Soak in the beauty of hills and clouds

The capital city of north east state Meghalaya, Shillong is situated at an altitude of 1,491 m above the sea level and is also the district headquarter of the east Khasi hills. Surrounded by rolling hills, the place is remarkable for its old colonial charm, and famously known as The Scotland of the East’. Shillong owes its name from U-Shyllong, a powerful deity. The city is home to tribal Khasis and due to blessed natural beauty; it is the most visited place of the state.

Earlier, Shillong was the capital of the undivided Assam, until the creation of the new state of Meghalaya in 1972. After it, Shillong became the capital of Meghalaya and the capital of Assam was moved to Dispur.

Scenic landscapes, rolling clouds, high peaks, transparent lakes, antique museum and cascading waterfalls constitutes the appeals of the place.

The best time to visit the place is monsoon – June to September, when you can witness the peak beauty of the place. You can also visit the place during summer – March to June, as an escape from the scorching heat of the plains.

Shillong Peak

Set at an elevation of 1966 meter above the sea, Shillong Peak is absolute to have spectacular view of the city. Being the highest point in Shillong, this peak is the best place to give your eyes the visual pleasure of the lush greenery, cascading waterfalls and appealing bundles of houses. A sacred spot is also situated at the peak, which is dedicated to the U Shyllong and every spring hosts a ritual in his honour. Perfect to take some rare photographs, the place is ideal to soak in the natural beauty.

Address – 10 Km from Shillong, Shillong Peak, East Khasi Hills District, Shillong

Timings – 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Entry Fee – No Entry Fee

Ward’s Lake

Located in the heart of the city, Ward’s Lake is an artificial lake. Placed within a widespread and beautiful garden, the lake is also known as Polok Lake. There are many activities like boating; fountain dance can be enjoyed here. Furnished with a cafeteria, the lake complex is visited by many tourists and picnickers. Apart from the beauty of the lake, one can also enjoy watching exotic plants and flowers, which is situated along with Ward’s Lake.

Address – Wards Lake, Below Governor’s house, Shillong

Timings – All days of the week

November to February - 8:30 AM – 5:30 PM

March to October - 8:30 AM – 7:00 PM

Entry Fee – Rs 5 – 10 per Person

Umiam Lake

Located in the north of Shillong, Umiam Lake is a scenic spot popularly known as Bara Pani or Big water. The lake, which was formed as a part of building a dam, is an important tourist attraction in Meghalaya. Apart from natural beauty, the place is famous for water sports facility like speed boating, water skiing and rowing.

Address – Umiam Lake, Shillong

Timings – All days of the week

9:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Entry Fee – No Entry Fee

Elephant Fall

Situated around 12 Km from the main city of Shillong, Elephant Fall got its unique name due to a stone nearby looking similar to an elephant. The three tier water fall is located away from hustle and bustle of city with a perfect backdrop of lush greenery. The waterfall comes into its full beauty and vigour in rainy season. For its alluring beauty, it is one of the major tourist spot in Shillong and visited by a large number of tourists as well as locals.

Address – Elephant Falls, 12 Km away from the main city of Shillong

Timings – All days of the week

10:00 AM – 6:00 PM

Entry Fee – No Entry Fee

Mawlynnong Village

Referred as ‘God’s own garden’, Mawlynnong is situated around 90 Km from Shillong. Acclaimed being the cleanest village in Asia in 2003, the village offers scenic natural beauty. Resided by Khasi people, the village is also known for its matrilineal society and hundred per cent literacy. You can also visit nearby attractions like living root bridge and neighbouring village Riwai.

Address – 90 Km North of Shillong (via NH 40)

Lady Hydari Park

With well-manicured lawns, lush green gardens and variety of flowers, Lady Hydari Park is a major tourist attraction of Shillong. Named after Lady Hydari, wife of the Governor of Assam, the park is stretched over a large area and also houses a mini zoo. Plenty of local flowers and orchids beautify the place. Designed in Japanese style, the park is best known for its charming bed of roses. The park has also a butterfly museum and a special play area of kids. The place is visited by large number of visitors for so many appeals.

Address – Lady Hydari Park, East Khasi Hills District, Shillong

Timings – All days of the week

9:00 AM – 8:00 PM

Entry Fee – No Entry Fee

Shillong Catholic Cathedral

Built in Gothic architectural style, Shillong Catholic Cathedral is almost 50 years old structure. Christianity being a major religion in the city, there are many old and beautiful cathedrals in the city. Also known as the Cathedral of Mary Help of Christians, the beautiful church is earthquake resistance. The structure is situated atop of a hill, offers beautiful glimpses of Brahmaputra River and Himalayan peaks. One of the unique features of the church is that it is built on sand.

Address – Shillong Catholic Cathedral, Shillong

Timings – All days of the week

7:00 AM – 6:30 PM

Sunday – 8:00 AM – 6:30 PM

Entry Fee – No Entry Fee

Shillong Golf Course

Shillong takes pride for having Asia’s largest and only natural golf course and also India’s first 18 holes golf course. It was introduced in 1898 by a group of British civil service officers. Even if you are not interested in golf, the place is a must visit sites of Shillong for its alluring beauty. The golf course is set in a mesmerising valley, covered with pine and rhododendron trees.

Address – Golf Link, Shillong

Entry Fee – No Entry Fee

Captain Williamson Sangma State Museum

Run by the Government of Meghalaya, Captain Williamson Sangma State Museum is best to peep into the history and rich cultural heritage of Shillong. Beside various artefacts, the structure houses the State Central Library Complex, providing important resource to explore various facets and history of Meghalaya. There are statues and monuments too, devoted to local patriots of the region.

Address – State Central Library, IGP Point, Shillong

Timings – All days of the week

10:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Entry Fee – No Entry Fee

Don Bosco Centre for Indigenous Culture

Don Bosco Centre for Indigenous Culture is museum known for preserving the culture of various tribes of north east India. The place, which is run by the Salesian order of the Catholic Church, is a huge store of impressive collection of tribal artefacts. The place also features galleries dedicated to various categories and groups of artefacts like language Gallery, Photo Gallery, Musical Instruments Gallery and many more.

Address – Mawlai, Shillong

Timings – All days of the week

9:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Entry Fee – Rs 50 per person for Indians

Rs 150 per person for foreign tourists

Rs 30 - 90 per person for students

Air Force Museum

The place is suitable to all those curious souls, who want to collect some information about the defence forces of the country. The museum is store of variety of miscellaneous objects related to Indian Force like miniature models of air-facts, uniform worn by pilots of the air force etc. There are also some rare photographs of Indo-Pak war and Indo-China war on display. If you want to take back some souvenirs from here, go to the gift shop of the museum complex.

Address – Air Force Museum, Sohra Road, Shillong

Meghalaya is home to three Mongoloid tribes – Khasi, Jaintia and Garo, and their cuisine is very unique and different from other Seven Sister States of Northeast India. The staple food of the people of Meghalaya is rice, dried fish and meat. Rice is consumed of different varieties like red rice, glutinous rice. Pork is relished by all the three communities of the state. During early monsoon different local grown mushroom, which is available in   local markets, is cooked and relished either plain fried or with combination of meat dishes. Jadoh is a popular dish of Meghalaya, which is a type of pork Biryani. A salad of pork with onions and ginger is also very popular. Puthrao and Pumaloi which are types of rice cake are famous local dishes.

Garo cuisine is very simple to cook. One of its popular dishes is ‘Nakham Bitchi’, which is prepared from special dry fish and chillies. This is a spicy hot soup which is and usually served with rice. One of the popular rice dishes of the state is sticky rice, prepared by wrapping it with yam, pumpkin, gourd, chillies and then steaming it. Dried and preserved fish, which are done by drying it in the sun or smoking over fire is widely consumed in entire Meghalaya. One of the side dish, which always accompanies the meal, is spicy chutney, which is prepared from different types of fermented fish, soya bean and herbs.

The meal is ended by having betel and nut leaves and it is also a must serve dish to the guests in every house. A fermented rice beer is also a part of their food and culture, which is served during religious rites and any celebration.

There are plenty of eating joints, local food stalls and multi-cuisine restaurants in Shillong. Apart from Chinese, Indian and Continental dishes; you can try some local food.

Let’s explore some delicious delicacies of the charming place in its popular eating joints and restaurants.

Café Shillong

It is one of the most popular cafes in Shillong, where you can enjoy tea/coffee, snacks or some local non-vegetarian dish. There are numerous dishes available in the menu and if you are lucky enough, you can also enjoy live music performance, the café hosts.

Address – Café Shillong Bed & Breakfast, 31, Upper Lachumiere, Shillong

Timings – 10:30 AM – 9:30 PM

Price – Rs 300 for two

Ginger Restaurant

Ginger Restaurant is situated inside one of the most popular hotels in Shillong, The Polo Towers. This is one of the coolest places to have a hearty meal. With nice interiors, Ginger Restaurant offers delicious food and is best known for Italian and Continental dishes like pasta, crepes, stroganoff and many more.

Address – Ginger Restaurant, Hotel Polo Towers, Polo Grounds, Shillong

Timings – 11:30 AM – 9:30 PM

Price – Rs 500 for two


Located in Police Bazar, Trattoria is local café best known for serving local dishes. Due to its high quality and authentic taste, this small eating joint is always flooded with local people. If you want to have famous Meghalaya dish Jadoh, then this is the best place to fulfil your wish.

Address – Police Bazaar Road, Shillong

Timings – 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Price – Rs 100 – 120

City Hut Family Dhaba

Known as one of the best restaurants of Shillong, City Hut Family Dhaba is very popular among tourist as well as locals. The place offers huge options of different cuisine like Tandoori, Chinese, Mexican, South Indian and Continental. With good service, it is one of the suitable places to gorge on some tasty dishes.

Address – Early Holiday Home, Oakland Road, Shillong

Timings – 11:00 AM – 9:30 PM

Price – Rs 600 onwards

La Galerie

La Galerie is a popular eating joint of Shillong and is located in Hotel Centre Point, Police Bazaar. This fine place has been divided into booths and is known to serve very tasty India, Chinese and Continental food.

Address – Hotel Centre Point, Police Bazaar, Shillong

Timings – 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM

Price – Rs 300 – 350

Delhi Mistan Bhandar

Delhi Mistan Bhandar is a well-known sweet shop located in Police Bazaar, which always remains plunged by sweet lovers. This sweet shop is best to gorge on Lassis, snacks, halwas and jalebis.

Address – Near Hotel Centre Point, Police Bazaar, Shillong

Price – Rs 5 - 100

Festivals are emblem of the richness of the tribal culture of Shillong. It is the festivals, which displays the myths and traditions of any place in the best form. The state of Meghalaya is inhabited by three major tribes – Garo, Khasi and Jaintia. All these tribes have their own festivals and events of merriment. The most popular festival of the state is thanksgiving, celebrated by all the tribes in diverse manner across the year. Let’s know something more about these festivals of different tribes.

Shad Suk Mynsiem

Shad Suk Mynsiem is the annual thanks giving dance festival of the Khasi Community. Also known as ‘Shad Phur’, this festival is celebrated in the month of April at the Weiking Grounds of Shillong. This three day long festival features traditional Khasi Dance, which is also known as the ‘Dance of Contentment’. In this fest, men and women get themselves fully clad in colourful traditional dresses and dance to the rhythm of drums, flutes and cymbals. This festival is best known for its vibes and enthusiasm.


This traditional Jaintia festival, Behedeinkhlam is celebrated in the month of July in Jowai and Shillong. This festival is a celebration to seek blessings, from the god, for a good harvest. In this festival, men dance to the tunes of traditional musical instruments and women cook food at home to offer their ancestral spirits.

Autumn Festival

This vibrant festival is celebrated in the month of October-November and is organised by Meghalaya Tourism. This function aims to entertain tourists and locals. Various fashion shows, food and wine festivals, flower shows, fishing competition, music and rock festivals are attractions of this festivals.

Creative Art Literary Music Festival (CALM)

The Creative Art Literary Music Festival (CALM) was started by the Shakti Society to motivate the creative artist in the northeast India and provide them a good base. Creative arts like creative writing, photography, craft, music, poetry etc. are part of this fest. Various workshops are also organised on various forms of arts

The diverse and rich geography of Shillong offers plenty of activities to enjoy. From trekking to cave exploration, you can indulge yourself in lots of adventurous sports. Let’s know about these activities in detail.

Boating in Umiam Lake

Locate at 17 Km from Shillong, Umiam Lake offers enjoyable boat ride in its crystal clear blue water. Surrounded by lush greenery, the lake is the ultimate spot offering closer view of the natural beauty of Shillong. There is also a water sport complex, situated in the lake, which offers water-skiing, sailing and rowing.


This adventurous sport can be enjoyed at Ranikor, which is an offbeat destination 120 Km away from Shillong.


The water bodies of Meghalaya shelters many varieties of rare and common fishes. Due to this, it gives ample opportunities for angling. You can enjoy this activity either at Umiam Lake or Dawki, which is 80 Km away from Shillong.


Rappelling is an adventurous sport, which you can enjoy at Elephant Falls. The scenic view and rocky cliffs of the waterfall offer perfect conditions for this thrilling activity.

Mountain Biking

There are many trails and trekking routes in Shillong, where adventure junkies can enjoy mountain biking. Trails like Mawphlang Trek or Cherrapunji Trek are very popular among mountain bikers.


To enjoy the serene beauty of the rich flora and fauna, trekking is the best choice. Shillong is gifted with many beautiful trails where you can enjoy trekking in calm atmosphere. The trek passing through the rocky cliffs and rolling hills also give chances for camping. The Living Root Bridge, Kyllang Rock and David Scott Trail are some popular trekking trails of the state.

Being the main attraction in Meghalaya, Shillong has plenty of good staying options. The city has not much luxury choices but the accommodating places are fine and provided with all the necessary facilities and services. From economy to luxury stays, Shillong has all categories of hotels. Some of the three star hotels include Royal Heritage, Hotel Centre Point, Hotel Assembly and The Majestic Hotel. There are many options for budget travellers also like Landmark Victoria, Hotel Broadway, Monsoon, Pineapple Hotel and Hotel Lake View Inn. Homestays are also very popular in Shillong and is a good option for a comfortable stay.

Let’s know about some staying place of Shillong in details.

Pinewood Hotel

Spread on around 8 acres of lush green land, Pinewood Hotel is one of the oldest hotels in Shillong. The hotel lies at a distance of 2 Km from the Shillong bus terminal, 30 Km from Umroi Airport and 84 Km from Guwahati Railway Station. The property includes one presidential cottage, 5 deluxe rooms, 9 presidential rooms and 25 executive rooms, which is well furnished and finely decorated and gives wide options to travellers as per their budgets. It is also provided with an on-site restaurant ‘Pinecone’ which served delicious Indian, Chinese and Continental dishes. You can have some snacks and coffee in its coffee shop. The place has also a bar lounge ‘The Cellar’, which serves good drinks. Banquet Hall, Board Room, Cyber Café and Billiards are additional features of the property.

Address – European Ward, Rita Road, Shillong

The Centre Point

The Centre Point is a luxury hotel in Shillong situated in the centre of the city. Its ideal location makes it walks away from the bus terminus, shopping centres, banks and taxi stand. The hotel is furnished with 31 well-appointed rooms and provided with all the modern facilities and services.

Address – Shillong Police Bazar, Near Khyndailad Secretary

Hotel Polo Towers

Hotel Polo Towers is a mid-range hotel, which offers comfortable stay with warm hospitality. This staying place is located at about 1.38 Km from the nearest bus stand and is in proximity to ATM, nightclub, shopping complex and many restaurants. The hotel provides good facility to business travellers with its modern business centres. There is a lounge/bar too in the complex to relax.

Address – Oakland Road, Polo Grounds, Shillong

Hotel Monsoon

Situated at a distance of 0.79 Km from the Shillong Bus Stand, Hotel Monsoon is a good option for budget travellers. It has neat and clean rooms and is well provided with all the basic facilities.

Address – G. S. Road, Police Bazar, Central Shillong, Near State Bank of India

Café Shillong Bed & Breakfast

With good service and hospitality, the hotel offers a comforting stay in Shillong. The hotel is situated at a distance of .52 Km from Shillong Bus Stand. There are many restaurants within the close proximity of the place. The hotel is well furnished and provides good amenities to its guests.

Address – 31, Upper Lachumiere, Shillong

Shillong is not directly linked to other cities of India with flight and railway but it is situated 122 Km away from Guwahati, making it conveniently accessible. To get around the city either Shillong City Bus or Taxi can be used, which are easily available.

Reaching Shillong by Air

The nearest airport to Shillong is at Umroi, near Barapani, 25 Km away, which connects only to Kolkata. You can get a cab/taxi from the airport to reach the city. Other major airport nearest to the hill station is Guwahati, which is well-linked to other major cities of the country. You can take a taxi/cab to reach Shillong from Guwahati.

Reaching Shillong by Train

The closest railway station from Shillong is in Guwahati, which is well connected to other major cities across the country.

Reaching Shillong by Road

Shillong can be easily reached by road by taking route via Shillong. Assam State Transport Corporation (ASTC) and Meghalaya Transport Corporation (MTC) buses run regularly from Guwahati to Shillong. Passengers can opt different types of buses as per their comfort and need like AC, AC sleeper, Luxury and Volvo. The main interstate bus terminus is situated near to Guwahati Railway Station.

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