Shillong: A day soaked musical vibrant town

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Shillong is the heart of the mystical land of Meghalaya. A town that enjoyed a cosmopolitan reputation for its love for music, and many legendary musicians call this home. Shillong was set up during the colonial era, in 1864, as a civil station of the Khasi and Jaintia Hills. Hence I wanted to soak my soul in the lingering romance of the sprawling valleys, golf course, dense crowd of pine rhododendron trees and vibrant downtown area.


I was booked at Ken And Twill Guest House, a beautiful old colonial hotel. I was up by 5.30 am and set in 30 mins for the first day in Shillong. 

Shillong: A day soaked musical vibrant town
Ken & Twill Guest House

It was a misty morning, and the fog looked fumy and filmy in the weak light of the morning. The moisture warped nature by using its spineless tentacles to trail around everything. And drifted and ghosted, glided and dangled as we drove towards Laitlum Canyons, situated only 45 minutes from the focal point of Shillong.

Shillong: A day soaked musical vibrant town
Mist covered morning

Laitlum Canyons, which translates to the ‘End of the Hills.’ I was up by 5.30 am and set in 30 mins to explore this little-investigated yet exhilarating place famous for its glorious common magnificence. The bamboo plants, foggy mists and orchids left me stunned as we drove along. The contrast of red soil & green slopes makes the spot stunningly dreamlike.

Shillong: A day soaked musical vibrant town
Contract colours of morning

A colourful site is less swarmed and commercialised; hence the tranquillity whispers to the soul as I walk a long, rough, verdure trail. The haze and the freshness of the fog encompassed the rolling hills and deep gorges. I just stood speechless! 

Shillong: A day soaked musical vibrant town
Inclines of Lithium Canyons

Laitlum’s picturesque slope inclines are called the Amphitheater since the upgrades are painted in many tones. Besides the angles, there is a sputtering stream at the base of the gully amid the green meadow, which I could hear in the serene place. Laitlum Canyon was ideal for my morning coffee overlooking the glorious blanketed in fluffy white clouds. The view may remind you of a scene from the musical ‘The Sound of Music’. 

Shillong: A day soaked musical vibrant town

But that’s not the end; I could see Rasong- a small village settled in the rich green edges of the Laitlum gorge. A steep stairway of around 3000 stages slashed out of the mountain and fixed with greenery-secured rocks. It winds its way down the verdant inclines to this little villa. The landscape is somewhat hard to explore a trekker’s paradise yet.

Shillong: A day soaked musical vibrant town

While I was sipping my coffee, enjoying the gush of the wind & sunshine, the locals suggested a few Kilometers from this glorious spot in the town of Smit in Laitlum. It is believed to be Hima Khyrim’s customary seat of power-a sub-clan of the indigenous Khasi tribe. The city has a 100 years old conventional living arrangement with the King of the Khyrim, the Iing Shad. During harvest time, the noticeable Nongkrem dance is performed outside this royal residence.

Shillong: A day soaked musical vibrant town
Tea shop

 After spending a good one & a half hours at Laitlum Canyons, we drove back to our hotels. It was 7.30 am & the breakfast was ready & served for us. After a hearty breakfast, I had a quick bath & got ready to explore the Shillong.

Shillong: A day soaked musical vibrant town
Morning Sunshine

Well, Shillong was declared the headquarters of the new regional administration in 1874. The reason was its strategic location and the climate. Even after the independence, Shillong served as the joint capital of undivided Assam. In 1972, the town became the capital of Meghalaya. Interestingly! the city sits on a plateau created during the 1897 earthquake in Assam. The central city lies in the centre of the table and is surrounded by three hills, Lum Sohpetbneng, Lum Diengiei, and Lum Shyllong, each considered sacred in local Khasi traditions.

Shillong street

Our driver took us for local sightseeing as the bustling town has a few cathedrals, lakes, parks and a unique golf course.

Ward’s Lake:

A 100-year-old horse shared a lake lying in the middle of the city. Extensive green gardens encircle it, and a beautiful wooden bridge and lotus adorn the lake. Also known as Polok Lake, its beautiful surroundings and Shillong café (located near the lake) is a place to remember. We have some excellent 30min before heading to our next spot.

Ward Lake

Lady Hydari Park

Lady Hydari Park is a Japanese-style public park known as Phan Nonglait Park, the only park with a zoo. The park was named after Lady Hydari, the wife of the Governor of Assam. It sprawls over an area of more than a kilometre. The landscape is dotted with small ponds, rhododendron plants and willow trees and of the best-maintained park in Shillong. It encompasses many local flowering plants and orchids. The zoo in the park comprises 73 species of birds, 140 reptiles and other mammals. It took almost an hour to cover the whole park, but it was adorning.

Lady Hydari Park

Shillong Golf Course

We drove towards Golf Course called the Glen Eagle of the East. These greens are the largest and the wettest of all and are considered very rare since the moist texture of the grass is entirely natural. One of the most extensive golf courses in Asia, but poorly maintained, with garbage piling up at a few corners. We took a stroll till the end of the course, from where we could enter the dense jungle.

Golf Course

Don Bosco Centre for Indigenous Cultures

Later, we drove to Don Bosco Centre and took a lunch break at City Hut- some Momos & Thupkas with hot chocolate. Then we visited the 7-storey building to experience the charm of North East India through this museum. 

Shillong: A day soaked musical vibrant town
Don Bosco Cultural Centre

The museum stands witness to the course of time, showcasing the transformation of the Northeast region. I even visited the skywalk on the roof, where I could glimpse Shillong city.


Umiam Lake

Barapani, or Umiam lake, is located 15 km north of Shillong. A massive artificial reservoir was made in the 1960s by damming the river Umiam. As I headed down to the lake, I could see the old road to the city, now deep underwater. 

Shillong: A day soaked musical vibrant town
Umiam Lake

The view is breathtaking, with clouds hovering over you and lush green hills all around you. There are activities like kayaking, scooting, boating and water cycling near the lake.  

Shillong: A day soaked musical vibrant town

But what caught my eye was the sunset saw a dreamlike change in the view of the lake within minutes. And was lucky, we could capture the moments.

Shillong: A day soaked musical vibrant town
Colours of Sunset

The last place where we spent our evening in the brawl of Police Bazar’s chaos! 

Police Bazar

The narrow lanes, where hardly a single soul can pass through, are housed with small tourist hotels where most group tour people are lodged. Most of them are Bengali. 

Narrow Lanes of Police Bazar

But as I looked around, there was a delectable fashion sense! The smell of charcoal BBQ fire remitted an inexplicable aroma of grilled meat. It was mixed with the scent of tea in and around. Life celebrated happiness in the narrow lanes of Police Bazar. 

Shillong: A day soaked musical vibrant town
Night Life

Exhausted, we returned to our hotel; since I had an afternoon flight, I could sleep a little longer. My trip to Meghalaya allowed me to “refresh and restart”. There is a paradise hidden in every eastern corner of India.

How to Reach 

 By Air: 

The nearest airport to Guwahati. A cab can be booked outside the airport to reach Shillong. Even opt for sharing taxis or state buses.

By Rail: 

Guwahati Junction railway station is well connected with most of the cities of India. Upon reaching, one can book a cab to Shillong. You can even take state buses or share taxis.

 By Road:

Private cabs or shared taxis of Guwahati regularly ply to Shillong. You cannot drive since a personal vehicle is not allowed. Also, state-run buses run to Shillong at regular intervals.


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