From fluffy clouds painting the blue sky to cascading waterfalls, Cherrapunji has it all. Just 55 kilometres from Shillong and at a height of 1300 meters, the city of Sohra, better known as Cherrapunji is located. Cherrapunji is a must-visit for any traveller visiting Meghalaya. It is the hub of Khasi. Cherrapunji is a city that is like a vivid painting that leaves tourists and travellers mesmerized. It is located at the heart of Meghalaya and has an untouched, unblemished, and unperturbed beauty to it.
Why is it so Famous?
Cherrapunji is known as the wettest place on earth with record rainfall of 104 centimetres. But that record was broken by a village on the southern slopes of the Khasi hills near Cherrapunji, named Mawsynram with a rainfall of 2300 centimetres. If someone wants to bask in the true beauty of nature, Cherrapunji is the place.
A result of bio-engineering by the local Khasi people, the double-decker living root bridge is a beauty in itself. It is also a splendid location for trekking. It also provides a mind-blowing view of the plains of Bangladesh.
Best time to visit
The best time to visit Cherrapunji is the months of September till the month of December since the rain simmers down a lot. During these months the rainfall is minimum and the maximum temperature rises to an average of 16 degrees Celsius while the lowest can touch around 8 degrees Celsius. Since Cherrapunji is known for its heavy rainfall, or better to say downpour, scattered can be expected every now and then. The monsoon months hits Cherrapunji from June to August. When it rains in Cherrapunji, it pours.
How to reach Cherrapunji
The best way to reach Cherrapunji, especially by train is to first reach Shillong and then travel there. Since the closest airport to Cherrapunji is Shillong airport, it is really easy to travel from Shillong. Almost all types of transportation are available. Since there is no airport in Cherrapunji itself, you cannot fly in there directly.
One can also travel from Guwahati since the Guwahati railway Station is the nearest railway station to Cherrapunji. It is about 150 kilometres from Guwahati and is a well-connected station. Tourists can get to Sohra by availing of the direct transportation available in Guwahati.
If someone is willing to travel by road then traveling from Shillong is the best way. Local bus service as well as transportation provided by private service providers are available. While local buses are more crowded, private transportation provides a much more comfortable option for traveling by road. In a place like Cherrapunji, where the terrain is rough especially just after the monsoon season, traveling by crowded buses may not be comfortable or relaxing so to speak for tourists who visit Cherrapunji only to experience the beauty for a few days.
History, Language, and the People of Cherrapunji
Though Cherrapunji is known for tall plunging waterfalls and lush green hills, it has a rich history too. The original name of the town was Sohra, which was pronounced “Cherra” by the British. The name eventually became ‘Cherrapunji’ which means ‘the land of the oranges’. Cherrapunji was the capital of the Khasi states until Shillong become the capital in 1864. There are shreds of evidence all over the town of Cherrapunji that it was under British authority. One can see the monument of David Scott who was the administrator of North East India from 1802 to 1831.
Khasi is the official language of Cherrapunji and Meghalaya as a matter of fact. Cherrapunji is a culturally rich and diverse part of the state that seemed to have grabbed the attention of the entire world. The people have their own mother tongue to speak even if the official language is Khasi. All the official, legal and Government-related documents are processed in Khasi. The Khasi language didn’t have a script of its own. Today it follows the Roman script introduced by Rev. Thomas Jones in 1842. It has a very strong oral tradition.
The town of Cherrapunji is comprised of mainly three tribal groups- the Khasis, the Jaintias, and the Garos. However, the majority of the Garo population lives in the western part of the state. The Khasis occupy the central part of the state and the Jaintias occupy the eastern part of the state. The Khasis & Jaintias together known as HynniewTrep, as of the Austro Mon-Khmer population are believed to have originated from Laos and Cambodia area and are said to be one of the oldest inhabitants. They are probably one of the oldest ethnic groups in the Indian Sub-continent.
Top Tourist Attractions in Cherrapunji
Cherrapunji is the hub of tourist spots. From mesmerizing waterfalls to bridges, Cherrapunji never ceases to astonish. The first place one must visit is Nohkalikai Falls. It is the most beautiful waterfall in Cherrapunji. Pouring from a dizzying height of 1,120 feet, it is the country’s third-highest waterfall. A series of stairs lead to different vantage points to enjoy the view. The roaring sound of the water can be heard even from far-off. The Nohkalikai Falls is located in the East Khasi Hills. It is in full bloom during the monsoon season and is at its driest from December to February.
Double-Decker Living Root Bridge
Snuggled in the dense forest of Cherrapunji, lies the wonderful Double Decker Living Root Bridge. It is one of the most admired wonders. The roots are engineered by the local Khasi people to grow in a certain manner and the bridge is approximately 150 years old. The roots form a dual canopy that forms the two bridges on top of each other. It is breathtaking to watch the sunlight pour through the gaps of the rain-blessed roots. The root bridge gets stronger as they age, unlike wooden bridges. The upper deck of the bridge is 20 meters long. The Double Decker Living Root Bridge is the Nongriat Village in Cherrapunji.
Though Cherrapunji is the wettest place in the world, if someone can beat it to its title, it is the Mawsynram village. About 15km from Cherrapunji, Mawsynram is a beautiful village lapped in the East Khasi Hills. It is an East Khasi district. If someone is a nature lover, Mawsynram in the monsoon season is the perfect place to take in the beauty of nature. It receives about 11,000 mm of rainfall every year. In the year 1985, Mawsynram received 26,000 mm of rainfall. There is a cave named Mawjymbuin in Mawsynram, which is known for its Stalagmites.
The Mawsmai Cave is the most easily accessible cave in Cherrapunji. It is the gateway to underground adventure in Meghalaya. It is 6km away from the village of Mawsmai. One can get a full tour of the ground, or rather underground even without a wide. However, the tunnel either gets too narrow or too wide, so large groups are advised to avoid it. It is hidden under a large canopy of trees, the cave welcomes tourists with a gaping entrance which then narrows further down. The caves are very well-lit and are perfect for exploration. It is a must-visit for the ones who consider themselves explorers.
Seven Sisters Falls
Sitting in the village of Mawsmai in the East Khai hills is the Seven Sisters Falls. It is the fourth largest fall in India. It is a cluster of seven waterfalls alongside each other with a height of 315 meters. The Seven Sisters Falls is locally known as the Nohsngithiang Falls or Mawsmai Falls. The water pours down the limestone cliffs of the Khasi hills into a valley. This place has a picture-perfect ambiance and is perfect for photographers. It forms a curtain of water along the cliff which turns into a majestic view during the sunsets. The best view is observed during the months of June till September which is the monsoon season in Cherrapunji.
There is a small village located 82km from Shillong on the Southeastern border of Cherrapunji called Dawki. It is located on the lap of the Jaintia Hills. Dawki is pervaded with gorges and vines. The most attractive place in this village is the Umngot river. The Umngot river is a beauty with its emerald water that snakes through the village. A boat ride over these waters makes one feel like they are afloat a green glass. It flows between the Khasi and the Jaintia hills and into Bangladesh. The border crossing at Dawki is generally used for coal transportation into Bangladesh. Over 500 trucks cross the border in the peak season. There is also a bridge over the Umngot river known as the Dawki Bridge that was constructed in the year 1932.
Mawkdok Dyempep Valley is an alluring tourist place on the way to Shillong. It is another place that one can visit for adventure and especially if someone loves nature. It is an ideal spot for aerial sports. Mawkdok Dyempep is a valley with picturesque landscapes and lush green trees. It is a place where one can witness the natural beauty of Meghalaya in its full glory. It is also a great spot for adventure lovers because they can indulge in various activities. It is an ideal spot to visit with family and friends as well. It is also a great place for camping as it has many campsites available. It is a perfect place for trekking and people who love nature will surely enjoy their time here.
One of the most charming tourist destinations in Cherrapunji is Thangkharang Park, which sits near the famous rock Khoh Ramhah and offers a breathtaking view of twisting roads below. The park is a great place to visit and spend time with your loved ones. It has several attractions, including the children’s play area and the food court. The park is the perfect place to relax, unwind and enjoy the beauty of nature. There is a large garden with beautiful flowers and plants which provide a great view of the mountains around Cherrapunji. The park is open throughout the year and is a great place to relax with your family, especially during monsoon season when it rains heavily.
Wakaba Falls, a two-tiered waterfall nearly 190 meters in height, is one of the many beautiful waterfalls located in Cherrapunji. The falls are located along the road connecting Nongriat and Mawsynram. It is a popular tourist destination and is frequented by many trekkers. The falls are surrounded by lush greenery and a canopy of trees, making it an ideal place for a nature walk. Wakaba Falls is also known as the “Grand Canyon of India”, because of its sheer size and depth. The falls are believed to have been created by a fissure in the rock. Streams of water flow down the mountainside and collect in a crevice, creating this natural wonder. The water tumbles down two levels, forming a pool at the bottom of Wakaba Falls.
Only 12 kilometers from Cherrapunji, Kynrem Falls is surrounded by the lush greenery of Thangkharang Park. It is India’s seventh-highest waterfall and is shadowed by the East Khasi Hills district. Kynrem Falls is also known as Sohrab Hanging Waterfall due to its location on the edge of an escarpment. Plunging from a height of 305 meters, the thunderous roaring of the waterfall can be heard before the beauty unveils itself. The water cascades down the rock face and into a deep pool of turquoise water, where tourists can swim. The surrounding vegetation is lush with greenery, making it an ideal place for picnics or spending a lazy afternoon reading a book. The waterfall is easily accessible from Cherrapunji and can be reached by a scenic drive through the East Khasi Hills district. The park offers several picnic spots and a walkway that leads to the falls.
One of the newly discovered caves in Meghalaya, Arwah Cave is one of the most unexplored places to visit in Cherrapunji. The cave is located in a remote village called Myrnam, which is also known as the “village of caves.” The cave is located at a distance of about 5 kilometres from the village, which makes it one of the most unexplored places to visit in Meghalaya. It offers an exciting adventure for people who love exploring caves. The forest of Law Shynna is home to a cave that attracts explorers and archaeologists from all over the world because many secrets are yet to be discovered there. The cave has not been explored properly yet and is still unknown to many people.
Dainthlen Falls, located in the East Khasi Hills District near Sohra, is one of the many beautiful waterfalls in Meghalaya. It’s a beautiful waterfall, with a height of 100 meters and a width of up to 200 meters. The fall is located in the middle of a forest and offers great views of the surrounding hills. It’s one of the most visited waterfalls in Meghalaya. It’s a great place for nature lovers and people who want to explore the beauties of nature. The Dainthlen Falls is one of the highest waterfalls in Meghalaya, at an altitude of about 1,200 meters above sea level.
The Khasi people have built many intriguing structures near Mawsmai Falls. One of them is the Khasi Monoliths. The Khasi Monoliths are located about a kilometre from Mawsmai Falls, where visitors can find several ancient stone monuments that are estimated to be between 500 and 1000 years old. The Khasi Monoliths are a series of stone sculptures built by the indigenous Khasi people. The monoliths are carved with symbols that represent the sun, moon, and human forms. These symbols were used to depict tribal traditions and history. The Khasi Monoliths are considered to be sacred places for the Khasi people. This is why it is not uncommon to find people meditating near the monoliths. Visitors will also see locals offering food, flowers, and tobacco to the spirits of their ancestors.
Located in the Khasi Hills and surrounded by dense jungle, Krem Mawmluh is a breath-taking cave that extends for over 22 kilometres. The cave is home to a variety of different species, including bats, birds, and insects. It’s also the largest bat cave in Asia. The cave is only accessible by foot, and it takes about three days to walk from one end to the other. Visitors who are brave enough to make the journey will be rewarded with stunning views of stalactites and stalagmites as well as a plethora of wildlife. Krem Mawmluh is also known as the “cave of the sleeping beauty,” and even though it’s not as well-known as its European counterparts, this cave has plenty of charm.
As far as Indian villages are concerned, Mawlynnong is light years ahead of its time, with its clean, functional toilets in every house, and plastic ban. Yet it manages to preserve the rustic, old-world charm that makes you feel like you have travelled in time. Mawlynnong is a village that has made its mark on history by being the cleanest village in India. It is located in the East Khasi Hills district of Meghalaya and was recognized as the cleanest village in Asia by The Guinness Book of World Records. Mawlynnong is a small village with just about 1,500 people. However, it attracts more than 100,000 visitors every year because of its cleanliness and eco-friendly practices.
Nongsawlia Presbyterian Church
Nongsawlia Presbyterian Church, located about a kilometre from Cherrapunji Bus Stand in Meghalaya, is the oldest church in that state. Sitting on Sohra-Shella Road and surrounded by lush greenery, this structure was built back when the British were still ruling India–and it remains one of the best places to visit when visiting Cherrapunji. The church was built in 1835 and has become a major tourist attraction since then. It is also one of the best places to visit in Cherrapunji, especially during Christmas time when people come together to celebrate this holiday with an amazing mass service. The church is a beautiful structure with stained glass windows, wooden pews, and a bell tower. The stained-glass windows are quite impressive, as they have been designed in such a way that sunlight does not enter the building during the daytime but allows people to see clearly at night.
Travel advice on Cherrapunji
If you are visiting the wettest place in the world, then packing an umbrella is a must. If you are visiting in the winter times then make sure you are packing enough winter clothes, especially things like wind cheaters as the winds get stronger and chilled during the winters. If you are visiting during the summers then you wouldn’t need the woollen garments at all but be prepared to get a very humid atmosphere.
Try to stick to the local transportation in Cherrapunji since they are much cheaper than private transportation. Be aware of what you consume. You may not be tolerant of every local food available. Make sure you have full knowledge about what you are eating.
It is also advised to not go anywhere alone without proper guidance since Meghalaya is a hilly region and getting stuck alone is a big problem. Always stick to a group and travel with a guide. Do not go swimming in areas with no population or where it is not allowed to. Apart from these, Cherrapunji can be considered a pretty safe place to travel around.
Tips for visiting Cherrapunji
If you are vacationing in a place far away from your home town then you must take a few tips. It is advised to not go alone without proper guidance since Meghalaya is a hilly region with a population only in selected areas and getting stuck alone is a big problem. Always be with a guide. Apart from these, Cherrapunji can be considered a pretty safe place to travel around.
Pack an umbrella! That is a must. Make sure you pack appropriately.
Try to stick to the local transportation in Cherrapunji since they are much cheaper than private transportation. Make sure you have a piece of full knowledge about what you are eating. Stay healthy and eat healthy, always.
Rainfall in Cherrapunji
A visit to Cherrapunji is practically incomplete without experiencing the rainfall. So, the best time to visit Cherrapunji is in the months of October to May. The downpours are not harsh as a matter of fact, they are very pleasant and hygienic. The temperature during this season ranges between 10 degrees Celsius to 30 degrees Celsius. In the Summertime, the maximum temperature that can be expected is 25 degrees Celsius. This is generally in the months of March, April and May. The monsoon season comes after this and is maximum in the month of June. The monsoon lasts till September. This is the most difficult time to visit Cherrapunji.
Adventurous Activities to do in Cherrapunji
River Canyoning is one of the best activities for thrill-seekers. Crossing a river, climbing a boulder, trekking by the river, this activity includes all. This is a very challenging activity and one’s physicality should be taken into account.
Boating along the Dawki river is an experience of a lifetime. The water is so clear, that one can clearly see the marine life in the water. The view of the river is mesmerizing but what is more wonderful is the view of the lush green hills while boating in the river.
Ziplining is not an activity for the faint-hearted. Ziplining over the valley of Mawdok Dyempep. The activity is looked after by a team of well-trained staff who make sure that all the people undertaking this activity stay safe. It costs around five hundred rupees and can be done from sunrise to sunset.
Camping by the river Nongriat is a splendid experience. With the green lush forest along the sides of the river is the view during the daytime and the blanket of stars overhead during the night, one may not ever want to leave the place.
Best Places to Stay in Cherrapunji
Cherrapunji has urbanized a lot since the initial days of tourist visits. A lot of fancy hotels as well as homely guest houses are available in Cherrapunji to rest the night. Hotels like San Nael La Resort and Polo Orchid Resort are available for around twenty thousand to ten thousand rupees for a night. Homestays like NG Eco Home Stay and Pearls Homestay are also available at a lower cost per night. Most tourists prefer traveling from Shillong to visit Cherrapunji, have a look around the different places, and then come back to Shillong by the end of the day.
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The Weather of Cherrapunji
The summer months in Cherrapunji are from March till May. During these months, the maximum temperature one can expect is about 25 degrees Celsius. If it doesn’t rain and the skies are clear, it becomes quite humid during the summers. May is the wettest summer month here. Then comes the months of monsoon. It starts in May and continues till the end of September. The month of June is the wettest of them receiving the maximum rainfall. When it rains in Cherrapunji, it is better to say that it pours. The scenery after every downpour is beautiful. but during the rain, hardly anything can be seen and the surrounding goes white. Then comes the winter season from the month of October. But the temperature really drops in the month of November and the winter lasts till February. The lowest temperature one can experience is 5 degrees Celsius. However, the average temperature lingers around 15 degrees Celsius. With less rainfall, it is a good time to visit Cherrapunji. Though the temperature remains low in the winter months, October and February are quite pleasant.
Frequently Asked Questions on Cherrapunji Tourism
The best time to visit Cherrapunji is the winter times, that is the months of November to February.
Cherrapunji is the wettest place in the world, so it rains less during the winter but has a heavy downpour during the monsoon months.
High-end hotels as well that cost around twenty thousand rupees as well as homestays that costs around five thousand rupees to four thousand rupees are all available in Cherrapunji for night stays.
Boating, trekking, river canyoning, ziplining, and riverside camping are a few fun activities one can do in Cherrapunji.
All the tourist locations are located at distance ranging from a few kilometres to thirty kilometres from Cherrapunji.
Nohkalikai is approximately 14 kilometres from Cherrapunji.
Yes, camping is done only at local camping sites and is overlooked by authorities.
Monsoon starts in May and ends in November. The wettest month is June.
The cheapest time to visit Cherrapunji is the month of September to November.
The wettest month in Cherrapunji is the month of June.