Shillong

Shillong (Khasi Shillong) is the capital of Meghalaya, one of the smallest states in India. It is also the district headquarters of East Khasi Hills District and is situated at an altitude of 4,908 ft (1,496 m) above sea level. Shillong currently has a population of around 270,000. Home to several waterfalls, it is also known as the Scotland of East. The British legacy is still visible in architecture and food habits of population. The Assam style houses with slanting roofs, large number of windows and wooden floors look like a piece of art (and happen to be very good idea, considering Shillong lies in a area where rains and earthquakes are very common). Shillong receives heavy rainfalls during monsoon and the rainy season usually lasts longer than rest of India. An umbrella is therefore a necessity while packing your bags. Although people avoid the rainy season, it is generally the time when city is clean (rains wash the streets of all garbage) and waterfalls are in full strength. Most of the Shillong population belong to Khasi tribe, who are predominantly Christian. There are significant Bengali and Nepali minorities. An interesting aspect of Khasis are that they are a matrilineal society - the mother is head of family, youngest daughter owns all the property and mothers surname is passed on to children.

Wards Lake - Wards Lake is an artificial lake surrounded by a fairly large garden. Boating facilities are available in the lake.

Lady Hydari Park - The Park has variety of local flowering plants and orchids. It also has a small zoo within it. It is a famous picnic spot for local population.

Sweet Falls - Located in Happy Valley, it is a very steep fall. Extreme caution is advised as there are no barricades and rocks are nearly always slippery (due to rain or dew).

Elephant falls - It is located in Upper Shillong area which also houses the Eastern Air Command of Indian Air force. The scenic fall is not continuous and more of collection of smaller falls. It has footpath leading to bottom fo fall where it reaches a small lake.

Shillong Peak - Shillong Peak is the highest point in state of Meghalaya (1965 meters above sea level). There is a view-point where you can get breath-taking view of Shillong city. The city view during night is a scene to remember. It is host to a radar station for Indian Air force and tourists are advised to declare their cameras while reaching view-point and not to take pictures of radar facilities.

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