Meghalaya tourism, which has become a vital part of the economy of Meghalaya, has evolved enormously during the recent years. With the initiatives taken by the Central Government of India, as well as the endeavor of the State Government of Meghalaya, tourism in Meghalaya has taken a new dimension.
Among the important destinations of tourism at Meghalaya are:
- Shillong - Shillong is the capital city of Meghalaya and offers a picturesque setting, with the presence of the enchanting valleys, rolling hills, beautiful parks, etc. Some of the famous destinations in Shillong that form an inevitable part of tourism in Meghalaya are:
- Lady Hydari Park
- Shillong Peak
- Museum of Entomology
- Golf Links
- Ward's Lake, etc.
- Mawsynram - Mawsynram is known for the giant stalagmite formation, which is shaped like a Shivlinga and is commonly known as 'Mawjymbuin'. Mawsynram, situated about 56 kilometers from Shillong, boasts of a wonderful climate. Tourists from across the world come to this place in order the enjoy the vibrant ambiance of Mawsynram.
- Cheerapunjee - Cheerapunjee, originally called 'Sohra' by the Khasi, is located about 1300 meters above the sea-level. Located about 56 kilometers from Shillong, Cheerapunjee is known to get the maximum amount of rainfall in the world. Nohsngithiang Falls in Cheerapunjee forms the center of tourist attraction in Meghalaya; tourists come from many places to witness the exotic beauty of the waterfalls in Cheerapunjee.
- Monotiths in Khasi Hills
- Nokrek Biosphere and Siju Caves
- Balpakram National Park, etc.
Getting to Meghalaya seems to be the main concern of the tourists coming to Meghalaya from across the world. The various means of transport that are available for going to Meghalaya are roadways, railways and the airways.
Getting at Meghalaya was not always an easy task. Initially reaching Meghalaya was a tedious task as the availability of the transport facilities were not adequate; but, in recent years, the problem of conveyance has been solved. The endeavor of the State Government of Meghalaya, as well as the cooperation of the common people, has led to the upliftment of the transport facilities in Meghalaya.
Airways is the easiest means of transport: it gets your work done in no time. The nearest airport of Meghalaya is Guwahati. Further, helicopter service also constitute the air transport of Meghalaya. Helicopter service in Meghalaya operates between Guwahati, Tura and Shillong. It is noteworthy, that some of the helicopters also land at ALG in the upper part of Shillong.
The best way to reach Meghalaya is by air. Reaching Meghalaya by Air is less time consuming. The main Airport is Shillong Airport. But direct flights to Meghalaya are rare. The nearest international airport is at Guwahati, Assam. International as well as domestic flights are available from Guwahati airport. From here you can avail bus or car to Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya.
Some of the airlines like Air Sahara, Jet Airways and Air India provide flights to Guwahati. One can also avail the helicopter service to reach Shillong. Pawan Hans Helicopters Ltd. conducts regular helicopter flights that connect Shillong and Tura to Guwahati.
The main flights to Meghalaya are available from Kolkata. Alliance Air provides flights to Shillong from Kolkata. You can also avail flights from Shillong to Kolkata, Jessore, Jorhat and Tejpur. The Airport of Meghalaya is based in Shillong and is known as Shillong Airport. Other popular names of the airport are the Barapani Airport or Umroi Airport, and it is the only airport in Meghalaya. Located at a distance of 35 kilometer from Shillong, the airport provides the landing facility for small aircrafts. Flight connectivity to Kolkata, Silchar and Aizawl are available from the Airport of Meghalaya. Other than flights, a helicopter service between Shillong, Guwahati and Tura is also available.
The facilities of Airport in Meghalaya are pretty good and the travelers can fly safely and conveniently. The Airport Authority of India (AAI) plans to advance the services of Shillong Airport and include the Tura operational area under it. The airport in Meghalaya serves an important role as they provide the most convenient means of communication. The road traffic of Meghalaya often gets disrupted due to law and order problem and in that case flights are the only means of transport. After the airport of Meghalaya gets upgraded, then Boeing 737- class of aircraft can land easily on the airport.
Contact Address of Shillong Airport is mentioned below:-
Airport in Charge
Airport Authority of India (NAD)
The Meghalaya helicopter services has a reputation of providing quality service to the occupants of the state of Meghalaya for many years. This helicopter services of Meghalaya is active between the venues of Tura and Shillong. Since the head quarters of the helicopter services in Meghalaya is positioned at Guwahati, executing its various proceedings becomes quite easy.
The helicopter service is so adept that it can convey a potential passenger to Tura in a span of just 60 minutes and to Shillong in meager 30 minutes. This is a splendid feat in itself. The landing however varies as on some occasions, ALG Upper Shillong and in some cases Umroi Airport provide the landing spot. You can afford to carry luggage weighing a maximum of 10 kilograms. The helicopter service providers of Meghalaya also furnishes conveyance to or from the helipad.
For details contact Meghalaya Helicopter Service, MTC Bus Stand, Telephone number : 223129.
There is no rail service in Meghalaya. The nearest railway station is located at Guwahati. Guwahati in Assam is well linked to almost all major cities of the country by road, rail and airways. Tourists en route Meghalaya can arrive at Guwahati and then travel to Meghalaya by road. There are several buses and taxis plying between Guwahati and Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya. Shillong is connected to Guwahati by a highway. Tourists traveling to Meghalaya mostly travel by air. There is an airport at a distance of about 30 kilometers from Shillong called the Umroi Airport.
Meghalaya road travel seems to be the most sought after transports of Meghalaya. Due to the presence of a rugged terrain and a monsoon type of climate, no other mode of transport seem to be as feasible as the road in Meghalaya. To begin with, it can be said that the nearest airport of Meghalaya is the Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport, which is stationed in Guwahati. Therefore, the airways forms a distant option for traveling in Meghalaya. Furthermore, the helicopter services operating in Meghalaya fail to meet the demands of the tourists in a cloudy weather. Therefore, airways seems to be a hazardous option in Meghalaya.
Moreover, the railways also falls short of the expectation of the tourists, as well as the common people of Meghalaya. The topography of Meghalaya is uneven. These hilly tracks largely hinders the prospects of railways in Meghalaya, leaving the road of Meghalaya as the only option. The rugged terrain in Meghalaya does not facilitate the easy of movement of railways in all the regions of Meghalaya: that is to say, railways does not reach out to every nook and corner of the state. Thus, this option of transport becomes redundant at times.
Therefore, with the hazards and problems involved in airways and railways, road at Meghalaya emerge as the best option for the tourists. It goes without mention that the Meghalaya road reach out to the different regions of the state. Moreover, the roadways that chiefly constitute cabs, shared taxis and buses are easily available from every corner of Meghalaya.
It is noteworthy in this context that the roadways, apart of being easily available are also economical. The tourists can easily afford the fare of these modes of conveyance. The endeavor of the Government of Meghalaya is also remarkable in developing the prospects of roadways in Meghalaya. The construction of the National Highways 40 and 44 has largely supported the road traveling in Meghalaya. Through these highways, the tourists can easily reach their destinations in no time.
Getting around in Meghalaya implies touring throughout the city in buses and taxis, in order to get the feel of the exotic beauty of Meghalaya. Getting around at Meghalaya involves the transport facilities present within Meghalaya.
Talking about traveling around Meghalaya, it can be said that Meghalaya presents a large fleet of buses. Moreover, the yellow and black taxis in Meghalaya also serve this purpose of carrying the tourists from one part of the state to the other. The provision of shared taxis and mini buses are also available from some of the destinations of Meghalaya.
The State Transport Corporation and the Shillong City Bus Syndicate are helping the travelers in this respect. These two bus services cover the routes in Meghalaya, which a regular departure of buses at fixed schedule. These buses are connected by an extensive network of highways. The highways connect the different tourist sites present in and around Meghalaya. The bus services such as ASTC and MTC run in an hourly basis, connecting the different sites at Meghalaya.
Further, Tata Indica car services also form a good option for traveling around Meghalaya. The Tata Indica car services are found near the Mayur Hotel in Shillong: the basic fare for conveyance in the car is 125 INR, equivalent $3, per head for nearly 100 kilometers. It can be, thus, said that getting around in Meghalaya is essentially easy, due to the availability of the various bus and car services in Meghalaya.
The main transportation in Meghalaya depends on the bus service of Meghalaya. You can reach Meghalaya by bus from the neighboring states. Regular buses are available from Guwahati, Assam. The National Highway Number 40 as well as other state roads connects Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya, to many other places including Guwahati. Shillong bus terminal is located in the heart of the town. It is situated near Center Point. Private bus services and Meghalaya State Transportation Corporation provides bus service to various places within Meghalaya and also outside the state.
You can avail buses from Kaziranga, Aizawl, Siliguri, Kohima, Itanagar, Agartala, Gangtok, Darjeeling, and Manas to reach Shillong. If you want to go from one place to another within Shillong you can avail the City Bus. The City Bus service is very prompt and the buses are also very comfortable to ride. Meghalaya Transport Corporation, also known as MTC, provides bus services from the MTC bus stations, stationed at Police Bazar in Shillong. The Meghalaya Transport Corporation provides a round-the-clock service of buses on all the seven days of the week.
You can have access to the following places by buses from Shillong:
Adventure Sports in Meghalaya
Trekking: The rugged terrain and the rare flora and fauna makes trekking in Meghalaya an outstanding experience. The availability of guides and the colorfulness of the locals add to the sensation of the trekkers. To top them all, the absence of snow puts Meghalaya in the top of the trekkers' priority list.
Caving: Meghalaya proudly possess some of the deepest caves in South Asia. Therefore, it has become the target of geologists to historians, adventurers to common tourists. Caves like Siju, Syndai, Mawsynram, Mawsmai are mainly made of stalagmites and stalactites, and have boosted up the tourism industry of the state. For years now caving in Meghalaya has become an important activity among the tourists as well as the locals.
Boating: Boating in Meghalaya is enjoyed in two ways - for leisure and as an exciting water sport. Spots like the Nehru Park and Orchid Lake Resort has become a boating paradise. The boating activity ranges from water-scooters to row-boats, cruise-boats to paddle-boats.
Biking: The metaled roads with scenic landscape is the seat of exciting motorcycle safari in Meghalaya. The best time for biking in Meghalaya if from September to May.
Para Gliding: The Himalayan ranges of Meghalaya provide excellent mountain flying conditions, barring the rainy seasons.
Archery: Archery in Meghalaya is an inherent source of recreation of the local groups of the state and it also plays a vital role in their festivals.
Rafting: White water rafting in Meghalaya is a thrilling experience that that tourists love to enjoy. Untamed rivers like Didram, Kalu, Ringgi, Chagua, Ajagar, Krishnai are just perfect to unleash the passion, adding spice to the Meghalaya Adventure Sports.
Over the ages India has been a land of diverse culture and practices. Trekking adds to the diversity of the land. With its undulating topography, tals and speedy brooks, bugyals and rare orchids, Meghalaya trekking has become a trekker's paradise. Trekking is an important part of the tourism industry in Meghalaya and also provides employment to the locals, since a large part of the population is employed as tourist guides.Meghalaya, the amphitheater of the Indian Himalayas, has all the resources to meet the demands of the exploratory instincts of tourists from all over the world. Caving, an important activity of the state, is a part of trekking in Meghalaya. The cave explorers need to trek a long way before they can reach those deep and long caves.
Some of the most popular trekking routes of Meghalaya are:
Meghalaya can be considered as a land of extremes - extremes of rainfall, extremes of monoliths, extremes of adventurous sports. Amidst all these 'extremes', boating in Meghalaya restores the peace of mind. Meghalaya boating, besides trekking and caving, has become an important source of recreation to the tourists. Meghalaya hosts a number of water sports that are otherwise not at all popular in India. These include water skiing and kayaking. Boating, too, has a wide variety to offer to the tourists - water - scooters, cruise-boats, paddle-boats, row-boats and sailing boats. The most popular boating spots of Meghalaya are:
The Water Sports Complex: 16 kms away from the capital city of Shillong, it has been constructed at Umiam, on the reservoir of the Umiam Hydro Electric Project. The campus of the complex consists of the Nehru Park and the kaleidoscopic Orchid Lake Resort.
Different kinds of Boating availabele in Meghalaya are:
Archery is one of the most popular sports in the state of Meghalaya. Meghalaya archery is a traditional sport of the state. Archery in Meghalaya is so popular among the people of the place that it has almost become an integral part of the Meghalayan culture as a whole. Archery of Meghalaya has become an important part of the traditional festivals of the region.
The target is held 3.5 feet above the ground with the help of a bamboo pole. There is a notch at its base. The rule of the game is that if an arrow touches the pole below the notch, then there are no points. An archer has to shoot from a distance of more than 30 meters. Archery at Meghalaya is a game that can be played in three different ways: team competition, individual competition and slow and fast shooting.
The target used in archery of Meghalaya is formed from a special type of grass. The target resembles a circle. Its diameter is 3 inches. The entire target is 8 to 10 inches in height. In the game of Meghalaya archery, the gut as well as the bows are cut out of a particular variety of bamboo. These archery accessories are available in different sizes. The archery arrows are formed out of a special type of reeds; a metal cap with a sharp tip is inserted at the top of the reeds with the help of eagle feathers. The local people weave these feathers from four sides. The weaving technique of the feathers is the expertise of the women of the place, while the rest of the archery accessories are formed by the men.
Angling is one of the favorite sports in the state of Meghalaya. The major site for Meghalaya angling is Ranikor. This center of angling of Meghalaya is located at a distance of about 140 kms from Shillong, the capital of the state. This place offers immense natural beauty. With innumerable fresh water fish like the carp, Ranikor offers a tourist interested in adventure sports, a splendid place for angling at Meghalaya.
The most popular of all the fish at Ranikor among the people interested in angling in Meghalaya is the Golden Mahseer. The other name for this fish is Barbus Tor. This fish is one of the biggest fish available in fresh water. This fish is a favorite of the anglers at Meghalaya, as it is one of the world's biggest fighting fish and gives the anglers enough opportunity for excitement. Because of its rebellious nature, it has earned the name of 'tiger' in the rivers of India.
This fish originally belongs to the lakes and streams of India. This fish can be as long as 6 feet and weigh as much as 50 kgs. This popular place of Ranikor offers the anglers the opportunity of floating with the support of inflated boats. These boats made up of rubber help the anglers to float downstream and fish along all the way.
Boka and Sal are also quite popular among the anglers at Ranikor. These varieties of fish are also termed Katli and Murral respectively in the local region. A relatively small fish called Trout or Korang and the Gorua or Goonch are the other types of fish of interest in the sport of Meghalaya angling.
Golfing is one of the major sports of the north-eastern state of Meghalaya in India. Meghalaya golfing is facilitated by the golf course located in Shillong at a very picturesque place. This golf course is the main site of practicing golfing in Meghalaya. The course was developed in the year 1898. Originally it consisted of only 9 holes, but later on 9 more holes were added to it in the year 1924. This addition was introduced by CK Rhodes and Captain Jackson.
The significance and popularity of golfing of Meghalaya is understood by the fact that the golf course situated at the capital city of Shillong is given the honor of 'gleneagle of the east' by the the Golf Association Library and Museum of the United States. The only article kept at the museum that is associated with the game of golfing in India is from the golf course of Shillong. The fact that the golf course of Meghalaya has found place in the biggest golf museum of the world proves the importance of the game of golfing at Meghalaya.
What makes this site of golfing of Meghalaya stand out amongst all the golf courses of India is its prime location in the capital city of Shillong and its natural splendor. The natural glory of the place is wonderfully preserved. In India, this golf course is the third oldest one. The golf course was surveyed only once in the year 1933.
There are provisions of some modifications in the golf course, which, if implemented, can establish this course into a first grade golf course and enhance the Meghalaya golfing. This development of the golf course will not only help the golf-lovers of the place, but also increase its value as a tourist spot.
Meghalaya museums display the two most endearing aspects of this picturesque North-Eastern state of India in the lap of the Eastern Himalayas, the wonderful wildlife and the exquisite tribal cultures. The Khasis and the Garos are the two most prominent tribal groups of Meghalaya. They have their indigenous cultures which have come down unchanged from time immemorial. The museums of Meghalaya show-case various objects of artistic and ritualistic importance to the lives of these two tribal communities. At the same time, there are Meghalaya museums that are of great importance to the enthusiasts of natural science and history. The exotic plants and some wonderful wildlife are also on display in the these Meghalaya museums. Meghalaya Museums of Ethnic Interest
Many Meghalaya museums specialize in the presentation of various objects which are integral to the tribal life of the Garos and the Khasis. These museums in Meghalaya are of equal importance to visitors and scholars alike. They present objects of daily use of the tribal life, which mixes utility with creative flights of imaginations like tobacco boxes and baskets. They also present jewelries, totems, masks and other such ritualistic objects of central significance to the tribal life. The shawls and the garments exquisitely woven are other attractions of these museums. The museums at Meghalaya with a more ethnic orientation are :
Many Meghalaya museums present the exquisite natural wealth of Meghalaya. The Botanical garden and museum and the Butterfly museum are two such museums of Meghalaya.
State Museum of Meghalaya
The State Museum of Meghalaya was founded in the year 1975. It is considered as one of the places in India that helps to retain the heritage of Indian culture. The activities of The State Museum in Meghalaya include exhibition, acquisition, publication, conservation and education. The present name of The State Museum at Meghalaya is Williamson Sangma Museum. The Meghalaya State Museum has opened a separate district museum in Tura in the state of West Garo Hills in1989.
The State Museum of Meghalaya is a museum that offers a wide range of articles including many objects of daily use belonging to a clan or a race, art pieces, handicrafts, objects used in rituals, musical instruments, industry memoirs, jewelry, weapons used during important wars and traditional costumes. The Meghalaya State Museum continually collects models, articles and antiques, which are rare or of immense historical or cultural value. The galleries of the Meghalaya State Museum showcase many archaic articles that bear testimony of the rich cultural lineage of India. These articles include many Indian musical instruments, traditional tools of common use and specimens of a variety of Indian forms of art and crafts.
Some important possessions of the museum that attract tourists from not only India but from all over the world are the models of the pillars erected by Ashoka. These models have been brought from the Delhi National Museum. The dinosaur replica found in the museum are also one of its major crowd pullers. These models have been brought from Kolkata's Geological Survey of India. A king size dinosaur replica has been transported from Guwahati.
Meghalaya Tribal Research Institute
The Meghalaya Tribal Research Institute houses many indigenous objects used by the people belonging to various tribes. The articles displayed at the Tribal Research Institute of Meghalaya that attract visitors not only from India but from across the entire world include a variety of textiles of different colors. The major textile products displayed at Tribal Research Institute in Meghalaya are a wide range of garments and shawls that are traditionally used by the people of the locality. Other items of interest that can be viewed at the Tribal Research Institute at Meghalaya are images made of either animal bones or wood, masks and totems.
The Meghalaya Tribal Research Institute bears testimony of the cultural heritage of the local people belonging to various tribes, which have their respective individual identities. These articles of historical importance include some objects that are used on a regular basis like baskets, war accessories like weapons and decorative items like tribal jewelry.
The Tribal Research Institute of Meghalaya is situated at Mawlai. The tourists with interest in the tribal heritage of India often visit this place. The museum remains open from 10 am to 4.30 pm in the summer months and from 10 am to 4 am in the winter months.
The tourists have the facility of free entry to this tribal treasury. One can also freeze the fascinating items that are on display in the museum on his or her camera, as there is no restriction on photography within the premises of the Meghalaya Tribal Research Institute.
Meghalaya Botanical Garden and Museum
The Meghalaya Botanical Garden and Museum is located at a distance of only 2 kms from the capital city of Meghalaya, that is, Shillong. This museum is located at a secluded place in Meghalaya. The museum is located below the Ward's Lake, which is at a distance of about 1 km from the famous Lady Hydari Park. The museum is built on the model of a Japanese garden. The Botanical Garden and Museum of Meghalaya has a collection of a variety of species of the kingdom of plants.
The majority of the plants available in the Botanical Garden and Museum in Meghalaya originally belong to the state of Meghalaya. Some orchids are displayed in the Botanical Garden and Museum at Meghalaya, which are rarely found in the state of Meghalaya. One of the most precious possessions of the museum is a variety of Pine that originally belongs to this region called the Pinus khasiana.
To visit the Meghalaya Botanical Garden and Museum, one has to reach the capital city of Shillong. The airport closest to this city is located at Borjhar in Guwahati, which is at a distance of about 129 kms from Shillong. The flights from this airport link Shillong with Kolkata city. Another airport called the Umroi Airport is situated at a distance of about 31 kms from the city of Shillong. This airport helps one to communicate between Kolkata and Shillong via the Vayudoot. The railhead that is closest to Shillong is also at Guwahati, at a distance of about 103 kms.
Meghalaya Butterfly Museum
The Meghalaya Butterfly Museum is located at a distance of about 1 km from the capital city of the state of Meghalaya, Shillong. The Butterfly Museum in Meghalaya houses a variety of butterflies, most of which originally belong to the north-eastern state of Meghalaya in India. The Butterfly Museum of Meghalaya was inaugurated in an effort to conserve many rare species of fascinating colorful butterflies.
If you are a butterfly-lover, then don't miss this opportunity of viewing this wide range of butterflies under one roof of the Butterfly Museum at Meghalaya. Other than different species of butterflies, one can also spot many beetles in this museum. These beetles have their original home in India as well as the rest of the world.
The museum administration has planned and executed using butterflies for commercial purposes, which, in a way, assures the conservation of the butterfly family, as commercial use of butterflies necessitates large scale breeding. There are as many as 1600 different varieties of butterflies on display at the Meghalaya Butterfly Museum.
The innumerable types of butterflies that can be viewed at the Butterfly Museum have distinctive patterns and colors. The butterflies exhibited at the Butterfly Museum do not belong to India alone. Many rare species of beautiful butterflies from across the world have been imported to this massive house of butterflies.
All the nature-lovers can visit this place by first traveling to Shillong. The closest airport to this museum is at Borjhar in the capital city of Assam, that is, Guwahati. This city is 129 kms away from Shillong city. This airport facilitates traveling from Kolkata to Shillong.
Last Updated on 11 March 2013