Shillong: Absolutely Best Natural and Cultural Escape

"Aerial view of Shillong nestled among green hills

Meghalaya -The alluring heaven Shillong Flanked by emerald rolling hills of Northeast, this captivating city offers a blissful destination to rejuvenate your senses with hosts of sweet memories for nature lovers and adventure buffs alike. With lush green surroundings, waterfalls, Shillong has a backdrop unique to it ideal for taking a break from city life.

Location and Climate in Shillong

Situated in an elevation of 1496 meters above sea level is the capital of Meghalaya- Shillong. As it is situated in the latoto login Shillong Plateau, Sohra experiences a cool, temperate climate throughout the year. An abundance of rainfall during the monsoon months means the city is drenched, becoming a welcome paradise for a variety of greenery and colour. A feeling of calm and tranquility is developed by the lush hills offering inspiring valley views.

Shillong is a biodiversity hot-spot owing to its unique topography which enables a wide variety of flora and fauna to flourish in its largely untouched natural surroundings. The elevation of the city also makes it relatively cooler than the weather in the plains and hence tourists escape to this city to find some relief!

Since Shillong is near the Bay of Bengal, the climate of the city is mild but humid. A paradise land becomes a green wonderland with heavy rainfall during monsoons from June to September. Tourists can take advantage of the cool and pleasant weather to explore the natural beauty of the city.

Umiam Lake surrounded by misty hills

A Brief History of Shillong

The history of Shillong goes back to the British colonial era. Previously called the “Scotland of the East” for its similarity to the Scottish Highlands, Shillong was a preferred hill station during the British Raj for Indian officers as an alleviation from the hot, humid climate of the lowlands.

Due to its British heritage and colonial era architecture, as well as the hilly terrain of the region, Shillong was initially used as a sanatorium, dedicating itself with an air of a jewel of the British empire, where it was occupied by officials from assisting in the administration of southern and eastern of gorgeously mountainous region. Colonial architecture is visible in various locations such as the All Saints’ Cathedral or the Raj Bhavan, representing the city’s colonial legacy.

A very important milestone in the gateway to Shillong during its long history occurred in 1972, when it was chosen as the new start of Meghalaya after this condition was created. In the present day, the city represents a harmonious co-existence of the past and the future – it has managed to retain its cultural identity, while also gearing up with the global change.

Places to visit in Shillong

Shillong houses numerous appealing tourist delights that cater for every traveler wanting to have a jolly good time. Ward’s Lake – For nature lovers, it is a haven where you taste peace admist the hustle of a city. Spend some time walking down the cobbled paths, appreciating the lotus flowers in the bloom, and feeding the fishes in the lake for a relaxing experience.

Elephant Falls is a must visit place for all the nature lovers. Three-tiered waterfalls surrounded by dense greenery, perfect to give a breather from the city life. The Umiam Lake in Shillong is yet another jewel in itself; it is a mangnificent place for a memorable boat ride experience in the city along with enjoying kayaking and having a peaceful picnic amidst the blankets of mist in the hills.

Visit the Root Bridges of Cherrapunjee, once one of the wettest places on earth. This wonder of nature, constructed by intertwining the roots of millennial trees serving as a testimony of the indigenous knowledge of the local communities, markets sustainable practices.

Cultural TraitDistinct to Shillong

The place is administered by Khasi tribe, and its a Melting pot of Cultures. The Khasis with their hospitality and their colorful festivals keep their doors open for tourists and are known to enjoy sharing their rich cultural heritage with them. The matrilineal system, as Khasi culture is one of the very few in the world, which traces descent and inheritance through the mother’s line.

Magnificent festivals like Ka Pomblang Nongkrem, Behdienkhlam are like a floodlight 10 am ready to enlighten the city showing traditional dances, music, and rituals highlighting the long-practised customs of the Khasi community. These vibrant attires, drum beats and joyous occasions are a sight to see for the visitors.

Another of Shillong’s high point is its music, and the indie music culture that thrives in the state have won it the title of the “Rock Capital of India”. Local artists and bands bring a mix of traditional Khasi tunes and modern genres to the fore, offering a singular musical atmosphere that appeals to the general audience and tourists alike.

Traditional Khasi dance performance in ShillongTraditional Khasi dance performance in ShillongUmiam Lake surrounded by misty hills

Shillong traditional food

Shillong goes through a scenic culinary journey and trail, with a distinct mix of flavors and fragrances, and an envelope of taste that reverberates a rustic nostalgia in the minds of those who savor it. The Khasi Cuisine, which is the synonym for the ease of cooking combined with the freshness of the ingredients, consists of a range of scrumptious dishes that blow your mind off.

JadohAssamOne of the signature dishes of Shllong, Jadoh is a savoury preparation of rice cooked with meat, spices and aromaatc herbs. Another famous dish is Kyat, a red hot chili paste that normally is accompanying any dish. For a true Meghalayan flavor, visitours can enjoy traditional snacks as well as Pukhlein (rice flour fritters) and Doh Neiiong (pork with sesame seeds).

Plan your visit to enjoy in a Khasi meal that includes only traditional items such as steamed rice, a variety of cooked vegetables, meat preparations, along with different chutneys and that too on a banana leaf. In Shillong, a culinary experience is a voyage of discovery and a capsule of gastronomic heritage of the region.

Things to do in and around Shillong

If you are one for adventure, you will be spoilt and then some with what appears to be limitless opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors, and the beautiful rugged terrain of the region. Double Decker Living Root Bridge TrekThis trek to the Double Decker Living Root Bridge in Nongriat village via the villages of Nongriat and Tyrna is a challenging trek but offers the most scenic views that one can experience on a trek.

One cannot miss experiencing caving in the limestones rich caves of Meghalaya to witness the marvels nature has crafted over millions of years underground. USP – The trek is more of a spiritual journey as you walk through the ancient dense forest reaching sacred spots revealing the traditional beliefs and practices of the Khasis.

FOR WATER LOVERS – Shillong is also close to the Umiam Lake, an artificial reservoir which provides ample opportunities for kayaking, water skiing and boating amidst surroundings of pristine hills. In the nearby town of Cherrapunjee, paragliding offers a unique experience to see the mesmerizing landscapes and gushing waterfalls from a birds-eye-view, a great adventure for the adventurous souls out there.

Shillong market and shopping

Shillong market – A sure shot way to soak into local culture and handi-craftmanship through lively traditional markets Shop for local products like Khasi traditional dresses, local handicrafts, souvenirs, etc. from Police Bazar, which is the principal commercial zone of the city. The market is famous for its street-food stalls where all types of regional foods are served.

For local handicrafts that are truly Meghalayan, visit Bara Bazar where the hand-woven shawls, bamboo articles, and tribal jewelry created by skilled artisans. A rich heritage is represented by the local flavors, IewduhBara Bazar the local name for the Lewduh Market, with a bounty of fresh produce, native spices, and local products, emblematic of local agricultural riches.

Traverse the busy lanes of the marketplaces and find treasures and novelties hobnobbing as souvenirs that take you back to your memorable trip to Shillong. Haggle your way through the hustle and bustle of these traditional markets and make friends with the locals.

Elephant Falls cascading through lush greenery in Shillong

Where to stay in Shillong

From luxurious resorts to cozy guesthouses and homestays Shillong has an accommodation for all types of travellers and holidaymakers, across every budget. To experience Khasi hospitality, you could choose to stay at a homestay in the city outskirts and get to experience the local life and the homemade food.

For those who love comfort and luxury, some well-developed resorts, including Ri Kynjai and Polo Orchid Resort provide every modern amenity, incredible views and attentive service in the midst of serene pristine nature. Assiris, Abrouq and a whole lot of Backpackers (hostels) in the city center make it comfortable to stay without burning big bucks.

Be it a tranquil escape to the hills or a convenient abode in the heart of the city, Shillong has a place of stay to fit everybody’s needs. Wake up to the birds chirping, breathe the fresh mountain air, and in the lap of nature,surround yourself feeling rejuvenated.


Shillong, Meghalaya is undoubtedly a heaven to explore the untouched natural beauty, culture and adventurous experiences. Shillong is a majestic place which hosts everything from rolling hills and waterfalls to local markets and delicious food that you admire; there is no denying Shillong. If you like reading this article then please consider reading our article about Meat Pie.