Travelers who have seen the north-east of India know that it is like a dreamland. The vast stretches of green away from the hustle-bustle of city life, the clouds floating amongst hills and magical mist-laden waterfalls, and extremely friendly and welcoming people make it feel like you’re in another country altogether. And those of you who haven’t yet been on this journey of a lifetime, here we present all the reasons to opt for a North East customised package:
Often credited as the being the wettest place on Earth (now passé), this town ranks high on your must-do list on a Meghalaya tour. That’s because there’s so much to see in and around Cherrapunjee. Starting with the famous Double Decker Living Root Bridge in Nongriat village. If you can challenge yourself with a 5-6 hour trek through the dense forest and moss-covered stairs, this will be the most exciting part of your Cherrapunjee tour.
Then comes the tallest plunge waterfall of India – Nohkalikai Falls, which is truly a sight to behold, with sparkly white water appearing from within the dense greens and gushing down a large, seemingly unending rock structure. The mist and the music of the falling waters leave you awestruck! Another striking feature of Cherrapunjee is the Mawsmai cave. The beautiful limestone formations in the cave along with the dark and mysterious vibe will send thrills down your spine, particularly if you are a history buff and adventure thrill seeker.
Although Cherrapunjee is thronged by people throughout the year, the best time to visit is between the months of October and May, due to relatively lesser rainfall as opposed to the other monsoon months. For this reason, the time from June to September also happens to be the off-season time, which means lesser costs and a lesser number of tourists.
Situated 65 km from Shillong, this village is officially the wettest place on Earth. Although it is quite similar to Cherrapunjee, you can visit Mawsynram to see the easier of the living root bridges. You can also explore the Mawjymbuin caves and pay obeisance to a Shiva lingam made of stalactite. The well-maintained village also has a beautiful botanical garden.
The capital of Meghalaya is like heaven – complete with hills, greenery, waterfalls and a touch of British architecture. The lakes of Shillong – Umiam and Wards are absolutely romantic and instill a feeling of peace in the mind. There are some popular waterfalls, like the 3-stepped Elephant Falls, Sweet Falls and Bishop & Beadon Falls. You can also visit Shillong Golf Course – the only golf course in India with 18 holes, if you’re into sports. The offbeat trek to Laitlum Canyon is one you wouldn’t want to miss in Shillong, offering panoramic views of the whole of Meghalaya.
The Lewduh Market is a shopper’s paradise and a nice play to cool off, offering everything from handicrafts and handmade shawls to eatables and live music evenings. To gain knowledge about the rich culture and history of North-east India, you can head to Don Bosco Museum. This is also the place from where you can see the entire city from the top!
While on a Shillong tour, you cannot miss Mawlynnong – the cleanest village in all of Asia. Take a walk and let your eyes and lungs take in the freshness and cleanliness of this place. You can also climb up to the Skyview point and soak in mesmerizing views of the plains of Bangladesh. Another stunning waterfall around here is the rain-fed Mawlynnong waterfall – abundant natural beauty and weather that will make you feel totally rejuvenated.
The Mawphlang Sacred Forest in Mawphlang village has an amazing variety of plants, flowering trees, orchids and butterflies. However, what makes the forest more intriguing is its strange rule – you cannot take anything from the forest, not even a dead leaf. The locals believe that taking anything from the forest will upset the deity that protects this forest and the person will be punished with sickness or death! Also, visitors to this forest have reported a deep sense of calm and tranquility while exploring the forest, which is best done with a local guide. Strange enough to visit, isn’t it?
A trip to Meghalaya is incomplete without a boat ride on the surreal Dawki river. The crystal clear waters with an emerald green hue mysteriously calm your senses and infuse your body with freshness. We have seen travelers reporting a brief swim in the river as one of their best experiences on an offbeat Meghalaya tour. To complete the experience, we recommend staying in one of the adventure camps for the night.
Dawki is best visited in the winter months of November to February, while the summer and spring months make up the offseason time.
The Assam tour package is incomplete without Kaziranga safaris. Home to the world’s largest population of Indian one-horned rhinoceros, tigers, elephants, and many migratory birds, Kaziranga National Park is a World Heritage Site. You ought to take an elephant ride as well as a jeep safari to explore the huge park complete with all its natural marvels. It is absolutely thrilling to sit atop an elephant while it wades through little ponds in the forest.
The evenings are best spent exploring the areas around and offer a sneak-peak into the local Assamese culture. If you’re lucky, you might be able to catch the highly energetic Assamese dance at Orchid Park, which also houses other flora and fauna for nature enthusiasts.
The best time to visit the park is in the months from November to February, when the weather is mild and dry, while the temperature runs high during March, April, and May. It remains closed for visitors from May to October due to monsoon rains.
There are many other beautiful places to see in Meghalaya and Assam – the list is endless. And as it is rightly said, seeing is believing!