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When you think of a trip to Meghalaya, the places you hear about are the well-known destinations. The destinations which are placed on the tourist map. But very few ask for something fresh, something thrilling. Meghalaya known as The Abode of Clouds is one of the most beautiful states of North East India. Amongst the tourist population, Meghalaya has been very underrated for years. But off late this state is picking up its tourism side and more and more people are exploring this place. Through this blog, we shall cover 10 offbeat places in Meghalaya which have been hardly explored by the tourist crowd.
If you want to explore the true essence of Meghalaya then you must go the offbeat way. This state is known for its surprising nature which hosts some awe-inspiring destinations in the interiors. You will be awestruck when you start exploring this place one step at a time. The state has so many caves and waterfalls that it will take you at least a month to cover the state completely. Moreover, the untouched beauty, fascinating tribes, interesting food, and unique cultures of Meghalaya is so interesting that you will have to see and experience it to believe it. Let’s discover Meghalaya and some of its hidden gems today through this blog. Here are the 10 most offbeat places in Meghalaya.
One of the most underrated gems of Meghalaya is the Mawryngkhang village which is just 42kms away from Shillong. The village is famous for its U Mawryngkhang trek which is considered to be one of the scariest treks of Meghalaya. The Trek starts from Wahkhen and as you walk downhill you will reach a rickety bamboo bridge that was laid out by the villagers over mountain ridges, broomstick farms, and above roaring rivers. You will literally be passing over a series of natural pools and past the ridge of the mountain with the valley deep below. Usually, it takes about 2 to 3 hours to complete the trek.
Legends say that U Mawryngkhang was known as the “king of Stones” who fell in love with a girl from another kingdom whose name was Kthiang which means ”tall, slim and beautiful lady’. U Mawpator another powerful man was also in love with Ms. Kthiang. Hence a war broke out between U Mawryngkhang and U Mawpator during which U Mawpator’s head fell off in the deep gorge below. It is said that even today from the top of U Mawryngkhang, one can see the “Head” of U Mawpator in the deep gorge.
Kongthong village is definitely one of the most unique places to visit in entire India. Until recent years the village was so isolated from the entire world that even today not many people know about its existence. The beautiful village is hidden in the Khasi Hills and is one of the most interesting places you will come across. Kongthong village is famously known as the Whistling Village because for generations whenever a child is born here the mother composes a tune or a lullaby for the baby and this tune will become the identity of this child.
Usually, the mother will compose two tunes out of which one will be a full-fledged song and the second will be a short version of the first. This song is locally known as ‘jingrwai lawbei’, meaning “song of the clan’s first woman”. There were around 600 people living in Kongthong Village which means there are 600 unique tunes to be heard of. This place is beyond imagination and you need to see it and experience it to believe it. And this is why Kongthong is one of the best offbeat places in Meghalaya.
Lalong Park -Jowai
Jowai has been a popular destination amongst tourists over the years. Every year Jowai witnesses a lot of tourists coming from different parts of India and abroad. However, not many people know or have visited Lalong Park which is 8kms from Jowai. The Lalong Park is known for its sacred grove and for its location which overlooks the beautiful Pynthorwah Valley. The government currently is trying to make Lalong Park a major tourism hub and building infrastructure in the district.
Tyrshi Falls is another one of the little-known treasures of Meghalaya. I call the Tyrshi falls as the white veil falls because the gushing water falls down swiftly in the steps creating an enormous white veil. You need to climb down almost 2000 steps to reach the bottom of the falls. This fall is situated along the Jowai- Shillong road and although it looks similar to the famous Elephant Falls in Shillong yet it is three times taller than the Elephant Falls. The best time to visit here would be during the monsoons when the water level is really high.
One of the best waterfalls one can see in Meghalaya is the Weinia Falls also known as Kshaid Weinia. It is located near Nongkhnum road and is approx 15 kilometers away from Nongstoin. You can reach this deep yet scenic cascade very easily and the best part is that once the water hits the bottom of the falls it’s vapor raises up and in good sunlight, you can see different colors of the rainbow is formed. The falls is surrounded by rocks of different shapes, sizes, and colors on both sides. This is such a beautiful fall situated in Meghalaya that it should definitely be in your bucket list.
Nongkhnum Island Beach
Most of you know about the biggest river island of the world is in the Northeast buy did you know that the biggest river island in Meghalaya and the second biggest river island in Asia is in Meghalaya and it’s known as the Nongkhnum Island Beach. Isnt it fascinating? This island beach is located just 14 kilometers from Nongstoin and around 160 kilometers from Shillong.
This beautiful place can be accessed from the Weinia Falls and it also has a narrow bridge that leads you directly to the falls. For nature lovers, you will be surprised to see the number of species of butterflies, birds, and flowers here and the lush shades of green in and around the island are going to blow your mind. Once you reach the island you can take a boat ride around the island, play volleyball and food ball on the beach and also pitch a tent to stay the night .
One unexplored place in Meghalaya definitely has to be the Mawphanlur village and it had been hiding from commercialization mainly because of the approach road from Markasa. But recently the approach road got repaired and Mayphanlur started receiving a lot of tourists looking for offbeat places in Meghalaya. The total population of this village is merely 189 people and there are close to 28 houses in this region. Mawphanlur is about 85 kilometers from Shillong and its one place whose beauty will freeze you out totally.
There are no hotels or homestays in this place but just one travellers inn which is controlled by the village chairman himself. If you wish to stay at Mawphanlur you might have to seek the chairman’s permission who will allow you to stay at the Inn for the night.
David Scott Trek
When we talk about Meghalaya you must know that we have something for all. For those who love trekking you must put the David Scott Trek in your bucket list which is one of the oldest trekking routes in Meghalaya. This trail had been named after David Scott who was a British Officer and who discovered the route in the first half of the 1800’s. The intention of the trail initially was to travel from Assam to Bangladesh.
The trek covers around 100km and takes almost 5 days if covered on foot. Throughout the entire route, you will be covering the beautiful terrain of East Khasi Hills and you will witness some mesmerizing natural wonders such as cascading waterfalls, crystal clear streams gushing down from mountains, typical local villages, scenic valleys, forests groves, and meadows.
Mawphlang Sacred Forest
Meghalaya has many forests out of which East Khasi Hills and Jaintia Hills are full of sacred forests. There are many beliefs linked to these forests by the indigenous tribes and cultures of Meghalaya. But out of all the sacred forests Mawphlang Sacred Forest is believed to be the most sacred of all. This forest is guarded by just one strict rule- ‘NOTHING is allowed to be taken out of this Sacred Grove. Not even a leaf, stone, or a dead log’. Failing to comply may lead to death.
The Khasi tribe has been guarding and preserving this forest for thousands of years and they believe it to be the abode of the local deity, called Labasa. She is believed to be protecting the village from all odds and in case of any mishaps, she forms into a leopard or tiger to protect the villagers. Apart from the secret legend the forest also fulls crows because of its natural and scenic beauty. It is believed that the sacred forest comes alive, during the three-day monolith festival held here that showcases the tribal heritage and culture.
Phea Phea Waterfall
Phea Phea falls definitely has to be one of the most gorgeous falls I have ever been to. This fall is situated in the Jaintia hills but the road to the falls is not so easy. You have to cover various treacherous tracks to reach the falls which will test your physical and mental fitness to tits extent. You need to walk through the valley and cross many river streams to reach the falls. This fall is not much explored and that’s the reason its beauty is still unspoiled. Moreover, when it comes to photography this is one of the best places to get some amazing pictures.
So next time you plan a visit to this beautiful state keep these places in the mind and prepare yourself accordingly. Meghalaya is one such place that will never disappoint you but rather it will leave you awestruck in every possible way. Be prepared to get surprised by the kind of a beauty you are going to witness and experience when you travel to Meghalaya. It has so much more to offer you then what you had been watching, reading, and listening to for all these years.