Cherrapunji: Where wet is beautiful!

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Cherrapunji, locally named Sohra, lies in the heart of Meghalaya, “the abode of the cloud”. But before talking about Cherrapunji, let me give a heads-up about Meghalaya. Two districts from Assam Meghalaya were formed: the United Khasi Hills and Jaintia Hills. Later on, the Garo Hills on added on 21 January 1972. And on this trip, I will be travelling across the United Khasi hills.

Cherrapunji: Where wet is beautiful!

Once used to be the wettest place, but now taken away by the neighbouring village Mawsynram. However, the highest recorded rainfall crown is still held for a calendar year. Situated in the lap of Khasi Hills, this place welcomes you with the pristine beauty of the misty valleys. So I started early from Guwahati since the drive was approx 5hrs (147 km), and as I was travelling with oldies, I had to make a couple of stops before we reached Cherrapunji. The drive was beautiful greenery; I was amazed by the swirling clouds, foaming rivers, and breathtaking waterfalls. The mist flowed through my car window as we drove along the valley. By the time we reached it, it was afternoon. And I was surprised to see that the lunch was ready for us.

Cherrapunji: Where wet is beautiful!

I had booked Pateng-a beautiful homestay near the Church Of God in the Khliehshnong region of Cherrapunjee. Slight on the outskirts but peaceful & serene. I can see the green valley all around me, inhaling the pure air & watch the river flowing behind the homestay. Well, I freshened & up and had our lunch. It’s time to explore the small tinsel town.

Cherrapunji: Where wet is beautiful!
Pateng- the homstay.

“Cherrapunji” means ‘land of oranges- with rich historical significance. It was known as Sohra in the 16th -18th century, when ‘Syiems (rajas or chiefs) of Khyriem’ ruled the place. And Tirot Singh was the last of the critical Syiems of Khasi hills which led till 1883. After Tirot Singh, it went under the Britishers. Since the Britisher wrongly pronounced Sohra as Churra, as a result, it evolved into the current name Cherrapunji.

Nohsngithiang Falls

Nohsngithiang Falls, the first place we drove to, is also known as the Mawsmai Falls or Seven Sisters Waterfalls. Over the top of Khasi Hills a limestone cliffs from where the falls plunge. A height of 312m and an average width of 70m. I was mesmerized by the lush greenery, on which the setting sun hue increased the serenity of this place. The 4th highest waterfall in India and a picture-perfect place where a cluster of 7 adjacent streams cascade down. Though the stream of water was narrow due to low rain, the view was admirable.

Cherrapunji: Where wet is beautiful!
Seven Sister Fall

Khasi Monoliths

We decided to move to the Mawsmai cave, but our driver suggested visiting the Khasi Monoliths. This place has great historical significance, giving a glimpse of Khasi culture. Monoliths are ancient structures of the Khasi tribe that gives tribute to the dead members. And their ashes are buried in cenotaphs. I stood watching an unwritten lesson of history.

Khasi Monoliths

Mawsmai cave

After spending some time in the fall, we drove towards Mawsmai cave. Trust me! It was one of the most beautiful caves I have visited, in the Indian subcontinent, the fourth longest cave. Located 6km from the town, a magnificent cave with rare natural traits is inside. Upon arriving at the Mawsmai cave, I was sceptical about exploring it since there was no guide or assistance around. But as I entered, I found it an accessible cave to navigate as there were lights inside.

Cherrapunji: Where wet is beautiful!
Way to Mawsmai Caves

There are a lot of little ups and downs along with tricky curves inside the cave, which would quench the craving for cave adventure within you. There are tiny passages within the cave, which sometimes become so narrow that two people can’t navigate together. Avoid large groups once you enter this cave. This place will welcome you with a small yawning entrance shaded under a thick natural canopy of trees. The cave’s most spectacular feature is the pool formed by five rivers. I was astounded!

Cherrapunji: Where wet is beautiful!
The cave

Dainthlen Falls

The next drive was to Dainthlen Falls,11 km from Cherrapunji, one of the gorgeous falls. The weather started to change; mist covered us as we drove. It was almost sunset time when we reached the fall. Water cascades down from about 90 m, roaring waterfalls leaping into deep gorges. It took a few min careful walking to reach the iron fence from where I could witness the gushing waterfall. Unfortunately, there needed to be a good road to get the viewpoint. Stepping on rocks is tricky as it’s muddy. The old bridge over the stream acts as a perfect background for pictures. Of course! I used the backdrop.

Cherrapunji: Where wet is beautiful!
Dainthlen Falls

Dainthlen Falls has a legend associated with its name. According to locals, Thlen named a demon python named, who was drenched in greed and power and got his hood destroyed with a massive stone near this fall. Hence the name Dainthlen Falls. I noticed the snake’s natural rock carvings, representing the symbol of evil, greed and corruption. That’s Interesting! I spent some time exploring the place & watched the sunset in mid of the clouds. It was time to drive back to our hotel since it was almost 5 pm. 

The sunset

Presbyterian Church

On my way back, I visited the Presbyterian Church, built in 1846 AD. Thomas Jones founded the first Presbyterian Church in Meghalaya and North East India. He also became the first missionary and the founder of the Khasi script. However, the 1897 earthquake destroyed the Church; hence has to be rebuilt. A primary school established in 1843 by Thomas Jones stands along the Church. 

Cherrapunji: Where wet is beautiful!
Presbyterian Church

I was amazed looking at the Church’s grandeur. Its magnificent structure and beautiful bell tower. The Church and its surroundings are breathtaking. There is a graveyard on top of a hill from which one can get stunning views of the Nongsawlia area. As it was getting dark, we decided to visit it tomorrow.

School Nest the Church

By the time we reached, it was late evening, and we were all exhausted. I freshened up & had a hot cup of tea, sat with my granny & told my day trip stories & shared the pictures. I also planned the day for tomorrow, as we were visiting the Umshiang Double Decker. Later had an early dinner and decided to take a stroll. I noticed most shops are run by women, along with other odd jobs. I was glad about women’s empowerment.

How to reach

By Air: 

The nearest airport to Guwahati is about 181 km from Cherrapunji. You can book a cab or prepaid taxi or even board a bus outside the airport to reach the Cherrapunji. 

By Rail: 

Guwahati Junction railway station is well connected with most of the cities of India. Upon reaching, one can book a cab or take the state buses to contact the respective destination.

 By Road:

State buses, as well as private buses of Guwahati, regularly ply from various cities. Therefore, one can also hire a cab or taxi and reach the city. You cannot drive a personal vehicle as it’s not allowed.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Translate »
error: Content is protected !!