Monsoons in the Abode of Clouds
Shillong - Mawlynnong - Cherrapunji
From around June to September every year, the plateau of Meghalaya plays host to a massive amount of rainfall, brought by giant clouds that rise from the Bay of Bengal. It is a meteorological condition unlike any other, of the extremities of nature and the magic and mystery brought by the monsoons. This phenomenon of unending rainfall has made Meghalaya the rainiest and wettest place on the planet and has carved unique natural formations in the landscape such as waterfalls, caves, lakes, rivers, and rich mineral deposits. Naturally, even the people of the state have unique cultures and dresses which in some way have been influenced by the climatic conditions. It can be correctly said that during the monsoon season, Meghalaya stands true to its name of being 'the abode of clouds'. It is the time of the year when the air is filled with mist, the forests are virgin green in color, caves become even more mysterious, and numerous waterfalls and rivers come alive with massive rapids and thunderous sounds.
The better news is that the rain doesn't fall continuously, but takes a break every few hours during the daytime. Though this is mostly due to the changing global climate as elders tell stories about when the sun never showed up for months. Apart from experiencing the coziness of the rains, you will also get a chance to hit the outdoors to enjoy the pretty landscape and the cultures of Meghalaya. Also, as there will be much rain, we have handpicked unique accommodations for this tour where you will find the perfect luxuries, coziness, and comfort to sit back and enjoy the experience of being in the rainiest place on the planet during the rainiest season of the year.
The tour will begin in Shillong, a charming hill station with a rich colonial history and the bustling capital of the state of Meghalaya. Unless chosen otherwise, your stay here will be in a boutique 4-star resort located picturesquely beside the serene Umiam Lake. The resort has a very pleasant and authentic ambiance, along with great staff, ethnic food, and facilities. While in Shillong, you will be visiting some of the delightful waterfalls, the Shillong Peak from where you can see panoramic views of the town, and the Don Bosco Museum which showcases detailed information about the many tribes of Northeast India.
From Shillong, you will cross scenic hills to arrive at Mawlynnong, the cleanest village in Asia. Located in the forested foothills overlooking the plains of Bangladesh, the village has the perfect coziness for a rainy day and a very easy-going lifestyle. Your stay in the village will be basic but comfortable – in a homestay with the local tribe. Mawlynnong and nearby places have a very authentic culture where you will get a chance to live and interact with the Khasis; who are not only charming but also well educated. Amongst the things to do around the village, you will be hiking to nearby villages and to the living root bridge; which is a manmade structure made from living roots and displays remarkable sustainability. You can also spend time swimming in the local natural pool or observing sunsets, cloud formations, and flashes of lightning at the village viewpoint. Lastly, after a brief visit to some of the secret waterfalls around, you will leave for the West Khasi Hills to arrive at Cherrapunji (Sohra), which is one of the wettest places on the entire planet. Your stay here will be in a standard property located picturesquely near a cliff; providing front-row seats to the monsoon clouds which arrive from the Bangladesh plains. Being tucked away cozily, time will be at leisure to enjoy the mystical atmosphere of Cherrapunji. And when it will be raining comparatively less, you'll go outdoors to visit some of the caves and waterfalls that adorn the landscape of this faraway tropical paradise.
Day 1 | Guwahati - Shillong
Upon arrival at Guwahati Airport, you'll leave for a drive to Shillong (4 hours), a splendid hill station, and the capital of Meghalaya. The evening will be at leisure where you may explore the local markets on your own. Your stay in Shillong will be Ri-Kynjai Resort, a delightful boutique 4-star property located amidst the serenity of Umiam Lake. Alternatively, you may choose a more standard accommodation if preferred.
Day 2 | Shillong
After a leisurely breakfast, you will leave for a sightseeing tour of Shillong where you will visit the indigenous tribes' museum, lakes, waterfalls, and the scenic Shillong Peak. For lunch, you will visit an ethnic restaurant that serves local Khasi cuisine. Later in the afternoon, visit the gaming grounds to observe the event of Siat Khnam, a local way of gambling where archers shoot arrows in a haystack. The evening will be at leisure and can be spent exploring the upbeat market area and dining in a fine restaurant.
Day 3, 4 | Shillong - Mawlynnong
After a leisurely breakfast on day 3, leave for a scenic drive to Mawlynnong (3 hours), the cleanest village in Asia located in the scenic foothills. The village offers just the perfect coziness to observe the monsoons while immersing in the laid-back lifestyle of the village. Spend the two days on leisurely walks around the pretty lanes of the village, learn about the Khasi tribe and interact with the Khasi locals who speak English and are educated, smart and charming. Hike to the nearby living root bridge to observe their remarkable sustainability and be surrounded by pristine nature. You may also choose to spend the afternoons in the village natural pool which has a pretty neat waterfall along with cold fresh water, perfect to beat the summer heat. To view sunsets, the village has a skywalk which is a platform built on top of a tall tree from where one can see incredible sunsets, panoramic views of the Bangladesh plains, and some splendid cloud formations. Your stay in the village will be in a cozy and fairly standard homestay giving you a glimpse into the on-goings of a Khasi household.
Day 5 | Mawlynnong - Cherrapunji
After breakfast, leave for a scenic drive to Cherrapunji (3-4 hours), which along with nearby Mawsynram village is the wettest and rainiest place on the planet. En route, you will visit the Dawki river at the Bangladesh border and three secretive waterfalls around Mawlynnong where due to the monsoons the water will be gushing, creating an almost ethereal experience. While at Mawphlang you will visit a sacred forest protected as per the indigenous norms of the Khasi peoples. In Cherrapunji, your stay will be in a minimalistic resort that provides a magnificent view of the landscape, and the incoming monsoon clouds. The rest of the day will be at leisure to find comfort in Cherrapunji's famous rainy season, an extreme phenomenon unlike any other.
Day 6, 7 | Cherrapunji
For the next two days, you will find yourself in the front seat of the Indian monsoons. Experience the magic and mystery of being at the planet's rainiest place during the rainiest season of the year. Spend the days at leisure going on easy walks and observing the eerie cloud formations, the mist, the lush green monsoon landscape, and the frequent lightning bolts across the sky. When the rain is less, you will be visiting the natural sights of Cherrapunji such as the gushing waterfalls and caves. Maybe hike to one of the villages or root bridges in the valley or get a photograph at the rain-gauge located in Mawsynram. Evenings at leisure.
Day 8 | Cherrapunji - Guwahati
After breakfast, leave for Guwahati Airport (6-7 hours) to catch a departure flight late in the afternoon. Tour ends.
Blissfully located in the high plateaus of Cherrapunji with grand vistas of the Bangladesh plains and run by an enthusiastic hospitable family, Cherrapunjee Holiday Resort is a nature based guesthouse more than a resort where visitors can stay in fairly modern rooms and comfort.
Homestays are part of the responsible tourism process practiced in Mawlynnong, one of Asia’s prettiest village. For visitors, it means close interactions with host Khasi families and maybe lifelong bonds with new friends. Rooms are cozy, fairly standard, providing basic comforts suitable for the village life.
Cafe Shillong Bed & Breakfast is a standard boutique property housed in a typical old British India bungalow, offering a charming stay to visitors who come to the ‘Scotland of the east’. Belonging once to the Kharpuri family, the place has colorful character and rooms and facilities are updated to the comforts of modern hospitality. There’s a front-yard garden, a quiet spot for a morning tea or an evening drink.
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Our itineraries are one of a kind, curated from our own personal travel experiences, from choosing the best logistically correct routes to the most interesting stay options.
Our tour guides are native to the region, and bring you an insider view into the life and culture of Northeast India, sharing with you authentic local experiences and fostering friendships.
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