Haflong: Assam’s Beautiful Hill Station
Most of north east India is hilly and breathtaking views of deep valleys are only to be expected. But Assam is a state largely made up of rolling plains. Haflong Hill is the only hill station in the state. Often referred to as White Ant Hillock, Haflong is best known for its picturesque views and rich cultural legacy. Serene and calm and at the same time rustic and wild, Haflong near Silchar is a tourists’ delight.
How to Get to Haflong?
Haflong is located in south Assam not very far from the city of Silchar. The nearest airport is the one at Silchar (Kumbhirgram Airport) about 108 kilometres away. The drive is likely to take about three hours. The only bus service to Haflong Hill is from Silchar. If you are keen to travel like the locals, you can take the state bus. However, the journey is not likely to be a comfortable one. Renting a car is a recommended option. Alternatively, you may want to board one of the two direct trains from Silchar to Haflong. The journey might be tedious but Haflong’s beauty is certainly worth it.
Places to See In & Around Haflong
- Haflong Hill – The main attraction of Haflong is the green, serene environment and the beauty of the hill itself. Haflong hill is ideal for those who like to take long walks in the midst of nature and for families that like to picnic while enjoying a great view of the surrounding valleys.
- Haflong Lake – The Haflong Lake is a vast expanse of beautiful waters – an oasis of calm in the midst of these hills. Since 2015, the state government has undertaken a major project to clean and beautify the lake.
- Maibong – Located about 47 kilometres from Haflong, Maibong is an ancient center for art and culture in Assam. This town was the capital of the 17th century Dimasa Kachari Kingdom and is now famous for the Ramchandi temple.
- Silchar – Silchar, the nearest city, has a number of major attractions worth visiting. If you do visit Silchar from Haflong, do not miss the beautiful crafted Bhuvaneshwar Temple.
- Jatinga – Located close to the Haflong ridge is Jatinga, a place famous for “bird suicides”. It is said that birds fly to this place attracted by the bright lights in the houses and somehow get disoriented. Unable to fly away they are killed by hunters. This phenomenon occurs only in September-October night when fogs and mild showers set in.
Places to Stay
Haflong is a quiet, hill station, often overtaken by the other popular tourist attractions of Meghalaya and other north eastern states, despite its refreshing beauty. There are a few hotels and a Circuit House – clean and nice places to stay. Some of the best accommodation options include –
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Apart from these, there are a number of homestays where people invite tourists to live and eat in their households for a fee. If you are curious about the lives of the locals, this may be a good option.
Activities in Haflong
Haflong is famous for the intricate cane and bamboo woven products crafted by the local artisans. Wooden handicraft items are also quite popular here. You may want to pick up a few as souvenirs. The local handwoven textiles are unique too and you may want to buy some of this fabric. If you are a person who enjoys indulging in local cuisine do buy some of the tasty bamboo shoot pickle available here.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit Haflong is during the winter months (October to February). Temperatures remain uniformly cool but never dip to uncomfortable levels. There are a number of migratory birds visiting the region during winters too.
Festivals of Haflong Hill
The festivals of the Haflong region are colorful and characterized by local song and dance performances. Most of these are derived from the traditional festivals of Meghalaya, a state very close to Haflong.
Behdeinkhlam Festival – If you visit Haflong in July, don’t miss out the Behdeinkhlam Festival of Jowai. Behdeinkhlam means exorcism or warding off evil spirits. But the festival is not as scary as it sounds. For three days the locals dance and sing on the streets rhythmically beating the ground with wooden sticks. The drums and local pipes are played and the festival is held in good cheer.
Laho Dance – The Laho dance festival, also held here, is another delightful dance programme where men and women link arms and dance together.
Chad Sukra – Like most other agricultural communities, the people of Haflong celebrate this festival to seek the protection of the Gods for their crops. It is celebrated sometime between mid April and early May, just before the farmers start to sow the seeds.
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