Meghalaya was similar with its rolling grasslands over its hills with a wide vista which would catch the eye and enrapture its soul for miles and miles of land till it reaches its horizon.
Unfortunately with growing urbanisation, that finer shine is fast dissipating but this state is still one of the most beautiful in India and currently, efforts are on to preserve its natural heritage. Thanks to the spirit of the local people and the administration, it is now again thronged by millions of visitors from different parts of the world. Meghalaya was once a part of Assam and it got its statehood in the early 1970s. In India, the name of this state translates to ‘an abode of the clouds’.
Meghalaya has a wide variety of natural reserves and a plethora of beautiful places which can be explored depending on one’s choice and time. Here are some of the places which might show the uniqueness of its richly endowed valleys.
In the local language here, the word Balpakram means the ‘land of perpetual winds’ and true to its name, the Balpakram National Park is a very exciting place in Meghalaya. Situated at a height of around 3000 ft. above sea level, this beautiful national park is sacred to the Garo tribes as they consider this region the abode of their dead spirits. According to their local beliefs, it is the resting place of the souls of their ancestors who have departed this earth. This national park has a wide variety of wildlife including tigers, elephants, leopards, bison, black bear etc. and is also home to one of the rarest species on earth – the Red Panda. It is located close to the international border of Bangladesh and is around 167 km away from the town of Tura.
When in Meghalaya, one cannot help but visit a waterfall. This state has an abundance of waterfalls and some of them are highly popular. One of the lesser known is the unique one with the name called ‘Sweet Falls’. Quite ironical, this waterfall is believed to be haunted by ghosts, by the local people. In fact they say that if you go in groups of odd numbers to this falls, it is most likely that you will return in groups of even numbers (as there will be a mishap or a death). It is generally said to be the most beautiful but also the most dangerous waterfall in Meghalaya. The tourists are prohibited from entry here, though in any case, the water flows down here with a tremendous speed in the absence of rocks to break its flow, making it impossible to bath or stand directly beneath it. However, this beautiful yet dangerous natural phenomenon can be witnessed from a viewpoint nearby.
Another natural entity that the state of Meghalaya is blessed with are its cave systems. The state has hundreds of natural caves of both limestone and sand-stone. One of it is the Siju Cave with the impressive formation of stalagmites and stalactites. It is considered to be one of the longest cave systems in India and is home to some rare species of bats and hence it is generally called the Bat Caves by the local people here. Siju Village is situated around 255 km away from the state capital Shillong.
Another unique place in this state is the village called ‘Mawlynnong’ considered to be Asia’s cleanest village sometimes, and also awarded the same by some magazines in the last decade. Also, sometimes referred to as ‘God’s Own Garden’, this village can be reached by a drive of a few hours from Shillong where a picturesque natural setting awaits a tourist.
While in Meghalaya, a tourist would like to go down to the border town of Dawki where the fantastic ‘Umngot’ river awaits them. This river is unique in India with its crystal clear water which enables the riverbed underneath clearly visible to human eyes. Photography and boating on this river are a delightful experience. Meghalaya is indeed unique in every possible way.