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Meghalaya

Meghalaya translates as ‘abode of the clouds’. It is a very apt name for this small state in North East India as it is very mountainous, and about 70% of its land is covered in forest. Before 1972 it was part of Assam and it is known as one of the Seven Sisters states of the north east: Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura. Many travellers will have heard of Assam (usually because of the tea), but the other states are very little-known outside of India.  Meghalaya is small (with a population of about 3 million) and inhabited by mainly what were once known as hill tribes: the Khasi, Garo and Jaintia. It holds the prize of being the wettest place on earth, and this is one of the key reasons leading to one of its main attractions – read on.  
Here are some excellent reasons for visiting Meghalaya in this unknown corner of India:

  • Meghalaya has a unique and very special draw: living root bridges!  
  • There are about 80 throughout the state but, in our view (after a detailed research trip in March 2019), Cherrapunjee is the best place to come to see these incredible natural structures. They really are a magical sight. If you’re up for walking in remote (steep!) forested hills to see something strange and spectacular, this is for you.(Read Amanda’s blog about her visit to the bridges in March 2019). 
  • Meghalaya has relatively few international tourists.  
  • It is part of what is know as the Green Triangle: Guwahati – Cherrapunjee – Kaziranga. (See our wonderful trip covering these areas).  
  • SHILLONG (once the capital of Assam) is now the capital of Meghalaya. It is an historic town once used as a hill station by the British Raj escaping the heat of the lowlands. It has some interesting markets. 
  • UMIAM LAKE (also known as Barapani – big water) is about 1 hour from Shillong and a lovely place to relax for a day, or to enjoy watersports such as kayaking.  
  • CHERRAPUNJEE is the wettest place on earth (averaging 12m of rain a year!).  The Living Root Bridges were (and still are) key to villagers being able to move around in the monsoon season. It is also an area of fascinating caves and stunning waterfalls.  


  • When to go

    The rains begin in Meghalaya any time from around late April and up to about November, though the worst of the monsoon hits from July to October. Indian people tend to love coming in the rainy season (because it’s cooler here than in the lowlands and because the rain tends to come mostly in the night or morning leaving sunny days), however international tourists mostly avoid the rainy seasons as travelling is far more difficult and the chances of not being able to see what you came for because of the rains is greatly increased. Most international travellers therefore come here between November and February.

    Where to stay

    Since Meghalaya has not really found its feet within the tourist scene, good accommodations are few and far between, and there are very few high quality hotels. This makes a big difference to what we can recommend to you. There are about 4 properties we could recommend in Cherrapunjee (Cherrapunjee Holiday Resort being our absolute favourite) and there are a couple at Umiam Lake and Shillong. However other destinations you might have heard of in Meghalaya are, in our opinion, currently too challenging to visit, partly due to the lack of reasonable accommodation. We strongly recommend using the itinerary we’ve come up with for this area as being the best of all worlds, both in terms of what you see and where to stay.
    See our XXXX trip.

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Meghalaya accommodation

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facts and information

Time: GMT +5 hours

Flight time:

Flight time from London to Delhi is 8 hours 30 minutes and to Mumbai is about 8 hours.

Language: The official language is Hindi, which about 30% of the population speaks. English is very widely spoken and is used for official and commercial purposes.

Visas:

Required for British travellers. Other nationalities should obtain advice from their embassy.

Health:

There are no compulsory vaccinations.

 

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