This golf course covers an area of 5873 yards and has the furthest golf hole of India at a distance of 594 yards.
The Golf Course of Shillong is surrounded by a scenic forest of rhododendron and pine trees which houses a variety of birds. The United States Golf Association has named this golf course “Gleneagle of the East” due to its scenic and green environment. Every year there are annual tournaments held at this golf course where golf players display their skills.
Don Bosco Museum:
Honoured as Asia’s biggest museum of culture and heritage, Don Bosco Museum is another famous place to visit in Shillong. The museum houses the beautiful traditions and rich cultures of North-Eastern India. The museum is seven storied and is located in the Mawlai area near Police Bazar, the most famous market place to visit in Shillong. The Don Bosco Museum is constructed in a hexagonal shape and thus represents the architectural style of Shillong.
There are a total of 16 galleries inside the museum which displays the figures, paintings and artefacts that showcases the culture and tradition of North East India. The museum also has its own institutions, research wings, publications, newsletters and cultural calendars. Many times of the year there are several competitions held at the premises of the museum where various eminent scholars, musicians, writers and lyricists take part actively.
Don Bosco Museum is open from 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM on all other months except December and from 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM in December. Please note the entry fee of the Museum. The museum remains closed on Sundays and National Holidays.
Students (national): INR 50/-
Students (foreigners): INR 150/-
Indians: INR 100/-
Foreigners: INR 200/-
Named after the elephant-like stone at the foot of the falls, Elephant Falls is one of the most famous falls of North East India. Besides, it is also one of the most prominent falls and a place to visit in Shillong. However, the elephant-like stone after which the fall was named, has been washed away by a massive earthquake in 1897. The fall has three layers and is accessible by visitors from various points.
Elephant Fall is also referred to as ‘Ka Kshaid Lai Patang Khohsiew’ by the locals of the state. The local name in English denotes ‘the three steps waterfalls’. The first step of the waterfall is bounded within dense trees and is spread over a vast area. The second step of the fall is very narrow and almost vanishes away during the winter. The third and the most important step of Elephant Falls is the tallest one with a huge amount of water gushing through the rocks. The water cascades like a sheet of milk hitting the dark rocks at its backdrop. To reach the third step of the waterfall one needs to climb down by the staircase that is constructed to help the visitors reach the third falls.
One can visit Elephant Fall before entering the town of Shillong or a is sightseeing from Shillong. It is the most visited falls in the state of Meghalaya. The fall is open from 10:00 AM to 6 PM and remains closed on Sundays.
Police Bazar is the most famous market of Shillong and is one of the most touristy places to visit in Shillong. The place is popular amongst the locals and the tourists for shopping. There are various supermarkets, malls and restaurants located at Police Bazar. However, the main attraction of Police Bazar lies with its flea market where one can get various items like gifts, junk jewellery, local clothes, handicraft items, souvenirs and many more products at low rates.
The market is located in a huge form of a circle from where 7 roads lead out to 7 different directions. Due to the rush of the market vehicles are not allowed to enter the main road of Police Bazar which in turn allows the people to shop more freely.
Police Bazar is open from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM and is closed on Sundays.
Ever Living Museum:
Ever Living Museum is located in the Mawshbuit village of Shillong. It is one of the most admirable places to visit in Shillong. The museum is privately owned by a person who exhibits his love for nature, tradition, culture, history and posterity through this museum.
The museum generally houses the commodities of the three hills of Garo, Jaintia and Khasi. The museum is organized into three parts. The first part of the museum displays the ancient and contemporary armours and weapons used by the tribesmen of Meghalaya. The second part displays the artefacts items made with bamboo and the third part is a beautiful eye-soothing lawn displaying various types of wildflowers, orchids and fruit trees.
The Ever-Living Museum is open from 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM from March to September and from 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM from October to February. The museum remains closed on Christmas, Good Friday and Easter. Please note the entry fee to the museum.
Adults: Rs 50/-
Children: Rs 20/-
College Students: Rs 30/-
Butterfly Museum is located near Christian Academy School at Riatsamthiah Jaiaw area. It is a privately owned museum by Wankhar and Riatsamthiah, who also organises various programmes to conserve more butterflies and moths.
The Butterfly Museum displays a wide range of colourful vibrant butterflies, beetles, moths and various other insects. Butterfly cultivation is also done in this museum for various commercial purposes. This museum is one of the most attractive places to visit in Shillong.
The museum is open from 10:00 AM to 4:30 PM on the weekdays and from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM on Saturdays. The place remains closed on Sundays. There is an entry fee of INR 5.
Sweet Falls is one of the steepest falls in the whole of India. It is one of the most mesmerising falls to visit in Shillong. The fall cascades from a height of 96 meters and is one of the most dangerous waterfalls. The route to this waterfall is not maintained and is quite slippery causing many mishaps. The sweet fall is surrounded by a green nature making it an ideal picnic spot for the locals. One can also spot a butterfly museum and a mini zoo near the Sweet Falls. Sweet Falls is rarely visited by the common tourists and thus is a blessing for those who love to spend some time in a peaceful natural place.
Laitlum Canyon is perched upon the East Khasi Hills and is less explored by the common tourist. However, it is one of the most beautiful and picturesque places to visit in Shillong. The canyon located at the end of the hills presents you with one of the best panoramic views of the surrounding green majestic hills of The Himalaya. One must visit this place either during the sunrise or the sunset to catch the best view of mother nature.
To reach the Laitlum Canyon one needs to hike for 2 minutes through the shorter route for some more minutes through the longer route from the parking area. Rasong, a small exquisite town bounded by deep green Himalayan ranges and located in the ridges of this canyon can be spotted from this place. All photography enthusiasts and nature lovers must visit this place in Shillong.
Laitlum Canyon is open from 6 AM to 5 PM and has no entry fee.
All Saints Church:
All Saints Church is one of the oldest churches in Shillong. This church is located on the Kacheri road of the town. The church boasts the colonial structure and was constructed during the British rule. The church has a completely wooden structure and is one of the best churches to visit in Shillong. The church is worth visiting during the Sunday prayer mass.
All Saints Church is open from 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM and has no entry fee.
Cathedral of Mary Help of Christians Shillong:
The Cathedral of Mary Help of Christians is one of the most beautiful churches of Shillong. It is one of the must-visit places in Shillong. This church is also known as Laitumkhrah Church and is built upon a steep plateau. One needs to climb up a few steps to reach the church. According to the local facts this church was built to resist the earthquakes. The church has big stained glasses, towering arches, a large cathedral and a chapel.
The Cathedral of Mary Help of Christians is built on the same place where the first church of Shillong was constructed. It was turned to a shrine in 1980 and also houses the grave of the first Archbishop of the town. One needs to visit this church to catch a sight of the varied artwork that illustrates the life stories of various saints and the scenes of the holy scriptures. Besides the beauty of the church, one can also get a stunning view of the river Brahmaputra and the mountains on a clear day. One should also visit the Grotto Church that directly lies below this church.
This church is open from 7:00 AM to 6:30 PM.
Mawphlang – Mawlyngbna – Mawphanlur Circuit
One can visit the above-mentioned places while you are in Shillong as sightseeing places of the town. However, if you want to escape this touristy environment and try out some offbeat destinations where nature resides by itself then you may choose to explore Mawphlang, Mawlyngbna and Mawphanlur circuit.
The above mentioned offbeat destinations of Shillong are an abode of nature by itself. These are the places where you need to lose control of yourself and let your soul follow the ways of nature. There are some places to visit in these places where you can just relax and cherish the beauty of the environment around you. Mawphlang Sacred Forest is one such place. One needs to take a trail in this sacred forest of Mawphlang to feel the lone beauty of a forest and to get an experience on the lives and beliefs of the local people. You can even try out various treks like David Scott Trail.
On the way to Mawlyngbna from Mawphlang, you will get to visit a cave known as Mawjymbuin Cave where you can witness a Shiva Linga naturally formed from stones. The Linga resembles that of the famous Amarnath Linga just that this Linga is formed out of stones instead of snow like that of the Amarnath. In Mawlyngbna you can experience your foot and soul on the famous Iew Luri Lura trek where you get to witness the footprint fossils of age-old animals.
One can also experience the wettest village on Earth, Mawsynram as an offbeat destination of Shillong in this circuit.
Mawphanlur is a place where you just need to sit with a cup of tea and a book of your choice soothing your soul over the various luring views of mother nature.