Cherrapunji, also known as Sohra, is a hidden gem nestled in the heart of Meghalaya, in the enchanting Northeast region of India. Renowned for its breathtaking beauty and record-breaking rainfall, Cherrapunji offers a unique and untouched experience for nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts. With misty mountains, cascading waterfalls, mysterious caves, and a vibrant local culture, Cherrapunji is a destination that truly captivates the soul.
A Land of Living Root Bridges
One of the most iconic attractions in Cherrapunji is the Living Root Bridges. These architectural marvels are created by the indigenous Khasi tribe, who ingeniously guide the roots of ancient rubber trees to form intricate bridges. The most famous among them is the Double Decker Living Root Bridge, a stunning testament to nature’s engineering prowess. To reach this masterpiece, visitors embark on a 4.5-kilometer trek through lush forests and picturesque landscapes, immersing themselves in the serenity of the surroundings.
Cherrapunji is home to an array of awe-inspiring waterfalls that cascade down the mountains, creating a symphony of sound and beauty. Among them, the Nohkalikai Falls stands out as a majestic wonder. Plunging from a height of 1,115 feet, the water cascades into a pool, surrounded by verdant greenery. Legend has it that the falls were named after a tragic incident involving a local woman, adding an air of mystery to its already mesmerizing presence.
Exploring Enigmatic Caves
For those seeking adventure and a glimpse into the subterranean wonders of Cherrapunji, the region’s caves offer an enthralling experience. The Krem Phyllut cave system, with its intricate stalactite and stalagmite formations, beckons explorers to delve into its mysterious depths. As you venture into the darkness, the echoes of your footsteps and the trickling of water create an otherworldly ambiance. These caves are a testament to the geological marvels that lie beneath the surface of Cherrapunji.
Trekking Through Pristine Landscapes
Cherrapunji is a paradise for trekkers, offering a plethora of trails that lead to breathtaking vistas and hidden gems. The Double Decker Living Root Bridge trek is a popular choice, taking you through dense forests and charming villages. As you traverse the trails, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of the surrounding valleys and the distant plains of Bangladesh. The gentle breeze and the chirping of birds provide a soothing backdrop as you immerse yourself in the serenity of nature.
Embracing the Rain
Cherrapunji’s claim to fame as one of the wettest places on Earth is not without reason. The region receives abundant rainfall throughout the year, creating a lush green landscape that is a treat for the eyes. The gentle drizzles and occasional downpours add a touch of magic to the surroundings, making it the perfect destination for rain lovers. While visiting during the monsoon season can be challenging due to heavy rainfall, the experience of witnessing nature in its rawest form is truly unforgettable.
A Glimpse into Local Culture
Cherrapunji is not just a haven for nature enthusiasts but also a melting pot of diverse cultures and traditions. The Nongsawlia Presbyterian Church, built by Welsh missionaries in 1841, stands as a testament to the region’s rich history and the influence of British colonization. Exploring the villages of Cherrapunji, such as Mawlynnong, provides a unique opportunity to interact with the local Khasi tribe and gain insights into their customs, traditions, and way of life.
Indulging in Local Delicacies
No trip to Cherrapunji is complete without savoring the local delicacies that tantalize the taste buds. Jadoh, a flavorful dish made with red rice and succulent pork, is a must-try for food enthusiasts. The generous use of aromatic spices adds depth and complexity to the dish, making it a true gastronomic delight. Other culinary delights include local fish delicacies, prepared with fresh catches from the nearby rivers, and traditional Khasi beverages like rice beer, locally known as Khasi.
Breathing in Fresh Mountain Air
Escape from the hustle and bustle of city life and immerse yourself in the crisp mountain air of Cherrapunji. The Mawlynnong village, known as Asia’s cleanest village, offers a breath of fresh air, quite literally. Managed entirely by the villagers, this idyllic settlement is a testament to the community’s commitment to cleanliness and sustainability. Take a leisurely stroll through the village, inhale the pure air, and marvel at the harmonious coexistence of nature and human habitation.
Capturing Picture-Perfect Moments
Every corner of Cherrapunji is a photographer’s dream, with picture-perfect landscapes and enchanting vistas. The Mawsmai eco-park offers panoramic views of the Green Canyons of Cherrapunji and the sprawling plains of Bangladesh. As you capture these breathtaking views, let your creativity soar and immortalize the beauty of Cherrapunji through your lens. Whether it’s the mist-covered mountains, cascading waterfalls, or vibrant flora, every frame tells a story waiting to be shared with the world.
Unleashing the Adventurer Within
Cherrapunji is a playground for adventure enthusiasts, offering a myriad of activities to get your adrenaline pumping. From river canyoning in the Nongthymmai to Mynteng steel rope bridge, to rock climbing on the rugged cliffs, there is no shortage of heart-pounding experiences. Camping amidst the wilderness, surrounded by the soothing sounds of nature, is an opportunity to reconnect with the outdoors and rediscover your adventurous spirit.
Unveiling the Unexplored
While Cherrapunji has gained popularity among travelers in recent years, there are still parts of the region that remain unexplored and untouched. These hidden gems offer a glimpse into the raw beauty of nature, far away from the tourist crowds. Venture off the beaten path and discover secluded waterfalls, serene valleys, and pristine landscapes that will leave you in awe of the untamed splendor of Cherrapunji.
Major Tourist Attraction in and Around Cherrapunji
Mawsynram is a small village in the East Khasi Hills district of Meghalaya, India. It is famous for being the wettest place on Earth, with an average annual rainfall of over 11,000 millimeters (467.4 in). Mawsynram has a subtropical highland climate with a long and rainy monsoon season and a short dry season. The rainfall is mostly due to the orographic effect of the Khasi Hills, which intercept the moisture-laden winds from the Bay of Bengal.
Mawsynram is a haven for nature lovers, offering lush green landscapes, cascading waterfalls, and unique flora and fauna. Some of the attractions in and around Mawsynram are:
- Mawjymbuin Cave: A natural limestone cave with a huge stalagmite that resembles a Shiva lingam. The cave also has a stream that flows through it and a pool of clear water.
- Dwarksuid: A beautiful pool of blue-green water surrounded by rocks and boulders. It is a popular picnic spot and a place to relax and enjoy the scenery.
- Khreng Khreng: A viewpoint that offers a panoramic view of the valley and the plains of Bangladesh. It is also a good spot to watch the sunset and the stars.
- Mawlyngbna: A village that is known for its fossils, natural springs, and adventure activities. It is also a cultural hub that showcases the traditions and customs of the Khasi tribe.
Nohsngithiang Falls, also known as the Seven Sisters Waterfalls or Mawsmai Falls, is a spectacular seven-segmented waterfall in Sohra area of Meghalaya, India. It is one of the tallest waterfalls in the country, with a height of 315 metres and a width of 70 metres. The waterfall is located near the Mawsmai village in the East Khasi Hills district and can be best viewed from a nearby viewpoint. The waterfall is especially stunning during the rainy season when it gushes over the limestone cliffs and reflects the colors of the sun.
Double Decker Living Root Bridges
The Double Decker Living Root Bridges of Cherrapunji are a unique and amazing natural phenomenon in Meghalaya, India. They are bridges made from the roots of rubber trees that grow across streams and rivers. The roots are intertwined and strengthened over time, forming sturdy and durable bridges that can last for hundreds of years. The most famous of these bridges is the Umshiang Double-Decker Bridge, which has two levels of root bridges stacked on top of each other. It is located in the Nongriat village, which can be reached by a challenging trek of 3,000 steps each way from the Tyrna village. The trek also offers scenic views of waterfalls, valleys, and forests along the way.
Arwah Cave is a natural cave system located on the outskirts of Cherrapunji in the East Khasi Hills of Meghalaya, India. It is famous for its fossils of ancient marine life and its stunning rock formations. It is one of the popular tourist attractions in Meghalaya and a great place for caving enthusiasts. The walk to the cave is a scenic one, passing through the thick forest of Lawshynna Hill and offering views of the waterfall and the valley.
Dainthlen Waterfalls is a scenic waterfall near Cherrapunji, Meghalaya. It is named after a legend in Khasi mythology about a giant serpent-like creature called Dainthlen, who was killed by the local people to end its tyranny. The waterfall is about 30 metres high and flows over a rocky plateau. It is a popular picnic spot and offers a panoramic view of the surrounding landscape.
The Khasi Monoliths are stone structures that stand as a tribute to the Khasi ancestors and their culture. They are located near the Mawsmai Falls, a spectacular waterfall in Meghalaya, India. The monoliths are also surrounded by underground passages and ancient caves that offer a glimpse into the history and mythology of the Khasi tribe.
Laitmawsiang is a hidden gem of Meghalaya, a state in northeastern India. It is a small village that boasts of stunning natural beauty, such as caves, waterfalls, lakes, and gardens. It is also rich in history and culture, as it was once a hiding place for the local Khasi tribe and freedom fighters during the British rule
Mawsmai Cave is a beautiful limestone cave located near Cherrapunji in Meghalaya, India. It is one of the most popular historical caves in Meghalaya and among the best places to experience Cherrapunji Tourism. The cave showcases the formation of stalactites and stalagmites by underground water, and some of them are named after legends and myths of the Khasi people. The cave is well-lit and safe to explore, but there are some places where you will need to squeeze around and crawl. The cave also has ancient fossils that you can spot if you look closely at the walls.
Krem Phyllut is a captivating cave system located near Cherrapunji, Meghalaya. Known for its impressive limestone formations, the cave is a popular destination for adventure enthusiasts and spelunkers seeking to explore the subterranean wonders of the region.
Krem Phyllut offers a thrilling caving experience, with narrow passages, stunning stalactite and stalagmite formations, and fascinating geological features. The cave is home to a variety of unique fauna, including bats and cave-dwelling insects. Guided tours are available, providing visitors with an opportunity to learn about the cave’s history, geology, and ecology while ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience.
Nongsawlia is a small village near Cherrapunji, Meghalaya, known for its historical significance and rich cultural heritage. The village is home to the first Presbyterian Church in Northeast India, making it an important destination for those interested in the region’s history and culture.
The church was established in the 19th century by Welsh missionaries, who also introduced education, health care, and social reforms to the Khasi people. The church’s architecture and serene surroundings make it a peaceful and fascinating destination for history buffs and spiritual seekers alike.
Cherrapunji Eco Park
Eco Park of Cherrapunji was established by the Meghalaya Government to facilitate tourists to enjoy the ‘Green Canyons’ of Sohra as well as the waterfalls that lie around it. The park has a greenhouse with many orchids, a children’s play area, monoliths, viewpoints, footbridges, and water conservation structures. The park also offers a nice view of the Sylhet Plains of Bangladesh and the Nohsngithiang Falls.
Embracing the Spirit of Cherrapunji
Beyond its natural wonders and captivating landscapes, Cherrapunji is a place that touches the soul. It’s a place where the rhythm of the rain merges with the serenity of the mountains, creating a symphony that resonates deep within. It’s a place where the simplicity of life and the warmth of the local people remind us of the beauty in simplicity. Cherrapunji is a destination that invites you to pause, reflect, and embrace the spirit of nature in all its glory.
Plan your journey to Cherrapunji, and let the rain and greenery wash away the worries of the world. Immerse yourself in the untouched beauty, explore hidden treasures, and create memories that will last a lifetime. Cherrapunji awaits, ready to unveil its secrets and captivate your heart with its symphony of rain and greenery.
For more information please check Meghalaya Tourism Department