Hill Stations in India

Introduction (Shillong)

It is named after the "Shillong Peak" overlooking the city. There are many legends about the name Shillong.One of the many legends run that the name Shillong was derived from U Shylong, a supernatural half-deity born of a virgin human mother. In another legend, it is told that the name Shillong originated from the name of Shillong Deity who lived in a cave known as Krem Marai near Shillong Peak.The city was founded by Col. Henry Hopkinson, Commissioner of Assam in 1864.In that very year the headquaters of the District Officer of the khasi Hills were transferred from Cherrapunjee to Shillong.Shillong's picturesque setting and salubrious climate were found very suitable for sanatoria and holiday home of the British civilians, who were tormented by heat in the plains. It was also considered an ideal situation for the establishment of a military cantonment to keep vigil on the entire North East.Termed as "Scotland of the East", Shillong is situated at a height of 5,000 feet on the plateau of gentle hills. Cool colonnades of tall pine trees clad with whispering green leaves glistening in the sun surround the city. On its bosom lie several lovely waterfalls - Spread Eagle falls, Elephant Falls, Beadon Falls etc. sprightly dancing down from their hilly heights.

Shillong with its veritable beauty spots like Ward's Lake, the Lady Hydari Park with its mini zoo, and its 18-hole Golf Course, one of the oldest and best in the country, is a great tourist center, attracting people from far and near.

In the mini-zoo, various species of birds, such as, hornbills, pheasants, pelicans, and storks can be seen besides the animals like antelope, slow loris, clouded leopard, leopard cat, golden cat and golden langur.

General Information :

Altitude : 1800 and above
Climate : Pleasant, pollution-free; Summers: The temperature varies from 23 degree Celsius; Winters: The temperature varies from 4 degree Celsius.
Best time to visit : October-November and March-April are the best months to visit Shillong.

Culture and Food

Festivals are an integral part of the tribes in Shillong. Christmas, Easter, Good Friday and the New Year Day celebrations are the most important. Ka Pomblang Nongkrem, or the Nongkrem dance and Shad Sukmynsiem are the most important Khasi festivals. Behdiengkhlam, the festival of the Jaintias, is celebrated in July. Then there is the Wangala festival of the Garos that is dedicated to the Sun God.

There are a variety of restaurants in Shillong. Most of the better ones are located in Police Bazar area. Chinese, Indian and Tibetan foods are popular and even khun ksew. One should definitely try Momos (steamed Tibetan dumplings filled with cabbage and pork) They come as small momos and big momos and are very popular snacks. Shillong has a pre-dominantly Christian population, therefore pork and beef are easily available in restaurants run by local Khasis, although cleanliness remains a issue in smaller food-outlets. Khasi and Tibetan recipes use very little spices (including salt) unlike cooking style of rest of India and emphasis is on boiling or roasting rather than frying in oil.

Place to Visit

Ward Lake
An artificial lake, Ward Lake is situated near the Raj Bhawan. This horse-shoe shaped lake has a beautiful bridge over it and set in a landscaped Botanical Garden. This lake is popular for boating. The boatanical garden and Museum are near by.

Lady Hydari Park
The Lady Hydari Park is just a km away from the Ward Lake. This park is designed like a Japanese garden where you will see the pine native to the area - Pinus Khasiana. It is well laid out with its Mini Zoo

Butterfly Museum
The Butterfly Museum is at Wankhar and Co, Riatsamthiahopen who have started breeding butterflies as a conservation measure and for their commercial use. They have a good display of mounted butterflies and beetles from India and abroad.

Bara Bazaar
Bara Bazaar is worth visiting place to see the authentic local colour. It attracts tribal people in their colourful dresses who come to buy and sell vegetables, spices, pots, baskets, chickens and even bows and arrows. The small stalls sell real Khasi food.

Shillong Peak
Shillong Peak is situated about 10 kms. away from which the city derives its name. This peak rises to 1960 m. It is referred as the 'Abode of the Gods' and offers excellent views. Since the area is at present under the Air Force, visitors have to stop at the barrier and enter their names and addresses in a book.

Crinoline Falls
The Crinoline Waterfalls has a swimming pool surrounded by the orchids, potted Bonsais and a rock pool with reeds and water lilies.

Elephant Falls
Elephant Falls is situated about 12 kms. away from the city and is a short diversion from the road to Cherrapunji. It is a scenic spot with two high falls, surrounded by fern covered rocks. You can walk down to the lowest pool by wooden steps and bridges and get a good view. However, the mountain stream tends to dry up between November and May

Golf Club
The Golf Club has an 18 hole golf course where competitions are held and a Polo ground, restaurant and bar. The course has a reputation of being the wettest but one of the most beautiful in the world. The club was founded in 1898, and the present 5873 yard 18 hole course is from 1924. In an undulating valley covered with pine and rhododendron the fairways are covered in a tough variety of local grass. Despite the wetness the greens have the reputation of being extremely fast.

Travel Information

By Air : Shillong airport at Umroi connects to only Kolkata. Guwahati is the nearest major airport, which is nearly 100 km away from Shillong. Shillong can be reached by taxi car and the fare is about Rs 2000. Guwahati Airport is well connected to many major cities in India, including Delhi, Agartala, Aizwal, Kolkata and Imphal. Delhi and Kolkata are the international airports close to Guwahati, both are nearly 1100 km from Guwahati. International travelers can connect to Guwahati through Kolkata or Delhi.

By Bus : Shillong bus stand is located at the city center and regular bus services to Guwahati are available. The State Road Transport Public buses and the private tourist bus providers operate bus services from Shillong to the many cities in Meghalaya and the neighboring state. The bus stand is located in the heart of Shillong.

By Train : Nearest railhead to Shillong is Guwahati, which is at distance of 100 km away. Shillong can be reached by taxi car and the fare is about Rs 2000. The Paltan Bazaar Railway Station in Guwahati is a major railway junction on the North-East Frontier Railway. Guwahati is well connected with all the major railheads of India.

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Hill Stations in India
Hill Station In India