Adventures you can only have in Meghalaya, India
India is often frequented by travelers from around the globe, but its Northeastern regions are hardly featured in any travel guide. Meghalaya is one such destination. Home to rugged mountains, lush subtropical jungles, some 1650 explored and partly explored caves, it’s also one of the best destinations for a nature lover or an adrenaline seeker.
Climb inside a Strangler Fig Tree
© Olrut / Shutterstock The walk through the green jungle of Mawpdai with whistling insects, vibrant wildflowers, and an occasional villager in sight is quite blissful. Mawpdai is a little village located close to Mawsynram, and here, a strangler fig tree uses his host plant to support its growth. The host tree has now been dead and the hollow inside it, is, all that remains, allowing one to climb inside the tree and come out from the top. It’s about 30 meters tall and once you come out from the top, you would get a clear view of the marshlands of Bangladesh.
Kayak in Umngot River
© Eastcoastdaily A village named Shnongpdeng is one of the popular water sports destinations in Meghalaya. During the period from October to April, the river water turns blue and is crystal clear, transparent just like glass. Shnongpdeng also has a lively atmosphere, especially during the winters. Frequented by local Indian travelers and day-outers, you will find yourself singing along with locals and kayaking with fishmongers in the village.
Cross a Double-Decker Living Root Bridge
© Mazur Travel / Shutterstock Meghalaya is one of the few places in the world to see living root bridges. The root bridge that connects the banks of River Umshiang has two spans. It is named the Umshiang Double Decker Living Root Bridge. You can reach the root bridge after climbing some 3,500 steps from nearby Tyrna. It’s doable in one day. But staying in one of the homestays in a little village named Nongriat will give you plenty of time to rest your knees and of course, soak up in the lush green atmosphere. This will also allow you to swim in the blue waters of nearby Rainbow Falls.
Explore the World’s Tallest Monoliths
© Ganjaalex / Reddit In Nartiang, there is a tree-clad park with a cluster of megalithic stones, erected by the Jaintia kings in the past. It’s located in Jaintia Hills, near the region’s capital Jowai. The region is home to Jaintia people: one of Meghalaya’s main tribal groups. Moo Iong Syiem is eight meters tall and believed to be the world’s tallest monolith. The monoliths are also linked to a wealth of rich, fascinating folktales of the region. A small village, Nartiang is a one to two-hour drive from Shillong. The history of the monolith park runs back to 1500s. And in the past, it was the summer destination of Jaintia kings.
Visit the Wettest Place on Earth
© Theatlantic With an annual rainfall of 11,872 millimeters, Mawsynram is the wettest place on Earth. Clear days are rare in Mawsynram as it’s always covered in mist and clouds. In monsoons, it usually rains every night. However, due to climate change, often in winters, Mawsynram suffers from water scarcity. The neighboring Sohra (Cherrapunji) is also the second rainiest place on Earth.
Go Caving in Krem Puri, the World’s Longest Sandstone Cave
© Magic Pin Krem Puri is 24.5 kilometers in length and located in Mawsynram. It is the world’s longest sandstone cave and India’s second longest natural cave system. The sandstone cave network holds fascinating corridors and mysterious twists while covering a wide area of 13 square kilometers. Apart from Krem Puri, India’s longest cave is also located in Meghalaya, tucked inside the lesser known East Jaintia Hills region. A limestone cave, the Krem Liat Prah complex is India’s longest cave system. It is 34 kilometers in length. However, caving should be avoided during the monsoon season which runs from May to August. When November nears, the climate is drier and caving expeditions run until March.
Visit India’s Tallest Plunge Waterfall
© Traveltriangle Nohkalikai Falls is located in Sohra (Cherrapunji) and tumbles down from a height of 1,115 feet. There’s a large observation area where you can view the falls from afar. The area is often crowded. However, if you are adventurous enough, you can actually climb down to the bottom pool of the falls, and from there, a strenuous trek takes you to the double-decker bridge in Nongriat. Sohra is home to many popular and lesser-known waterfalls such as the Seven Sisters Falls, Dainthlen Falls and Wei Sawdong Falls. The Seven Sisters Falls are stunning streams, seven in number, which stumble down to nearby Bangladeshi plains. Dainthlen is a popular picnic spot, from where a steep 20-minute walk takes you to the three-tier Wei Sawdong Falls.
Camp under the Stars in Asia’s Second-Largest River Island
© Anatoliy_Gleb / Shutterstock Majuli Island in Assam is Asia’s largest river island. Nongkhnum Island comes second. It’s located in the West Khasi Hills near Nongstoin. The journey to Nongkhnum is quite bumpy but with views of lush green paddy fields nestled between sheltering mountain guardians, you won’t regret the journey. The island also has a stunning waterfall named Weinia Falls, which is full of life during the monsoons. Nongkhnum is sometimes visited by local groups for kayaking and fishing activities. With crystal clear skies far from city smoke, it makes for an incredible place for stargazing.