Meghalaya is one of the cleanest states of India, if not the most clean! Blessed by the rain Gods and abundant beauty, it is the responsible embracing of nature by the locals that has kept the state in a pure and serene condition. While the other larger states of India are failing in their “Swachh Bharat” bid, Meghalaya has always been on top of the cleanliness quotient. And the dwellers of Meghalaya need to be applauded for such a feat. It is no wonder that Meghalaya is one of the most popular summer tourist destinations in India. And tourists travelling to this state engulfed by white buoyant clouds and lush greenery, just love their stay amidst a clean and pristine environment. Today, we take a look at some of the clean and unique beauties of Meghalaya.
How to reach?
One of the easiest ways to reach the state’s capital, Shillong, is to board a long distance bus from Guwahati. And at RailYatri, we have various bus options to make your journey comfortable.
Unique tourist places in Meghalaya
Tourism in quaint village of Mawlynnong has really taken off since 2003, when it was declared “Asia’s cleanest village”. Mawlynnong, rightly goes by the name of “God’s own garden”. This ultra-clean village is the home of Khasi tribe, and the villagers make it a point to keep their village clean and tidy. Take a stroll through this village, and you will not even find a flake of dry leaf lying on the roads. All the waste is constantly collected by the locals in bamboo baskets which are used later as manure for their crops! Another impressive fact about this village is: here the usual Patriarchal hierarchy is not followed. The females are responsible for most important duties.
- Entry fee: While entering the Mawlynnong village, tourists are charged a nominal fee of INR 50. This money is spent for the good cause of keeping the village clean.
- Must see: Villagers have recently built a tree house which gives an amazing top view of Asia’s cleanest village. A nominal fee of INR 10 per person is charged for the facility.
Umgot (Umngot) River in Dawki
After the cleanest village, we would now introduce you to the cleanest river in India! Umgot River is so clean that one can spot even the smallest stone lying in the river bed! The river is entirely maintained by the local villagers and they believe that anything that might pollute the river is cleaned up as soon as possible. Dawki is situated 35 KM away from Mawlynnong and boasts of a scenic landscape. The road journey towards Dawki is blessed with mesmerizing beauty. Tourists would be enthralled by the drastically changing landscapes, where the hills suddenly change into irrigable plain lands. There are points along the road where you can view the Bangladesh border.
- Must do: You should definitely take a boat ride in the Dawki river.
- Boating charges: INR 500 per boat
- Other attractions: Camping is a popular activity along the Umngot river shores.
ALSO READ: Mysterious places in India, Majestic Shillong
Living Root Bridge in Nongriat
We all think of bridges as sign of development and even cut down forests to pave way for their construction. But the villagers of Nongriat have a different opinion altogether. They have used roots of two Ficus trees to construct a natural bridge. Yes, we are talking about the living roots bridge of Nongriat. Just think of it, villagers saw two trees expanding their roots in an unusual manner and they decided to help mold it into a transportable strong bridge! But, to view this rare natural wonder one has to trek for about 1.5 KM, from the base town of Tyrna. Not only this, 3000 steps have to be hiked to reach the bridge. Once you reach the living roots bridge all your tiredness would be quickly replaced by joy. The bridge is surrounded by a dense canopy and the sun rays burst through them to land on the water of the brook that flows below the bridge. You can witness the sparkling waters that contrast ideally with the green surroundings.
- Trekking Information: It takes about 2.5 hours to complete 1.5 KM trek from Tyrna to Nongriat Travelers have to walk at a slow pace due to the presence of many slippery patches along the route.
- Trekking Tip: As the trek to the bridge gets very tiring, it is recommended that you spend the night at the village of Nongriat.
- Trivia: Unlike other bridges, the living root bridge is getting stronger with every passing year, as the two Ficus trees are maturing!
Nohkalikai Falls, unlike others, is a true blessing of nature to Meghalaya. It is located in the neighborhood of Cherrapunji. What is so unique about Nohkalikai Falls? Well, it is India’s tallest plunging waterfalls! The waterfall takes a 340 meters dive from the plateau into a pool below. The color of the pool is turquoise green and the area is filled with lush greenery. However, there is a scary legend associated with this beautiful waterfall. It is believed that a local girl named Likai committed suicide by plunging from the top of this waterfall, after she accidentally consumed the flesh of her own daughter!
- Entry fee: INR 20 per person.
- Trekking information: One has to climb 300 steps to reach the base of the waterfall.
- Tip: During the actual monsoons, tourists are not allowed to trek to the base of the waterfall as it gets too dangerous.
Umiam Lake is a fine example of will triumphing over adversity. This area, situated on the outskirts of Shillong, did not have electricity for a fairly long time. So, the local villagers, with the help of Assam State Electricity Board, decided to mend the situation. They created this large man-made lake with their hard work and even till date Umiam Lake is the leading source of electricity generation in the state. From the tourist’s point of view: the lake sits against a beautiful backdrop. It is surrounded on all sides by coniferous forests and when the white clouds shroud the lake it looks mesmerizing.
- Adventure activities: Various water sports scopes are available at the lake such as kayaking, boating and water cycling.
- Tip: While most travelers view the lake from a distant view point on their way to Cherapunji, this is not the best way to enjoy the surreal beauty of this lake. You need to trek through the forest trail to get close and personal with the Umiam Lake.
Are you excited to experience the unique beauties of Meghalaya? Then plan your travel and of course book a comfortable bus ride with RailYatri.
Superb locations. Found this blog at a very correct time. I m planning my next visit and would love to have a personal interaction with all these lakes and waterfalls. Love the scenic beauty of Meghalaya. Enjoyed visiting when i was a kid:-)
Thanks a ton for the share. Never knew about the Umiam Lake – is man made …wow and Living Root Bridge- saw in pics but never knew its there.
Would love to visit…Thank you
Meghalaya is really God’s own country