Meghalaya, which literally means abode of the clouds is one of the incredible Seven Sisters in the north-eastern part of India. It is comfortably tucked between Bangladesh in the South and the Brahmaputra valley in the North. Blessed with natural beauty, Meghalaya is famous for its deep gorges, roaring waterfalls, living bridges and outrageously friendly people! We at Curly Tales visited the state to film our show, I Love My India. Here's how to reach Meghalaya by air, road or rail. If you love adventure activities like caving, trekking and rappelling, then Meghalaya is the place for you! Also, love sitting down amidst nature and soaking in the spectacular beauty? Meghalaya gives you that too! Ensuring you have the best of both worlds, Meghalaya has tons of offbeat things to do. And here are a few of them:
1. Hot Air Ballooning
Enjoy the stunning green fields, valleys and gorges as hot balloon is on your way through the countryside. Available only during The Meghalayan Age Festival, which usually takes place in February-March, this one is a must-do for you adventure freaks. Navigate your way through the clouds, and get enthralled by the breathtaking scenery below. And, if you're lucky enough, you'll land right in the middle of an open field and enjoy a grand welcome by the locals. On that note, read about this beautiful paragliding story of Siddhi with her mother.
2. Nartiang Monoliths
Did you know that the wettest place on the Earth is also home to the tallest monoliths in the world? Well, Meghalaya doesn't fail to surprise. Explore the rich history of Meghalaya by visiting the Nartiang Monoliths in Jaintia Hills. Erected approximately between 1500 AD and 1835 AD, they were built by the Jaintia kings. Carved from one single stone that serve as a monument or pillar, they're truly an architectural wonder you must have in your itinerary. Also, did you know that Madurai Fort has Asia's second-largest monolith?
Also Read: Suhaana Safar Into The Jungles Of Similipal, Odisha
Aaah, this is what Meghalaya is most known for. These bridges are built by threading together roots of the Ficus elastica tree. Completely natural, these bridges strengthen over time and can hold the weight of about 35 people at once. While there are many such bridges in Meghalaya, the double-decker bridge at Cherrapunji is particularly famous. We, however, chose to visit the one at Kundegrim. To catch a glimpse of this ingenious marvel, you will have to undertake a 30-minute intense trek, but we assure that you will be 'rooting' for it even after you see it.
Not many know that Meghalaya is home to one of the world’s most extensive cave networks. With about 1,580 discovered and 980 explored caves, the northeastern state boasts of a number of caving activities like canyoning and waterfall rappelling. We suggest you going to the Krem Rupasor caves in Meghalaya to get your dose of adrenaline. Meghalaya also has the world's longest sandstone cave.
Also Read: Try Caving In Meghalaya As A New Adventure Activity
Best Time To Visit Meghalaya
Meghalaya is an all-year-round tourist destination, where the summer welcomes you with spring festivals, the monsoon with its intense greenery and the winters with its blanket of fog and low temperatures. The decision is solely yours to make.
However, we recommend that the best time to visit the state is between the months of September and May as the weather is rather pleasant with occasional rains. The roads are safer and you can enjoy a host of festivals and activities that take place during this period, making sure you do full justice to your trip.
Also Read: 8 Reasons To Visit Meghalaya Once In Your Life
Travelling Within Meghalaya
Since most places of visit in Meghalaya are about 2-2.5 hours of driving time from each other, you will have to hire a taxi or car from a local tourist agency. Or else, Police Bazaar in Shillong is the place to be. It is the central hub for most private and shared taxis in the city.
Also, the ride along the roads of Meghalaya can be pretty bumpy but the scenic views along the way make up for it; so do not forget to carry your medication if you suffer from mountain sickness. If not, carrying some munchies along is a great idea!
What To Wear In Meghalaya
Meghalaya is a pretty modern state, where you can wear what you like. Light cotton clothes are preferable during the day but make sure you carry warm woolen clothes for the evenings and nights. If you're travelling during the monsoons, do not forget to carry a quirky colourful umbrella or a poncho if you please.
And of course, while trekking or doing any adventure activity, ensure that you're wearing appropriate clothing suitable for the activity. Do not forget to carry a comfortable pair of shoes as some of the treks in Meghalaya can get pretty strenuous.
Culture In Meghalaya
Did you know that tribals make up the majority of Meghalaya's population, the largest of which is the Khasis followed by the Garos and then the Jaintias? While you will find that the people in the city of Shillong are modernised, most of them still follow their traditional tribal customs and even wear their traditional attires at times. So make sure that you respect their customs and traditions while visiting the State.
We're ending this article with one major tip. Every place is made by the people that inhabit it. So a visit to Meghalaya would be incomplete if you did not take time out to interact with the locals and understand their culture and style of living. Not only will you increase your knowledge base but you will also end up making some pretty good friends! And mind you, the locals are extremely friendly and helpful!
Also Read: My 8-Day Trip To Meghalaya With My Husband In ₹40,000 Including Flight Tickets
So when the lockdown ends, we hope that Meghalaya makes it to your bucket list SOON! Because there's no other place like Incredible India! On that note, here are 15 amazing international travel experiences in India: