The hill town of Shillong is a hidden treasure in the north eastern part of India and is the capital of Meghalaya. It is a popular hill station and tourist spot in India and is famously known as the Scotland of the East due to its striking similarity to the Scotland Highlands.
Shillong was formerly the capital of Assam during the British regime till the separate State of Meghalaya was formed in 1972 and was the summer capital of Eastern Bengal and Assam for several years.
Shillong’s majestic mountain peaks offer a mesmerizing view of the city, its crystal clear lakes and waterfalls define magnificence, and its sheer serenity will truly calm your soul. Being the home of Khasi, Jaintia and Garo hill tribes, you will also witness colorful lifestyle and cultural traditions.
If you are looking for a mental detox away from the monotonous city, this heavenly holiday destination is a perfect escape for you.
Best time to visit Shillong: Shillong has pleasant weather throughout the year and can be visited any time.
Let us take a look at the various seasons round the year to help you plan your trip better.
Summer - March to June: During summers, the temperature ranges between 15°C and 24°C. This is the perfect time for sightseeing and planning adventure activities on your next summer vacation.
Monsoon - June to September: During these months, one would witness average to heavy rainfall across Shillong, with July being the wettest month. This is an excellent time to visit the waterfalls and enjoy the picturesque rain washed landscape.
Winter - October to February: In Shillong, rainfall begins to cease from October and winter sets in by early November with the temperature going as low as 2°C. It is the perfect pick for your winter vacation as the hill town looks heavenly during these months.
How to reach Shillong:
By Air: Shillong Airport or Umroi Airport is located 30 km away from the city center. IndiGo connects Shillong and Kolkata with its fleet of ATRs.
The nearby airport of Guwahati, the state capital of Assam is also in close proximity to Shillong. A 4 hours drive on NH 40 would take you from Guwahati Airport to Shillong.
By Train: Guwahati Railway station in Paltan Bazaar is the nearest railway station to Shillong airport, located at a distance of 90 km.
By Bus: Buses ply at an interval of almost half hour between Shillong with Guwahati. Hiring a taxi is another good option.
Trattoria is a major hit among the locals who swear by its flavours. It offers the Most Authentic Khasi cuisine in town.
Its specialty lies in the creative presentation of local Khasi food. A tiny establishment, Trattoria is not the place to enjoy a laid back evening. The place is mostly crowded but worth the wait. So next time you are in Shillong, hit to Trattoria to enjoy traditional khasi meal and go home with a new experience!
Check out this cool café over the weekends for its live musical performances and tantalizing preparation of khauswey, steaks and thukpa.
Treat your taste buds with smoky meat curries, combo meals serving rice, salad, meat curry, chutney and vegetable at Jadoh.
Just like the name suggests, this place is a must visit restaurant. You will be welcomed by the aroma of great food coupled with friendly service. There is a wide array of dishes served at the restaurant along with a choice of seating. The restaurant has a dhaba-style ambience infused with contemporary dining experience.
Deja vu is frequented by youngsters for good music, food and celebrations. It has a calmly lit ambience creating a relaxing and soothing experience for visitors. Also get to try your hands on singing at the karaoke station at the lounge.
Collecting unique souvenirs makes for great travel memories. Shillong has plenty of places for a great shopping experience, and you will come across a wide variety of souvenirs to choose from. If you are enthused about decorating your home, the tribal art products made from Bamboo and Cane will catch your attention. Along with the aesthetic appeal, these items will add an eco-friendly dimension to your home. For those who prefer accessorizing their wardrobes, you will find a whole new world of designs and fabrics to explore from hand-woven shawls, ethnic jackets, traditional Khasi wear, and trendy headgears. Check out local food stores and bag some exclusive ingredients to experiment with in your kitchen!
Souvenirs popular among tourists include shyrmit (turmeric) powder, tiny red and green chilies, sohmirit (pepper), ryndiah (muga silk) shawls, Scottish Cloth, Organic Products, Bamboo Handicrafts.
The Lewduh or Bara Bazaar and Police Bazar are one of the oldest and most traditional markets in the area and hence is a must visit on your trip to Shillong. Try out popular tantalizing street foods at these bazars some of which include Tungrymbai, Jadoh, Dohn, and many more.
Lewduh or Bara Bazaar: This market is the oldest and largest trade centre in Northeast India and gets its name from the word Lewduh which means ‘of common people’. Try out a variety of things from here including handicrafts, seasonal vegetables, fruits and exotic spices. Every year in April, local rituals are performed including assembling of huge monoliths called 'mawbynnas’, after which the market is set up. These rituals are considered to be auspicious for the trade and economy of the region. Shop for eco-friendly décor items made from Bamboo and Cane, accessorize your wardrobe with trendy fabrics and ready-mades. Bag some orange honey, black mushrooms, pineapples, oranges and other fruit products.
Police Bazar: This market is a relatively modern one in comparison to the Bara Bazar and houses numerous restaurants, shops and other joints. You will also find traditional shops selling exquisite handicrafts. Shop here for winter wear, gadgets and try out the array of delicacies across the market. Remember to brush up on your haggling skills before hitting this market.
Every street in Shillong is brimming with talent and passion of the locals for music. Every Saturday evening, locals and tourists gather to dance the night away to music by a local band or popular DJ. The best places for a good entertainment in Shillong are:
Ri Kynjai Serenity by The Lake Ri Kynjai literally translates into ‘Land of Serenity’. This Spa-Resort with cottages presides over the picturesque Umiam lake and has an architecture derived from the original Khasi thatch huts. Each cottage is equipped with a fireplace in the living/bedroom area and is a great value for the price paid
Café Shillong Bed and Breakfast Enjoy a cosy and comfortable stay at this boutique well-furnished more than 70 years old bungalow in Shillong.
Royal Heritage Tripura Castle Experience regal elegance coupled with an old world charm in the ambience of the Hotel. The Hotel is located on a hilltop surrounded with pine forests and boasts of the best view.
Aerodene Cottage A charming 60-year-old colonial heritage home in traditional Assam style made of wood and bamboo. It combines modern and heritage amenities.
Along with the sprawling green hills surrounding the city, the local festivals at Shillong will leave you mesmerized! The Khasi community considers has various festivals that focus on dance like Ka Shad Suk Mynsiem, Ka Pom-Blang Nongkrem, and Ka-Shad Shyngwiang-Thangiap. The Garos Tribe celebrates jhum cultivation, nature and their main festivals are the Den Bilsia, Wangala, and the Rongchu Gala. Behdienkhlam and Laho Dance form important festivals of the Jaintias tribe, for whom the preservation of cultural heritage and solidarity among people is top priority.
Cherrapunjee: Nearly 2 hours’ drive from Shillong, Cherrapunjee is known for its living root bridges and holds the world record for the most rainfall in a year.
Its rich cultural heritage, pleasant weather and scintillating landscape makes it a perfect relaxed vacation for all age groups. It is the only hill station in India accessible from all sides making it easy to reach. Your trip will not be complete until you meet the rarest and friendliest tribes of Shillong. An interesting fact about the Khasi community is that they are a matrilineal society. The mother's surname is therefore passed on to the children and the youngest daughter inherits the ancestral property. Make sure to add Shillong to your bucket list for a relaxing experience!