Shillong is a hill station town in the northeast Indian state of Meghalaya ; and is also the capital of the state, whose name literally translates to “The Abode of clouds”. It is surrounded by the Khasi hills, and is home to people of various tribes, especially the Khasi tribe.
Shillong has various ecological attractions and also a few religious and historical attractions. Here are some places to visit in the city without fail –
- Elephant falls – One of the most popular waterfalls in North-East India; these falls are named after an Elephant like stone at its foot.
- Laitlum Canyons – Picturesque trekking destination; a group of canyons situated on East Khasi hills.
- Umiam Lake – A scenic man-made lake surrounded by greenery and hills.
- Ward’s Lake – another popular lake; a major landmark in Shillong; known for boating.
- Lady Hydari Park
- Nartiang Durga Temple
- Mahadeo Khola
- Hanuman Temple Shillong
- Narsingh Akhara Temple
- Sani Temple
Shillong also has many interesting museums that showcase its heritage and disvay various fascinating collections such as -
- Don Bosco Centre for Indigenous Cultures
- Air Force Museum
- Wankhar Entomology Museum
- Rhino Heritage Museum
- Forest Museum
- Ever Living Museum
- Capt. Williamson Sangma State Museum
Major festivals celebrated in Shillong include –
- Shillong Autumn Festival – A festival highlighting the city’s culture, arts and traditions; celebrated in October, this is a cultural extravaganza for the locals, and is attended my many people from outside the state too.
- Nongkrem Dance Festival – This festival is celebrated by the locals here to thank the Almighty for good harvest, peace, and prosperity of the community; a goat sacrifice custom is also followed by some tribes here during this occasion, for the God.
- Wangala Festival – A harvest festival that is celebrated by people of Shillong in honour of Saljong, the Sun-God of fertility.
- Shad Suk Mynsiem – A kind of thanksgiving for the people of Shillong, where they celebrate with folk dances and fancy-dress ups (celebrated in April).
- Behdienkhalam – A festival celebrated by a particular tribe here called Jaintia in July month; where they commemorate their forefathers and offer sacrificial foods to their spirits.
For travel within Shillong, there are various modes of transport available such as taxi/cabs, buses, and rented 2-wheelers and cars, or bicycles.
Shillong offers many interesting things that people can shop for such as handmade shawls and scarves, Khasi scrubs, Scottish dress material (the city is known as Scotland of the East), and organic beauty products. Some good shopping spots in Shillong are as listed –
- Police Bazaar
- Megha Emporium
- Bhutia Market
- Bara Bazaar
- Rebecca’s Thrift Store
- Motphran (OB Textiles)
- Glory’s Plaza
- OB Shopping Mall
The food in Shillong is mainly from Meghalayan cuisine, where rice is largely eaten along with different variety of meats (of goat, pigs, chicken, ducks, cows, etc) and fish cooked in flavourful spices, and sometimes with a side of pickled bamboo shoots.
Some popular local dishes in Shillong include:
- Nakham Bitchi – A soup made of dry fish and vegetables
- Jadoh Rice – A spicy rice dish mixed with pork, vegetables and garnished with fried fish or eggs (belongs to the Khasi tribe)
- Momos – Steamed dumplings filled with vegetables or some kind of meat, famous throughout North-east India
- Pumaloi – A kind of powdered steamed rice, usually had with a side of some spicy vegetable, pickle or stew
Some of the best restaurants in the city to try out the local cuisine or other kinds of foods from few other cuisines include –
- Pinecone Restaurant
- Ginger Restaurant
- City Hut Family Dhaba
- Cafe Shillong
- La Galerie
- Meghalaya Misthan Bhandar
- Tara Restaurant
- Testy Buds
Shillong has many good hotels for a comfortable stay. Some of the best hotels to stay at in Shillong include –
- Hotel Polo Towers Shillong
- Quinton Enclave
- Hotel Pegasus Crown
- Apsara Guest House
- The Pear Tree
- A La Maison
- Hotel Woodland Hill Stay
- The Loft
- Orchid Lake
Shillong also has some good pubs and nightclubs such as the following –
- Polo Irish Pub
- The Cocktail Bar
- Platinum Bar
- Mikado Lounge
- Deja vu
- Klong Lounge Bar
- Tango (Discotheque and Bar)
Shillong city STD Code – 0364 (to be used before dialling numbers from a number that is not locally registered).
Common emergency numbers:
- Police: 100
- Fire: 101
- Ambulance: 102, 108
- Railway Helpline: 1512, 139
- Blood bank Information: 1910
Khasi & English are the official languages of Shillong. But, language like Hindi is spoken as well.
- Welcome - Svagat
- How are you? - Aap kaise hai?
- What's your name? - Aapka naam kya hai?
- I don't know - Mujhe nahi pata
- I don't understand - Mein samjha nahi
- Thank you - Dhanyavad