Meghalaya’s capital Shillong retains a charming colonial feel. Generations ago, the hills of Shillong drew the British, reminding them of their own cool and wet homeland. In 1862-64, they obtained two large plots of land in the Khasi Hills – it not only laid the foundations of British rule in Northeast India but also led to the establishment of one of India’s most prized hill-stations. Shillong was once also the capital of the undivided Assam state till 1972.
Contemporary Shillong is a small town, yet perhaps the closest place that the Northeast has, to a city – with its English-speaking, church-going, guitar-and-piano playing people, its restaurants, and its growing tourism infrastructure. Here, Bob Dylan rules, jam sessions abound, rock bands enjoy cult status, and music concerts shake the hills. The Khasi people, Shillong’s main community, are a matrilineal society – Khasi women are the carriers of the family name and property.
Upper Shillong served as the British cantonment area – European pensioners, officers, tea planters etc. built cottages here, naming them after places in England! Soon, Indian princely families from different states started buying land too and building grand houses here.
The biggest highlights in Shillong are the Ward’s Lake, Police Bazaar, Lady Hydari Park, Spread Eagle Falls, Beadon Falls, Bishop Falls, Laitlum Canyons, and the Don Bosco Centre for Indigenous Cultures. The Shillong Golf Course deserves special mention here. Known as the ‘Gleneagle of the East’, it was created in 1924 and is an extraordinarily beautiful 18-hole course with fragrant pine and rhododendron trees. If you’re an avid golfer, a stay at the Shillong Golf Club will give you the chance to tee off on the famed course. The Smit Village, Shillong Peak, Elephant Falls, Mawphlang Sacred Forest, Umiam Lake, and Jowai are attractions around Shillong.
Holxo Tours in Shillong