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Cherrapunjee

A journey through Clouds
Now known as Sohra, this little town perched high up on a lonely plateau in the southern Khasi Hills is probably the most famous place in the North East. The monsoon rains, surging over Bangladesh, strikes the Meghalaya hills and are funnelled up through the deep gorges to explode over the plateau, one of the heaviest downpours in the world.
The same rains that have drenched Cherrapunjee for millennia, seen civilisations come and go, and have created history in its thundering waterfalls and misty mountains.
A 60km drive from Shillong, Sohra recently lost its title as the 'wettest place on earth' to another town, Mawsynram. However, it still receives a tremendous amount of rain each year, creating countless waterfalls, carving out mystical limestone caves and giving life to incredible biodiversity and forest cover. A day well spent here could involve experiencing the local culture in one of the weekly markets, visiting the awe-inspiring waterfalls to marvel at the 1120 foot high Nokkalikai falls, and visiting one of the most inspiring examples of living architecture in the world, the double-decker Umshiang Living Root Bridge.

Activities in Cherrapunjee

Trek to the Living Root Bridge, Umunoi
  • Trek to the Living Root Bridge, Umunoi - The valleys around Sohra are home to quite a few living root bridges, each one as marvellous as the next. Deep inside the forest, near the village of Nongkroh, is one of the oldest bridges that exist today, the Ummunoi Bridge. Primarily built upon one immense root that stretches over the river, it is about 50 feet long and incredibly strong. MORE

Trek to Double Decker Root Bridge
  • Trek to Double Decker Root Bridge - The Umshiang Root Bridge will take your breath away, and the trek to Nongriat village is just as exhilarating. Starting from Tyrna village, the first leg of the trek is a steep set of 3000 concrete steps, carved into the hillside. Along the way, gorgeous views of the valley and many different bird species can be checked off the list. MORE

Drive to Umkar Root Bridge, Siej
  • Drive to Umkar Root Bridge, Siej - Just a short 15 kilometres away from Sohra is the tiny village of Siej, the site of a new Living Bridge being grown. An easy 10-minute trek from the village will bring you to the immature Umkar Root Bridge. The decade-old bridge was washed away in a massive flood and is now being lovingly grown back by the villagers, providing visitors with a once in a lifetime chance to see how the roots are carefully guided into place, and the ingenious techniques employed using bamboo and betel trunks. MORE

Trek to 'Splashing Park'
  • Trek to 'Splashing Park' - A gentle 6-kilometre trek through the landscape is an excellent way to wind down after the exciting experiences of Sohra and its surroundings. Carry along binoculars to birdwatch in the forests of Laitkynsew, you might meet some of the local villagers busy in their vegetable patches, and also take in the grand vista of the sweeping valley below, overlooking Umwai Falls, Mawshamok, Umwai, Mawlong villages and the limestone mines of Ichhamati. MORE

Trek to Mawshamok by Lovers Road
  • Trek to Mawshamok by Lovers Road - A gentle, sloping 3-kilometre road, flanked by a valley full of lush forests with several waterfall plumes visible in the distance. Quiet and remote, this is an ideal road to share an afternoon with your soulmate, no wonder it has quite the reputation of a lovers road. MORE

Trek to the Warm Swimming Pool and Angling Spot
  • Trek to the Warm Swimming Pool and Angling Spot - As the river recedes in the winter, smaller pools are formed at one side of the river that is warmed quickly by the sun and rocks, very pleasant spots to relax and dip your feet in after a strenuous hike to a fishing spot. The rivers around Sohra are replete with some of the best Himalayan game fish, and angling is a favourite pastime both for visitors and the locals. MORE

Village walk in Nongwar village
  • Village walk-in Nongwar village - The old and tiny village of Nongwar is nestled up on the hillside and has a spectacular view of the valley leading to the Bangladesh plains. As you trek up the easy slope, many waterfalls are visible on a clear day - Nohkalikai, Dainthlen and Laipateng Khohsiew being especially majestic during the rains. Nongwar village is home to the Khasi people and was one of the first villages to receive an education. MORE

Swimming in Natural Pools
  • Swimming in Natural Pools - Meghalaya is truly a land overflowing with water. The incredible monsoons create a surge of torrents, streams, rivers and pools. Each one with different hues of blue and green water, crystal clear and pure. One of the greatest pleasures Meghalaya has to offer is swimming in these wild waters. MORE

Bird watching
  • Bird watching - Birdwatching in Cherrapunjee is an exciting and rewarding activity. The landscape around Sohra is diverse, with deep valleys full of lush forests, villages surrounded by cultivations and bamboo groves that are adjacent to forests, mossy streams and waterfalls. The endemic Tawny-breasted Wren-babbler is found nowhere else in India and is frequently sighted in this region. MORE

Caving
  • Caving - The only place in India where one can experience the truest form of cave exploration is Meghalaya. The state is covered in ancient layers of limestone that have been carved and shaped by millions of years of monsoon rains into some of the most breath-taking cave systems in the world. MORE


Attractions in Cherrapunjee

  • ARWAH CAVE – SOHRA

    Just before reaching Cherrapunjee town, a left turn down a rough track will take you to the ancient Arwah caves. After the ticket counter, a scenic path takes you through the forest to the entrance of the cave. Formed by millions of years of water erosion through the limestone rock, Arwah is a true Aladdin's cave of treasures.

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  • Dainthlen Falls

    Steeped in local mythology, the Dainthlen falls get their name from the story of a giant evil serpent, or Thlen that lived here and terrorized the locals. After being slain by a group of brave men, the waterfalls erupted from the spot. A place is full of power, embodied by the thundering waters of the Dainthlen Falls.

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  • Mawsmai-Cave

    An enormous limestone cave system, Mawsmai cave is on everyone's must-see list, and with good reason. Although only a 150-metre stretch is open to the public, this trail is quite thrilling. The caves are well lit and those who are uncomfortable with dark spaces will have no problem here. The lights additionally show up the beautiful limestone formations and colours as you walk, crouch and even slide down various parts of the trail.

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  • Nohsngithiang-Falls

    Just a few minutes away from the caves is the grand vista of the enormous Mawsmai, or Seven Sisters Falls, so-called because the jagged limestone cliffs separate the churning waters into seven distinct drop-offs. An incredible sight was best seen in the monsoons when the waters spread out across the cliffs. Locally known as Nohsngithiang Falls, it is one of the tallest waterfalls in India, at over 1000 feet high.

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  • Nongriat-Root-Bridge

    In Cherrapunjee, bridges are not built, they are grown. A 45-minute drive from Sohra brings you to one of the most famous and unique sights in Meghalaya, the Umshiang Double-Decker Root Bridge. A steep 45-minute hike through the valley, involving a staircase of about 3000 steps, suspension bridges made of bamboo and small waterfalls brings you to Nongriat village.

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  • Nohkalikai Waterfalls

    At over a thousand feet in height, Nohkalikai is the tallest plunge waterfall in India. It makes a spectacular leap from a forest shrouded cliff top to thunder onto the rocks below. It is truly spectacular in the monsoons but also retains a lot of its water even during the dry season. Viewing platforms have been built for easy access.

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  • Cherrapunjee Local Weekly Market

    Once every 8 days, Cherrapunjee truly comes alive with the local lewbah or 'Big Market'. Worked out so that Sunday church is never missed, the market day sees hundreds of vendors, visitors and customers turning up by the busload in Sohra. It becomes not just another market day, but an event to socialize.

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  • Thangkharang Park & Khynrem Falls

    Just 12 kilometres from Sohra is the most incredible spot for a picnic. The park is a huge and lush area, full of rolling meadows, forest patches, gardens and even a greenhouse. The edge of the park is a cliff drop with a spectacular, panoramic view of the Bangladesh plains, and also of the nearby Kynrem falls as it tumbles down in three stages.

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  • Khoh Ramhah/Pillar Rock

    A curiously shaped, huge chunk of rock resembling the conical bamboo baskets used by the Khasi. This rock provides another element to the spectacular view of the cloud strewn Bangladesh plains below. Legend has it that an evil giant that terrorized the land carried his bamboo basket to the spot where he was slain by the brave Khasis.

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