With lush hills of pine trees, sparkling waterfalls and rippling rivers and streams, Shillong is a beautiful hill station and one of the top tourist destinations in northeast India. The name literally translates to ‘abode of the clouds’ and once you are here, you will find it easy to see why. Fondly known as the “Scotland of the East”, Shillong welcomes hundreds of visitors from across the country and the world. While you are here, there are certain places that you must visit for the ultimate experience of Shillong’s heritage and culture.
10 Must-Visit Places in Shillong
Here is a look at 10 of the best places to visit while you are in Shillong:
Shillong View Point
One of the city’s most famous tourist attraction, Shillong View Point stands at an altitude of 1,965 meters above sea level. Also known as Shillong Peak, it gives you a mesmerizing view of the hill station, the plains of Bangladesh and the Himalayan ranges. To get a really breathtaking view of Shillong, you should go to Shillong View Point at night when the star-studded sky and city lights give you a visual treat.
Lady Hydari Park
Named after the province’s first lady during the time of the British, Hydari Park is another very popular tourist attraction in Shillong. The sprawling park boasts a well-manicured garden, a mini zoo which includes various animals, over 73 bird species and 100 reptile species, and a children’s playground complete with swings and seesaws. If you are looking for a place to relax and give children a place to play and have fun, you should definitely visit Lady Hydari Park.
Considered one of the must-visit locales in Shillong, Elephant Falls is without a doubt the city’s most spectacular waterfalls. The name was given by the British as there was once a large adjoining rock that resembled an elephant at the foot of the falls. Unfortunately, the rock can no longer be seen as it was destroyed by an earthquake. It is one of the best places in Shillong to take photos to remember your trip.
Do you want to see what the cleanest village in Asia looks like? Make your way to Mawlynnong. Discover India awarded the village the title of the “Cleanest Village in Asia” in 2003, but that is not all that it is known for. The village is also renowned for 100% literacy rate and empowerment of women. Also known as God’s Own Garden, Mawlynnong is also home to the famous Living Root Bridges, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the Sky View which gives you a bird’s eye view of Bangladesh and India.
When you go on a sight-seeing trip in Shillong, you should include Ward’s Lake on your list of places to visit. Located at the heart of the city, the lake, also known as Polok Lake, is a popular place among tourists and locals alike. You can stroll along the cobblestone walkway and enjoy the natural beauty all around you. Ward’s Lake is also a great place for a picnic, whether you are traveling with your family or as a couple. Even solo travelers can enjoy a breath of fresh air in between exploring the city.
David Scott Trail
If you are visiting Shillong for adventure, you should definitely make it a point to go to the David Scott Trail, named after a British officer. It is one of the region’s most popular trekking routes. The 16 km trek allows you to enjoy the untouched natural beauty of this area. The terrain is breathtaking no matter where you turn. If you want to go on a trek while in Shillong, you will love the David Scott Trail.
Mary Help for Christian Cathedral
One of Shillong’s most recognized landmarks and famous attractions, the Mary Help for Christian Cathedral is a must-visit during your stay in the city. With stained-glass windows, high arches and a statue of Mother Mary, the white marble building is elegant and grand. You can enter the cathedral to get a close look at the beauty inside and also visit the grotto located right below the impressive church.
Meghalaya State Museum
To learn about Meghalaya’s history and culture, one of the most important places to visit in Shillong is the Meghalaya State Museum. Situated within the complex of the State Central Library, the museum houses a vast collection of artefacts and ancient scriptures. There is also a habitat section that displays the living spaces of different tribes, instruments used for daily activities, agricultural tools, weapons, transportation equipment and much more.
Meghalaya is a state with an extensive network of underground caves, and Mawsmai Cave is one of the most famous as well as the most accessible. Located about 6 km from Cherrapunji, it is one of the few caves that you can explore without the need to hire a guide. Once you reach the location, there is a ticket counter and wide parking space lined with shops on both sides. Well-lit with electricity, you can clearly see the details on the rock formations and watch them glint in the light.
Mawphlang Sacred Forest
If you are looking to feel at one with nature, make sure that you visit the Sacred Forest in Mawphlang. Apart from being a beautiful spot, it is peaceful and the most famous of all the sacred forests in Meghalaya. Also known as Law Lyngdoh, the Mawphlang Sacred Forest is a protected area as it is considered a sacred entity. With its rich flora and natural beauty, it is an interesting place to visit. However, before you head there, make sure that you find out about the etiquette expected of visitors to Mawphlang Sacred Forest.
Shillong does not have a shortage of places to see and things to do. You will always have a wonderful time here whether you are traveling with family, friends or solo. With so much to explore and experience, it is no surprise that it has become one of the top destinations in this part of India.